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Old 11-18-2008, 09:45 PM   #1
mgordon1100
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Default Front wheel Bearing

When I turn my car car to the right the noise goes away. Which side bearing is bad? Thanks

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Old 11-19-2008, 12:11 AM   #2
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Default Re: Front wheel Bearing

Most would replace in pairs.

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Old 11-19-2008, 01:37 AM   #3
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Default Re: Front wheel Bearing

mgordon1100,

Your right wheel bearing is bad.

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Old 11-19-2008, 02:59 AM   #4
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Default Re: Front wheel Bearing

You can check the wheel bearings by jacking the wheel off the ground. Then grab the wheel on the top and the bottom. Gently rock it top to bottom and see if it moves. If it does, then it is either the wheel bearing or the lower ball joint. It has been my experience that you generally don't feel the lower ball joint when it goes bad because the sway bar goes through the arm that contains the lower ball joint and forces it up which takes up the play of a bad ball joint.

Also grab the wheel and spin it. MY experience is that you can generally feel and hear that the bearing is bad. Compare both sides.

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Old 11-19-2008, 07:14 AM   #5
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Default Re: Front wheel Bearing

Diagnosing a bad wheel bearing can be made easier by prying back a little on the piston in the brake caliper; then you can feel for slack or "grumbling" as you spin the wheel by hand.

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Old 11-19-2008, 12:52 PM   #6
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Default Re: Front wheel Bearing

Quote:
Originally Posted by quickster View Post
mgordon1100,

your right wheel bearing is bad.
x2^^^

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Old 11-19-2008, 01:05 PM   #7
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Default Re: Front wheel Bearing

Quote:
Originally Posted by mgordon1100 View Post
When I turn my car car to the right the noise goes away. Which side bearing is bad? Thanks
If you replace one, you should replace both.

Another good way to check them is to loosen or remove the axle nut. Then push the axle back until the tip of the axle shaft is even with the hub. Look on the other side to see if theres any rust colored dust. If there is, thats bearing material being ground away.

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Old 11-19-2008, 02:35 PM   #8
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Default Re: Front wheel Bearing

An excellent, fool proof way of identifying a failed wheel bearing is to
jack the wheel off the ground and touch the spring while turning the
wheel. The bearing roughness can be felt in the spring. Compare
side-to-side and the failed bearing side will be evident.

...
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Old 11-19-2008, 11:36 PM   #9
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Default Re: Front wheel Bearing

Quote:
Originally Posted by quickster View Post
mgordon1100,

Your right wheel bearing is bad.
Agree

When you turn to the left you must hear noise, is so then that's all the proof you need.

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Old 11-20-2008, 05:22 PM   #10
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Default Re: Front wheel Bearing

Another way to check (I saw it done on a Ford Probe) is to lift one wheel or the other off the ground, and put it in D or 1st gear and spin the wheel. Lift under the A-arm.
You can hear the bad wheel bearing howling.
The other wheel is on the ground and won't spin. SET THE HAND BRAKE!

Not recommended for these cars, due to possibility of blowing a diff pin...

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Old 11-20-2008, 05:29 PM   #11
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Default Re: Front wheel Bearing

Quote:
Originally Posted by MikeNW View Post
Another way to check (I saw it done on a Ford Probe) is to lift one wheel or the other off the ground, and put it in D or 1st gear and spin the wheel. Lift under the A-arm.
You can hear the bad wheel bearing howling.
The other wheel is on the ground and won't spin. SET THE HAND BRAKE!

Not recommended for these cars, due to possibility of blowing a diff pin...
That does not sound safe...

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Old 11-20-2008, 06:20 PM   #12
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Default Re: Front wheel Bearing

As has been stated above and before, replace suspension components in pairs. that means all you have to figure out is that there is a bad bearing, do both.

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Old 11-20-2008, 10:09 PM   #13
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Default Re: Front wheel Bearing

I had wheel bearing noise on my old SW1. I couldn't notice any problem or looseness even after removing the knuckle. Replaced the bearing anyway and the noise went away.

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Old 11-20-2008, 10:32 PM   #14
cormor
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Default Re: Front wheel Bearing

Replacing wheel bears in pairs is the biggest scam out there. If one lug nut strips out, do you replace the other 15? No. Replace only the ones that are bad. Dont fix it if it aint broke!

If you can truely tell the sound is from the front and NOT the rear, swerve left and right and the centrifugal force should create a louder noise on the outer wheel.

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Old 11-20-2008, 10:41 PM   #15
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Default Re: Front wheel Bearing

There are about 24 different failure mechanisms for bearings and when one bearing that was originally installed as a pair exhibits a lack of lubrication failure then it is smart to replace both unless you enjoy doing it all again in a couple of months. Stripped studs and not the same as anti friction bearings, apples and prunes so to speak.

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Old 11-21-2008, 06:36 AM   #16
mgordon1100
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Default Re: Front wheel Bearing

Well guys, I'm back. I appreciate all the replies. I suspected all along it was the right front bearing, I (plus the two of you who agreed) was right. When you turn into the bad bearing, it gets quiet. Logic tells me that when you turn right (for example) you are putting all the stress on the left wheel, as you are pulling it, while the right wheel is making the smallest turn ratio. In our live example here, the right bearing (the bad one) quiets as you relieve it's stress.

