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Tiny
MELVINDOO92
  • MEMBER
  • 1998 DODGE NEON
  • 4 CYL
  • FWD
  • AUTOMATIC
I have a 98 dodge neon. In the right front there is a grinding noise. Ive been told it was the wheel bearing, but then a ex mechanic said it might be a bent wheel hub. My question is how do I go about removing the old one and installing the new. Also im new to the car repair deal but im good with my hands, can I do this myself or should I take it in to a repair shop?
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Friday, January 21st, 2011 AT 8:00 AM

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Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
A bent hub will cause a severe shake in the steering wheel, not noise. A noisy wheel bearing will sound like an airplane engine. With the older pressed-in bearings you could tell which one was bad by turning slightly such as when changing lanes on the highway. Your car uses a bolt-on type bearing. They are quite a bit more expensive but a lot easier to replace. The problem is though there is no way to know for sure which one is noisy just by driving the car. It could sound like the noise is coming from the right wheel area, and it might even get louder when turning slightly to the left, (putting more weight on the right bearing), but it could still be the left bearing. The good news is if you replace the wrong one, you can put the old one on the other side.

The only way to know for sure which bearing is noisy is to run the car in gear with it jacked up off the ground, and listen next to each one with a stethoscope. It will be real obvious when you listen to the noisy one, but you won't hear it when just standing next to the wheel because there isn't any weight on it.

Replacement is easier if you have the service manual. Remove the wheel, brake caliper, (don't let it hang by the rubber hose), and rotor. Remove the axle nut, then the bearing is held on with three or four bolts behind the spindle. The most important thing to remember is when installing the new bearing, the axle nut MUST be torqued to specs with a click-type torque wrench before the car's weight is put on it. Some people hold the axle from turning, so they can torque the nut, by installing the wheel and setting the car on the ground. Putting any weight on the new bearing without first having the axle nut torqued will instantly make it noisy. Holding the axle from turning is real easy by just sticking a large screwdriver through the vent slots in the rotor. That can even be done after the brake caliper is installed.

While you have it all apart, put a light coating of special high-temperature brake grease on the hub where it contacts the rotor. Caliper mounting points should be coated lightly too. Do not use any type of anti-seize compound on the lug nut studs. If the studs are silver or a silver-bluish color, they are anodized and no grease should be used on them. If you do use any grease on the studs, run the nuts on by hand, then torque them to the specified value, usually 95 foot-pounds. Air tools will spin the nuts so fast that grease will be whipped around onto the contact surface where the nut touches the wheel. That contact surface must be kept dry to prevent the nut from loosening.

Don't get any grease on the rotor or brake pads. It will soak in when they get hot from normal braking and cause a squeal. It is acceptable to wash any grease off with brake parts cleaner before driving the car.

Caradiodoc
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Friday, January 21st, 2011 AT 7:15 PM
Tiny
MELVINDOO92
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Would a bad wheel bearing cause the steering wheel to shake also?
Also, wouldn't the grinding from the wheel bearing go all the way around instead of just in certain spots or would that be the rotor grinding the brake pads?
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Saturday, January 22nd, 2011 AT 10:28 AM
Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
No shaking. Wheel bearings become noisy, like an airplane engine.

What do you mean by "all the way around"? Do you mean heard at all places in the car or it sounds like it's coming from all places in the car? Wheel bearings usually sound like the noise is coming from a specific front corner but that can be deceiving. What sounds like it is coming from the right front could be caused by the left front wheel bearing. That's why you have to listen with a stethoscope.

Grinding brake pads is an entirely different sound and is mainly heard while braking.

Shaking of the steering wheel can be caused by a bent hub which is part of the wheel bearing assembly, but to cause that, you would have to slide sideways into something really hard. The wheel would bend first. A less known cause of steering wheel shimmy is a worn inner cv joint housing. It will cause shaking only while accelerating, and won't usually be felt over about 35 mph. There is no noise associated with a bent hub, bent wheel, or worn cv joint. Only the wheel bearing makes noise.

A broken tire belt will also cause a shaking steering wheel but no noise.

