Originally Posted by Jester86
My WJ has begun making a new noise! At first it was fairly irregular however it is becoming more constant. The noise used to become audible at 30mph and up but is now audible about as soon as it starts rolling however its still hit and miss... some days no noise at all. It is purely a function of tire/wheel RPM and is in no way related to engine RPM. It sounds almost like a plastic gear box on an R/C car spinning freely - higher pitch whining. Doesn't really sound like what I'd expect anything bearing related to sound like and also seems to come and go as it pleases. Perhaps rust on the exterior perimeter of my rotor is rubbing on a guard? Has anyone else heard of something like this? It seems to be coming from the front left wheel-well however I could be completely off and it coming from the front diff... :-\
YES, I had this almost EXACT noise. It started out as a whining that was only audible w/ the windows down after about 25mph and wind noise would be too loud after about 40-45mph. Some days it would be there, other days it wouldn't. I couldn't figure it out so I left it alone for probably 5-6 months. During those months, the noise slowly became louder and the speed when it happened slowly dropped. But it keep being intermittent. Some days there and others it was gone.
Always a function of wheel speed, not engine speed. It didn't seem to matter if I was turning or going over a bump. I thought I was going to need to rebuild the front differential.
On a LONG shot, I took it to Meineke b/c they do free checks. They told me it was the front driver's side wheel bearing assembly. Since it had been happening for about 6 months and it was a high pitched whine, I HIGHLY doubted it was the bearing. Every bearing I've ever heard was more of a groan and it would only last for a couple weeks before really bad things happened. A new bearing was only about $70 and looked easy enough to remove. So I decided, what the hell, I'll replace the bearing. IT WORKED and the noise hasn't been back in 3 months.
While removing the bearing assembly, I accidentally pulled the bearing apart. After I got everything replaced, I checked the old bearing. All the balls looked good and the two races also looked fine. There is still nothing in my mind that says this was a bearing issue. But I replaced it and it's gone.
I recommend you do the same. It's only $70 for the part and a couple hours of work. I recommend you get 3 new bolts that hold the assembly so they go in easy. Using the old ones is a pain (that's what I did when I replaced the first one).