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Loose Vents
by drosene
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  #1  
Old 10-11-2008, 06:55 PM
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How to find / determine bad wheel bearing?

First off how do you know if you have a bad wheel bearing? I have a noise that at first I thought was tire noise. I think its gotten a little louder but not sure. If its not tire noise and its a wheel bearing how do you determine which wheel it is?

Lastly is it a pretty easy job to replace the wheel bearing assembly? I just did my brakes last weekend and the Bentley manual makes the wheel bearing assembly replacement look pretty straight forward.

Thanks,
k
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Old 10-12-2008, 03:19 PM
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the classic bearing check is to jack up the corner and grab the wheel at 6 and 12 and try to whobble it.....then do the same at 9 and 3. If you get movement suspect the bearings.....

The bearings are not sold sep' ... you need to buy a hub assembly and that's a fairly easy replacement. Or I should say, none of the current books have a rebuild proc' for the hubs...they say replace the hubs.
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Old 10-12-2008, 03:33 PM
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Thanks for the response. From my research the wobble test does not really work to well on our Mini's. I could be wrong but I read where it has to really be shot to start wobbling. I tried it though and got nothing.

If I do an easy slalom pattern the noise gets louder when I go to the right and less when I go to the left. I am still hoping its tires but don't know. It is however extremely annoying.
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Old 10-12-2008, 04:25 PM
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have you tried rotating the tires to see if it follows the tire?
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Old 10-12-2008, 04:43 PM
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I had them balanced and rotated from back to front and the sound was the same. I then swapped the front right to left (they are asymmetrical tread designs) and still sounded the same.

I went to a parking lot and did figure eights to see if I could hear any difference in wheel bearings from left to right and could not.

When I approach a stop sign it sounds like what I would imagine rough tread. I swear I can even feel the slight humming noise in my foot on the brake while coming to a stop sign. Nothing like pulsating or any kind of vibration, just the residual high pitch vibration moving through the car.... if that makes any sense what so ever...
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Old 10-12-2008, 06:51 PM
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I have been doing some more research and it may be the tires getting what is called feathering.

From some other forum

"b. Front tire roar is symptomatic of feathering. Feathered tires that are noisy at 45 MPH will also be noisy at 20 MPH. When coming to a stop they will “growl.” At 45 MPH they sound like “a washing machine on spin cycle.”"

Pretty much exactly what I am experiencing...
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Old 10-12-2008, 07:57 PM
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Kinda sounds a little bit like something I have noticed recently. Based on my research it look like any of the underlying causes are fairly bad news... This little article gives you a way to check for feather.

http://www.strouhaltire.com/tirefaq_align.aspx
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Old 10-13-2008, 03:40 AM
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Kinda sounds a little bit like something I have noticed recently. Based on my research it look like any of the underlying causes are fairly bad news... This little article gives you a way to check for feather.

http://www.strouhaltire.com/tirefaq_align.aspx
Thanks for the link. This is happening exactly to me on the outside edges of my tires.

"In one direction the tire will fell smooth and in the apposite direction there will be a sharp edge to the tread. "

I have read that a lot of it can be do to hard cornering. I am going to get my alignment checked anyways to be sure.



Other cars have had this issue. In this article it talks about measuring the difference in tread heights of a feathered side and when to replace after alignment and when to keep.
http://www.ford-trucks.com/tsb/fullt...hp?tsb=05-26-6
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Old 10-13-2008, 04:12 AM
chadtoolio chadtoolio is offline
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Do you have a friend that you could swap tires off of to check it...
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Old 10-13-2008, 04:13 AM
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FWIW,

At about 90k miles I had something "not quite right" as well, and chased it a bit before bringing the car to the dealer.

I asked the dealer to consider wheel bearings and CV joints as a possible source of the slight rumble that I found most noticeable at certain speeds and when doing small direction changes (e.g. lane change).

They tried, and reported no findings.

I then took the car to Turner Motorsport, with the same inquiry.

Turners replaced the right front wheel bearing, which cured the problem.

They gave me back the worn assembly (which is the whole hub carrier with integrated bearing) and I looked at it rather carefully.

There was no slop in it - it would have passed the "shake test" easily.

The only indication of failure was, when the center was rotated against the housing my fingers could feel that some of the bearings themselves had a slight flat spot - producing a slightly "notchy" rotation.

I rather doubt that I could have felt the problem with a wheel mounted and the assembly on the car - too much rotating mass would have masked it.

I might have felt it if the wheel were removed and I gently rotated the hub, but even then I'd have had the CV joint, half shaft, and several other bearings in the mix which might have made it hard to spot.

If the car is high mileage, I'd respectfully suggest that the bearings have been known to need replacement.

