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Rotational noise front passsenger wheel when turning left (even when front wheels jacked off ground)

I have a 2007 Honda Pilot. 65K Miles.

Several months ago, when turning left, regardless of speed, my wife starting hearing a noise. It is not a knocking or harsh grinding noise, but a low grumble (I don’t have a great word for it). It’s definitely rotational, it doesn’t get any louder as speed increases, but it obviously happens more often. It seems to come from the right side of the car, I originally thought it was from the wheel, but just now I had it jacked up and had a neighbor who works on cars look at it with me and now I’m not so sure.

When I described the problem to him, he first thought it was a CV joint, or possibly ball bearing. After a few minutes looking under the hood, he quickly ruled those out. Boots were in great condition, and he remarked that everything seems to be very solid around the wheel.

I thought that noise was a result of weight shift to the right side of the vehicle when making right-hand turns, but we had the car up on two jacks stands placed on the jack braces, turned the car on and gave it some gas with the wheels turned left, and you can definitely hear the noise with zero weight on the wheels or axles. When you straighten the wheel, the noise subsides.

I’m puzzled as to what this could be from.

Any ideas/suggestions/leads are much appreciated. I’ll probably be taking it into a mechanic soon to see what they think, but any other opinions are always great.

Thanks for your time!

First thing to check is the brake rotor’s dust shield. It’s really flexible metal, and sometimes it bends enough to rub against the rotor when the wheel turns.

Next thing to check is brake pads - if they’re worn away, you’re metal to metal and will hear a scrape.

I would still suspect a CV joint. Just because your neighbor looked at the boot and saw it was intact doesn’t mean the joint itself is good.

The fact that you can reproduce the noise on a lift means it should be easy to trace. Take it to a trusted mechanic and have them put it on a lift and use a stethoscope to trace the noise.

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Next step, up on a hoist. ( a real shop hoist you can stand under )

Then you and mechanic can be right there, nose to nose with anything producing a sound.
Even a stethescope might help to narrow it down.

( still sounds like a cv joint )

I too am leaning toward a CV joint, specifically the inner one.

I’ve attached for reference a link to an “exploded view” drawing of a typical front axle on a FWD vehicle. Open the link as you follow along.

If you look on the second page, you’ll see that the inner joint is designed to allow the axle to move in and out of the joint to allow the change in length necessary as the wheel passes through its suspension and turning motions. What happens as a result is that when you turn the steering wheel, the three bearings on the Tripod Joint Assembly change their position in their respective housing, called here the Front Drive Inboard Joint Assembly. Thus, they could be gringing in their turned position and not in their straight position.

Having said all that, the suggestions to check the dust shield and the brakes should definitely be the first steps. I’ve seen both cause your symptoms.

Or, I may be overthinking the problem. It might just be the outer CV joints grinding their little bearings away.

It sounds like it has been narrowed down to the front wheels. Any idea which wheel, left or right? Determine this first.

Brakes should be visually checked second. Since the poster doesn’t mention this gets better or worse with brakes applied or not, I’m guessing this is probably a CV joint on its last legs, but it could be a wheel bearing going out too.

I’m leaning towards wheel bearing too. They sometimes are louder when turning one way than the other. As said before a stethescope will probably tell the tale easily.

Sorry for my delayed response and THANK you for your responses. It does not seem to be a break problem, breaking does not affect the sound adversely, only turning the wheel the the left. I’m fairly certain it is the right wheel, from in side the car, it sounds that way at least.

With the car up on jack stands, given some gas, and his head next to the right wheel (turned all the way to the left), he couldn’t pick up the noise very well at all. But if you step in to the car, the noise is very distinct.

He recommended a mechanic for me to see. I’ll probably take it in on Monday or Tuesday and have it looked at.

Any estimates for repair for a CV joint and for a ball bearing? Always good to have an idea before you show up.

Thanks! is a good source for an estimate.


I think you may have misunderstood when the mechanic said the “CV joint or ball bearing”. The CV joint contains several fairly large (3/4@ diameter) steel ball bearings. Sometimes those crack or deform, which will cause various noises, usually clicking noises on slow speed acceleration when turning. But I think what he may have said instead of "ball bearing " is “ball joint”. That is near in proximity to the CV joint, but is completley separate from the CV joint. A bad ball joint can sometimes can cause a clunking or creaking type noise too. On most front wheel drive cars the mechanic has to dis-engage the ball joint to get access to the CV joint, so he’ll check them both in the process.

Usually a wheel bearing that’s going out will make a roaring or popping grinding noise while the car is in motion and often be worse in turns and curves. Jack the suspected corner up and grab the wheel at opposite sides and see if there’s any play in the hub area. If there’s play in the hub it’s probably a wheel bearing. If it’s been doing this for a few months and it is a wheel bearing it’s likely to go completely out at any time so I’d suggest getting to the bottom of this soon.

There is no horizontal play in the wheel. But I’m going to get this checked out soon. Thank you for your help everyone.

Hi, it seems as if we are having the same problem. It was making that same rotational noise when i turned left so I’ve changed both bearing and cv axle on the right side but it still wont go away. Did you ever find out what the problem was on your car?


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Click on meetloaf13’s avatar

Then you’ll have the opportunity to send him a message, which will be sent as an email to the account that cartalk has associated with him

He might have a different account by now, but it’s worth a shot, and your best chance