Noisy 2004 Ford Expedition

2004 Ford Expedition 4.6L 2wd Eddie Bauer 165k miles

This is a stumper.
Ever since the car was new practically, there is a low roar in the drivers side wheel. It is super annoying over time.
I remember my Father talking about how he asked the dealership if it was a lemon and they looked it over and said it is exactly like all other Expeditions that year.
Over the years, I occasionally try to solve it and nothing works. It is not tire noise, it is not wheel hub assembly /wheel bearing (that has been changed twice), it is not Ford leaving out the wheel well insulation (according to the dealership).
It doesn’t happen on the passenger side.
It doesn’t get worse, it just roars.
It appears most loudly around 40 to 50 mph.
Help – my mechanic is stumped and the dealership just want to replace everything but has no clear plan.

I understand it is on the drivers side, but can you tell if it is coming from the front vs the rear? Differential fluid at the correct level?

Thanks for replying- It is a sound coming from the front wheel well area while driving; for ten years; are you saying it could be caused in the rear and resonating up front?

Well, about all I can say from personal experience with my own vehicles (one is an older model Ford truck) is that when I’ve had a low roar from the front wheel area is has been either tire noise or wheel bearing noise.

hmmm … If it sounds like it is coming from the front/drivers side wheel area, that’s probably where it is. There are multi-microphone electronic audio kits shops use to verify something like this. You might ask your shop to give that a try. But assuming it is the front wheel area that’s the source and since you’ve already disproved the tire and wheel bearings as the cause, other ideas might be …

  • Brakes pads rubbing on disc
  • Rock caught in brakes and rubbing on disc
  • Brake backing plate bent and rubbing on wheel or hub
  • Wheel or tire is rubbing on something (should make marks you can see when you remove the wheel though)
  • You’ve tried swapping the front wheels right/left as a test, right?
  • When the wheels are off, look carefully in the wheel well area, make sure the left and right sides are the same, nothing missing or loose on the driver’s side.

Totally agree -that’s why I’m stumped. Seems like any roar for 12 years would get worse over time but it’s the same. Need to find a mechanic that will really spend time on it. I remember my dad wondering if he should take it back under lemon law way back when he bought it. The dealership talked him out of it. Thanks for your comments.

Lemon laws usually only apply to safety related items . I doubt if he was talked out of it but just got tired of taking it to the dealer.
The two questions I have are : 1. Do you really need a vehicle this large ? 2. Do you want to spend what could be lots of money to fix it ?