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Floods suck.
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Discussion Starter #1
Hey guys, I have had a peculiar problem as of recently. I went on the interstate today, and I felt like my car was a lot louder in front than normal. The last few times I went on the interstate, I could swear that my car seems louder (as in a whirring noise.) My girlfriend said I was just hearing things, she didn't think anything sounded different. Today I know it was a lot louder though, and I don't know where to even start.

Here is some background info. My car is a 5-speed, with 135k. I replaced all of the wheel bearings this past summer, which was about 15k ago. I was driving my car 600-700 miles a week, but in December I moved, so now I only drive maybe 50 miles a week if I don't visit my family. I replaced one of the CV axles (cant remember which one sorry), when I bought the car 3 years ago, which was at 90k miles or so.

The noise was similar to when my wheel bearing went out and left me stranded. When I lost a wheel bearing before, it was my back left. For 10k miles before it happened, you can hear a loud (Wah, wah, wah) sound. It always happened around 60 mph or higher. Well this time, its nowhere nearly as loud, and I'm positive its coming from the front. And its more of a constant noise, which starts at about 30 mph and gets louder. To add to the confusion, I can hear a creaking noise when I turn my wheel to the right when I pull into my parking spot at my apartment. There is a constant vibration as well, I never really feel it getting worse at any time though. Also, when I come to a stop at a stop light, a clunk can be heard that's coming from somewhere in the front. These could all be separate problems I suppose. Oh and I noticed this past weekend that my tires are down to their wear bars, I heard that tires get louder as time progresses. Since I only get on the interstate when I go home to visit my family, (a few times a month), it may seem louder since I usually never get over 45mph on my 5 minute drive to work. I am going to be going home again this weekend though, I need to rotate my tires and a bunch of other maintenance shenanigans. Oh and I'm going to be buying coil overs and some new rims (hopefully I make it there). Now I feel like I need to put my money else where.

So I'm thinking it could be any (or multiple) of the following: Bad ball joint, bad CV axle, bad end links, bad bearing (again), bad motor mount, or I'm just crazy. lol

I think I remembered everything, I tried to list as many symptoms as possible. Thanks in advance!
 

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FocusRush
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1,774 Posts
If you have never replaced the passenger side motor mount, you might want to check it. That could account for some of your issues. It's very easy to remove, just make sure you have the passenger side of the motor supported from underneath when you remove it. A bad mount can transfer quite a bit of noise and vibration into the cabin that would otherwise be unnoticeable.

CV Axels: You'll notice clicking or clunking when making sharp turns in the car. So I don't think this is your issue.

Wheel Bearing: Definitely a possibility. If you can find a low mileage focus in the junkyard of the same year, just take the entire knuckle, it's easier than replacing the bearing alone, and probably cheaper. Downside to this, you're getting a used bearing.

End Links: The symptom for bad end links would be a clunking noise over small bumps or uneven road. From your description, I don't think this is your problem.

Tires: Yes, replace them, these cause quite a bit of noise and vibration when they get down past the wear bars. I would do this first, since no matter what, you need tires.

Ball Joint: Doubt it. The symptoms of this are similar to having a band end link.


Here is how you can check everything for free:

Tires: Just rotate them and see if the noise moves with the tires.
Passenger-side Motor Mount: Just remove and inspect. It will be obvious if it's bad.


Hope this helps.
 

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Floods suck.
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5,296 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
If you have never replaced the passenger side motor mount, you might want to check it. That could account for some of your issues. It's very easy to remove, just make sure you have the passenger side of the motor supported from underneath when you remove it. A bad mount can transfer quite a bit of noise and vibration into the cabin that would otherwise be unnoticeable.

CV Axels: You'll notice clicking or clunking when making sharp turns in the car. So I don't think this is your issue.

Wheel Bearing: Definitely a possibility. If you can find a low mileage focus in the junkyard of the same year, just take the entire knuckle, it's easier than replacing the bearing alone, and probably cheaper. Downside to this, you're getting a used bearing.

End Links: The symptom for bad end links would be a clunking noise over small bumps or uneven road. From your description, I don't think this is your problem.

Tires: Yes, replace them, these cause quite a bit of noise and vibration when they get down past the wear bars. I would do this first, since no matter what, you need tires.

Ball Joint: Doubt it. The symptoms of this are similar to having a band end link.


Here is how you can check everything for free:

Tires: Just rotate them and see if the noise moves with the tires.
Passenger-side Motor Mount: Just remove and inspect. It will be obvious if it's bad.


Hope this helps.
Thanks for all of the information! I am planning on rotating the tires this Saturday, and I was going to see if that helped at all. I am actually going to pick up new rims and coils this weekend, so I will be getting new tires in my future as well. I replaced a motor mount in my parents focus, so Im familiar with how that goes. Oh and I found that out when I replaced the bearings before. I went to buy just the bearings, and they were actually more expensive than the whole assembly the bearing is housed in. I started thinking about it, and I just assumed they were already pre-greased. Maybe they weren't. I figured they were since you would have to take the assembly apart to even get to the bearing. Thanks again for all of the help, I'll let you know what I find.
 

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Floods suck.
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5,296 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
So I rotated my tires this weekend, and didn't see anything else wrong with my car. I was in a hurry, so I only got to do that. I went over to my friend's dads house and had him drive the car. He said it sounds like my right front wheel bearing is starting to go out again. He said before I go replace it again, to get new tires and then see if that was the problem just to make sure. So this leads me to some new questions.

