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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello folks,

I am new to the site and am needing your expertise on a quite puzzling noise coming from the drive train. I am a diesel/heavy equipment mechanic by trade so when I first heard this noise I automatically assumed it was a typical wheel bearing as it was a deep growling noise from barely rolling to high speed at 80mph. The car has 230k on it so I changed both front wheel bearings. No problem, easy job in my shop about 2 hours. Dropped it down off the lift, hit the road and the exact same sound. Looked at A-arm bushings thinking of telegraphing through the frame/body but they look good. It's not brakes and it does not change when you let off like a CV axles would do. Their appears to be a carrier bearing on the right axle shaft, could this be it? It felt tight with no slack. Could a differential bearing be going out in the automatic transmission? No fluids leaking around the seals. Any ideas?
 

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sounds like you have a nice shop. i'm a little jealous :p

since you have a lift....hate to suggest this for safety reasons...but could you run the vehicle in gear on the lift and see if it will make the noise? that way you may be able to isolate the source of the noise with a stethoscope.

if bearings are good and CV joints are good (i'd trust your judgement there being a mechanic), transmission is really the only option left. if you get no noise on the lift, i'd be checking the bushings.

another option is the strut mount. the rubber can break away from the metal and cause a good vibration. same goes for engine mounts.

with any bearings, you'd usually hear a howl more than a growling noise. also for differential bearings, the tone of the noise should change as you accelerate or let off the gas. transmission bearing can change with regards to engine RPM depending on which one it is.

bushings (such as mentioned strut mount and engine mounts) will give you a growl for sure and will be apparent with a constant tone/intensity increase from stop to any speed.
 

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Balanced the wheels lately? At lest rotate them, it should change the sound.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks guys for the comments. Yes I have recently rotated and balanced, no change. Zero, you brought up one thing I hadn't thought of and that's the strut mount isolator. It definitely sounds like telegraphing to me and wont do it running on the lift. Having an open diff I had to put a bar through the spoke of each side one at a time of course to make each side turn. No sound. But as you pointed out the strut is not loaded on the lift. Now I think we are getting somewhere as the struts have never been changed so I'll focus on that. Thanks again. BTW, this is why I hate working on automotive and make my living on trucks!
 

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I have an '01. My drive train noise sounded like wheel bearings but I couldn't tell where it was coming from. I solved this by touching each wheel after my freeway commute to work. Three wheels were all pretty warm. The left rear was hot to the touch. $104. For a Timken replacement hub fixed the problem. The ride was as quiet again.
 

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I just replaced both my rear hobs recently for the same reason. Once one of them started to 'go', the other one is not far behind.
I used Detroit Axle product - cheaper than Timken. Might not last as long, but I paid $60 for two of them, so... meah. They work.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks again guy's for all the posts. I found the problem when I put it up on the rack again in drive engine running. It is in fact the carrier bearing that supports the long drive axle on the passengers side. I see where just this bearing is available separate for around $15 so my question is can this be replaced or is it one of those where the bracket is rolled onto the back edge on the bearing upon assembly from the factory? The bracket is not available separate from the axle. I know some carrier designs the carrier bracket is hot rolled over the lip of the bearing meaning it is nonserviceable.
 
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