All signs point to wheel bearing but it's not

Discussion in 'Gen 3 Prius Care, Maintenance & Troubleshooting' started by Fussion101, May 14, 2021.

  1. Fussion101

    Fussion101 Junior Member

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    I have a 2010 Prius II with 141k miles. There's a loud droning noise coming from the front at 70mph and gets increasing louder as speed increases. If I steer to the right it gets louder and I can feel a slight vibration from the floor/ dead pedal. Steer to the left there's no sound change. I have already replaced the left front and left rear wheel bearings with OE Toyota parts. Tires are fine. Anybody know what it could be?
     
  2. tankyuong

    tankyuong Senior Member

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    Alignment or bad wheel bearing if not properly torqued
     
  3. ASRDogman

    ASRDogman Senior Member

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    It is BEST to replace bearings in pair, both front, both rear.
    It could very well be the bearing you didn't replace.
    Just because the tires are "fine", doesn't mean that's not the noise.
    Does the sound change when you are on newer paved roads?
    Is your tire pressure correct? You could rotate the tired from front to back, does the sound changed?

    Sadly, I used what were supposed to be good bearings, trq. They suck! I only got 5000 miles out of them.
    You used better ones, which is good. I thought the electric steering rack was bad because steering slightly
    there was a growling noise, left and right. But I had decided to check the bearings, which meant I had to
    pull the axel out, sure enough, one was hard to turn, and noisey.

    This coudl be your noise.


     
  4. ttou68

    ttou68 Active Member

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    I had a tire that was loud, probable cause could be because of a bad wheel bearing..

    I suggest to swap front tires with the rear one's and see if if noise direction changes..

    Posted via the PriusChat mobile app.
     
  5. Leadfoot J. McCoalroller

    Leadfoot J. McCoalroller Senior Member

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    It's usually the wheel bearing you didn't change. They're ventriloquists, I swear.
     
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  6. Mdv55

    Mdv55 Active Member

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    Prius wheel bearings have not proven to follow conventional wisdom for me. Usually you can narrow it down to which one is the problem but I was unable to figure out which one was bad on my car. I replaced both fronts and the noise stopped. Even during disassembly I was unable to conclusively determine which one was the probem.

    That kind of noise that changes with load is either bearings or tires though. If you rotate tires and the noise doesn't travel it's the bearing.
     
  7. Mendel Leisk

    Mendel Leisk Sand Pounder

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    I seem to recall the wheel bearing style Toyota chose is lower friction, but not as durable? Needle bearings? Apologies; I’m clueless.
     
  8. Mdv55

    Mdv55 Active Member

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    Ball bearings

    FB_IMG_1621114995587.jpg
     
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  9. ChapmanF

    ChapmanF Senior Member

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    For me they defied all the conventional-wisdom tricks for identifying which bearing ... but a ChassisEar (multichannel stethoscope with several wireless clip-on pickups) made the ID in seconds.

    It can also be helpful to note what the pitch of the sound is at different speeds (say, by having a friend ride along who has perfect pitch, or plays an instrument (that fits in a car), or has a tuner for one). Then with a little math you can rule certain things in or out.

    Prof. Kelly has out a smartphone app that works on the same principle, but takes up less space than that friend with the tuba.

     
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  10. Leadfoot J. McCoalroller

    Leadfoot J. McCoalroller Senior Member

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    ^ That's great. I had a neighborhood Subaru mechanic who was a big believer in those chassis ears kits, he said he made a lot of customers happy working out mechanical AWD problems with it. Worked for the wheel bearings in my wagon anyway.
     
  11. mr_guy_mann

    mr_guy_mann Senior Member

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    The Steelman chassis ear tool is one of the best ways to isolate the source of those types of noise. I personally prefer the wired type.

    IF it is a front bearing (on a FWD car like prius), here is another way to isolate the source. Safely raise and support the vehicle. Have a second person ready the the car, (turn off or disable traction control) put it in drive, and accelerate until you hear the bearing noise. CAREFULLY reach above the tire to touch the coil spring. The bad bearing will cause the spring on that corner to vibrate much more noticeably than the other side.

    Posted via the PriusChat mobile app.
     
  12. mr_guy_mann

    mr_guy_mann Senior Member

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    "That's great. I had a neighborhood Subaru mechanic who was a big believer in those chassis ears kits"


    If you work on Subarus, you kind of have to. I don't work on alot of them, but I still do more Subaru rear wheel bearings than all other brands put together.

    Posted via the PriusChat mobile app.
     
    #12 mr_guy_mann, May 16, 2021
    Last edited: May 16, 2021
  13. Fussion101

    Fussion101 Junior Member

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    Update: Rotated tires to the rear. No change.
    Replaced R/F wheel bearing. No change.

    Only thing left on that side is either the axle or transmission. Has anyone experienced a bearing in the transmission go bad?

     
  14. ChapmanF

    ChapmanF Senior Member

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    At a few different known speeds (say, 30, 40, and 45 mph), what pitch of sound is produced?
     
  15. Fussion101

    Fussion101 Junior Member

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    No noises heard with windows up are down at speeds below 60mph. Light hum from 60-69mph. Once I reach 70mph L/F will drone. If I turn right at 70+ It'll get louder similar to driving over the rumble strips on the highway shoulder sound wise. Slight vibration underneath near dead pedal.
     
  16. Fussion101

    Fussion101 Junior Member

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    Alignment is good. No abnormal tire wear at all. Tires at 6/32.
     
  17. ChapmanF

    ChapmanF Senior Member

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    Sometimes it can be helpful to be attentive to the pitch of the noise, as well as to its volume or other quality. For one thing, it can clarify whether the pitch is following road speed, engine speed, MG1 speed .... With a little more work, it can sometimes be connected to wheel rpm, MG2 rpm, etc.

    I think I've occasionally been surprised about which corner of the car I thought a sound was coming from.
     
  18. 04priusnow

    04priusnow Active Member

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    Im over 200k with original front wheel bearings. How long do these normally last? I replaced my rears at around 160k. I love the winding roads and really push her.
     
  19. Leadfoot J. McCoalroller

    Leadfoot J. McCoalroller Senior Member

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    Most of them will "work" and not fall off the car for hundreds of thousands of miles.

    Many will start making new noises by 50k.

    Most of them change sound very very gradually, so the driver rarely notices that they've become noisy.

    So "how long" is more a question of your personal threshold for noise.
     
  20. ASRDogman

    ASRDogman Senior Member

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    It is possible the left front bearing is going bad. Even though it's a toyota bearing.
     
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