Can a wheel bearing go bad and NOT have "play" in it??? [Archive] - Chevy TrailBlazer, TrailBlazer SS and GMC Envoy Forum

: Can a wheel bearing go bad and NOT have "play" in it???


DARKASS04EXT
07-08-2011, 03:10 PM
Im pretty sure my wheel bearing is toast. I tried to see how much movement my front wheel had and it wouldnt budge. After taking off the wheel and brake pads i spun the hub and could hear a grinding sound from it. I slid on some ice awhile back and smacked the front pass wheel. When it hit i bent the upper control arm. Is it possible to have damaged the hub and bearing but it not have any odd movement. Could i have damaged something else?

I had a hum through out the TB, which i believed was the wheel bearing. After changing the front pads i no longer have that hum. And i dont hear the grinding noise i did when i spun it by hand.

Any Ideas?

justblazin
07-08-2011, 03:35 PM
When my Rainier's hub went I noticed a vibration on the passenger side. I had no play in the wheel, but could feel a grinding when turning or driving

christo829
07-08-2011, 03:51 PM
@DARKASS04EXT: Did the hum you heard while driving change at all when
you were turning? That's usually a classic sign of a failing hub.

The grinding sound you heard may have been a dragging or slightly out of
position brake pad or retainer clip rubbing the edge or inner portion of the
rotor, or even something dragging against the dust shield.

It is possible for the bearings to be damaged but not sloppy, and sometimes
it's hard to check, because the load on the bearing changes from when you
have the truck on the ground vs when you jack it up to try to check the wheels.

Cheers-

Chris

ahabofthepequod
07-08-2011, 11:12 PM
At times you can get debris (rust, pebbles, etc...) caught within the brakes/dust shield. Taking the unit apart to replace pads will clear it out.

I've had wheel bearings go out within 8,000 on one car because they weren't properly greased from the factory.

Also had my brothers ruin my dad's van bearings when they repacked them with regular grease not bearing grease. Guess who finally had to fix their screw up.

DARKASS04EXT
07-09-2011, 10:56 PM
Im pretty sure that its the wheel bearing, but not positive. Awhile ago, i thought i was feeling the notorious rubbing and hum. My wife pulls up the other day and my jaw hits the floor from the grinding sounds coming from my TB. I drive it and know instantly the brakes are shot, so i go and put pads on it. While i had the wheel AND brake pads removed i spun the hub. It made a pretty noisy grinding sound, so know im sure the bearing is toast. I go for my test drive after doing the brakes and the hub is perfectly quiet. :hissy: I have my 22s waiting to go on after i get the wheel hub fixed (if thats the problem). I just dont wanna buy and install a new hub and still have my issues.

MAY03LT
07-09-2011, 11:18 PM
While i had the wheel AND brake pads removed i spun the hub. It made a pretty noisy grinding sound, so know im sure the bearing is toast. I go for my test drive after doing the brakes and the hub is perfectly quiet.

That's weird. How did the back of the rotor look? Maybe a piece of debris got caught between the dust shield and the rotor and then fell out?

DARKASS04EXT
07-10-2011, 12:36 AM
That's weird. How did the back of the rotor look? Maybe a piece of debris got caught between the dust shield and the rotor and then fell out?

The back of rotor is trashed, big grooves. When i spin the hub rust constantly falls. That pad was mostly thru to metal. I was holding out to get the brakemotive set, didnt realize it was that bad. That was the only day the brakes sqeeked or anything. I still have that odd rattle when i hit 37 & 55 but not as bad. Any ideas what would give me the hum and rubbing feel, its gone away. Its almost like my wife swapped hubs while i was at work one day :crackup:).

barniejekyl
07-10-2011, 09:13 AM
Metal to metal on the back of the rotor will give you the grinding sound....And it will give you an awful noise when applying the brakes....If it is quiet after you changed the pads, sounds to me like you've solved your problem....Hopefully you put new rotors on when you changed the pads.....

wildbillrn
07-10-2011, 10:35 AM
Neighbor (cert'd truck and airframe mechanic) swapped out my Rt. frnt wheel bearing/hub assy in about 4 hours total (including pre lift road testing/diagnosing, checking for tie rod end play & wheel wobble, camber and front axle end play issues. Brake pads/caliper/rotor/dust shield all good.

I indeed had a bad hub on my '05 Tblzr EXT 4x4 I6 LS. Test drive with slow soft vs harder stops and grinding noises that changed depending on L vs Rt. turns and further confirmed by a particular kind of fine vibration in the steering wheel is what bolstered our suspicions. I too recently (May put a more aggressive BFG Rugged Trail's on as replacement to my OEM Contitrac's and was misled that noise (windows up-radio on) was just the new tread noise (Last week local brake shop scanned the truck and told me no signal coming from Rt. frnt ABS wheel speed sensor.

