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Discussion Starter #1
We drove 600 miles yesterday and about 400 miles in we started getting this weird noise from what sounded like the drivers front corner. I can’t guess what it would be. It sounds almost like a deep record scratch type noise that really intermittent. Bumps seem to cause it but not regularly, could do it every bump for a minute then nothing for a half hour.
I got under and checked and don’t see anything out of the ordinary. Was thinking maybe wheel bearing but it doesn’t sound like a wheel bearing going bad to me. It’s to intermittent to be brakes. It sounds rotational but is so irregular I cant think of what it could be.
We tried to record the sound but couldn’t hear anything over the truck in the video. In person it’s loud and you can feel almost a vibration with it through the floor.
Any ideas? I have to drive 600 miles home in a few days.
 

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In a 4WD (you don't say), it's not uncommon for the Needle Bearings in the front hub to chatter and makes a noise that sounds very much like you're driving on the rumble strips on the edge of the hiway.

IF you have 4WD, try this;

Manually Lock the Ft hubs In, this makes the stub axle turn with the tire and the needle brgs aren't in the picture (their job is to support the stub axle as the hub spins around it in 2WD). You aren't actually going in to 4WD, leave the transfer case alone, but rather just locking the hubs to the ft axles.

If the noise disappears, you've found your problem. Then try UnLocking each side, one-at-a-time to find the bad side. It's an easy fix and you can certainly drive 600mi with one side locked.

Good info here -> Welcome to guzzle's 4x4 Needle Bearing Maintenance Web Page
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Yea my next plan is to lock to hubs and see if it makes any difference. If it is the needle bearings you just mean the bearing in the hub correct? So if I needed to just drive and lock the hubs I’d be good. I was actually going to replace the hubs with just manual ones and cap the vacuum line before we left but didn’t get a chance.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Also should the front diff be rotating in 2wd? Without the hubs or transfer case locked? I checked to make sure the diff fluid level was good and the fluid was a little foamed up like the diff had been rotating, even though the fluid wasn’t warm.
 

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If it is the needle bearings you just mean the bearing in the hub correct?
Did you look at that link? They're small, inexpensive, bearings but in the Wheel Hub, not in the "switchable" hubs you were thinking of replacing. Again, they support the Stub Axle when in 2WD.

Also should the front diff be rotating in 2wd? Without the hubs or transfer case locked?
Yea, it will turn some from just the "drag" (maybe especially if those needles failed) but you should be able to stop it by jambing something into the U-joint behind the wheel you're turning when UnLocked.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Did you look at that link? They're small, inexpensive, bearings but in the Wheel Hub, not in the "switchable" hubs you were thinking of replacing. Again, they support the Stub Axle when in 2WD.



Yea, it will turn some from just the "drag" (maybe especially if those needles failed) but you should be able to stop it by jambing something into the U-joint behind the wheel you're turning when UnLocked.
Ok that makes more sense, no I did have a chance to go through that link yet but I locked the hubs and the sound completely went away so that definitely seems to be the issue. I’ll have to replace the bearings and I’ll upgrade the hubs while I’m at it just because I was going to anyway.

Makes sense about the drag because it seemed like it had been turning but not like it had just been spinning at highway speed for 600 Miles.

Thanks for the help
 
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