Front suspension problem.

Discussion in 'Motorized Vehicles' started by Ayle, Jun 28, 2013.

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  1. Ayle

    Ayle Trailblazer

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    Hello, my car seems to have developed a potentially severe issue and I need help troubleshooting it before spending any money on it. I can hear a squeaking/screeching noise coming from the front on the driver side, at first I thought it was the strut mount going but now, I'm thinking either axle or wheel bearing. I recorded my drive home from work so that you have an idea of what it sounds like. You can listen to it here. Thank you.
     
  2. Qing Dao

    Qing Dao Notebook Deity

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    More information on squeaking/screeching noise? When does it happen? How does it change with speed, turning, braking, acceleration, etc?

    It isn't a severe issue. Any of the bearings in the suspension will last a very long time after a noise manifests itself before they fall apart. The sound slowly gets worse, and you might notice a change in the steering feel as time goes on.

    The easiest way to check a wheel bearing is to jack up that corner of the car, make sure the wheel spins freely (transmission in neutral, brakes not clamped down), and try shaking the wheel from left to right. If the bearing is indeed making noise, there should be some obvious play in it.

    Edit:

    I just listened to the audio. The quality is very low, so it is hard to tell, but it could be a worn strut mount, anti-roll bar end-link, or some other rubber bushing. Suspension noises can be difficult to pinpoint. DEFINITELY NOT a wheel bearing or axle though. With your car parked, the transmission in neutral, and the parking brake on, try pushing down forcefully on the front corner of the car where the sound is coming from. Does it make any noise?

    The good news is that it CAN be a cheap fix depending on what car you have. Either way, I highly recommend buying a kit of suspension replacement parts from Ebay. It saves a ton vs parts straight from the vehicle's manufacturer. Don't be worried about it being lower quality. The parts are usually from the same exact companies. This is where I have always turned to for my own cars and those of friends and family and have never had a problem.
     
  3. radji

    radji Farewell, Solenya...

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    Agreed with Qing. The audio quality ain't that great, but it's good enough to infer a few things. First, I could hear your turn towards the end of your recording. I assume this is when you got off the highway? The sound does not get worse when turning, but it does get worse when ramping up to highway speeds.

    It helps to have more info on your vehicle. Make model, engine/trans, front or rear wheel drive?

    As Qing said, it's real easy to rule out the wheel bearing by doing what he recommended (jacking up the vehicle and shake the wheel around to see if there is any free play). Depending on the type of powertrain you have, a front wheel drive car will have transaxle bearings in the front along with the wheel bearing on the front wheels. Only rear wheel drive vehicles have actual axle bearings.

    Your sound is more of a squeak. Bearing that are going bad have more of a clicking sound than a squeak, and if it was a wheel bearing, you'd notice the steering wheel having a slight rock at 12 and 6 (straight forward). Check the suspension by pushing down on the right side (the good side) then the left side (bad/driver side). Does the left feel less springy than the right, or can you push the left far more than you can the right? As Qing said, getting suspension parts online will be way cheaper that getting them from the dealer.
     
  4. Ayle

    Ayle Trailblazer

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    It's an 03 Focus Se wagon. I just did the wiggle test and the wheel is solid. No play at all.

    Sent from my SAMSUNG-SGH-I337 using Tapatalk 2
     
  5. radji

    radji Farewell, Solenya...

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    Did you push down on the right and left sides to feel the springyness and listen for any squeaks?
     
  6. the Duff

    the Duff Notebook Enthusiast

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    Ford mechanic here.

    Kind of a weird noise. I listened to your audio. These cars are very prone to sway bar end link failure. It really doesn't sound like that, though. Did you recently put brakes on your car? It almost sounds like the caliper hold-down spring is missing.

    Sent from my DROID RAZR HD using Tapatalk 2
     
  7. Ayle

    Ayle Trailblazer

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    The car got new rotors almost a year ago. I'll try to get a better recording in the mean time.

    Sent from my Nexus 7 using Tapatalk HD
     
  8. Ayle

    Ayle Trailblazer

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    I've just noticed that if I let go of the wheel, it is oscillating and the frequency of the oscillation increases with speed.

    Sent from my SAMSUNG-SGH-I337 using Tapatalk 2
     
  9. the Duff

    the Duff Notebook Enthusiast

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    That's your tires. A rotate and balance may help.

    Sent from my DROID RAZR HD using Tapatalk 2
     
  10. radji

    radji Farewell, Solenya...

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    And/or alignment.
     
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