revhard New Reader
3/1/13 8:41 a.m.

I have a 2005.5 audi a4 and over the winter its been making a low pitched rough noise , almost like rolling a dirty bearing. Its coming from what i believe is the right rear of the car. If i drive straight or make left turns, the sound is still there. But if i take a right turn , even a gentle sweeper where i have to turn the wheel maybe 15 degrees, the noise goes away.

I think i might have a bad wheel bearing but im not sure since the sound goes away on certain turns. could it also be an axle?

N Sperlo
N Sperlo UltimaDork
3/1/13 8:50 a.m.

Sounds more like a bearing. If it's real bad, you should be able to lift the car and wiggle it a little. Who knows, I've been wrong.

ransom UltraDork
3/1/13 9:49 a.m.

Sounds like a bearing to me, too...

revhard New Reader
3/1/13 9:57 a.m.

the thing is , I've jacked up the car and tried to wiggle the bearing and i dont feel anything that screams bad wheel bearing. ive also never felt a bad one and ive heard they can go bad and not wiggle.

ransom UltraDork
3/1/13 10:10 a.m.

That's my impression, too. Loose will certainly help hasten a bearing's demise, but I'm pretty sure you can get pitting and roughness without getting definitively loose.

If you want to disconnect the axle and give it a spin, I've certainly had a couple of VW Rabbit/Golf rear bearings that made enough audible noise to be pretty conclusive just spinning the wheel in the air...

To me, that low roar/rumble, accentuated when that side of the car is loaded in a turn, is pretty darn conclusive. I mean, I'm not there, so I don't actually know what you're hearing, but if I were going to bet on anything, it'd be wheel bearing.

Jay_W Dork
3/1/13 10:15 a.m.

Jack that wheel up, spin it by hand, and listen to the hub with a stethoscope screwdriver.

fidelity101 HalfDork
3/1/13 1:33 p.m.

Jack the wheel up and grab the wheel at 3 and 9 oclock and rock it side to side, then do it from 12 and 6 oclock and see if you feel any play, it should be tight but if you can rock it and likely hear a thunk - then its bad.

And if its an audi you are probably going to do a few misc suspension pieces while youre in there.

Beer Baron
Beer Baron PowerDork
3/1/13 1:41 p.m.
revhard wrote: If i drive straight or make left turns, the sound is still there. But if i take a right turn , even a gentle sweeper where i have to turn the wheel maybe 15 degrees, the noise goes away.

Sounds like a wheel bearing.

Not rocking is possible. Very likely that if it rocks it might be very very slight. The whole wheel might only shift 1-2mm. That's still movement.

HappyAndy Dork
3/1/13 2:05 p.m.

That probably has a hub/bearing assembly. From your description, my guess is that its bad. FWIW, I have come across more than one faulty hub/bearing assembly that didn't have any discernible movement when checked by hand. Also, check the brake rotor on that corner carefully. I would think that a warped or cracked rotor would be felt in the pedal too, but stranger things have happened.

poopshovel UltimaDork
3/1/13 2:08 p.m.

Replaced one on the rear of the Integra a couple years ago that had no measurable movement, but howled like a motherberkeleyer at speed, and spinning it by hand, you could feel/hear it. New hub assembly was like $30-40 on rockauto.

belteshazzar UberDork
3/1/13 2:10 p.m.

this is a very plain case of bad wheel bearing, imo.

making a left or right sweep with the wheel is the equivalent to standing on one foot or the other to tell if you have a bad ankle.

it's typical for them to be tight and smooth while on the lift, but bad on the road. don't let that distract you.

airwerks New Reader
3/1/13 2:20 p.m.

Yes, wheel bearing. The left or right turn tone change is the give away. Had the same thing happen on my A4........

85Canuck New Reader
3/1/13 5:55 p.m.

Like Jay_W said, it can be helpful to "listen" to the bearing with a stethoscope or screwdriver. Be sure to compare to the other bearing on the opposite side of the car. A bad bearing may also feel "notchy" compared to a good one. But you won't feel it with the wheel mounted, driveshaft hooked up, etc.

Streetwiseguy UltraDork
3/1/13 8:24 p.m.

The noise changing under load sure sounds wheel bearing-ey. Very very seldom does a modern hub/bearing actually loosen up, unless somebody has forgotten to torque the axle nut. I think most noisy bearings come from road impacts, because I bet 75% of the bearings I change are right front, which happens to be the wheel close to curbs and broken ashpalt on the edge of the road. I have no scientific evidence of this, though.

Beware- noises transfer around cars. What sounds like right rear from the drivers seat may be different from the rear seat. Take a good ear for a ride in the back. He can roam around and isolate pretty quickly.

carzan HalfDork
3/1/13 10:20 p.m.

Sounds like a wheel bearing, but make sure it isn't a tire. Sometimes bad tires can mimic bad wheel bearing symptoms pretty closely.

dj06482 Dork
3/2/13 5:39 a.m.

Also check your brakes. Our Odyssey recently was making a similar sound from the driver's side front wheel. Jacked it up, no movement from the wheel. Put it on jack stands, pulled the wheel/tire, and the brake pads on that side were worn to almost nothing. I was happy it was not a wheel bearing!

iceracer UberDork
3/2/13 8:17 a.m.

A bad wheel bearing seldom has any play in it. When you put a load on it as in a turn, it grumbles, take the load off and no noise.. This probably has already been said. Just tried to condense it a little.

revhard New Reader
3/21/13 9:08 a.m.

Im certain its the wheel bearing now after comparing it to videos ive seen on you tube, other people listening, and riding in the back. Now is there anyway i can tackle this job without a press? It seems like something i can handle but its my only car and access to a press is tricky without driving to work or something.

revhard New Reader
3/21/13 9:19 a.m.

has anyone used this before?

Ojala Reader
3/21/13 9:27 a.m.

I am personally in mancrush with the hub shark for changing wheel bearings. Harbor Freight sells a knockoff called a "front wheel drive adapter" or some such thing. It is basically a big bolt and nut with some sleeves and plates. You turn the bolt and it pulls the plate through and brings the bearing with it. Vastly easier and better than a press.

And it's been 3 weeks! Get after it man!

DuctTape&Bondo HalfDork
3/21/13 11:11 a.m.
revhard wrote: has anyone used this before?

I used them to put a new wheel bearing in my mom's 1st gen Rav4. Worked great. Much better than the shop that I paid to do it the first time around. They had an actual press and still did it wrong.

revhard New Reader
4/3/13 8:48 a.m.

Did the job this past weekend, and it was the wheel bearing. There was some nasty galling on the race. I used the harbor freight tool, and it worked a lot better then expected. If anyone has to do this, i used the -17 to press out the bearing and the -18 to press the new one in. I also learned the hard way that the bearing has 2 different id's so theres a right and a wrong way to install the bearing.

So much quieter now!

stan_d Dork
4/3/13 9:02 a.m.

I have the hub tamer kit from OTC bought it on sale from napa worked great on my 88 90 quattro. Pulls and pushes on the car. I still prefer a US made tool than a Chinese in tension areas.

Our Preferred Partners