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    Thread: Front end noise... Wheel bearing shot? Help me out guys

    1. Member
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      08-16-2012 09:45 PM #1
      So I recently bought a 2004 R32 after owning like 5 other vw's (always wishing they were R's). Anyway, I am experiencing some... how do I describe it.... I guess it's like a humming noise... not quite a vibration, but the "humming" is strong enough that you can sort of feel it through the car. The "humming" happens at a range from about 30-60mph and is only present when I'm turning left, or when there is more force on the passenger side of the car. When I'm going straight, it is very slight, but if I turn even slightly to my left it gets louder/stronger. When turning right and force is off the passenger side and on the driver side, the symptom is not present. It seems like it's coming from my front end as well, not rear. What are some opinions on what this would be, and if you think you know could you give me a ballpark estimate on a cost of repair (should I buy the set of Avant Garde M310's I want or am I going to need a chunk of change to fix my humming problem first)?

      Thanks in advance if you know what I need to do.

    2. Member BlackNight's Avatar
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      08-16-2012 10:05 PM #2
      I'm having the same problem and haven't figuared it out yet. It started after a track day we had in early spring.

      I looked at my bearings on a lift and found nothing, I did find that I had a rock between my brake pad and rotor. But, that is not the problem. I'm thinking its my tires, they are getting worn down and I need some new ones. I'm at a loss what it could be.

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      08-16-2012 10:19 PM #3
      Lee,
      Thank you SO much for that. That makes sense if it's tires, sort of. Mine are not shot but they are about 3/4 there. I'm looking to put some new wheels and tires on mine in the next month or so. If I get some on there and the problem is gone I'll post in this thread. If it's just tires I won't worry about it. Seems weird that it'd only do it under those conditions though right?

    4. Member djscooby22's Avatar
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      08-16-2012 11:21 PM #4
      matt,
      I see you are going with process of elimination starting with the tires. If you got a full size spare, you can try mounting it and test if humming still exists, or ask a fellow dubber with a 18" 5X100 wheel that you can test out. It would suck to splurge on new wheels and rubber only to find out the humming is still there. Also just throwing this out there, check if the inside of the wheel for any cupping or scallopping, you could have a lot of meat on the outside but if your lowered, our R's are known to chew the insides.

      What tire do you have and how many miles? A lot of tires get noisy as they wear down, harder compound tires will make a louder noise than its counterparts.

      Next culprit would be the wheel bearings. With that side jacked up, grab your wheel in the 12 and 6 o'clock position and see if theres any play, it should not move.

      Rule out the tires before making a purchase. Just my 2 cents.

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      08-20-2012 09:06 PM #5
      Quote Originally Posted by djscooby22 View Post
      matt,
      I see you are going with process of elimination starting with the tires. If you got a full size spare, you can try mounting it and test if humming still exists, or ask a fellow dubber with a 18" 5X100 wheel that you can test out. It would suck to splurge on new wheels and rubber only to find out the humming is still there. Also just throwing this out there, check if the inside of the wheel for any cupping or scallopping, you could have a lot of meat on the outside but if your lowered, our R's are known to chew the insides.

      What tire do you have and how many miles? A lot of tires get noisy as they wear down, harder compound tires will make a louder noise than its counterparts.

      Next culprit would be the wheel bearings. With that side jacked up, grab your wheel in the 12 and 6 o'clock position and see if theres any play, it should not move.

      Rule out the tires before making a purchase. Just my 2 cents.

      Thank you for the advice! Tires on there now are some Hankook Icebears. A snow tire but not studded. The previous owner was an avid skier and drove Cottonwood Canyon here in Utah daily. He had some pretty ugly wheels on there too so I'm shopping for new wheels and tires anyway. But I will lift up the front end and eliminate a loose bearing hopefully. I have noticed that the rear tires have a bit more wear inside than in the middle of the tire. I'll check the front as well. I appreciate the help and advice! I'm looking at a set of Avant Garde M310's with a softer tire on them. We'll see. For a month or so though I have to deal with these and it'll be nice to rule out bad bearings or anything that's doing damage. Thanks again!!!
      -Matt

    6. Member MBRACKLIFFE's Avatar
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      08-20-2012 10:08 PM #6
      I have a similar issue. Hums at around 40 and I can feel it when turning left just as you described. I replaced the wheel bearing cause it definitely had play in it but my torque wrench was screwed up so it didn't torque right. Had my wrench tested and it was way off. Anyways, the noise continued so I figured I damaged the bearing. After talking to a vw tech he said they usually recommend replacing the hub at the same time, 1 because its easier since the race gets stuck on the hub and 2 because in his experience the bearings wear out faster if the hub is reused. I did the bearing and hub a second time and still have the noise. Definitely no play in the bearing right now and I borrowed a good torque wrench from a friend.