Grabbing wheel at 12 & 6 o'clock and seeing if it wobbled vs L side (and it did just ever so slighly) coupled with dragging/grinding noise when spinning hub by hand (wheel on) led to tear down.

Once hub exposed there wss play in it! (there should be no ability to move/wiggle/slide the flange that the wheel studs mount into to the inboard or outboard; the hub should also spin freely with no grinding noise on a bech vise!! Just not wise to spin your hub when still mounted to your axle on 4WD!).

Wheel bearing assy at parts store $162.00. Cost of dinner and good bottle of wine for neighbor's knowledge/help Yet to be determined. Reduced nagging from wife about dash light on: PRICELESS!!!

BTW the shiny metal fine grinding dust and the deep groove in the old sensor also told us the bearing/hub was bad.

Anybody care to comment on why OEM/Timken bearings going bad a low 42-48K (L frnt) and 54K Rt. frnt) miles?

DARKASS04EXT
07-10-2011, 01:24 PM
Metal to metal on the back of the rotor will give you the grinding sound....And it will give you an awful noise when applying the brakes....If it is quiet after you changed the pads, sounds to me like you've solved your problem....Hopefully you put new rotors on when you changed the pads.....

when i spun the hub with the Tire and Brakes pads removed the noise was very noticeable. Now that the new pads are on i can not hear it when im driving. Im going to jack it back up and see if it makes the sound still. I didnt double check it after i finished the pads since i figured it was the bad hub.
i want to put my 22s on, but dont want to trash those tires. what type of tire damage would i see that would cause by the bad hub. i havent noticed anything yet but im not sure what to be looking for.

barniejekyl
07-10-2011, 02:15 PM
Definately sounds like a hub assembly.....I'd change it before I put on the new tires and wheels for safety reasons...Larger tires will put more of a strain on the bearing and you definately don't want a catastrophic failure at any time...As you're driving, turn your steering wheel left and right and see if the noise is greater one direction over the other....

SparkyJJO
07-11-2011, 01:11 AM
Anybody care to comment on why OEM/Timken bearings going bad a low 42-48K (L frnt) and 54K Rt. frnt) miles?

Luck of the draw.

My passenger side lasted until 130K or so miles, I didn't replace it until much later because I didn't know it was going at first. The driver side is still original, and I just turned 140k miles.

Others have had them fail earlier on, like you.

Some people have more miles than I do and still have original bearings.

DARKASS04EXT
07-11-2011, 01:27 PM
Definately sounds like a hub assembly.....As you're driving, turn your steering wheel left and right and see if the noise is greater one direction over the other....

Thats the thing, when im driving it makes NO NOISE OR RUBBING feeling. A few months back i did have the hum and rubbing feel, thats stopped. guess ill swap it out after vacation and see if thats the issue.

wildbillrn
07-11-2011, 10:45 PM
SparkJJO,

Luck of the draw going bad at < 50K miles just sounds funny to me, especially when I see the kinds of milage that you and other members are getting out of their OEM components.

It's a truck, I'm not off-roading (& more's the pity for that) and it is my daily driver 12 miles to work and 12 miles back home, infrequent trips to the next county to see my folks. Yes I know the condition of the roads in Toledo Ohio are not great, but a truck should be able to take it....

So how fun is it to inspect/replace the rears?

SparkyJJO
07-11-2011, 10:53 PM
I know. But I've seen it happen. Not just these vehicles, but others as well.

Also outside forces can impact bearing life span, such as rough roads. Slower moving off road is probably not as hard on the bearings as highway speeds on rough roads, as the jarring isn't as fast or harsh.

Could also just be defective parts.

Rear bearings are in the axle tubes. You have to drain the differential, remove the wheel, the caliper/caliper bracket, and rotors. Then in the differential you have to remove a retaining pin that is held in place by a bolt. Then push the axle inward, remove the C clip off the end of the axle, then pull the axle straight out the tube. Don't spin the differential without the axle(s) in place because otherwise the spider gears can pop out, and that's always fun to put back in :bonk: Then you need a slide hammer to pull the axle seal and the axle bearing out. Well, you can sometimes use a flat blade screwdriver to pry the seal out too, just don't gouge up the axle tube. Also don't forget to inspect the axle bearing surface as if the bearing is going bad it may have pitted or grooved the axle. At that point, you'll want a replacement axle or you'll just have premature bearing failure again later on.

Then you tap the new bearing in place, put the seal in place, slide the axle back in, put the C clip back, pull the axle outward to seat it, put the retaining pin and bolt back in the differential, close up the differential, attach the brakes, put the wheel back on, fill the differential with gear oil, etc...

I went through this process on my 98 Camaro a couple years ago. It is set up the exact same way as these trucks are. They are both 10 bolt differentials actually, only real difference is these trucks have a little larger unit.