Grinding sound after brakes/wheel bearing/tie rod

I just finished doing my brake pads and front right wheel bearing and tie rod end. After 7 hours of being rained on and busting knuckles I took it for a test drive and got a horrible rhythmic metal on metal sound. It seems to get quieter the faster I drive, but I didn’t want to go too fast with an unusual sound.

I’m not the most experienced weekend mechanic by far, so chances are good that its my fault and not a bad part.

Ill go over everything I did step by step.

Removed the tire
Removed the caliper and caliper bracket
Removed the rotor
Removed the axle nut
Broke loose the tie rod end and upper ball joint
Pushed/pulled the axle through the back of the wheel bearing assembly

Beat the wheel bearing assembly off with a large hammer. Wear your safety glasses, I got hit by shrapnel.

Put the new wheel bearing in and torqued it down. Probably not to spec but pretty tight. My torque wrench won’t fit in there.

Put on the new tie rod end

Put the axle stub back through the new wheel bearing splines

Pushed the upper control arm down far enough to thread the upper ball joint nut back on. This was really hard to do by hand. There must be a trick to make it easier. Tightened it down.

Put on the axle nut and torqued it with my impact. My fender flares make it really hard to get a torque wrench into the front end.

Tightened down the new tie rod end.

Put the rotor on, and bolted the caliper bracket back on.

Put in my new pads and clips, greased the slide pins and put anti seize in the areas where the clips sit. I also pressed in the caliper pistons with a c-clamp and an old brake pad.

Bolted the caliper back on.

Pumped up the brakes and bled the caliper a little. Nothing much because I still have more work to do and I want to bleed all 4.

Put the tire back on and torqued it.

Felt a sense of accomplishment, followed by rage and disappointment during my test drive. Everything felt normal during the drive. Theres kind of a clunk in my brakes when I come to a stop but its always been there. The noise wasn’t constant, it was rhythmic and it seemed to be worse the slower I was driving.

My rotor did get a little wet from the sprinkles of rain, but most of the flash rust wiped off and I looked at it after the test drive and it looks clean.

I don’t know if its just normal brake noise for new pads on old rotors, the flash rust, a lemon wheel bearing (timken), or maybe I broke my axle getting it out. This was my first 4WD wheel bearing replacement. I tried to be careful. I’m going to get back under there tomorrow and look around but I ran out of daylight today. It would be nice to have somewhere to start looking.

Don’t worry, you got this! The fact that you were able to put all this back together – and from your description the process sounds about right – means you are more than capable of figuring this out.

A couple of quick thoughts:

a. The metal on metal could be just be the new rotor and the new brake pads (depends a bit on the brake pad material), so don’t rule that out just yet. What I would recommend is to jack up that side of the car/truck and rotate the wheel by hand (turn the steering wheel outwards too is that helps). Use a nice flashlight.

b. Double check to ensure that the brake dust shield is not bent and rubbing against the rotor. When I did a similar job, I had accidentally hit the brake dust shield and it made a pretty horrific metal on metal noise. Again, this is something you’d be able to figure out if you lift that side of the car/truck and rotate the wheel by hand.

Good luck!

This is hard. What I’ve done that helped a little bit is to use a jack on the lower control arm to lift the entire assembly including the knuckle. That is, bring the entire knuckle and hub assembly closer to the upper control arm.


Exactly! It can take a bit of driving for bedding those pads.The grinding noise usually goes away after 600 miles or so.


I was actually thinking about the dust shield. Its a tinny sound. It took a good hit with my sledge when I was removing the hub assembly. I pounded it out but maybe I missed some. Or I bent it again when I was manually turning the wheel to reach bolt heads.

I’ll crawl under there when I get some daylight. My truck sits high enough to get a good look at most of the suspension and brakes without jacking it up.

I did a second test drive and it doesn’t seem as bad. But there is a more noticeable clunk in the front end when I come to a stop. Like something is loose or shifting around. All of the clips were installed but they didn’t seem to hold the pads as tight as the other clips I’ve put in on other vehicles.

I love working on my truck, but it seems like every time I fix it I find something else wrong with it or cause a new problem myself lol. My upper ball joint was pretty wobbly. I need an alignment but I don’t want to go in with slop in my suspension.

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lots of info. what year/make/model is this truck? 2wd? or 4

Are you sure you didn’t install a brake pad backwards? Metal side to the rotor?

Bad weather conditions, long job, it happens!


My first thought was to tell you to make sure the dust shield is not contacting the rotor. They often get bent during servicing brakes and they scrape against the rotor making a terrible sound. That is the very first thing I would check, very very common issue. You can bent them back into place…which is inward and away from the rotor itself. Often times a long prybar or screwdriver is all that is needed and sometimes you dont even need to remove the wheel, depending on the wheel design.

Look into this first and foremost and probably best to do it with wheel off so you can see all the way round.


The dust shield wasn’t that bent, I bent it back. Either way the sound is gone now. Im guessing it was the new pads on the old rotor.

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Glad this worked out :slightly_smiling_face:

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Thanks for the help. I’m sure i’ll be back for more help in the future. I think I’m going to replace both upper and lower control arms soon.

Sounds like a plan – I recall that you wanted to fix the slop in the suspension before doing an alignment-- and I hope that goes well.