My TB suddenly sounds like it has mud tires

SBUBandit

Original poster
Member
Dec 5, 2011
597
My 06 TB mostly gets driven on the weekends. Last weekend there was no issue, however yesterday we took it out and noticed a distinct howling, which sounds to me exactly like it has big mud tires on it. Seems to come from the front end. Sound starts as soon as we go over about 20 and gets higher in pitch as you go faster, then slowly comes down when I slow down. I can feel a slight vibration in the steering wheel and pedals. We were on our way to have the oil changed, so I had the tires rotated and checked for any slop in the wheel bearings. Everything feels real tight, no movement at all. Checked the tires over real close, no chopping, wear looks good, 24000 miles on the Goodyear Wranglers. I had the front diff fluid level checked, all good. Fluid is good too, I switched it to Royal Purple about 3000 miles ago. On the way home the sound was still the same, still seems to be from the front. I was curious if the sound was in the drivetrain, so I put the truck in Nuetral at about 60, no change at all in sound. Engine sounds great, and no other symptoms aside from slight vibration and the sound. Any ideas what I could try to diagnose this?
 

Simon01

Member
Dec 5, 2011
116
Sounds like you're doing the right things by checking the front end and tires. If the tires look good and the front end is tight, maybe you have a noisy front wheel bearing. Sometimes you can feel some roughness while you spin the wheel with the front end raised. Does it go away when making turns at all?
 

Mark20

Member
Dec 6, 2011
1,630
Fan clutch? Supposedly sounds like a jet engine when it goes.
 

fadyasha

Member
Dec 21, 2011
1,134
Try going right and left and see if the noise reduces or not. If so it's probably a wheel bearing going bad. My front left was bad so everytime I'd steer left the noise would get louder, and whenever went to the right the noise would actually go away.

You may feel some vibration under your feet on higher speeds which gets pretty frigging annoying too! Eventually starts pounding in your head :mad:

p.s : At first thought it was my tires cuz i'd got new ones just a week before that and my mind started going left and right thinking why did I choose those tires, I should of gone with Pirelli's lol
 

The_Roadie

Lifetime VIP Donor
Member
Nov 19, 2011
9,957
Portland, OR
Mark20 said:
Fan clutch?
It's trivial to tell if the noise is proportional to engine RPM or ground speed, and by putting the engine in neutral at 60 MPH as the OP did, that rules out any engine-related equipment.
 

bore_pig

Member
Nov 25, 2011
113
Sounds like a wheel bearing. Go about 20-25mph and start swerving, this will tell you if it is a wheel bearing as well as which one is bad. If turning left makes noise get loud and turning right makes the noise get quieter, it is the front right wheel bearing. Try this test and report back.:yes:
 

SBUBandit

Original poster
Member
Dec 5, 2011
597
As Roadie said, definitely not engine related, plus the fan clutch is very distinctive, sounds like a crop duster when the clutch goes. Truck does that every once in a while for the first 20-30 seconds when its real hot out, so I know what that one sounds like. This is definitely in the front end. I'll try turning side to side at a couple speeds and see how it sounds.
 

Jeenyus

Member
Jan 7, 2012
12
I would lean more towards a separated tire

It will cause a bump that you may not be able to see which would give the sound or vibration.

Its easier to tell if you rub your hand over the sidewalls to feel for bumps, and if you take the wheel/tire off and roll it on a flat surface you could see if it has a hop or bump.

I would take the truck to a good tire shop and get them to rebalance your tires (out of balance could also give vibration) they can check the tires out for separations while they are spinning up.

hopefully this helps!
 

91RS

Member
Dec 4, 2011
105
Normally that would be cupped tires, which on these usually happens on the inside in the front. Are you sure they're not cupped out? The Goodyears are pretty bad about it.
 

SBUBandit

Original poster
Member
Dec 5, 2011
597
Well took it for a drive today. I was able to swerve side to side at roughly 40-45. Seemed to get just a touch quieter turning right, and turning left was the same but no louder than going straight. My first thought was definitely tires, but it seems odd it would be the same after a rotation, and even more odd that it came on instantly. I was off for a week at the holidays and drove the truck everywhere, not a sound, suddenly Wednesday my wife noticed it when she went 3 miles to town, and today its pretty loud. Any chance one of the diffs could make a sound like this? Maybe I'm incorrect about how the front diff works, but it seems putting the truck in Neutral would eliminate the front diff, but as long as the truck is moving the rear would be spinning. Certainly sounds like its coming from the front though
 

91RS

Member
Dec 4, 2011
105
If all 4 tires are cupped the noise probably wouldn't be changed by a rotation. Is there any way you could post a picture straight on of the tread of your tires?
 

