Mechanics

BRAKE PROBLEM? WHEEL BEARING PROBLEM? BOTH?

1999 Chevrolet Tahoe • 160,000 miles

Today I was on my road about to be pulling into my driveway, when I realized the brakes were acting funny/almost not there. When I got out it looked like the front right wheel was at a slight angle. Now it's making a grinding noise when driving forward a few feet. I'm at a loss on this one. Any ideas?
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Tbm817
August 25, 2012.




If you can see an angle in the tire, that is very far out of alignment. Gnerally the camber andgle is less than 1 degree and you can hardly tell it is not just straight up and down by eye.
There is either a bent shock, the upper ball joint is getting ready to fail and this is very dangerous, could cause an accident or roll-over.
There could be loose suspension components or a worn out bushing which is dangerous also.
Yes, the wheel bearing could be loose or failing.
In any of these cases take your teuck to an alignment shop ASAP as it sounds like a dangerous driving conditions. When you do drive there, be very careful and drive slow maybe even with the hazards on.
It could be that bad.

The ball joints look fine, same goes with the shocks. It's not that bad of an angle but you can tell its off. I took the tire off and the brake rotor is pretty loose. I'm not quite sure, but I dont think it's suppose to be like that

Tiny
Tbm817
Aug 25, 2012.
Either the bearing nut or the flange nuts are loose. The wheel bearing should have a castle cap that a cotter pin goes through to retain the nut. The flange nuts do not have this and the rotor is actually attached to the flange in most configurations.
Regardless you will need to jack up the front of the truck and remove the front tire. Check the hub flange and also check the brake heat shield rotor if it is loose to make sure it is not bent or damaged. Find the loose nuts and torque them to; Flange--155 Ft-Lb
Wheel bearing nut ---18 Ft-Lb
If the nuts appear to be tight you will be looking for damage to the wheel bearing and race.
You will have to remove the steering knuckle to have the wheel bearing replaced. There are some companies that make, "Unitized" bearing and hub upgrades which you can bolt on.
Try Summit Racing. Com for this part.
In any case you should attend to it before it damageges the flage or steering knuckle.

Got it fixed, the bearing/ bearing assembly itself disintegrated. It was barely hanging in there

Tiny
Tbm817
Aug 26, 2012.
Good thing you got right on it. It may be a good idea to get the other side done too as it will probably fail soon as well and you don't want to get caught far from home or a repair facility in that situation.
I am glad it worked out for you. The rear wheel bearings are a lot tougher and get lubricated with the gear oil from the differential.
It is common for trucks with larger tires to go through wheel bearings and lower ball joints too.
If you get a chance, jack up the front end and grab the top and bottom of the front tire. If you push in the top and pul out the bottom and then do the opposite, rocking it back and forth, you should be able to feel if there is any paly in the ball joint or you might feel the bushings going bad but it is usually the ball joints. Then grab the front and rear of each front tire and do the same rocking motion to check for play. This will check the tie rods for end play which can cause vibration and wnadering left and right.
The front lower ball joints are very important because if they fail completely, the front lower control or A-arm will end up on the ground and grind to a halt causing you to have no steering until it stops, possible undercarriage damage and a possible roll-over if it happens at speed.
Not to mention all this loose stuff wears out tires sooner.
Good luck and get the other wheel bearing done and check those lower ball joints and you'll be in good shape.

Dr. C
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