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VW MKIII-A3/B4 TDIs This is a discussion about MKIII-A3/MkIII Jetta/Golf (<99.5) and B4 Passats (96,97) TDI's. Non TDI related postings will be moved or removed.

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Old November 1st, 2004, 15:30   #1
AMDTDI
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Default Wheel bearing or transmission

After finally determining my B4's right hand front wheel bearing was bad I changed it Friday. The local shop extracted $65 for the privilege of pressing the old one out and the new one in, after lecturing me that amateurs should never check their oil never mind remove the hub. Perhaps he was right - my horrible rumbling and whining continues. The only improvement is on left turns; where before the rumbling was much worse (leading to my RH WB diagnosis) it now makes little difference.

So I have several questions.
Did my friendly wrencher destroy the bearing while installing it (it didn't feel too smooth when I got in back)?
If not what else could be causing the problem? Do the these transmissions whine real bad before they die?

I have a second bearing I intended to install on the left since I figured both had gone about the same mileage, but don't want to waste my time with that if I should be looking towards the transmission or redoing the right hand bearing. I tended towards the wheel bearings because the noise varied with direction and suspension load. Now it doesn't, but is getting rapidly worse to the point that conversation is hard above 45mph (I now have to borrow a gasser to go out of town so I need this sorted to save my Derv reputation!). There is no play in any bearing and they don't generate excess heat. The noise seems most definitely to be from the front rather than the rear. Tranny shifts fine and lube level is OK.

Any ideas appreciated!
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Old November 1st, 2004, 17:23   #2
Steve Addy
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Default Wheel bearing or transmission

Hey...just a thought, have you checked your CV joints?

steve a
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Old November 1st, 2004, 17:42   #3
Powder Hound
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Default Wheel bearing or transmission

In general, a bad CV joint clicks when you make turns, but wheel bearings howl, growl, or rumble all the time.

There is also the possibility that increased noise is due to tire, shock/strut, and/or suspension mount wear. Rubber mounts compress, crack, and wear so that they don't dampen noise nearly so well as when they are new. Worn shocks and struts will wear the tires unevenly or even allow bouncing when you are driving so that the tires seem out of balance and cause lots of vibration noise. Worn tires just get noisier.

What kinds of vibration do you feel through the steering wheel?

Sorry I can't be more help, but diagnosing noises without driving in the car and hearing/feeling them is extremely difficult.

And, yup, it is quite possible to damage a new bearing by not pressing it in correctly. Mechanics aren't all perfect. They tend, sometimes, to let their ego get in the way, and for some, that is all they have. I had one guy try to give my car a brake test without ever releasing the parking brake, because he didn't have the intelligence to release the brake (the handle was a racheting type), and was too proud, stupid, and egotistical to ask me until he smoked everything.
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Old November 1st, 2004, 18:41   #4
WimberleyTDI
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Default Wheel bearing or transmission

I just got back from dropping my car off at AAMCO in San Marcos. It sounds like I have the same issues as you do. A few weeks ago, I took it Ancria VW in San Antonio. They replaced the right front wheel bearing. $300 They then told me the noise is my tranmission and that I needed a new one. $4500

The Aamco place told me the noise is from the left front wheel bearing. The manager said he would not charge the repair if that did not fix the problem. Not too much too lose.

Let me know if you find out what it is. I am also driving the suburban on the out of town trips, b/c the growl makes my head hurt.

Thanks, David
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Old November 1st, 2004, 18:44   #5
AMDTDI
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Default Wheel bearing or transmission

Ooops, I posted in the wrong forum by mistake. Sorry.

I have replaced the CV joints on the left and really have no reason to suspect the right hand side. All the boots are fine and no clicking.

It might be my imagination but the ride feels like bad wheel bearing; a bit rough and grinding.

The only trouble I have had with similar symptoms was a worn intermediate bearing on a driveshaft on an old diesel Peugeot 205. Can't be that on this car.

How about a mechanic inspecting a car for the annual state test who failed the parking brakes three times because they were binding. I adjusted them up perfectly every time, but still they failed. On the fourth visit I asked to watch him test them and saw he was jacking up the car on the brake cables that ran along the rear suspension arms. It pulled the brakes on so tight they were completely locked, not just binding!
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Old November 1st, 2004, 18:50   #6
Jetter_Sprinta
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Default Wheel bearing or transmission

Hi AMDTDI, Miles on the car??
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Old November 1st, 2004, 18:53   #7
AMDTDI
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Default Wheel bearing or transmission


135,000 miles
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Old November 1st, 2004, 19:05   #8
Jetter_Sprinta
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Default Wheel bearing or transmission

Well I'm relatively new to the B4 ownership scene and no expert, but I'd say wheel bearings. Mine is at &lt;130K and it definitely needs the right front. I believe in doing them in pairs, that way you're through with it.
I drove an A3 last summer that needed them BAD. The noise is as you describe, ugly. Also, from what I understand, the bearing are a one shot deal. Put them on correctly the first time or they're junk.
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Old November 1st, 2004, 19:07   #9
rdkern
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Default Wheel bearing or transmission

Check the fluid in the tranny (if this is noted earlier in the thread, sorry, I didn't review the whole thing again). Inner CV joints can cause growling at all times; they seem to be less concerned about the left/right turning issue than the outer ones.

150K even isn't much for these machines unless they've been abused. There are few problems reported with no leaks, for just about forever - 250-300 K at least.
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Old November 1st, 2004, 20:49   #10
ymz
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Default Wheel bearing or transmission

&gt;&gt;I believe in doing them in pairs&lt;&lt;

Intellectually, I agree with you...

But on my 2 previous cars it didn't work that way... on one, the original RF bearing lasted over 400,000 miles... the left needed to be replaced twice... on the other, one side lasted about 150,000 miles longer than the other...

Yuri.
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Old November 3rd, 2004, 16:13   #11
AMDTDI
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Default Wheel bearing or transmission

It was the left side wheel bearing. Got my friendly mechanic to press out the hub, bearing and press the new one in for a reasonable $30. When I got the lot put back together I was shocked at the transformation. The car glides! The bearing must have been going for the last 18 months and boy did it make a racket for the last week or so.

Thanks for all the input.
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