SBUBandit

Original poster
Member
Dec 5, 2011
597
91RS said:
If all 4 tires are cupped the noise probably wouldn't be changed by a rotation. Is there any way you could post a picture straight on of the tread of your tires?

I can probably get a picture of each tire tomorrow in the light. I assume you mean just crank the wheels all the way to one side and get a shot of the tire from straight at the tread. I'll grab that tomorrow
 

The_Roadie

Lifetime VIP Donor
Member
Nov 19, 2011
9,957
Portland, OR
SBUBandit said:
Any chance one of the diffs could make a sound like this? Maybe I'm incorrect about how the front diff works, but it seems putting the truck in Neutral would eliminate the front diff,
Yes, it could make the noise, but No, the front differential has parts that spin internally even in 2WD mode and in neutral, because they're driven all the time by the driver's side CV shaft from the wheel.

When was the last time you had the transfer case fluid changed? Not the diff, but the TC? Required interval is a short 50K, which surprises some owners who assume it's longer.
 

bore_pig

Member
Nov 25, 2011
113
Jack up the passenger front. Spin it, wiggle it, feel for roughness in the bearing, look for anything loose. When the tire is spinning watch the tread for any irregularities.
 

SBUBandit

Original poster
Member
Dec 5, 2011
597
the roadie said:
Yes, it could make the noise, but No, the front differential has parts that spin internally even in 2WD mode and in neutral, because they're driven all the time by the driver's side CV shaft from the wheel.

When was the last time you had the transfer case fluid changed? Not the diff, but the TC? Required interval is a short 50K, which surprises some owners who assume it's longer.

I see, thanks for the info, wasn't sure about the front diff. Both Diffs and the TC were done at the same time, 3000 miles ago. Diffs were both changed to Royal Purple MaxGear 75W90, the TC was done with the blue AutoTrak stuff from the dealer. Not sure if they checked the TC when I had the oil changed, but i did have them check the levels on the Diffs and both were right up to the correct level.

Bore_pig - When the oild was changed Saturday I had the tires rotated, so while it was in the air I had all four tires checked over, and the mechanic and I both tried wiggling and pulling on the tires side to side and top to bottom. Outer tie rods were replaced maybe 1000 miles ago, no movement there, and wheel bearings were nice and tight, no play at all in the front tires.

If i can get home today while its still light I'll see if I can wiggle under there and check the level on the TC and just be sure they did put the blue stuff in the right place. I'll also try getting the pictures 91RS asked for

Thanks for all the help so far guys
 

SBUBandit

Original poster
Member
Dec 5, 2011
597
Ok, finally got a chance while it is light out to grab some picture of the tires as asked. They are Goodyear Wrangler ST, roughly 24K miles on them.

Driver side...
100_3459.jpg


Passenger side...
100_3460.jpg
 

Tallman

Member
Jan 3, 2012
6
I had a 2001 Chevy Blazer 4X4 that acted the same way. I checked the wheel bearings like everybody said and had no movement. I coud not find anything that seemed abnormal. I went ahead and changed the front wheel bearing on the left side and that was the problem. I also changed the right side afterward as a precaution. Mine made the same noise that you are refering to that your Trailblazer is making. With the hub off I could feel a definet drag on the bearing. Good luck.
Ken
 

crmcknight

Member
Dec 16, 2011
12
I had the same symptoms as the OP one night a few months ago when it was very cold, about 15F. It did it for a few days, and I figured I had a bad bearing, but then it mysteriously went away. Very strange indeed, but none the less happy, hopefully it will last long enough for me to change it in the warmer months.
 

fadyasha

Member
Dec 21, 2011
1,134
Fire06 said:
Really sounds like a bearing.

I agree! Did you try driving and swerving left and right on higher speeds to see if the noise changes? When you swerve dont do it too fast
 

91RS

Member
Dec 4, 2011
105
Tires look pretty good, don't appear to have any funny wear. You probably have a wheel bearing going wrong. Just so you know, the bearing doesn't have to be loose to be bad and making noise.
 

SBUBandit

Original poster
Member
Dec 5, 2011
597
Tried swerving back and forth, makes very little difference. I agree its looking like a wheel bearing. I guess the real surprise was the way it literally went from fine to loud in a matter of a day or two, but guess it happens
 

TB2k4

Member
Dec 4, 2011
134
SBUBandit said:
its looking like a wheel bearing. I guess the real surprise was the way it literally went from fine to loud in a matter of a day or two, but guess it happens

i think i had the same thing on my drive this morning. i heard a constant low hum that sounded like road noise, but it went away later on... think i might just do the wheel bearings. is there a mileage that this is usually done or on a car-by-car basis.
 