Good hunting.

cheers,

Charlie
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  #11  
Old 10-13-2008, 04:58 AM
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Charlie,

Thanks for the info. Before you had the right front wheel bearing replaced do you remember which direction change you would notice the rumble more? I.e. when you went left and put load on the right wheel was that the direction it would do it?

Thanks,
k
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Old 10-13-2008, 07:59 AM
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To determine the bad wheel bearing the tried and true method is to find a smooth open area and swerve the car right to left while noticing when and how the noise changes, when veering right the weight is transfered to the left causing a noising bearing on that side to get louder and when swerving left the weight shifts right and the noise gets quieter, this would suggest that the left bearing is the bad one, this worked great on 1973 Buick Lesabres and the like, basicly rear wheel drive cars. I have found that on a front wheel drive car, this is not always true, sometimes it's the exact opposite. I use an electronic device that clips to the knuckle and listen with headphones while driving. I understand that this tool is not something the "D I Y" guy would have. You could jack the front up and secure the car on jackstands then run the car in a hihg gear at idle and listen to the bearing with an automotive stethiscope or a long screwdriver pressed to your ear. You will probably hear the differance between right and left bearings.
A tire noise caused by cupping usually chanes with road surfaces, that is on asphalt it sounds differant than on concrete, also you may notice a change when going over a bridge.
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Old 10-13-2008, 01:43 PM
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The noise definitely changes when I swerve the car left to right. When going right it gets louder and when going left it almost goes away.

I have no problem getting in there and trying to replace the bearing/hub my self as I just did my rotors and pads on all 4 corners and that went smoothly. I just don't want to start replacing / buying parts and then still have the problem.

Also... I have an autocross on the 25th of this month. I am really leery and assume its a bad idea to do heavy performance driving on a bad bearing. On one hand if it is a bad bearing I wish I could get it to get worse and really loud so it would be easy to figure out which one. I don't want to get stuck 30 miles from home...

Quick question. I always assumed that if this was a bearing that I am hearing the front. Would it be obvious if it was the rear over the front?


As far as different road surfaces. I was convinced that it did change with road surfaces but it could just be that its masked by different concrete noise at this point until it gets louder.
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Old 10-13-2008, 11:53 PM
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Hmm, I guess I should go check mine too... Cant believe a bearing would go at only 22k...
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Old 10-14-2008, 08:27 AM
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As far as getting worse to make it easier to determine which one it is, is not a bad idea, you have checked the wheel for play by jacking it up and grabbing the wheel on top and bottom and found it to be tight. Remember you are atuned to your car,most drivers simply turn up the radio to drown out the noise, is they notice it at all. I just had a BMW in my shop for an oil leak, after replacing the oil pan I drove the car, the rear wheel bearing was so loud it sounded like an airplane landing on the trunk! I called the customer and the said they hadn't noticed it. My point is, it can get a lot worse before it fails, a lot worse! Plus, it's self contained, it won't cost any more later than now. But that's only if you can stand it! You could also buy one bearing, replace the left bearing, that's the one weighted on right turns, and if the noise is still there, put the bearing you just took out on the right side. That way your only buying one bearing.
As far as front or rear, it's all about listening from differant parts of the car, you can recline the seat a little and listen from farther back to determine the direction the sound is coming, or have a friend drive and you can listen from the back seat. Also a front bearing may get noisier on braking, again because your weighting the front wheels.
Not to sound too much like a shop owner but, do you have a local repair shop you trust? DIY is great for cut and dry repairs, like the brakes are worn, I need new ones. When it comes to diagnosing a problem, you can spend a bunch of cash replacing the wrong parts!
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Old 10-14-2008, 01:33 PM
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Originally Posted by WileyJW01 View Post
Not to sound too much like a shop owner but, do you have a local repair shop you trust? DIY is great for cut and dry repairs, like the brakes are worn, I need new ones. When it comes to diagnosing a problem, you can spend a bunch of cash replacing the wrong parts!

I could not agree more. Waylen typically does most of any needed work on my car. He is at away and headed to Sema for the next few weeks and I have an autocross coming up that I would really like to attend. I doubt its a good idea to run an autocross on a bad bearing??

As for diagnosis. Here is what I just did. I jacked the front of the car up. Put the parking brake on nicely and blocked all sides of the rear wheels. Turned of DSC, put the car in 5th gear and ran the wheels a little. I thought I heard something from the left wheel. Then I repeated the procedure but ran the wheels a little faster, quickly put it in nuetral and shut the car off then hopped out to have a listen. The exact same whir whir sound I hear on the road was coming from the left side. I have found it for sure.

