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Old 08-17-2008, 07:40 AM   #1
Rivernut
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2003 VUE 3.0L
1996 SL2
Default Wheel or carrier bearing vibration?

I have an '03 V-6 AWD that hums & vibrates intermittently. It does this most when driving between 40-50 mph. It is moderately loud and vibrates the steering wheel, sort of buzzy feeling. It seems to be coming from the front driver's side. It does not do it right away, but 5-10 miles into a trip it begins. I assume a bearing is heating up. I have felt the rims and they all feel the same temp. I don't hear any sqeeling and the ABS light has not triggered. I tried dring in circles in a parking lot at slow speeds and does not make the noise, just at highway speeds and straighline driving. The passenger front hub was replaced about 10 k ago. It has 111,000 miles. I jacked it up and rotated the wheel, but with the drivetrain attached I could not detect any clicks of a bad bearing. I did not notice any free play either. So how do you diagnose driveline vibration in an AWD system?

Last edited by Rivernut; 08-17-2008 at 07:53 AM..

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Old 08-17-2008, 08:52 AM   #2
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2003 VUE 3.0L
2004 VUE 3.5L
Default Re: Wheel or carrier bearing vibration?

I had a shop put my vue on a lift and put it drive to check for a bad bearing after hearing a noise from the front. He assured me therewas no problem.

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Old 08-17-2008, 07:39 PM   #3
1saxman
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2003 VUE 3.0L
Default Re: Wheel or carrier bearing vibration?

A wheel out of balance is not a 'buzz', at least at speeds attainable by a VUE. The rear drive (propeller) shafts turn about 3.5 times faster than the wheels, so a slight imbalance there can definitely make a 'buzz'. You may have one of the propeller shafts to the rear out of phase. When this became apparent on my V6 AWD, the shop marked the parts then removed them and rotated the shafts 180 degress. This made a big difference. While I still feel it a little to this day, it's not something I feel like I need to throw any more money at. It may also be the center bearing on the shafts, but I think the key here is a higher frequency vibration than wheel speed.

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Old 08-17-2008, 08:55 PM   #4
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2003 VUE 3.0L
1996 SL2
Default Re: Wheel or carrier bearing vibration?

I was referring to a potentially bad wheel bearing not a bent rim. How do you tell the difference between two common Vue drivetrain issues- bad wheel bearings and bad front carrier bearings?

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Old 08-20-2008, 09:22 AM   #5
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Default Re: Wheel or carrier bearing vibration?

Wheel bearings develop excessive play and/or a distinctive growling noise and have to be replaced. The carrier bearing on the the two-piece rear propeller shaft produces a higher frequency vibration that is very similar to an out-of-balance propeller shaft assembly. Eventually it will destroy it's rubber mount and make even more noise. If you're feeling a 'buzzing' vibration around 50-60 mph, it's probably the propeller shaft/carrier bearing.

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Old 08-20-2008, 10:00 AM   #6
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Default Re: Wheel or carrier bearing vibration?

Quote:
Originally Posted by 1saxman View Post
Wheel bearings develop excessive play and/or a distinctive growling noise and have to be replaced. The carrier bearing on the the two-piece rear propeller shaft produces a higher frequency vibration that is very similar to an out-of-balance propeller shaft assembly. Eventually it will destroy it's rubber mount and make even more noise. If you're feeling a 'buzzing' vibration around 50-60 mph, it's probably the propeller shaft/carrier bearing.
Agreed. Also, you can generally hear the sound change (or sometimes disappear entirely) with a bad wheel bearing when the vehicle turns. A bad intermediate shaft bearing will make noise regardless of whether the car is driving straight or turning.

Cheers,

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Old 08-20-2008, 06:22 PM   #7
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Default Re: Wheel or carrier bearing vibration?

The way he can really find out if it's the carrier bearing or not is to mark and remove the whole drive shaft ass'y and then drive it. If the vibe goes away then it's somewhere in the driveshaft area.....

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Old 08-20-2008, 10:27 PM   #8
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2002 VUE 2.2L
Default Re: Wheel or carrier bearing vibration?

The front carrier bearing can die as well, and can mask itself as a bad wheel bearing.

When mine went out, I had a growling - mid vehicle, and it did not change when cornering. It happened between 50 and 60 mostly.

~D.J.~

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Old 08-20-2008, 10:36 PM   #9
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Default Re: Wheel or carrier bearing vibration?

What exactly is a 'front carrier bearing'?

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Old 08-21-2008, 05:32 AM   #10
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2002 VUE 2.2L
Default Re: Wheel or carrier bearing vibration?

The VUE has unequal length halfshafts coming from the transaxle. The longer shaft (IIRC which is going to the driver's side) has a support bearing in the middle. This is the center carrier bearing that failed on mine.

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Old 08-21-2008, 08:24 AM   #11
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Default Re: Wheel or carrier bearing vibration?

Thanks - I didn't know about that one. Maybe we should refer to it as the 'front axle carrier bearing'.

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