I have put on a total of 325,000 miles (over the three owned SC's) since 2001. I've had to replace the wheel bearings on each of these cars. The magic number for wheel bearing failure seems to be between 140 and 150 thousand miles. What's my point, you may ask? It takes a (long) while before you need to replace wheel bearings, so my memory fails me on how to tell when time goes by on this age increasing mind of mine.

One thing that never slipped, is the sound that a bad bearing makes. That's because when it happened to me on my first one, I had no clue about cars at all. I had no idea what it was, and let it go until it was killing me. I drove it to the mechanic one night, and the next morning (when he called) he was surprised that I drove it into the shop. That's when I learned A) what a bad bearing sounds like, and B) I could have killed myself (or someone else) while driving on the highway at 60 miles per hour with my wheel just about ready to fall off.

In closing, it's pretty cold here, and my time is very limited to learn how to remove the steering knuckle by trial and error. I would most likely rush the job and end up tearing the ball joint boot. So, I brought it to my very expensive, yet very convenient shop across the street. We replaced my bad bearing for a mere (hold on to your hats) 300 bucks. This was after my concierge club member discount (repeat business gets you 10%), and the $7.25 discount off of a dealer bearing. I seriously can't believe he charges the hours that the hub is on the press. I mean, does the tech have to sit at the press the whole time? If so, then fine. Someone tell me that's true. I'm under the impression it's an automated procedure once set up. I have plenty of time for my drivers side. I was driving for over two months with the noise beginning, and now the whole thing is quiet as a mouse. Now I can hear again, how great my engine sounds. With any luck, it will last until I have some decent weather days to learn on the other side.

Thanks,

Mike

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Old 11-21-2008, 08:27 AM   #17
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Default Re: Front wheel Bearing

Im not saying anybodys wrong for replacing parts that arent needed to be replaced. I replaced 3 wheel bearings over the past few years on my saturn. Some lasted 80k miles and others lasted 100k miles.

Its unfortunate mgordon, that you had to pay that much for a wheel bearing. Now how would you like to fork out another 300 to replace a wheelbearing thats NOT bad? Dealers will tell you to replace in pairs because: techs get more hours, parts dep gets a commision on parts sold, and service writers also get a commision of how much money goes through their WO. I worked at saturn for a little bit before I went back to a ford dealer, I know the routine. The ford dealer I worked for was so bad, techs chose the time instead of looking through a book. A wheel bearing might charge 1.1 hours or so, if a tech says 2 hours, you dont know the difference except its a lot to spend.

mgordon, could you check your reciept for me and post how many hours it took to do the repair? I think I did my front wheel bearing in the driveway for no more than an hour real time. Throw in a lift and proper press tools and the time is cut in half.

Real time, it should only take a half hour for a tech to do a front wheel bearing on a saturn if he's worth his tool box.

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Old 11-21-2008, 08:48 AM   #18
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Default Re: Front wheel Bearing

Quote:
Originally Posted by cormor View Post

mgordon, could you check your reciept for me and post how many hours it took to do the repair?
I don't even have to look at it again. I remember what he charged me. 3.5 hours. Plus about 7 bucks for "shop sh**t". I don't know what they used beyond tools. Maybe PB blaster, or some grease for my caliper pins? I'll tell you this much, I went over there a little early expecting it to be done. The hub/bearing was still on the press. I saw when the tech went back to work on my car, and he put it all together in 20 minutes. I figure it takes half an hour to take it apart if the swing arm (do I have that right?) bolts are stuck. So, I figure 1 hour for tearing down and putting it back together, and two hours for the pressing. They say it takes an hour each time. I know this much, I brought my car in at 7:00am, and it was finished at 1:30pm.

Almost forgot, you're right cormor. There's no sense in paying 300 bucks for a bearing that's not bad yet. Besides, it takes enough time as it is to have someone press one side for me, both sides at the same time just takes way too long.

Last edited by mgordon1100; 11-21-2008 at 08:55 AM..

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Old 11-21-2008, 02:16 PM   #19
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Default Re: Front wheel Bearing

I do these myself. Taking the hub out of the vehicle is entirely dependent on the person and how many times you have done it. It takes me between 30 and 45 minutes to get the hub off the vehicle depending on if it is the first time the ball joint and CV shaft have been removed.

Actually pressing the old bearing out and pressing in the new one in takes me about 8 minutes with my 20 ton press. Of course I have all the adapters set aside for the Saturn hubs which saves time. Anyone that tells you that it takes more than 15 minutes to do is either pulling your leg or does not have the correct equipment. Just to let you know how easy this is, I charge $5 per hub to press out the old bearing and press in the new one if they have the spindle already out. Firestone down the hill from me charges $30. Maybe I should up my prices

My point being, the pressing of the bearing out and in is the easy part. At most 20 minutes for both sides. Wonder what the book says.

On my vehicles I always do both if I have to do one but then I am not paying for labor. The bearing sells for around $50 each. For the cost of having someone do one of these you could purchase your own press ($150 Harbor Freight 20 ton) and start saving yourself some money.

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Old 11-21-2008, 02:33 PM   #20
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Default Re: Front wheel Bearing

Now you tell me! A 20 ton press would have saved me a lot of money. With my own, I would have taken my time and really learned how to do it on Sunday when I have the whole day to make mistakes. I do have my friend's garage to use. With my own press, I wouldn't have had to be in walking distance of a shop on a day that they're open.

However, if the left one lasts me until a nice day comes along, then I won't need my own press for that price. As I said, with the three cars that I've had, they only go bad every 140-150 thousand miles. It's going to be a long time before I need to do this again.

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