Wheel bearing/hub assembly help

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My 2006 Grand Prix seems to like snacking on front wheel bearing/hub assemblies. Per the Carfax report I got before buying it, one or both front wheel bearing/hub assemblies were replaced at about 62k miles, the front passenger side was replaced with a Duralast unit the day before I bought it with about 130k, and that one was then replaced with a Timken three months/3k miles later due to it already starting to make noise even though my mechanic could not find any play. That was about 20 months/24k miles ago and the front passenger side has a noticeable "whop whop" at low speeds and humming/growling at higher speeds once again. The noises increase when turning either way, leading me to believe both have gone bad. However, when I checked the wheels for play today, there was none! Could one or both assemblies be bad and not have any noticeable play? Is there anything else I can do to get a positive diagnosis? I plan on replacing the front struts, strut bearings, and both outer tie rods within the next few weeks and am looking at a $250 bill for the necessary parts, so while adding $200 for two wheel bearing/hub assemblies will not break the bank and replacing them will not add much time, I would rather spend that money and time elsewhere if it not truly needed here.
 
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<span style="font-family: 'Verdana'">When I replaced my front hub assemblies, I pulled the steering knuckle and the hub off as an assembly, then changed the hub with the steering knuckle off the car; it was just easier for me that way.</span>
 
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Just did front hubs on 2001 olds Aurora which had no play but light vibration and a very loud whine. So I would say its possible. Might even be the same hub you run?
 
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Originally Posted By: Merkava_4
When I replaced my front hub assemblies, I pulled the steering knuckle and the hub off as an assembly, then changed the hub with the steering knuckle off the car; it was just easier for me that way.
Heat around the bolts a little from the thread side and they come right out, GM used red loctite on them. I change them on the car in about 45 min.
 
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^ I like the ground idea. Also check your alignment after the strut job and are you running stock rims and tire pressure? Wrong offset or too hard a tire can chew through bearings.
 
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Hello eljefino, You said, "Wrong offset or too hard a tire can chew through bearings." I know about tire offset and how the resulting lines of force can stress a bearing the wrong way but hard tires? What about inflating tires to the max? Does that have the same effect? Kira
 
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Certain GM cars seem to be notorious for eating wheel bearings. While I've only changed a few on a Grand Prix, (just haven't worked on many) I've done several sets of them on Grand Ams and Sun fires, Monte Carlo/Lumina and Blazers/Trail Blazers aren't any better. I found that replacing them with OEM units roughly doubled the service interval vs aftermarket. Also, it requires a little extra work but greasing them with a needle tip on a grease gun every year or so will help extend the life of the bearing. I actually drilled and tapped a zerk on the unit bearings on my 98 ram and 16 years later I'm still on my original bearingS. I've split low mileage unit bearings apart that had failed and there was almost no grease in them.
 
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NMBurb02

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Originally Posted By: jrmason
I found that replacing them with OEM units roughly doubled the service interval vs aftermarket.
I was wondering about that. Rockauto has Timkens for $91, SKFs for $104, and ACDelcos (listing says "GM Original Equipment") for $158, with similar but slightly lower prices on Amazon. So is the ACDelco worth the extra $54-67 each?
 
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Originally Posted By: Kira
Hello eljefino, You said, "Wrong offset or too hard a tire can chew through bearings." I know about tire offset and how the resulting lines of force can stress a bearing the wrong way but hard tires? What about inflating tires to the max? Does that have the same effect? Kira
Remember that bearings are sprung, that is between the springs and pavement. They will feel the road shocks with only the air in the tire to protect them. Stands to reason that performance tires with stiff sidewalls and very overinflated regular ones transmit more shocks. They even say mechanics shouldn't hammer in (press-in) bearings. Roads can transmit many times more force, but it takes the tire to absorb that.
 

NMBurb02

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Originally Posted By: eljefino
^ I like the ground idea. Also check your alignment after the strut job and are you running stock rims and tire pressure? Wrong offset or too hard a tire can chew through bearings.
I forgot to respond to this. Stock 17" wheels and stock tire size and speed rating, but typically run 5 psi over the 30 psi called for on the door sticker. Should I back off that extra 5 psi?
 

NMBurb02

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Originally Posted By: Chris142
Looks to me like the factory gm ones are not too good if they failed for no reason. I'd go with another name brand this time.
From other reading I have done online, Grand Prix are particularly hard on their wheel bearing/hub assemblies. I was thinking of going with SKF this time around.
 
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Ok. Many of these unitized hubs have barely enough grease in them to do the job. There is a solution that has been tried, tested and found to substantially increase hub bearing life. Here is a link to the procedure with pictures. It was developed by an outfit that was eating hub bearings on light trucks. Works for cars. http://courtsara.com/tips
 
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Not all cars are built like the ones in the picture. GM mostly uses an internal sensor that is sealed in on cars, when the sensor fails you must replace the hub assy.
 
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Originally Posted By: NMBurb02
I was wondering about that. Rockauto has Timkens for $91, SKFs for $104, and ACDelcos (listing says "GM Original Equipment") for $158, with similar but slightly lower prices on Amazon. So is the ACDelco worth the extra $54-67 each?
I bought the Timkens for my Buick and they have been excellent. They even said USA on the box.
 
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If it were my calr I would pay the extra to go back to OEM. Your results show that OEM lasted 3 times longer, to me thats worth an extra 50 bucks. Like I mentioned earlier, greasing helps a lot regardless of what you choose. You can buy a needle tip attachment and carefully slide it in inside the lip of the seal and pump a dozen shots of grease in each side. I do this with sealed bearings, ball joints, tie rod ends, etc. As long as the seal is not hard and brittle it shouldn't be a problem.
 

NMBurb02

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Originally Posted By: jrmason
If it were my calr I would pay the extra to go back to OEM. Your results show that OEM lasted 3 times longer, to me thats worth an extra 50 bucks. Like I mentioned earlier, greasing helps a lot regardless of what you choose. You can buy a needle tip attachment and carefully slide it in inside the lip of the seal and pump a dozen shots of grease in each side. I do this with sealed bearings, ball joints, tie rod ends, etc. As long as the seal is not hard and brittle it shouldn't be a problem.
I think a reputable company's warranty policy can tell you a lot about the confidence they have in their engineering, manufacturing, and quality control. That being said, both Timken and ACDelco only offer 12 month/12,000 mile warranties on their wheel bearing/hub assemblies whereas SKF offers a 36 month/45,000 mile warranty. And being that SKF is the mid-priced option, it seems like a no-brainer in this case. As for adding grease, I will have to take a closer look once I get them to see if such is feasible/advisable. I would hate to mess something up rather than see if they can go the full three years.
 
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Warranty is not an indication of quality, take a look at all the lifetime warranty junk the big parts chain stores sell everyday. They can get away with longer warranties because tylically they have lower overhead costs. Im not knocking SKF, I've used them and had no real complaints but I don't think they are better than OEM quality. Whichever you do I'd take a hard look at a way to grease them in another year or two. It's without a doubt the biggest cause of failure. http://m.tractorsupply.com/en/store/workforcereg%3B-hypodermic-type-grease-injector-needle
 
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