Loud rubbing noise in front end


Malone999
06-14-2009, 08:00 PM
I have a 2001 Pontiac Montana which now has a very loud rubbing noise from the front end. I replaced the brakes and the front tie-rod ends about 1 month ago. Everything ok for about 3 weeks but now there is a very loud rubbing noise which is louder when inside the van than outside. The sound seems to be based on the speed of the vehicle not the engine speed. I have taken everything apart and checked it twice. Everything ok with the tie-rods and the brakes. I also put the van up on blocks and ran it. The sound was still there so does not seems to the tires. The sound is like plastic being rubbed against a tire. Braking or turning does not change the sound. Any thoughts on this. I am stumped.

1999montana
06-14-2009, 08:47 PM
I have a 2001 Pontiac Montana which now has a very loud rubbing noise from the front end. I replaced the brakes and the front tie-rod ends about 1 month ago. Everything ok for about 3 weeks but now there is a very loud rubbing noise which is louder when inside the van than outside. The sound seems to be based on the speed of the vehicle not the engine speed. I have taken everything apart and checked it twice. Everything ok with the tie-rods and the brakes. I also put the van up on blocks and ran it. The sound was still there so does not seems to the tires. The sound is like plastic being rubbed against a tire. Braking or turning does not change the sound. Any thoughts on this. I am stumped.

Sounds like a hub bearing going south. They sound really weird when they start to go, and you are right, they don't appear to keep time to engine speed, but the sound does increase as vehicle speed increases. You can expect one to go at anything over 70,000 miles, but generally not both sides at once.

Malone999
06-14-2009, 08:57 PM
Would another clue be that the ABS light is and wont go off?

1999montana
06-14-2009, 09:06 PM
Would another clue be that the ABS light is and wont go off?

Yep,

The ABS sensor is behind the hub bearing and is made of plastic, (among other things).

The bearing and the sensor are generally sold as one piece. Expect to pay about $400 to have one replaced, unless you feel handy and then it might cost you about $225 or so to replace it yourself.

MtnBikerMi
06-14-2009, 11:40 PM
Like previous post, it most likely is a wheel bearing. You can verify this by driving the vehicle at speed and sway the vehicle from left to right. You are trying to shift the weight of the vehicle from the left to the right, if it is the bearings this will the change the pitch of the noise and will also help determine which side has the bad bearing.

Hope this helps.

Malone999
06-15-2009, 09:12 PM
Thanks so much for the info. I truly appreciate the help. I will keep you posted.

Malone999
06-19-2009, 07:16 PM
How much time on average do I have before they are totally shot. Do they go really quick usually or can I drive for another month? The sound is bad but not getting any worse. I found that the sound goes away when I turn right but is still there turning left. Does that confirm that it is the left wheel hub bearing?

MtnBikerMi
06-19-2009, 10:52 PM
How much time on average do I have before they are totally shot. Do they go really quick usually or can I drive for another month? The sound is bad but not getting any worse. I found that the sound goes away when I turn right but is still there turning left. Does that confirm that it is the left wheel hub bearing?

This would confirm it is the Right Bearing. When you are turning right you are unloading the right bearing, good news is that it only sounds like you have one bad bearing.

Not sure how long you can drive on it, I have never seen what a complete failure would do, just always the noise driving people crazy.

1999montana
06-21-2009, 01:32 PM
How much time on average do I have before they are totally shot. Do they go really quick usually or can I drive for another month? The sound is bad but not getting any worse. I found that the sound goes away when I turn right but is still there turning left. Does that confirm that it is the left wheel hub bearing?

My left hub bearing went on a nice hot trip down to St. Catharines about 4 years ago. Don't know if the heat contributed, but I figured it couldn't help the situation. The design of the hub bearing uses non-tapering roller bearings ... tells you why they fail, since there is no way to pre-load or adjust for tolerance as they get older (as in rear wheel drive cars with front hub tapered inner and outer roller bearings). And, with thrusts from left and right during turns, you'd think tapered roller bearings would work better. Guess the GM engineers hadn't thought of that.

I considered driving it until it quit, but since the bearing holds the wheel assembly from pulling out of the spindle, I thought better of it. It can't fall off though due to the bracket the holds the caliper on. If you are driving family around in the van, you may wish to reconsider too. Losing control of one side of the van's power train while at highway speeds, may not be a happy experience.

When we took it into a 'friendly' shop (owner was the brother of my wife's best friend) in St. Catharines, they told me I could have tried limping home with it (125 miles) as it could go for some time before failing completely.

The job isn't difficult; you have to remove the wheel, axle nut, pull the rotor and caliper assembly out of the way, remove the two bolts from the spindle to the shock, tip the spindle and slip the axle shaft out of the hub bearing. Then remove the three bolts behind the spindle that hold the hub bearing in place.

The bearing comes out from the rear with a small 'persuader'. The new one comes with the ABS sensor. List price is about $250 for a non-GM version. Figure on spending 2 hours (if you are like me), or less to do this.

spike88
06-21-2009, 02:56 PM
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The front wheel bearings in my wife's "run about" went approx 2 years ago. When buying replacement wheel bearings, do keep in mind that many sellers have 2 different quality levels. re: El-Cheap-O (to sell the vehicle soon after) or the much higher quality parts. We bought the more expensive "higher quality" wheel bearing replacements and my wife's 2003 Buick Rendezvous has been running great every since. For us, total cost was $900 for both front wheel bearings. For our "run about" vehicle, when one bearing went, the other as "95% gone as well. Thus, we got both wheel bearings replaced at the same time - since we plan to keep this vehicle for many more years.

Hope this helps in your vehicle's front wheel bearing replacement research as well...

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Malone999
06-23-2009, 05:26 PM
Thanks All

I tackled the job on Saturday. The only real problem I had was getting the 3 bolts off from the back. Not much room to work. Other than that, I had it done in approx 3 hours. I did rent the big 35mm(I think that was the size) socket. I was told I did not need the pulley as the Hub would come off quite easily with a little persuasion. I used a rubber mallet, a piece of wood dowel and a little elbow grease and it came off quite easily.
What was the most interesting is that the hub that was bad was the left side. It sure sounded like it was, and when I asked the mechanic to have a look to verify before I changed it, he agreed. I thought it would be the right hub as the sound went away when I turned right. However, the job got done and now I am debating whether or not to tackle the other side or wait for it to start acting up. That side has broken wires for the Hub so the ABS light stays on. That might be my motivation to get it done unless someone has a hint on how to make the ABS light shut off.

spike88
06-23-2009, 05:38 PM
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Since you perform your own mechanical work (and save huge amount of dollars on labour charges), I would replace the wheel bearing on the other side as well. And, fix the vehicle's ABS wheel hub sensor at the same time. And, do it before the snow starts to land in your Barrie woods. Doing "the work" in comfortable weather is much better then colder weather as well. Thus, I'd do it soon.

Some say that one should only change a wheel bearing when its gone. (Cost savings thing). I know one lady with a Veture bsn who replaced 1 wheel bearing last fall. Her mechanic told her to do both wheel bearings at the same time. She didn't. Guess what her van got done in March 2009? Yup. Its other wheel bearing replaced. When one side goes, the other side often goes soon after. If doing the work yourself, take your "labour saved dollars" and do the other wheel bearing as well. That's what I'd do - if it was my van....

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