Blogs Car Info Our Show Deals Mechanics Files Vehicle Donation

Front end bearing-type noise

Hey guys-

Well I just ripped apart the front end of my escape today to chase down bearing noise. I have a constant whirring that picks up with the speed of the car, is not affected by being in neutral. I have rotated the tires. The sound gets louder when I turn left sharply at speed, less noticeable when I turn right at speed (it gets softer).

I figured this meant that I had a right side wheel bearing going bad considering when there’s more weight on it and its turning faster (left turn) it got louder. Put a new bearing in the car today (along with a new control arm and tie rod end) jumped in the car and CRAP!!! its still there!

Am I losing my mind here? Could this possibly be the axle or the other side wheel bearing?

Thanks in advance!

You might have gotten the side (right side) correct, but did you get the front/rear scenario correct? Take some friends with you and ask 'em where they think the sound is coming from. If they all say rear, left rear-- right rear, whatever–if they all agree,

then that could help pinpoint it. I have seen on Volvo XC90’s where I diagnosed, say, a LR wheel bearing and the noise remained, and the RR was worn also. Does the Escape have coil springs? If so, with truck not running, jacked up, in “N”, and out of 4WD, turn one wheel around by hand, while holding the nearby coil spring with the other hand. If you feel a

tiny vibration in the coil spring on one side, and none on its mate, that’s a good indication the culprit is the bearing that corresponds to the vibrating spring. You sound like you’re good at working on cars. With vehicle off the ground, running, in gear, w/wheels turning, use a stethoscope or steel rod, one end in your ear, other next to the bearing, on the knuckle or whatever houses the bearing. Compare one side to the other. (I

don’t knoiw if you want to do this; it’s a little dangerous if you’re not proficient w/cars, but you sound like you are. JUST BE CAREFUL, no offense! Please post back; no one ever does. Good luck and be safe, please.

PS: If you’re not completely comfortable with getting under a running vehicle, then don’t do that part.

90% sure that it is going to be the other side bearing

Well thanks guys, I performed my own similar test this morning. I put all fours up off the ground and had my father in law outside the car (for obvious reasons, ha ha). Anyway, yep, it seems to be making noise from the other side, I just diagnosed the side wrong. Wasn’t a complete loss, however, because after 145,000 miles the tie rod end and ball joint looked like they could use some help!

One important note that I thought of right before I got the car in the air is that for this type of car its really important to get all four wheels up if you’re going to diagnose like I did, because the 4x4 feature is automatic or full time. When the front wheels are up and spinning the computer will think the car is slipping and put the four wheel feature on and knock it off the jack stands if you only have the front wheels up! Anyway, it worked out perfectly, thanks again for the replies! Now all I have to do is rip it all apart… again.

Thanks for posting back, killerformula, and good luck!