My only real concern here on DIY of the wheel bearing is how hard the bearing will be to remove from the steering knuckle. Its possible I get in there and its seized in place...

Quick question, other than random failure what causes a wheel bearing to fail? Do lateral forces from performance driving put a lot of stress on them?
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Old 10-14-2008, 02:54 PM
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Usually bearing failure comes from impact, a pothole is the most common. It takes a long time for the problem to become apparent though, you may have hit something months ago and the noise is finally showing up. Lateral stresses like from autocrossing should not cause the bearing to fail, unless you slide the car into a curb. I don't know if I would worry about autocrossing with this noisey bearing, what you're hearing is the ball bearings rolling across a rough spot on the race. Again, it will get a lot worse before failure. How loud is the bearing noise? Can you hear it if the windows are open? Do you have to turn everything off in the car to hear the noise? If it's relatively quiet, it has a lot of life left in it.
The bearing bolts in from the back with 4 bolts, if you loosen all the bolts an back them out one or two turns, you can rap on the bolt heads to break the flange loose from the knuckle, then back the bolts out evenly and tap on the heads to push it out far enough to remove. Now, to avoid damaging the bolts, use a brass or aluminum drift, make sure the bolts are threaded into the flange at least half way, and alternate hitting the bolts so you drive the flange out evenly. The flange bolt torque is 182 Nm or 135 ft lbs.
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Old 10-14-2008, 03:22 PM
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Thanks for the info Wiley. One concern is my cheap torque wrench. How crucial is it to get exactly 135lb? I mean its a cheap Harbor Freight wrench and I am not sure how accurate it is. Its also old.

As far as how loud. Its to the point that on the highway with the windows down and wind you would not hear it. Windows up you can here it with out any problems at any speed. Windows down for city driving and you can here something that is not right but my wife would never think anything of it.

Thanks,
K
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Old 10-14-2008, 03:35 PM
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It's definitely the wheel bearing from reading this thread. it's not too hard to change with basic hand tools. you will have to TQ the wheel nut and it's best to get within a pound or two on 135. you will also have to re crimp the nut. MINI says to replace it every time, but as long as you are able to bend the crimp out and it should bend back in once and be fine.

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Old 10-14-2008, 05:45 PM
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I had a thought and question. Before I did my brakes/rotors there was a noise but I just assumed tires. Since then (2 weeks). The noise is louder. I am just double checking but there is nothing that a brake job/rotor change could have done to mess up a wheel bearing right? Or something that would mimic the sound if not done right? I highly doubt it as the brakes are great and do not drag or anything.

Like I said, it was making noise before the brake job. But it took till after until it got louder for me to think it was actually something other than tires.
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Old 10-15-2008, 07:00 AM
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The torque sets the preload on the wheel bearings. Close to 135 is good enough, you just don't want it too loose or over tight. If the noise was there before the pads and rotors were replaced I doubt they could be the problem. Did the rotors come off easily? If you had to beat them off with a small sledge hammer you may have damaged the bearing, other than that, doing the brakes should have no effect on the bearing.
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Old 10-15-2008, 02:41 PM
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The torque sets the preload on the wheel bearings. Close to 135 is good enough, you just don't want it too loose or over tight. If the noise was there before the pads and rotors were replaced I doubt they could be the problem. Did the rotors come off easily? If you had to beat them off with a small sledge hammer you may have damaged the bearing, other than that, doing the brakes should have no effect on the bearing.
Yeah, they came off easily. And yes the noise was there, but at the time not loud enough to think it was anything other than tires.
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Old 10-16-2008, 07:56 AM
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I see your going to take on the job this weekend, it's not that hard and you've been almost there when you did the brakes. I don't know if the beaing is replacable, on the BMW's the housing is the race. I'm not sure if Mini is the same. Can you see a separate bearing on the new part?
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Old 10-16-2008, 01:51 PM
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I see your going to take on the job this weekend, it's not that hard and you've been almost there when you did the brakes. I don't know if the beaing is replacable, on the BMW's the housing is the race. I'm not sure if Mini is the same. Can you see a separate bearing on the new part?
I am not really sure. I just plan on taking the old part to a bearing place and see what they say. If they say they can do it great, if not then in the parts trash pile.

What kind of lock tight should I use on the bolts, if any?

Just to double check that the Bentley manual is correct on torque specs.

41 ft-lbs for the bearing hub to steering knuck (4 bolts that old the bearing)
134 ft -lbs for drive axle nut.

Right?
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Old 10-17-2008, 07:39 AM
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Blue lock tite on the 4 small bolts, noe necessary on the hub bolt. The torque specs sound right to me.
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Old 10-17-2008, 07:39 AM
 
 
 
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