Why would the wheel bearing fail again already? Like I said, its been maybe 15,000 miles since I replaced all 4. Did I install them wrong? I do have EAP's, which are a pretty heavy wheel. Does that have anything to do with it? Was the bearing just a bad brand? I bought them at advanced auto, can't remember which brand I got...

What sucks is that I was really wanting to go back to 16's. Since my tires were about shot, I was going to buy some 16's and coilovers, and then some tires whenever I had the money. (I would buy one component a month probably.) Now I'm just wondering if I should only buy tires (since EAP's are 17's), and wait to get coils later in life.
 

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Old Phart
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44,596 Posts
Could be just one bad bearing if you find that's the problem. 17" wheels wouldn't make any particular difference since you're using stock offset (wheels that stick out more than stock CAN wear bearings sooner though the Focus doesn't seem as sensitive to this as some cars)

Did you press the bearings in yourself? Or did you have them done?

Using an old bearing as a driver helps with pressing them, need to press the shell & an exact size driver isn't always available.

I'll move this to the Brakes,suspension & chassis section for some more looks.
 

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Floods suck.
Joined
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5,296 Posts
Discussion Starter #6
Could be just one bad bearing if you find that's the problem. 17" wheels wouldn't make any particular difference since you're using stock offset (wheels that stick out more than stock CAN wear bearings sooner though the Focus doesn't seem as sensitive to this as some cars)

Did you press the bearings in yourself? Or did you have them done?

Using an old bearing as a driver helps with pressing them, need to press the shell & an exact size driver isn't always available.

I'll move this to the Brakes,suspension & chassis section for some more looks.
Thanks for moving this for me!

I actually didn't know that about the offset, thanks for the info.

I went to buy the bearings, and just the bearings themselves were more expensive than the whole assembly. So I bought the shiny new assembly, well because shiny. haha Actually I did because it was cheaper, and I wouldn't have to mess with tapping the bearings themselves in. What I got looked like this:
http://www.ebay.com/itm/Motorcraft-BRD-39-Rear-Brake-Drum-/360675570328?pt=Motors_Car_Truck_Parts_Accessories&fits=Make:Ford|Model:Focus&hash=item53f9f07298&vxp=mtr

This wasn't the exact one I bought, I bought it from Advance Auto. For some reason just the bearings themselves were $10 more, so I'd save time and money. So all I had to do was clean the spindle off real well, and tap the assembly onto the spindle if I remember correctly.
 

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Old Phart
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44,596 Posts
Thought the current noise was from the front, that's where pressing bearings into the spindles is more likely than new assemblies.
 

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Floods suck.
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5,296 Posts
Discussion Starter #8
Thought the current noise was from the front, that's where pressing bearings into the spindles is more likely than new assemblies.
Correct, it is.

Maybe I only did the back two then. I only remember doing the complete assemblies, I don't remember pressing bearings at all. Around that time I helped my friend do the wheel bearings in his car, maybe I'm getting the two confused...

Either way thanks for the help!
 

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Floods suck.
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5,296 Posts
Discussion Starter #9
I wanted to update this in case anyone wanted to hear an update. The vibration took a turn for the worse the week after I came home from my parents house. I took the car to a shop (I never ever go to shops, unless its for a tool/equipment I don't have.) I told them to investigate, and to start by looking at the wheel bearings. I stood outside while I watched the mechanic climb in my car and drive off (I also don't like people I don't know drive my car, it makes me nervous. Lol). He got up to maybe 30 mph and turned around 100 yards from the shop and came back. He claimed he turned around for his own safety, and that the problem was definitely the wheel bearings. Sure enough, that was the problem. 3 of the 4 wheels were "close to falling off the car" according to the mechanic. Which is possible I suppose, but they weren't making noises as crazy and loud as they were before when they were shot. I figured I wouldn't make it back home to change the bearings out myself, and my friend is in the Navy now that I always did car stuff with. I could do it myself, but I tend to take my time and work a lot slower than when I'm with someone else. Anyways, I decided I would hate to have my wheel fall of going 70mph on the interstate, and have me, my gf, or someone else get hurt as a result. So I asked how much it would be to have those 3 wheels done. The guy behind the counter told me the price, and I dang near poo'ed myself. It was a crazy high price. I would rather have broken down, and paid the bill for the tow and parts and do the work myself. I wound up talking the guy down some, and then I presented him with my 15% off coupon. It still wound up being a lot of money, so I was pretty sad that weekend about the amount I had paid. Lol I bought the 4th wheel bearing to do myself though. I went ahead and bought the whole spindle and hub assembly. The brand I bought was Timken, just like the other 3 are now. All of the other symptoms are gone now (the popping and clunking). The car drives smooth as glass up to about 20 mph. Then there is constant vibration up to about 55 or 60. Everything after that feels smooth as glass again, where before the vibration kept going. The last bad bearing is in the left front, so I'm assuming/hoping that's all that's wrong. Looking back at this scenario, I should have waited on getting the 3 replaced. I could have priced out other shops first, or had my dad tow the car home with a tow dolly on a weekend he wasn't busy. (He works at Ford, and has been working 7 days a week for a couple months so he's never free.) Oh and here was the biggest lesson learned- NEVER CHEAP OUT ON WHEEL BEARINGS. Tada, there is my rather long update post.
 

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Floods suck.
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Discussion Starter #11
Luck!

Torque that last one right when you do it, loose axle & the bearing will go out again.
Ok I will do that, thanks! I have a week off work the last week of May and I was planning on installing it then. I'll let you guys know how it goes.
 
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