      The only other thing I have done lately is front and rear swaybars. Not sure if it's related but it's gonna piss me off until I find whats causing it.

      Post up if you find it.

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      08-24-2012 12:46 AM #7
      New wheels/tires are in the works before this winter. I'm hoping that will resolve the issue. My dad had the same thing on his Maxima and when his tires wore out and he replaced them it was no longer an issue. I'm hoping this is the case. I will be sure to update this post with any new info. Thanks.

    8. 08-24-2012 02:34 AM #8
      Quote Originally Posted by mattmattlove View Post
      So I recently bought a 2004 R32 after owning like 5 other vw's (always wishing they were R's). Anyway, I am experiencing some... how do I describe it.... I guess it's like a humming noise... not quite a vibration, but the "humming" is strong enough that you can sort of feel it through the car. The "humming" happens at a range from about 30-60mph and is only present when I'm turning left, or when there is more force on the passenger side of the car. When I'm going straight, it is very slight, but if I turn even slightly to my left it gets louder/stronger. When turning right and force is off the passenger side and on the driver side, the symptom is not present. It seems like it's coming from my front end as well, not rear. What are some opinions on what this would be, and if you think you know could you give me a ballpark estimate on a cost of repair (should I buy the set of Avant Garde M310's I want or am I going to need a chunk of change to fix my humming problem first)?

      Thanks in advance if you know what I need to do.
      Have u seen how nascar guys warm there tires? A smooth and quick swerve from left to right . If u were going 30 mph and did the nascar move, the sound should come and go. Also If your driving on a right hand bending on ramp/road there should be no noise at any speed above 30 mph as your pass side is unloaded, watch the noise appear the minute u straighten out. That is just more evidence. Im almost 100% its a passenger side wheel bearing.
      Last edited by mapleleaf979; 08-24-2012 at 02:45 AM.

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      08-30-2012 10:11 PM #9
      Jacked the car up today to see if there was any play an either of the front wheels... nothing. My tires are pretty worn, but worn evenly to the eye. I probably have 15k miles on them still though easily. I'm in line for new wheels and tires in the next little bit. Will keep this thread up to date. As of today, no play in either front wheel so I'm assuming it's safe to say that the bearings may not be in awesome condition, but they aren't shot. Yeah?

    10. Member BOUDAH's Avatar
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      08-31-2012 02:09 AM #10
      When i had the ATItalia wheels on the fronts were bent to ****, they threw out both wheel bearings. Have your wheels been checked on a balancer?

      -Ellery

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      08-31-2012 02:04 PM #11
      dunno if its the same but also check your power steering fluid level.

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      09-02-2012 10:49 PM #12
      I'll check both of those things. I'm doubting it's a power steering fluid level, mostly because I check that often but I haven't checked it since the problem started in the last few weeks. I am getting new wheels and tires in a week so it'll be interesting to see if the problem ends there. I'll keep y'all posted on that update.

    13. Member MBRACKLIFFE's Avatar
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      09-14-2012 01:07 AM #13
      Ok so I found my issue. Sam symptoms as you with the noise apparent when turning left. Originally thought I screwed up the left side wheel bearing install which I just did.

      I read online a few places on the best way to diagnose and what worked for me was to put the car up on jack stands so that all four tires are off the ground, start the car, put it in fifth and let the clutch out so that all the tires are spinning at a fairly good clip. I hope it goes without saying that you had better make sure the car is stable if your going to do this.

      Anyways, once the wheels are spinning walk around and see if you can hear which wheel it is. Better yet carefully reach into the wheel well and put your hand on the coil spring. Any vibration will be amplified by the spring. I pinpointed mine right away. It was the right side wheel bearing. Apparantly after I replaced the left side it was so quiet that I could then hear and feel the right side. Oh well. Both front bearings are done now.

      Good luck.

    14. Member rajuncajun37's Avatar
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      09-14-2012 03:00 AM #14
      I have the same problem, i have ran two sets of wheels with three different sets of tires so all that discussion on wheels and tires is incorrect. My rotors look bad, just got a pre-loved set today. Gonna order wheel bearings tomorrow. How did the hubs look??
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    15. Member MBRACKLIFFE's Avatar
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      09-14-2012 12:35 PM #15
      I highly recommend the procedure I used to diagnose your car before ordering parts and doing the work unless you are convinced it is the bearings. Only took an hour to check but its a 3-5 hr job per side to do each bearing.

