99 Malibu. Could this be CV joint?

Tiny
STRYPED
  • 1999 CHEVROLET MALIBU

Hey,

My wife has a 99 Malibu. It has a "noise" while driving that is hard to explain. ALmost like a roar. It is not too loud. To me it sounds like it is coming from the right front wheel. It is there even if while cruising you put the car in neutral. It seems to go up in pitch as you get faster and go down as you get slower. I rotated all the tires to see if that would help, (putting the front tires in the back and the back into the front). It did not seem to help very much. I also took the break pads off and cleaned then and the rotors. There was plenty of padding left on the brakes.

I did notice that while cruising at highway speed if I turn the wheel to the right I can make it a little louder while turing.

ANy idea what this would be and how to tell? My guess might be a cv joint? My Hayes manual says a symptom of that is clicking or grinding while turning but this does not sound exactly like that.

By the way I also with the car jacked up pulled on the wheel before taking it off and did not feel any play. (I thought that was the right way to tell if a wheel bearing was bad.)

I have never messed with a front wheel drive car very much so I am not sure how difficult it would be to replace if this was it. Autozone has a unit for 70 bucks. What is involved in replacing one? (If that is my problem).

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Monday, December 18th, 2006 AT 8:47 AM

21 Replies

Tiny
MATHIASO
  • MEMBER

Hi,
put the car in park and start it. Do you hear noises?
Put the car in drive, do you hear noises?
Start to drive, notice if you hear noises
turn your right making a full circle, do you hear noises?
Turn your left, making a full circle, do you hear noise?

Let me know and I will help.

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Monday, December 18th, 2006 AT 9:30 AM
Tiny
STRYPED
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It only does it when in motion. It does not do it standing still.

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Monday, December 18th, 2006 AT 9:38 AM
Tiny
MECHANIC7120
  • MEMBER

Sounds like a wheel bearing. Jack car up just till tire comes off the ground. Now see if you can move the wheel top to bottom

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Monday, December 18th, 2006 AT 10:13 AM
Tiny
STRYPED
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I can try that again but I tired that once and it did not feel like there way any play.

Is it hard to change this bearing in this car?

The sound is worse when turning the wheel to the right at highway speeds.

How can you tell if it is hte cv joint?

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Monday, December 18th, 2006 AT 10:20 AM
Tiny
MATHIASO
  • MEMBER

Let me explain what may be wrong with your car and answer you about the cv joint.
Drive the car in a safe area where you can weave the vehicle from side to side. During the road test, a good method of identified a problem is to take full right and full left turns while going in reverse. This forces the the joints to operate out of their normal positions and make noise and vibrations more noticeable. Acommon complain is a clicking or popping noise when the vehicle is turning. This sound is caused by a worn or damage outer CV joint.
Drive the car full turns if only a faint click is hear, put the car in reverse and repeat the test if the noise is loud, the problem is a severely damaged or worn joint.
Now, the source of the noise can be pinpointed by paying attention to the noise as the vehicle is turn to the right and left.
Normally this noise is cause by the outboard CV joint that is is on the inside of the turn when the noise is the most noticeable.
If clicking was not hear, quickly accelerate then decelerate the car, A clunking noise during torque out put changes indicate an inner CV joint.
Now it may be something else too:
check for loose inner CV joint flange bolts, a worn half shaft damper or excessive backlash in the transaxle and differetial gears.
Do not forget to check your wheel bearings by doing what mechanic7120 said.

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Tuesday, December 19th, 2006 AT 12:02 AM
Tiny
STRYPED
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I am beginning to think it is indead a wheel bearing. I called and they only sell a complete "hub" replacement. Is this hard to replace myself? I have replaced wheel bearings in rear wheel drives but not front. Is this hard?

Also, is there a good way to determine which one it is? I think it is the passanger side but the sound is worse when turning to your right.

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Tuesday, December 19th, 2006 AT 7:57 AM
Tiny
BOOTDOG
  • MEMBER

The easist way to determine which bearing is bad is to jack the front up, and place your hand on the strut spring, spin the tire and feel for any vibration. Which ever side you feel the vibration, that's the bearing you want to replace. It's a bolt on assymbly and is pretty simple to replace :)

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Tuesday, December 19th, 2006 AT 8:27 AM
Tiny
STRYPED
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Do both tires have to be jacked up? Or can I jack one at a time. I only have a small jack.

Also, someone said I would need a hub puller? Also, the nut needs to be torqued to 284 ft/lbs. ANy idea how to get that much pressure on it?

I can make the noise worse swerving to the right at highway speed. Does that help identify which one it is?