Caradiodoc
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Saturday, January 22nd, 2011 AT 4:58 PM
Tiny
MELVINDOO92
  • MEMBER
Thanks for the help, but I need to be face to face with someone in order to understand completely. If I have any other questions I will come back to this site.
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Sunday, January 23rd, 2011 AT 6:39 AM
Tiny
MELVINDOO92
  • MEMBER
Do you know how much an auto shop would charge to take out the old and install a new wheel bearing and hub on just one side?
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Sunday, January 23rd, 2011 AT 6:52 AM
Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
As a guesstimate, I would suggest $150.00 for the bearing assembly and about an hour labor. That doesn't include time for a test drive before or after the service. If you let them figure out which bearing is noisy, it's up to them to replace the correct one. If they get it wrong, they shouldn't charge you additional labor to put the old bearing on the other side.

If you TELL them which bearing to replace, they won't do any diagnosis, just the work you asked for. In that case, if the wrong bearing gets replaced, you can be expected to pay the additional labor to have the old bearing put on the other side. It's not their fault if it was misdiagnosed.

Caradiodoc
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Sunday, January 23rd, 2011 AT 7:05 PM
Tiny
MELVINDOO92
  • MEMBER
I'm pretty sure it's the right front. About a month ago I took off the front brake pads and the right side pads were worn like I've never seen before. That's why the ex mechanic said it's probably the wheel hub.
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Sunday, January 23rd, 2011 AT 10:15 PM
Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
Ahh. Now we get "the rest of the story". The grinding noise you originally mentioned was probably worn brake pads, not the wheel bearing.

The hub has nothing to do with brake pad wear. If it were indeed bent, it would cause the rotor to wobble. That would push the piston into the caliper and cause less pad wear, not more. You would also have a very low brake pedal because you'd have to move it far enough to push the piston back out each time you applied the brakes.

If you are experiencing rapid pad wear on only one side, stop on a slight incline, apply the brakes kind of hard, shift to neutral, release the brakes, then see if the car creeps down hill on its own. If you're on a flat spot, you should be able to push the car by hand. If the car won't move, one of the front brakes is sticking applied. That WILL cause very fast pad wear.

The common cause of a sticking brake is the metal anchor bracket where it is crimped around the center of the rubber brake hose. Rust builds up inside the crimp and constricts the hose. You'll be able to force brake fluid down there with the brake pedal to apply the brake, but the fluid won't return on its own. The simple fix is to open that crimp up just a little with a channel lock pliers.

Caradiodoc
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Sunday, January 23rd, 2011 AT 11:00 PM
Tiny
MELVINDOO92
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But even with new brake pads, new rotor, and new caliper it still grinds. Plus the old pad wasn't worn down that much it was the corners that wore down. The middle of the pads were worn but in a weird way. My dad was saying he never seen pads wear down like that.
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Monday, January 24th, 2011 AT 12:15 AM
Tiny
CARADIODOC
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Get a second opinion from a different mechanic. Let him drive the car and listen to the noise. A grinding brake sounds a lot different than a buzzing wheel bearing.

Caradiodoc
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Monday, January 24th, 2011 AT 1:40 AM
Tiny
MELVINDOO92
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Thanks for the help
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Monday, January 24th, 2011 AT 2:08 AM
Tiny
MELVINDOO92
  • MEMBER
Got a new question for you. Yesterday I was driving my car and it just died. I tried to refire it and it wouldnt turn over. Lights stayed on but engine died. I havent tested the alternater or the battery. I was told it might be because its not gettin fuel pressure.
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Friday, February 4th, 2011 AT 11:31 PM
Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
Pay no attention to fuel pressure for now. The pump only runs for one second after turning on the ignition switch, then again during engine rotation, (cranking or running).

What you described can be caused by multiple common problems but if looking for one thing they have in common, I would suspect a charging system problem. If that's the case, the engine will start after recharging the battery on a slow rate for an hour. Then use an inexpensive digital voltmeter to measure battery voltage while the engine is running. It must be between 13.75 and 14.75 volts. If it is low, we can diagnose the system further by taking three voltage measurements on the three wires on the alternator.

Caradiodoc
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Saturday, February 5th, 2011 AT 12:10 AM

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