      The hubs looked okay. When I did my front left the first time I reused the hub. The second time I did the front left I replaced the hub so I don't know how it would have lasted if I had kept the old hub. I also replaced the hub on the front right too.

      I replaced them because a VW tech that I always talk to when I bring my car in recommended it, he said in his experience new bearings don't last as long when the hub is reused. He knows I do all my own work on my car so I don't think he was trying to up sell parts. The other reason is that getting the inner bearing race off the hub sucks. If you don't have the correct puller, which I don't, you have to carefully cut it off with a dremel and maybe a cold chisel to split it.

      I found urotuning had new hubs for $130 which is a pretty good deal and I figured if both front bearings last another 115K like the first ones than the price was worth it.

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      09-14-2012 08:05 PM #16
      Quote Originally Posted by MBRACKLIFFE View Post
      I highly recommend the procedure I used to diagnose your car before ordering parts and doing the work unless you are convinced it is the bearings. Only took an hour to check but its a 3-5 hr job per side to do each bearing.

      The hubs looked okay. When I did my front left the first time I reused the hub. The second time I did the front left I replaced the hub so I don't know how it would have lasted if I had kept the old hub. I also replaced the hub on the front right too.

      I replaced them because a VW tech that I always talk to when I bring my car in recommended it, he said in his experience new bearings don't last as long when the hub is reused. He knows I do all my own work on my car so I don't think he was trying to up sell parts. The other reason is that getting the inner bearing race off the hub sucks. If you don't have the correct puller, which I don't, you have to carefully cut it off with a dremel and maybe a cold chisel to split it.

      I found urotuning had new hubs for $130 which is a pretty good deal and I figured if both front bearings last another 115K like the first ones than the price was worth it.


      WOW... 3-5 hours per bearing?! That seems really ridiculous to me. Is this what it would take a mechanic to do the job or was this longer because it's your first time doing it? I don't think I could do the job myself so I'd be taking it to my mechanic, but 10 hours to put new wheel bearings in seems WAYYYYY beyond reason. Really?

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      09-15-2012 11:55 AM #17
      I'm calling the shop Texas Track Works on Monday. If they recommend new hubs I'll buy hubs and have the bearing pressed in. Then I'll do the install myself. If they simply wanna replace the bearing and have all the equipment and it's inexpensive I'll let them do it.

      I am seriously thinking about pulling the front and rear calipers off and having them powder coated YELLOW.

      Wheel Repair Solutions would hook it up, they did the wheels. Went to LSU last week for the big game, turned many heads on the road. People often give me the right of way just to see the wheels. Best mod ever.



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    18. Member MBRACKLIFFE's Avatar
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      09-15-2012 12:27 PM #18
      Quote Originally Posted by mattmattlove View Post
      WOW... 3-5 hours per bearing?! That seems really ridiculous to me. Is this what it would take a mechanic to do the job or was this longer because it's your first time doing it? I don't think I could do the job myself so I'd be taking it to my mechanic, but 10 hours to put new wheel bearings in seems WAYYYYY beyond reason. Really?

      Really? You think that's a long time? Well I have done it three times now and these were my times.

      Front left first ever wheel bearing replacement was about 8 hrs but I disassembled one night and reassembled the next day. Note: this was reusing the old hub which required cutting off the inner bearing race since I don't have the proper puller and it was the first time I had done it.

      Front left second attempt with new hub was about 4.5 hrs.

      Front right with new hub was 3 hrs.

      I also own a 20 ton shop press with all the proper dies to press out/in the bearing and pretty much every tool (except the special bearing race puller) you would want or need. Granted I'm not being paid to do it but I don't like wasting time either so I move pretty quickly.

      VW quoted me $345 for parts alone I don't remember what they quoted for labor but give em a call. Post up when you find out as I am sure people would like to know. My guess is they would quote 2-3 hrs per side.

      It's a fairly involved process.

