Front wheel bearing issue

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Staff member
Dec 14, 2002
New Jersey
My 91 318 has developed a ticking sound that I believe is a front wheel bearing. I believe it is the left, because I got a popping noise one time when making a right turn. Driving through a parking lot, I've noticed that if I hit the brakes, the noise stops, then after a bit, it starts. It goes away with a hard turn in either direction, but I'm saying left because of the pop on the right turn once (can't replicate it consistently), and the fact that I already replaced the rot one (doesnt mean they can't be worse quality than originals). I also cannot hear it when traveling faster than around 30 mph. Some of that is likely road and engine noise, but there are no other observable issues. When my right one failed, it was groaning under highway driving. Any thoughts to these behaviors? Would anyone think it migh be anything different than a left wheel bearing? It's the fact that noise goes away at higher speeds and with turning in either direction that gets me... Thanks!
wait what? my wheel bearing got worse at higher speeds... just read the rest, ya that's confusing.
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Jack your car up and spin the wheel. If you don't hear it, grab the spring and spin the wheel. It will feel gritty though the spring usually. Finally do a "shakedown" where you wiggle the tire side to side, up and down, then apply force as if you were trying to lift the tire. Grab a friend and see if you cam identify any/all sources of freeplay
Also verify it's not something else like a loose fender liner, the tire plies coming apart, or something stuck in the tire
It doesn't sound like a bad front hub, it could be but they usually have a growl and a roughness to them when they go bad. Does this one have drum brakes in the rear?
No drums, discs all around. There is a little drum in the rotor hat for the parking brake.
Try the maneuver and just apply the parking brake slightly at the same time. It might be time to look in the parking brake drum.
Pads on the front are new, rears are recent. Rust and scale in the parking brake is believable.
Originally Posted By: JHZR2
Pads on the front are new, rears are recent. Rust and scale in the parking brake is believable.
Don't be surprised if you find a broken spring or delaminated shoe, that can cause occasional popping noises and clicking.
Try putting it up on jack stands and running it. I'm guessing it's your brakes since you already changed the other bearing and know what a bad one sounds like.
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