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08 Pontiac Torrent FWD - Front driver side noise - MAJORLY LOST!

For a little while I have been noticing an odd noise from the front driver side tire. About a year ago on two different occasions I heard a sound when I turned the wheel somewhat sharply that sounded like a clacking noise almost like gears slipping. It only happened for a few seconds and stopped but has never done it other than those 2 times that I am aware of. This is my wifes everyday driver, so I don’t always hear the noises.

Recently it started making a sound that to me sounded very similar to a wheel bearing going bad. I looked into it a little and drove it and decided to change it even though it didn’t have all the “symptoms” of a wheel bearing (louder when turning away from that side, quieter when turning towards that side, play in the wheel). After replacing the hub assembly it didnt make the same noise, but made a different noise that was from the shield on the back side of the rotor rubbing against it. Took it for a drive thinking that I fixed it only to have it start doing it again. After listening closer it sounded like a metal rubbing against metal sound, sorta like a brake pad dragging on a grooved or rusty rotor. I inspected the rotor and all i saw as an issue was on the inner side of it there was a ring of rust on the inner and outer edges, and it was wearing the pad to have beveled edges. I replace the pads and rotor, and it still makes the sound.

I am down to two options that I can think of trying but do not want to really try either one because of the amount of money I have already put into it.

  1. I have thought about replacing the brake caliper, but it is an additional $130.
  2. I have thought about replacing the CV Axle, BUT the boots are in excellent shape and it cost in the range of $90.

It doesn’t make the noise all the time, and sometimes it is worse when turning to the right, and other times there is no change regardless of the direction you turn. When it does do it, it feels almost as if the car is dragging and pulls to the drivers side.

I am really at a loss here and don’t want to keep narrowing it down because I have misdiagnosed the problem twice now, and was really confident in it being the wheel bearing.

Did you lube the pins on the calipers? If you have only heard the clicks twice a year a go I think the cv is not that bad.

I have not lubed the pins yet, but they seemed to move pretty freely. I will give that a shot though.

You should always clean and regrease the pins if you take the brakes apart. If everything is right, it may be years before you need to pull the calipers off again. And it would be terrible to find a brake problem 2 years from now because old, nasty, water-logged grease allowed the pin to rust in place.

Actually, come to think of it I never took the pins out when I was working on it. They were never taken out of the caliper bracket. Still need greased?

YES! I’ve had the pins freeze into either the caliper or bracket, based on the design, and can be ihopelessly locked in due to rust. Why risk that for a few cents worth of brake grease and some diligent cleaning?

Definitely worth a try, just didnt think about it because I never took the pins out. My wife did say that the noise got worse after I put the new pads on (before the new rotor). So maybe the thickness difference? I will not be able to get to this until tomorrow. Thanks

Ok, so I am embarrassed to even say this.

I drove the car back and forth in my drive with the door opened listening, and the sound still seemed really loud in the front, but I could sorta hear it from the back so I pulled back in the garage and looked through the rim on the back. Sure enough it is grooved really bad so I will be working on the back end now.

Just out of curiosity, after you stop laughing hysterically, has anyone else had a similar issue in misdiagnosing where a sound was coming from.

Don’t feel too badly about this. Everyone misdiagnoses things and makes serious or downright embarassing mistakes; even the finest of mechanics.

I had a Ford F250 with a random ticking noise I swore was behind my head, and searched for it for weeks. Then I happened to move the visor in front of me while the engine was off and it made the noise. A little spray lithium grease on the hinge and problem solved. Noises can echo oddly in a vehicle.

Thanks, that makes me feel better!!

Sounds are so hard to diagnose. The reverberate through the entire vehicle and sound like they are coming from everywhere. They make sound monitors that you can strap all over the car to try to isolate the noise. Of course only a well stocked garage will be able to afford the Snap-On version.