2006 mazda tribute noise

Have a weird one for me. I’m a shade tree mechanic. My son has a 2006 Mazda Tribute that now has a grinding noise.
It started with a constant grinding noise with clicking at the drivers side front. I was pretty sure the CV axle was bad. We replaced it. The noise changes. The grinding was louder and now was a pulsing grind. Grind, grind, grind. It got faster as you sped up. I assumed maybe I messed up the wheel bearing while getting the axle out. I replaced the left front wheel bearing and the lower ball joint while I was at it. Put everything back together and the noise was still there. He and I spent more time listening and realized the sound was on the left, but not out at the wheel. More like under floor board where the gas petal is. So I looked at the new CV axle and looked for anything that might be contacting with it. I also checked to make sure it was seated in the trans well. It all looked good. I decided it must have been a defective axle. I replaced it again. Still the same noise no change.
Today I took it for a little test drive and noticed that the grinding goes away if I take a right hand turn. Like in a cul de sac. The sound goes away completely
The sound is only there when you go about 7 mph. It is really more like a scraping sound. I got under it while it was on ramps and just looked around for anything touching the CV axle with load on the wheels. Nothing.
Anybody have a clue?

Is the left rotor touching the dust sheild? Have you checked everything on the right side? Noises can fool you as to the location.

I did check the dust shield and it has plenty of clearance from the rotor. I also check the inside of the rim to make sure nothing on the caliper was touching the wheel.

The only thing i checked on the right side was for wiggle related to wheel bearing.

I changed a wheel bearing on the wrong side because I mis located the noise. Try and find things on the right because if you don’t find anything, it could be inside the transmission.

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Thanks for the advice. Will check out the right side some more.

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There’s a diagnostic gadget called “chassis ears” that would allow you to determine for sure which wheel is making the noise. Ask your parts store if they have one you could rent.

My guess, faulty right front wheel bearing. The clue is the noise goes away turning right. A right turn shifts weight away from the right wheel. Mechanics here say it is pretty common that faulty wheel bearings don’t show any other symptom than the driving noise. No play or wiggle, wheel rotates freely, no noises heard. They find out for sure it was the wheel bearing by replacing it, and the noise ceases.

Good idea w/this symptom to verify the transmission fluid is in good shape & the correct level. Some possibility of a differential problem.

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Thanks for that info. I’m going to check that right side for clues. I didnt realize i could get those sound detectors from a parts store. Ill checkbinto that.

You can actually buy the tool from Amazon for $81.00. You’d likely be better off having a professional diagnose it and repair it.

We just took it out for a drive in an empty parking lot. I got outside to listen while my son drove the car by me from both directions. The sound is projecting from the left side. I barely hear it when the passenger side drives by.

The fluid level seems fine.
The grinding creates vibrations we can feel in the cabin. Again it is a repetitive grind. Like when the axle rotates past a certain spot it grinds.

The transmission seems to shift fine.

When I thought I had received a defective replacement axle. I looked for any wear or hotspots on the splines or shiny surfaces that go into the trans., I could not see anything rubbing or scratched up.

That sounds like you have a right front wheel bearing, cause your are loading the left wheel bearing turning right, just the opposite turning left… If the noise gets worse when turning left then you are loading the right bearing making more noise… On most sealed wheel bearings you have two rows to them and the outer row gives you the play, the inner gives you more of the grinding sound… If it is loose and making a grinding noise, you are about to be singing you picked a fine time to leave me loose wheel… lol

And Yes noises on vehicles can carry from place to place… Has a new truck at the dealer (F150 Lightening back around '93-94) that everyone in the shop said it was the rear end, so swapped the rear end out… Same noise, pulled the bed off and drove it and you could hear the noise in the transmission, swapped transmission out and noise gone… Then took truck out for some killer burnouts before installing the bed… lol
I have also seen the carrier bearings in a transaxle (FWD Transmission) making noise that sounded like a wheel bearing…

Have you put the vehicle on jack stands and put one hand on the coil spring and spun the wheel to check for vibration?? You can feel a bad wheel bearing (through the coil spring) that way also most of the time…

Another slight possibility is a really cupped up tire, cross rotate your front tires and see if the noise swaps sides…

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I will take a closer look at the right side when I get a chance.

I did cross rotate the front tires just to eliminate that. The noise didn’t change.

Thanks for the help!

Interesting problem, definitely difficult to diagnose. It seems like your diagnosis & repair plan has been a good one. Given the initial observations, the left side cv axle and left wheel bearing definitely seemed like good suspects. But you replaced the left front wheel bearing and the left CV axle twice, symptoms remain. hmmm … very puzzling … Was there anything unusual, shop work, that occurred just prior to noticing the symptoms?

My guesses

  • even though the sound appears to be coming from the left side, it’s really coming from the right, and right cv axle remains a problem
  • original problem was indeed left cv axle, and both replacements are faulty or (more likely) the wrong part number. (the correct cv axle part number often depends on the engine & transmission configuration, and sometimes even other options) Suggest to either ask at a dealership, or surf over to rockauto’s website and do a little investigation of your own about the types of cv axles they offer for your car.
  • There’s something wrong with the transmission innards, or the part of the transmission that connects to the left cv axle.

I’m guessing the second, specifically the replacement cv axles are either faulty or the wrong part for that application, ether a little too long or too short.

If you tire of this worry, OMGuy’s comment above makes a lot of sense. However if you remain intrigued, think of it as a puzzle needing to be solved, keep on keeping on!

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Thanks for all your help, wisdom and experience all!

I was able to get the wheels up again today and check the right side. The wheel bearing was definately bad. Even had some movement in the wheel.

So I dug in and tore the old one out and pressed a new one in.

Took it for a spin and noise is gone! My brain can’t understand why the sound seemed to be on the left, but I will have to get over it.

I’m glad its not the transmission. Thanks for the help all!