HARDTRAILZ

Moderator
Nov 18, 2011
49,665
SBUBandit said:
Tried swerving back and forth, makes very little difference. I agree its looking like a wheel bearing. I guess the real surprise was the way it literally went from fine to loud in a matter of a day or two, but guess it happens

Mine went from fine to loud on a 4 hour trip to Chicago. Wheel bearing felt fine with tire on but once I swapped it out and spunt the bearing you could hear just a bit of noise.

I had a constant noise but would get just a bit quieter when I turned left, so I did the drivers side and it fixed it, but I did go ahead and do the passenger side.
 

SBUBandit

Original poster
Member
Dec 5, 2011
597
HARDTRAILZ said:
Mine went from fine to loud on a 4 hour trip to Chicago. Wheel bearing felt fine with tire on but once I swapped it out and spunt the bearing you could hear just a bit of noise.

I had a constant noise but would get just a bit quieter when I turned left, so I did the drivers side and it fixed it, but I did go ahead and do the passenger side.

I definitely plan to do both when I do them. I see on ebay you can get a pair pretty cheap. Has anyone tried those with any luck? I know the good brands like Timken are better, I just hate to pay an enormous amount when I put like 9K miles a year on this truck
 

HARDTRAILZ

Moderator
Nov 18, 2011
49,665
I run the ebay ones. Had an issue with the sensor wire on one...Sent them a message and they sent me a whole new hub with new wire. I will use them again.
 

Sparky

Member
Dec 4, 2011
12,927
FWIW last week or so mine started making a slight noise when going straight and a little bit of a wump wump wump noise around turns (either direction, didn't matter). Yesterday it went from a slight noise to a horrific roar.

When bearings go, they can go fast.
 

sawicksted

Member
Dec 7, 2011
366
My 03 TB has a loud noise and wheel bearings were an issue with my Bonneville, and my Grand Prix. At least you can get two bearings on ebay for around $100. I just ordered them off ebay - 1 year warranty so wheel sea:smile: I checked local parts stores and they all want $265 plus for one. I'll take my chances with the cheaper ones especially when I can get SIX for the same price as one.....
As far as how long they last once you start to hear the noise I just check to see if there is any wiggle or uneven tire wear if not then I'm not in a hurry...... I noticed the noise before Christmas and proceeded to drive to Toronto for the vacation from PEI - 1000miles one way. Haven't changed them yet so........Like I said - I had a Bonneville SSEi that was hard on wheel bearing and a Grand Prix GT that was the same. Just one of those things with GMs. Oh well, if you have access to a lift it's not that hard a job.
I'd put money on the wheel bearings being your noise. Good Luck.
 

SBUBandit

Original poster
Member
Dec 5, 2011
597
Finally got around to this, ended up going with the ebay hub assemblies since i drive pretty low miles (9K per year). Picked up a 35mm axle nut socket at O'Reilly, got home, surprise, doesn't fit. Ran back to the store, test fit the 36mm, too big. :confused: So i went back in to the aisle and grabbed another 35mm, exactly like the first one, and it fit perfect. Same packaging, only difference was the one that fit was shiny, the other was matte. By the time i played that little game, its pretty late, so I'll try again in the morning
 

gmcman

Member
Dec 12, 2011
4,656
Does anyone else drive it? Does it have any damage to the wheel? One thing comes to mind when I slid my grand am sideways in the snow and it hit a curb on the drivers side. Just going around a turn and cought some ice..didn't hit too hard but it took out the bearing, sounded like a growl right away.

Did one of your wheels have a large wheel weight and could it have possibly been thrown off?

How long has it been sitting before you drove it, was at first thinking of a flat spot but prob not likely.

Check around the wheel lip for any scuffing. Just some additional ideas to go on.
 

SBUBandit

Original poster
Member
Dec 5, 2011
597
Spent the morning working on the hub assemblies. Total it took me about 4 hours to complete the job, but projects tend to be a little slow when you don't have a garage to work in, so for each project i need to move the in-laws cars, find all the missing tools, put everything back when I'm done, etc. I also take my sweet time working on my truck and like to work on it alone and just know its done right. Didn't run into any problems, everything came apart fairly easy.

I did find that where the instructions I read on the OS mentioned I'd need an open ended 18mm wrench to get the hub assy. bolts out, I was able to get the socket in there, so long as i used a short extension.

Overall, a definite success. Took it for a short ride, and the sound is gone. Thanks everyone for the help in determining the source. Now we'll see how well the ebay hubs hold up. I bought mine from ebay seller detroitaxle for $76.50 shipped for the pair.
 

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