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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
My 2003 Focus ZTS 2.3 auto PVEV has just 31,000 miles on it. It is almost 100% stock with the exception of Ford Contour SVT 16” wheels.

Recently I purchased new tires, a major brand 205x50x16, stock size. Immediately I noticed a constant whine or moaning sound that starts at about 20 mph and increases in volume to 70 mph and above. The sound changes pitch, higher, and louder, as the speed increases. It sounds like the whine is louder in the rear of the car than the front.

Since I had purchased a UHP tire with an aggressive tread pattern I suspected the tire tread pattern as causing the whine. So did the tire manufacturer. So did the tire dealer. So my tire dealer swapped them out for a brand new set of all season performance tires, not UHP, and not the same tire manufacturer, but still 205x50x16.

The exact noise, whine, is still there after the swap.

From searching this forum it appears that the noise might be caused by bad wheel bearings. I jacked the car up and felt for any play in the wheels, both front and back. None that I can detect. RepairPal.com says that to replace the rear bearings is a $400.00 to $600.00 job. How can I be sure the bearings are bad and are causing this noise before I plunk down that much coin?

What could cause a very noticeable whine or moaning sound that changes pitch directly with speed? Rear wheel bearings? Alignment? Brakes? Transaxle? It makes the same sound no matter what gear I am in, so it doesn’t sound like the transmission gears. I am stumped. Any thoughts?
 

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Discussion Starter #2 (Edited)
Thank you for all your opinions and responses, lol.

Two more questions:
1. If I jack the Focus up and spin the back wheel by hand will I encounter significant resistance or noise if I have a bad bearing? Would a wheel with a bad bearing be hard to spin by hand?
2. Is there a "how to posting on the site that explains in detail on how to replace a brake drum with a pre-installed wheel bearing? The posting I reviewed is for a disc brake, not drum.

Ok, I found the post on how to install rear drum brakes. Thank you to the forum member for posting the helpful details.

Since the parts, brake shoes and new drumsw/bearings from RockAuto are about $150.00, how much is reasonable for labor? RepairPal.com says $223.00 to $284.00 for labor. What type of shop would do it for $200.00 BrakeCheck? Certainly not the dealer!
 

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Does the noise change at all pitch wise while turning or slight swurving ive found that this is a good way to find out if its a wheel bearing rather than a tire issue
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thank you for your reply Dirt17. No the pitch does not change when turning. The pitch rises slightly as speed increases. Since it is absolutely not the tires I am lookkng at replacing the brake drum and bearings. Might as well do the rear brakes at the same time. I am going to get bids on the labor from several places next week, since I know the exact parts prices.
 
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