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Tuesday, December 19th, 2006 AT 8:46 AM
Tiny
BOOTDOG
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You can jack it up 1 at a time if you like. Be sure you put the vehcle in neutral and chock the rear wheels to keep the vehicle from rolling. Then spin the wheel with one hand and put your other hand on the spring. Never go by the sound. I have seen that mistake too many times. Sometimes the sound can be heard in the right but it's the left thats bad, or vise versa. You won't need a hub puller. The spindal and bearing is all one (bolt on) unit. The hardest part if you don't have any impact tools is getting the axle nut off and torquing it back down to proper spec. I'm not for sure what the torque spec is, but the dealer can give you that info. Hope this helps and good luck :D

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Tuesday, December 19th, 2006 AT 11:12 AM
Tiny
STRYPED
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I dont have impact tools. Can I get it off with a regular ratchet and a piece of pipe? SOmeone told me the torque is 284 ft lbs. I dont have a torque wrench that goes that high.

My Hayes manual says to use a puller so I am alittle confused.

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Tuesday, December 19th, 2006 AT 12:55 PM
Tiny
BOOTDOG
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If you want to use a hub puller you can, but it is not nessasary. Use a long pipe, ratchet/breaker bar, and socket. To remove lightly tap on the axle shaft till frees up from the spindal. Note*** (DO NOT hit the axle shaft in such a way it will damage the shaft) if you have to find a block of wood or use a brass drift. Place the wood or drift on the axle first then strike with a hammer. If equipped with abs, unplug the abs harness connected to the hub bearing. Unbolt the hub assymbly from the sterring knuckle and remove.

To install, bolt hub assymbly to steering knuckle. Make sure the axle freely goes through the spindal to where you can start the axle nut a few turns by hand. Tighten to spec, (call dealer for spec). Or use the pipe and ratchet and make sure it's tight enough not to back off. Plug in the abs harness, and install any cotter pins that you may have taken off. I hope this info will help and good luck. :Wink:

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Tuesday, December 19th, 2006 AT 1:21 PM
Tiny
STRYPED
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Thanks! It does not sound too difficult. Is it hard to unbolt fromt he steering knuckle? What If I dont have a torque wrench?

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Tuesday, December 19th, 2006 AT 2:13 PM
Tiny
BOOTDOG
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No, there will be an access hole through the spindal to gain access to the bolts. Or it'll bolt from behind the knucle. It'll either be allen head, torx, or your standard hex head. And as I said before if you don't have an torque wrench, just make sure it is tight enough so the axle nut doesn't back off. Good luck :D

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Tuesday, December 19th, 2006 AT 2:22 PM
Tiny
STRYPED
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Ok, I got out my Hayes manual. The axle nut has to be torqued to 284 ft lbs.

One thing it said was in orfer to remove the hub bolts where the hub attaches to the steering knuckle you have to have a "u joint " socket. What exactly is that? It said if you did not have one you would have to remove the axle to hget the hub off. It also said to use a hub puller but you said you dont have to right?

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Wednesday, December 20th, 2006 AT 7:10 AM
Tiny
BOOTDOG
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Ok follow the directions I gave you and you shouldn't have a problem. U joint socket is an universal. All it is, is a swivel that will attach to the extension to the socket which will allow you to gain access to the bolts at an angle. You will need one if there is no access hole through the spindal :)

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Wednesday, December 20th, 2006 AT 3:38 PM
Tiny
STRYPED
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Have you ever done one on this type of car? How long did it take?

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Wednesday, December 20th, 2006 AT 4:17 PM
Tiny
BOOTDOG
  • MEMBER

I haven't done one one that year you have, I have been a mechanic well over 12 years and GM still has the basic set up for hub bearings. Time doesn't matter. I can do one in about an half an hour, only because i've done many. I'm sure if you follow my directions, or if you feel more comfortable with the manual, either way will work. Just take your time, and don't rush. Trust me it's an easy job. If you know someone with mechanical experience, have them help you. If I could be there physically to help you I would. Let me know the outcome and good luck with your repairs. :)

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Wednesday, December 20th, 2006 AT 6:42 PM
Tiny
BOOTDOG
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Hey stryped, hope everything is going good on your repairs. I talked to another moderator called carundell. He said you can pm (private message) him if you want. Maybe he can help also. Good luck, and let me know :D

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Wednesday, December 20th, 2006 AT 7:57 PM
Tiny
STRYPED
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Thanks, I am mechanically inclined but am really slow. I guess my worst fear is messing it up so I cant get the wheel back on or taking it apart and not being able to get the boltts in the back off. (The manual says to use a u joint which I am not sure I have) If you dont it says something about pulling the axle which I dont want to do!) I wont be bothering you too much more. I am going to be off for Christmas break this week and hope to isolate and possible correct the problem then if there is time. (First I have to put a water pump on my truck) Like I said, just trying to ask as many questions as I can before starting. Just dont want to mess up the axle or somethign taking that hub off.

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Thursday, December 21st, 2006 AT 7:08 AM
Tiny
STRYPED
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Thanks, how do I do a provate message?

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Thursday, December 21st, 2006 AT 7:12 AM

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