Wheel bearing ?


Old 07-14-11, 04:29 AM
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Wheel bearing ?

Hi all,

I have a 2003 ford explorer with about 57,000 miles on it. Over the past week it has developed what seems to be a humming noise once you get up to about 50 mph and beyond. If I turn the wheel slightly at this speed it seems to diminish a bit for a second then comes back. Now last night the wife advised while driving around town the ABS light came on a couple times then went out. I am leaning towards a front wheel bearing as they are known for this. Any thoughts if this sounds like a wheel bearing and how do I further check which one it is to be sure. Also, I would like to attemp this as a DIY project. Please advise if this is a difficult task and if any special tools are usually required. The extent of repairs I have done so far myself on vehicles has been lmited to changing brake pads/rotors, pulling caliper brackets and a few tie rods. Also please advise the steps to change if not to invlved. Thanks
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Old 07-14-11, 04:38 AM
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Sounds like a wheel bearing
Jack up the suspect front wheel or both and grab wheel 12 and 6 oclock position and with effort find play in it.
The one with the play is the one. I suspect quite a bit of play. You might need a new ABS sensor if the trigger wheel has hit it.
Post if it is a 4 by 4 or not. Truck forum will have more knowledge on trucks
Old 07-14-11, 04:46 AM
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I was thinking a front shaft if it's 4x4.
Old 07-15-11, 07:25 PM
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jack wheel up. place hands on the tire, at 12 and 6. rock wheel vigorously back and for. if you have play in it, it's wheel hub bearing. at 3 and 9 is your tie rod ends.
Old 07-16-11, 05:57 AM
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these vehicles will not have play in the bearing when they become noisy. unless you have been driving for quite a while, with the noise.
from my experience,
I pull all the ft brakes & rotor off the hub-seeing that you are in N/Y, you may find that the rotor is rusted to the hub.
with every thing removed-rotate the hub by hand - you can'feel' the rough bearing.
you may have to pull both sides down to compare. / on a 4x4 you will need to disconnect the upper ball joint & drop the steering knuckle out to disconnect the drive axle(after removing the nut)
note these also have rear hub bearing problems. but the noise doesn't change as you roll the weight back & forth while driving.
hope this helps
Old 07-16-11, 09:37 PM
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Hi there. I would think 57K a bit low to have wheel bearing issues already, but you never know deoending on load and towing etc...
. I would rule out the tires first, by jacking up the car and having a good spin, look for rubbed or uneven wear spots especially on the axle side. and give them a good spin and see that they're not out of round. or you might just ask a tire shop to give you a free check... alternatively, you can put the spare on the suspected wheel and see if the noise goes away.
If the tires are fine, it is kind of hard to tell exactly what wheel is suspect, as the noise can really travel, depending on what direction you are turning the wheel slightly, as you stated, the noise is going away because the weight is off the offender for split second,.. so if you're tilting to a left turn, the weight is shifting to the right tire, and the left would be the problem... but those soulnds can definately fool one into thinking its the front, when its the back.. etc...

The ABS light could come on for a number of things, but most likely the wheel speed sensor set it off, if you have excess vibration at speed, like the kind a worn tire would bring, it will read a slightly off signal and set off the light.
Sorry, but I'm more an import guy, but if you have the means, and a code reader to scan the ABS module, it will narrow it down as to what side. Good luck!
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