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So I jacked up my car today to check out my sspension and what the rattling noise might be that I was asking about a while back.

I put the jack under the front shock on each side so the suspension wasn't extended.

I grabbed the top and bottom of my wheel and rocked it, and my right front wheel wobbles a little bit. I checked it out from behind as best I could and it didn't look like any suspension components were moving or loose.

I hit the wheel a bit and it made a noise that sounds like it could be the noise I hear when I hit bumps, just less intense since I can't hit it as hard as a bump.

So, I'm suspecting my wheel bearing might be bad on this side, all the rest of the wheels don't move at all. Its a weird noise I hear though, its knocking around, and could be this wheel, but it doesn't seem/feel like it's localized to that specific wheel.

Anyone else think it's my wheel bearing? I guess if I replaced it and the knocking went away then I would know :)
 

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1997 Thunderbird 4.6, 1998 Mark VIII LSC
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Which way does it move? If you grab the top and bottom of the tire and rock it and it moves, it could be the wheel bearing or one of your ball joints - watch the spindle to see if it moves as you rock the tire. If you see the top moving, then you have upper ball joint issues. If you stick a 2x4 or steel bar under the tire and lift up and the wheel moves with it (while not moving the lower control arm... grab a buddy to watch), you might have lower ball joint issues. Otherwise your wheel bearing is at fault for that movement. If you grab the front and rear of the tire and rock it and it moves, it could be either the wheel bearing, sway bar endlinks, tie rods ends... Again, grab a friend.
 

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I was told that my right front wheel bearing was bad by a Goodyear tire dealer. I bought new ones and when I went to put them on, I found that the wheel bearing nut was loose - I could almost loosen it by hand! So, it probably wasn't bad, but I was going to replace them anyway because my Thunderbird, which I bought about 2 1/2 months ago, had 144,000 miles on it and they were probably the OE ones.

If you do buy new wheel bearings, I'd stay away from the ones they sell on eBay - I bought two of them because I could get them both for the cost of one at AutoZone or Advance Auto. But, when I was sliding the one on the spindle, the cap that covers the bearings popped off, exposing the bearings and grease. I popped it back on, but I just don't feel good about them, now. I'm about to replace my entire front suspension (new upper and lower control arms, tension strut bushings, etc), so I'm going to buy new Timken wheel bearings for it.

It's possible, but probably not likely, that you have a loose wheel bearing nut, too. Those nuts are supposed to be tight, too - I think Ford specifies something like 188-254 ft-lbs. And, you're supposed to replace, instead of reuse, the wheel bearing nuts. I put my old ones back on (I applied blue Loctite to them), but only because I'm replacing the wheel bearings again soon. I got new nuts at the Ford dealer (about $22 a piece).

I also had a terrible knocking sound in my front suspension when I'd go over bumps that made me think something was going to fall off the car (that's why I was at the Goodyear dealer) - it turned-out that my front sway-bar end-links were totally shot. I replaced them and now my suspension has been almost completely quiet since! Those could very well be causing the noise you're hearing!

Good luck!

Dennis
 

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To add about wheel bearings - I replaced my LF one not too long ago with a Timken unit from RockAuto. The nut and bearing, with shipping and the 5% discount (search for the thread on here, people update it with up-to-date codes), was $70. Also, like Dennis said, the sway bar endlinks can be a real noise-making pain when they go bad. I just replaced both of mine because I was getting noises and that took care of that.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I didn't shove a bar or 2x4 under the tire, just used hand pressure and punching.

The wheel will move all directions. If i grab top and bottom, I can push the top in, and pull the bottom out... like this sort of motion / \ / \ ..... I can do the same thing grabbing it from the left and right on the side.

Heres my problem, what exactly are the swaybar end links... I don't know what I'm looking for/at, and there isn't much room to see with the wheel still on.
 

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Take the wheel off silly. The end links connect the sway-bar to the spindle. Get yourself a Chilton and/or Haynes manual and look this stuff up.

How many miles does the car have? IMO it sounds like your bearings are bad.
 

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I didn't shove a bar or 2x4 under the tire, just used hand pressure and punching.

The wheel will move all directions. If i grab top and bottom, I can push the top in, and pull the bottom out... like this sort of motion / \ / \ ..... I can do the same thing grabbing it from the left and right on the side.

Heres my problem, what exactly are the swaybar end links... I don't know what I'm looking for/at, and there isn't much room to see with the wheel still on.
Sir,
Download a manual here for your year and study the suspension section very carefully. They will explain exactly how to check everything:

http://www24.brinkster.com/sdhartney/linc/linc.htm

Look toward the bottom left.
 

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Johnny the Wheel bearings are most likely shot. And soon it will get bad enough that you'll start eating brake rotors and such as the whole assemly moves and starts pressing on the pads all weird. I suggest you replace the wheel hubs asap. It's an easy job. It's a single 36mm Nut that holes the whole thing on.

Remove the wheel and tire with the car jacked up of course

Remove the brake caliper from the Caliper bracket(attach it somewhere with wire or something so it's not dangling from the brake line.)

There is a cap on the end of the spindle. I took a flat blade screw driver to pry it off. Just worked around until it popped off. This will expose the nut holding the hub assembly on.

This is where an impact wrench works wonders. Take the impact and a 36mm socket and hammer the nut off. If you don't you'll need a good size break over bar and cheater pipe. Like stated above... that sucker is on to over 250Ft lbs and probably rusted from being on there for over 10 years.

Now that the nut is off you can take the hub off. Mine was easy since they were replaced with mustang hubs already. Yours might be stuck. Take a mallet and beat it off the spindle.

Now clean all the grease and gunk off the spindle and start inspecting the spindle to make sure it's not cracked or damaged. Not likely but I am an aircraft mechanic so it's habbit and good practice for me.

Now that everything is cleaned up and good to go. Lube the spindle back up. Slide teh replacement Wheel hub back on. And start torqing the nut on. It is recommended to get a new nut. I replaced mine and used blue loctite for safe measure... knowing that 1 nut was the only thing holding my wheel on at 145+ MPH was unnerving.

Like stated above torque to 188-254 ft lbs of torque. Takes a big torque wrench lol. Put the dust cap back on the end of the spindle and put everything back together. And now your wheel wiggle and rattling issues will disappear.

I ordered timken bearings myself. I believe I ordered mine from Autoanything. Paid like 90 shipped for both of the them or something close to that. The Tbird hubs may be a little more expensive but I don't know.
 
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