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VW MKIV-A4 TDIs (VE and PD) This is a general discussion about A4/MkIV Jetta (99.5-~2005), Golf(99.5-2006), and New Beetle(98-2006). Both VE and PD engines are covered here.

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Old July 13th, 2009, 18:04   #1
f1wanabe
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Default Wheel Bearing Noise- Only Turning Left

My brother had the left wheel bearing replaced on his 2002 TDI wagon by a questionable mechanic. I say questionable because the noise is still there. He says he checked and there is no play. The noise is very loud when turning left, and there is little noise when driving straight or right. Would a bad bearing make noise when turning in only one direction, or is there something else I should check?
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Old July 13th, 2009, 18:06   #2
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Noisy Left Turn=Right side wheel bearing
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Old July 14th, 2009, 05:40   #3
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That is interesting. I swear I can hear/ feel it from the left wheel, but sounds travel differently a car. I will have someone else drive so I can pay greater attention to the location of the noise and then get back to you.
Thanks!
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Old July 14th, 2009, 18:00   #4
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When you turn left , you LOAD the right side bearing making it seem louder and throw off your sense of perception as to where the noise is coming from, can be confusing but most here will agree.
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Old July 15th, 2009, 00:00   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JASONP
When you turn left , you LOAD the right side bearing making it seem louder and throw off your sense of perception as to where the noise is coming from, can be confusing but most here will agree.
Yup !
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Old July 15th, 2009, 04:37   #6
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You could check the tires. Try swapping in the spare on each side an see what happens.
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Old July 15th, 2009, 11:07   #7
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it' good practice to replace bearings in pairs, unless you have localized damage
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Old July 15th, 2009, 12:06   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BobnOH
it' good practice to replace bearings in pairs, ...
I respectfully disagree. Brakes, shocks, struts, springs, tires, yes. Wheel bearings, no.

JASONP's point is well taken. Trying to pin down the exact component that is making noise in a front suspension can be a maddening exercise. I had a left front bearing that took me about 6 months to finally track down and localize.
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Old July 17th, 2009, 13:07   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JASONP
When you turn left , you LOAD the right side bearing making it seem louder and throw off your sense of perception as to where the noise is coming from, can be confusing but most here will agree.
I won't ever agree with this logic for MkIV VWs.

The wheel bearings in MkIVs are double-row angular contact bearings. That means there are TWO sets of actual ball bearings in each physical bearing shell - an inner and outer set. One set in one bearing may be bad and cause howling when you swerve right, but it may be in the rightmost bearing.

The real way to check is to put the front end up on jackstands, start the car and let it idle in 5th gear. The side with the bad bearing will be howling away.

I did a writeup on how to replace the front bearings yourself, feel free to peruse it and decide if you're up for the task. It's not that bad, but does take some specialized tools and will take you a couple hours the first time.

Quote:
Originally Posted by BobnOH
it' good practice to replace bearings in pairs, unless you have localized damage
I also disagree with this idea. I replaced my passenger side bearing first, because I used the flawed and frankly stupid logic that it must've been bad since the noise got worse when I swerved left. After replacing my driver's side bearing and plopping both in the parts washer for a day, the pitting & fretting on the outboard outer race of the driver's side bearing was much worse than anything on the passenger side bearing.
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Old July 18th, 2009, 09:10   #10
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It is always nice when someone else has the same question I do.

My 1999.5 recently (in the past month or so) started to make a horrible noise/viberation when driving stright or to the right.

The noise completely goes away when heading left at highway speeds. I had the tires rotated at 7000 miles and it made no difference at all. So I am suspecting the left front wheel bearing.

After reviewing the installation instructions, I think I will take it to someone to have them replaced.
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Old July 19th, 2009, 08:48   #11
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I sat in the passenger side while someone else drove and I still hear the noise from the left. In addition, when I rest my left foot on the foot rest, I can feel the grinding coming from the left foot rest. I feel nothing from the passenger side "foot rest" area. Tires are new (2000 miles). I am a little nervous about jacking the car up & putting it in 5th gear, but that has never really stopped me from doing things before so maybe I'll give it a shot. I can buy bearings for both sides, do left first. If its fixed then OK. If not, I will do right side. At least they would both be done. I hate doing repairs like that, but what the heck.
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Old July 19th, 2009, 09:24   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by f1wanabe
I sat in the passenger side while someone else drove and I still hear the noise from the left. In addition, when I rest my left foot on the foot rest, I can feel the grinding coming from the left foot rest. I feel nothing from the passenger side "foot rest" area.
I'd say that's a pretty good sign it's coming from the driver's side wheel bearing, then.

Quote:
Originally Posted by f1wanabe
I am a little nervous about jacking the car up & putting it in 5th gear, but that has never really stopped me from doing things before so maybe I'll give it a shot.
Well, it is dangerous! Keep kids/pets/others/your face/genitals/hands away from the spinning wheels. The car will stupidly beep away at you while the front end is moving and the parking brake is on but that will definitely diagnose which wheel bearing is bad.

Make sure you also get a wheel bearing kit which includes the axle nut and circlip. The nut is most definitely one-time-use only and the circlip is likely to be rusted badly and un-re-usable.
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Old July 21st, 2009, 20:56   #13
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I will be working on the car next week and will report back. Thanks for the help. My plan of attack is to change them both. Since the mechanic swears he replaced the left bearing properly, I will start with the right, then if necessary the left. This way, both will be done. The car has 133,000miles, so its a good preventive measure. Although my 2006 TDI with 128,000 miles has bearings that are still silent!

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Old August 10th, 2009, 13:16   #14
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Any updates on this? I am having a similar issue, only mine is when turning right, and only under accelleration. Coasting through a hard right does not make the clicking, which I can feel in the steering wheel when it happens. Any thoughts?
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Old August 10th, 2009, 13:55   #15
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I went round and round with a bad wheel bearing. I too could only hear it when turning left. It would quit if I banked back to the right. After the mechanic replaced the driver side wheel bearing twice, he finally checked the passenger side.. Lo and behold, there was a groove on the race. Replaced the passenger side wheel bearing and no more noise.

If you've ever had a wheel bearing go out on a vehicle and it sounds similar, trust your instincts and what people on here say. I was lectured on how the tires were causing the noise. I haven't even had mud tires on a 4 x 4 pickup cause a vibration like that.

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