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In general, I agree. Personally, my hearing is excellent, however I have a car in my back yard that was diagnosed needing a right front wheel bearing. It's previous owner (A friend of my mother) complained of a grinding noise from the right front, and took it to the dealer.

The dealer diagnosed it with a bad right front wheel bearing, and gave her a quote which was higher than she wanted to deal with. So I got the car off of her, bought a wheel bearing and hub assembly, and jacked up the front... No noise, no problems at all. Returned the assembly, and parked the car until I had more time.

Last fall, I went to move the car, and the left rear wheel wouldn't turn, the bearing had siezed. I will swear that my hearing located the sound from the right front, but it was indeed the left rear wheel bearing that had gone. I have the bearing and hub assembly for that car, but in disassembling the rear, I found a problem with the rear suspension that made it so that I wouldn't want to drive it, so it got put aside until I have more time to deal with it. Hopefully this summer, if my Focus doesn't keep breaking.

Acoustics are funny, and a car interior does strange things to sound. I believe that there are very likely noises that seem to come from places that are other than they actually do. Is that the case in the Focus? I can't say, because I've never heard a wheel bearing go in the Focus, but I have some experience now that will tell me that if I hear a wheel bearing to check all 4 wheels, and not just trust my ears to tell me which corner it's coming from.
 

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I'm very glad I came upon this thread as my 2003 ZX3 has the exact same problem. I would describe it as a cyclical grinding sound that increases proportionally to wheel speed.

Difficult to tell if it's right or left, and my wife and I had opposite opinions sitting on opposite sides.

Front brake pads and rotors were replaced with no results, which I didn't mind so much because the cheap brakes were lousy anyway. And a bad CV axle on the driver's side wasn't the culprit either...

Definitely going to have a look-see at the carrier bearing.

Also, the sound is very intermittent. But lately I have noticed that i can really hear it when I am banking hard right on an expressway on ramp...

Thank you for the thorough follow through!
 

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The noise if a wheel bearing will typically get louder on a turn if it is the OUTSIDE tire on the turn, the weight shift makes the noise then as most of the weight goes to the outside. If the noise is on the inside it typically shuts up as load has dropped off that tire.
 

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Check your rear tires for flat spots, especially the left rear. Yea, I know it sounds crazy, but I had the same problem. I thought it was the front wheel bearing. I actually had flat spots in the rear tire on drivers side. It sounded like it was coming from the front wheels. I replaced the rear tires and it totally disappeared. That day, I drove it to 250 miles to the beach and I am enjoying my vacation. Give it a look.
 

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2003 ZX3...having a similar front wheel/tire noise that seems isolated to the right front. Makes most noise when turning left...putting more load on the wheel.

Jacked it up and there is NO looseness when moving the wheel....so I'm thinking it is the tire. The tire has some serious blocks on the outside edge...all 4 tires are relatively new. Pressures up to snuff.
 
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