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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 September 6th, 2011, 04:05   #1
PatrickPresti
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Default Wheel Bearing Troubleshooting

Hi Guys,

Just wondering how to troubleshoot if you have a bad wheel bearing in the front end? I have this whining sound which sounds like it's coming from the front of the car. This whining gets louder as the faster in speed I get.

Thanks,

Pat
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Old September 6th, 2011, 06:38   #2
coalminer16
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Likely a bearing. Possibly a tire. You should rotate your tires to see if the noise changes. If the sound is there when you turn sharply then it is likely a CV joint. Only other thing it can be is a wheel bearing. Now the hard part is which one. My advice is to get the bearings for both sides as you have a 50/50 chance of getting the correct bearing done the first time. It is REALLY hard to find the problem bearing unless it is so bad that with the wheels off the ground and turning the wheel you can tell sometimes that way.
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Originally Posted by rmchambers
I really had no idea that VW dealerships were so awful to go to, they sound like undertakers cos everything that goes in there winds up dead.
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Old September 6th, 2011, 17:25   #3
PatrickPresti
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Okay thanks. How difficult is it to change the front wheel bearings? I did one of the rear ones and it wasn't too bad at all.

Thanks Again
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Old September 6th, 2011, 17:51   #4
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At one time I replaced all 4 wheel bearings and it ended up being the set of tires - even though they looked decent at around 100k. Now pushing 215k and it sounds liek I have a RR making noise but I'll be really checking out the tires first!
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Old September 6th, 2011, 18:05   #5
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What do you check with the tires?
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Old September 6th, 2011, 18:11   #6
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Try rotating but that didn't help me much.

A different set to run for a few days would be ideal.

See if the noise stays, or stays at the same wheel.
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Old September 7th, 2011, 03:54   #7
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The fronts aren't terrible. If you don't mind getting an alignment then you can just take the whole assembly off and get the bearings pressed in and out at a shop. I used the Sir-B90 kit (started a thread). Scurvy also has a how to with a harbor freight system.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rmchambers
I really had no idea that VW dealerships were so awful to go to, they sound like undertakers cos everything that goes in there winds up dead.
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Old September 7th, 2011, 04:36   #8
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Does the whining noise go away when the brakes are applied? Typically, when braking fairly hard, the rotor will center the bearing in the race, and noise will be diminished.
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Old September 7th, 2011, 15:12   #9
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I didn't pay attention when I brake however when I might a hard right turn the noise goes away. When I make a left turn, the noise stays. Any thoughts?
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Old September 7th, 2011, 15:29   #10
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Yes left front bearing.
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Old September 7th, 2011, 15:40   #11
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On the Mk4s like what you have, when you load the bearing, the noise will go away (it's the opposite on most cars). So in this case, when turning right, the left bearing is loaded and the noise goes away, so as the above post indicated, the left front wheel bearing should be the one that is bad.

To verify, jack up the left front wheel, and wiggle it back and forth, and up and down. You may feel some looseness, which is a sure giveaway.

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Old September 7th, 2011, 16:24   #12
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Also when I brake, the noise remains the same and does not go away
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Old September 7th, 2011, 19:48   #13
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I have read and experienced myself the trouble with thinking I knew which bearing was bad. Since there is two sets of ball bearings in each wheel bearing it is really hard to tell which side it is. Trust me, if you determine it is a wheel bearing get the supplies to do both sides. I did the wrong side first and the next day did the correct side.
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1981 Rabbit car-4 door, 1.9 TD aaz, 5 spd
1981 Caddy VW truck-Topper with it
2004 Golf-2 inch lift, Q-loader stage 1 tune
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rmchambers
I really had no idea that VW dealerships were so awful to go to, they sound like undertakers cos everything that goes in there winds up dead.
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Old September 30th, 2011, 07:41   #14
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Hey Guys,

I just changed the left front wheel bearing and it's still making the same noise. The inner race on the old bearing had one little spot that was pitted but that was all.

When I break the noise remains.

When I turn the wheel to the right ever so slightly, the noise goes away. When I turn the wheel to the left ever so slightly, the noise gets much stronger.

When the front is jacked up, both front wheels spin the same and have an ever so amount of play in them. Them same goes for the rear set of wheels too.

ANY THOUGHTS???
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Old October 1st, 2011, 10:41   #15
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with the front of the car up on jack stands- Don't try this with only a car jack- spin the wheels up in 2-4th gear- you should be able to hear a hum or glowl if its a bearing.- With a long extention, prybar etc place 1 end against the inside knuckle face, close to the axle-carefull not to contact the spinning axle- with your ear at the other end- compare both sides. The noise heard will be much louder from the failing side- If 1 wheel spins much faster than the other, check that side 1st, then you'll have to slow down that wheel so the other one will speed up to check. I use a prybar and press it against the fast spinning tire to slow it so the other one will speed up. BE CAREFULL! If your not confident in trying this method, and you should have a helper, then DON'T ATTEMPT! It has its obvious risks!
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