      -Loosen axle nut (high torque)
      -Loosen lug nuts
      -Jack up car
      -Remove wheel
      -Remove brake caliper
      -Remove brake rotor
      -Disconnect ABS sensor
      -Remove brake backing plate
      NOTE: It is easier to loosen the next four all at the same time while the spindle is held at all points.
      -Loosen ball joint bolt
      -Loosen sway bar end link
      -Loosen tie rod bolt
      -Loosen shock pinch bolt
      -Remove sway bar end link from sway bar
      -Remove tie rod from spindle (requires puller OR leave the nut on to protect the stud and give it a crack with a BFH)
      -Remove ball joint from spindle (requires special tool OR remove three bolts and remove ball joint from control arm)
      -Press axle shaft out of hub (need a big puller)
      -Remove spindle from shock (Have fun with this if it hasn't been done in a while BFH required)
      -Press hub out of bearing
      -Remove circlip (Another fun one if its is all rusty need a big set of circlip pliers)
      -Press old bearing out of spindle
      -Clean up inside of spindle especially circlip groove and the inner bearing seat
      -Lubricate inner surface of spindle with Molykote
      -Press in bearing
      -Install circlip
      -Lubricate inner surface of bearing with Molykote
      -Press in new hub
      -Install spindle on shock
      -Install axle in hub (tighten new axle bolt to about 100lbft of torque)
      -Install spindle on ball joint (requires allen key to hold ball joint post from spinning during tightening
      -Install tie rod into spindle (requires allen key as well)
      -Install sway bar end link into sway bar (Another fun one if you only have one corner of the car jacked up, recommend jacking up both sides)
      -Torque all of the nuts and bolts which have been replaced with new as recommended by VW
      -Reconnect ABS
      -Install brake backing plate
      -Install brake rotor
      -Install brake caliper
      -Install wheel and lug bolts
      -Lower car onto ground
      -Torque wheel bolts
      -Torque axle bolt to 184ftlb + 90 degrees (need a long length of pipe and a breaker bar for the 90 degrees part)
      -Immediately loosen bolt 180 degrees
      -Roll car forward or backward until the wheel has rotated 180 degrees
      -Tighten axle bolt 184 ftlb + 90 degrees
      -One side done

      Last edited by MBRACKLIFFE; 09-15-2012 at 12:32 PM.

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      09-16-2012 10:28 PM #19
      So with my symptoms, should I have the passenger side done? I don't know that I feel comfortable putting my arm in the wheel well while my car is in 5th gear on jack stands haha. Again, I'm experiencing the symptoms when turning left slightly and there is more weight on the passenger side. When more weight is distributed on my driver side there is no humming. I'm assuming this means the drivers side is okay for now. What do you think? I'd be replacing them both eventually but if I can do them a few months apart it'd help my budget a bit.

    20. Member MBRACKLIFFE's Avatar
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      09-18-2012 09:50 PM #20
      Most likely if your problem follows suit with mine it is the front passenger side bearing. It's really no big deal putting your hand on the spring when the car is running on jack stands. The wheels drop so low there is a mile of room. I just have to give the warning for the people who are not the most safety conscious. In the end it's up to you. It only takes an hour and its free to do the diagnosis so in my opinion it's worth it. Not worth throwing parts at the car until you know what it is (speaking from experience ).

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      10-03-2012 01:44 AM #21
      Cracked down and did the job today. I had to have my mechanic help me. Took us two hours, re using the old hub. We had to cut the race off the hub to re use the hub. It is a pain compared to other wheel bearings I've done before but soooo worth it my R feels like butter again. Praying my drivers side stays solid for a while because it cost me $250 today

    22. Member VincewagenR32's Avatar
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      10-03-2012 03:46 AM #22
      Quote Originally Posted by mattmattlove View Post
      Cracked down and did the job today. I had to have my mechanic help me. Took us two hours, re using the old hub. We had to cut the race off the hub to re use the hub. It is a pain compared to other wheel bearings I've done before but soooo worth it my R feels like butter again. Praying my drivers side stays solid for a while because it cost me $250 today
      i used a torch and it popped off. same for the spindle. it was cheaper to reuse the hub since nothing was wrong with it.
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      10-03-2012 04:50 PM #23
      also i found out the hard way that the wheel bearing you think it is is actually the other side.. so after i did all the work the noise was still there. lol. good practice though.
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      10-11-2012 07:59 PM #24
      Quote Originally Posted by jeffgBMPr32 View Post
      also i found out the hard way that the wheel bearing you think it is is actually the other side.. so after i did all the work the noise was still there. lol. good practice though.
      Yes luckily we got the correct side on the first attempt. Makes a world of difference! I wish I had the tools to do the other side so that when it needs it I don't have to drop another $300

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