Wheel Bearing, front, Trailblazer LS 4x4, it must be going bad

dmtaurus

Original poster
Member
Jul 1, 2012
42
I am hearing the whining noise, which sounds like an aircraft engine winding up, from the front wheels that changes sound pitch with vehicle speed. I have read where these go bad after 80,000 miles but can go bad as early as 30,000 miles; mine has 84,000. I am not buying the cheap hubs. So, I am down to choosing either the Timken brand or SKF brand. There is $51 price difference between them at RockAuto. Anybody had experience with either one? The money is not that important. I'd rather have the better design and a bearing that holds up really well. Thanks.
 

TollKeeper

Supporting Donor
Member
Dec 3, 2011
8,028
Brighton, CO
A whine? I would be more interested in hearing this sound if you can get a video or something of it. Never heard a wheel bearing whine.
 

Boricua SS

Member
Nov 20, 2011
3,080
Ohio
yea, mine kinda hummed, very very faintly, not so much a whine, and there was a slight vibration when put under load... mine went out at 23k miles... so its across the board on when they go bad...

I see your in Ohio, we have a World Autoparts here up north in lorain county by me... this is what i found on there website... (my friend and his mother-n-law both got all their hubs from world autoparts, and I actually posted a thread on here i think... but he has an '03 Voy XL, and his mother-n-law an '03 XL and they chose the $60 hubs.. things have been fine since the install, which was back in February of this year)

2006 Chevrolet Trailblazer - Front Wheel Bearings and Seals Parts -POWERTRAIN COMPONENTS (PTC),SKF (CHICAGO RAWHIDE),RAYBESTOS- World Best Price Auto Parts

and here's the thread that i made on helping my friend change his hubs...

http://gmtnation.com/f39/changed-wheel-bearings-today-2110/
 

dmtaurus

Original poster
Member
Jul 1, 2012
42
The whining sound is probably better described a humming sound. The humming translates through the steering system to the steering wheel. My guess is that the bearing seal has failed and water and dirt have gotten in while lubrication has leaked out. The bearing races have probably begun to gall and spall, which would be a source for the noise.

I was going to buy from WorldParts but they apparently have only one hub bearing unit in stock, and it is at a really good price. (Thanks for the lead; I'll remember them for future purchases.)

So I ordered the Timkens from RockAuto. I've used SKF on steel mill engineering projects and they are a high quality bearing with a lot of good engineering history behind them. Timken also has the same high quality history associated with them. But I don't want bearings that have been made in China because I know they will say anything they have to to get customers to agree with their certificates of conformance. And in today's world I don't know where the SKF auto bearings are made. My experience with Timken is that the steel used in their bearings is made by Timken in their steel mills, just as the bearings themselves are made in the USA. So I'll give them a try.

As an aside, last year I had to have the axle and pinion bearings replaced in the rear axle, reason for failure unknown. A heavy truck, GM dealer did that job and GM did give me some cost assistance on it even though the truck was 2 years out of warranty. Dealer tech said this failure was rare given that the truck is used under light conditions on public roads. One thing dealer did say was that GM doesn't always use quality bearings like Timkens in the rear ends. This time the dealer tech made sure the bearings were Timkens.
 

dmtaurus

Original poster
Member
Jul 1, 2012
42
Got the bearings yesterday and installed them both. It was about a 4 hour job with tool clean up. Didn't have a deep-well 36mm socket so I rented it from the local Advance auto parts store. I used an air gun to remove the axle nut, which did come off surprising easy with a little PB Blaster spray, and a 4" 3-jaw puller was used to remove the hub from the axle. The bearing flange bolts are metric as well, 18mm, and can be removed with a socket. What also was nice was the ABS wire on the new unit had all the correct mounting clips all located at all the right spots on the wire lead. Hopefully these units will last for 100,000 miles or more.
 

dmtaurus

Original poster
Member
Jul 1, 2012
42
I got them, Timkens, at RockAuto for about $135 each plus shipping; that includes a 5% discount I had from a previous purchase. A guy a couple replies up said that WorldAutoParts carries the SKF brand for $156; that's a really good price and better than RockAuto. Either brand is a high quality bearing; SKF is found throughout heavy manufacturing like Timken so both brands, to me, would be a good choice. Stay away from the China crap whatever you do. I read on either SKF's or Timken's wbsite about these knock-off "value" brands in a comparison report. Brand new value crap was found to be so poor that the lateral and radial was beyond acceptable wear limits. I didn't want to be doing the same job next year so that's why I stayed away from them.
 

Mooseman

Moderator
Dec 4, 2011
25,188
Ottawa, ON
I even got burned by Raybestos hubs, and bad! Bought a pair, one of them suddenly self destructed within a month. No noise or anything. Rockauto sent me a pair of Timkens and I sent both Raybestos back for a full refund. Guess where they were made? CHINA!
 

seanpooh

Member
Jan 24, 2012
461
+1 with the Timkens or even the Moogs.

The Raybestos are just a sad product. Their hub only lasted 10 months before screeching again.

Invest the money and they will last.
 

JerryIrons

Member
Dec 20, 2011
434
I bought timkens once that said made in china on them. Both sides ended up going bad, warranty replacements ended up going bad, so I finally put skfs on my tb a while ago and they are running great.
 

seanpooh

Member
Jan 24, 2012
461
darn, I should of checked where mine were made first before putting them in. No worries, I can now change a hub under an hour :smile:
 

Mooseman

Moderator
Dec 4, 2011
25,188
Ottawa, ON
JerryIrons said:
I bought timkens once that said made in china on them. Both sides ended up going bad, warranty replacements ended up going bad, so I finally put skfs on my tb a while ago and they are running great.

Where did you buy them? Is it possible that you were duped with chinese knockoffs in a Timken box? Both my Timkens said Made in USA.
 

JerryIrons

Member
Dec 20, 2011
434
Mooseman said:
Where did you buy them? Is it possible that you were duped with chinese knockoffs in a Timken box? Both my Timkens said Made in USA.

Anything is possible, I bought them at carquest. I think at one point timken had them made in china for a while, actually. The box clearly said timken and also "made in china", there wasn't any attempt to hide it...I just assumed that since it said timken I would be fine. You should be fine with made in the usa wheel bearings I would think.
 

The_Roadie

Lifetime VIP Donor
Member
Nov 19, 2011
9,957
Portland, OR
JerryIrons said:
You should be fine with made in the usa wheel bearings I would think.
I had short lifetime out of some MI Bearing units proudly made in Michigan. Others had better experiences, but harsh offroad use wore them out in under a year.
 

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