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2001 Chevy Blazer Hub Problem

A few months ago I went to a local chain place to get new tires. Shortly after, I began noticing noise in the front end at high speeds (usually between 60-70 mph). Today I returned to the same store to get an oil change and the tech took me back and showed me that there is some play in the hub, and told me I should get it fixed soon because it’s about to fall off. They quoted me over $400 for the repair. I asked if they checked the lugs and were sure that they weren’t loose or cross-threaded and he told me yes, they had checked. At this point I’m planning to get it checked by one or two other places just to be sure. Is there anything else I need to know to protect myself from unnecessary repairs? I don’t know enough myself to tell what’s wrong.

you need to know this, chains stores are notorious for chisling people out of their hard earned dollars. Find a highly recommended independent service provider with some years of service in your community, and go to that place. You can find some of these guys here on this site. I suspect that the noise is a road noise problem comming from where the rubber meets the road, but it may be more serious. Because the noise does not appear at lower speeds I question the shops diagnosis, but you are right to get at least a second opinion, and in the meanwhile do not drive it at high speeds. If you can jack up the car, you can try pushing on the tire and see if there is looseness in the mounting or hub, by yes, I know it sounds corny, kicking the tire.

When I had new tires put on my 2000 Blazer (54k miles, July 04), both front bearings were bad when I picked up the truck that day. I thought it was just tire noise until my local mechanic diagnosed it at 66k miles. Other than the noise I had no issues with the front end. Had I realized the bearings were going bad, I would have had the repair done much sooner.

Since the hub is a sealed unit, the entire hub has to be replaced. The ABS sensor is built into the hub and that drives up the cost too. My mechanic charged about $350 a hub (rebuilt) and ~$100 labor for a total of $800. The truck now has 113k miles and the front bearings are fine.

I suggest getting a second opinion from a local mechanic. Ask neighbors or friends for recommendations. I would not take my Blazer to a chain for any repair.

Good luck,

Ed B.

‘Some play in the hub’ and ‘it’s about to fall off’ are drastically different opinions of the severity of the problem. This makes me suspicious of their diagnosis.

Here’s an easy test you can do that may help isolate the cause- when you’re going the speed where you can hear the noise, try swerving first to one side then the other. When bearings are going bad, they often make a little noise going straight ahead, more noise in one direction and less in the opposite direction due to the load being put on the bearing.

You don’t need to swerve drastically, more of like a weaving motion when there are no other cars to intefere with your actions.

Post back with your results.

Turbo, you are going to get this guy killed…

If a mechanic has already shown you a lose “hub” (bad wheel bearing) have it replaced! This is not rocket science. It’s either good or it’s bad. There should be NO noticeable play in the bearing…You do NOT want to wait for “Complete Failure” before you fix this!

Okay. Thanks to all of you for chiming in. I appreciate it since my buddy is over 100 miles away and I don’t really have anyone local I trust. At least hearing several opinions and ideas helps me to think it over.

Not driving the truck is not an option at the moment (although I’m thinking hard on finding ways to make it an option). At any rate, I had to commute to work this evening in it, so I took that time to observe closely and think hard. Here’s what I noticed and remembered:

  1. The noise is either very weak or not there under 25-30 mph. over that, it’s obvious if you’re listening. pulling to the right, no matter how slightly, it sounds like a grinding or buzzing vibration. pulling to the left, no matter how slightly, it sounds like a deeper pitch thumping or knocking vibration, almost as if I could visualize the wheel wobbling. If and when I can keep the wheel pointed forward there is no noise or so nearly none that it is nothing compared to the other sounds.

  2. I recalled that before I replaced the tires, I had a blowout, on this same wheel. I was on the highway and had to go a bit farther than I normally would like to before I could safely pull over, but drove no more than a few hundred feet tops. Now wondering if damage could have been caused at that point.

  3. I don’t think I would consider the guy that warned me an experienced mechanic (or even a mechanic), but of course, he could be. He didn’t remove the wheel to demonstrate the “play”, truck was up on the lift and he simply grabbed the tire and wiggled it back and forth. It appeared to move an inch or so back and forth (but wouldn’t the wheels normally be able to move that way even if there was no play in the hub?)

  4. The truck has around 141k miles on it.

  5. I couldn’t hear a difference between the level of noise between right and left turns, they sound about the same volume or loudness even though the character of the sound seems different as I described above. I’m not sure still whether it’s bearings or the hub, or something else. Is it possible that this noise could be caused by the wheel not being installed properly, or the lugs not being tightened evenly? Or a problem with the tire or some other part of the wheel or axle? The sound is definitely coming from the area of the right front passenger wheel though.

  6. The 4WD has been out for several months and stopped functioning last fall. The ABS always seemed to work normally (from what has been described to me as normal) until about the last month or so it has started acting up.

  7. I am calling my buddy in about 10 minutes to get his input and I’m planning to take it in for an alignment check and then to see if I can locate a local trustworthy independent mechanic. I would really appreciate anything else anyone has to add as the more I can learn about this problem the safer I will feel making a decision about where to go from here.

Thanks for all your help.

Sweetheart, “Today I returned to the same store to get an oil change and the tech took me back and showed me that there is some play in the hub, and told me I should get it fixed soon because it’s about to fall off.”

But you are still driving it…You mentioned getting an alignment soon…The tech will quickly spot the loose bearing/hub and tell you an alignment is impossible until you have this repaired. You can’t align the wheels when one of them is flopping around…You can jack the wheel off the ground yourself and check the bearing/hub quicker than it took you to write your last post…

I knew someone would react that way. If I had a $ for everytime a mechanic w/vested interest in alarming a customer into replacing a part…if it was imminent I would expect a personal display and more stern warnings incl. Something written on the RO and even then w/grain of salt. Sorry, writing this on droid so diff to elaborate.

The OP appears to have survived…

OP,based on your latest info, I would get it fixed ASAP. Knocking and clunking is likely a more serious issue that needs immediate attention.