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Front end grind/whoosh sound on left turn


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I have a 2004 Chevy Suburban 1500 with full-time 4WD, Vortec 5.3, 240,000 miles on it. I just returned from a 2000+ mile road trip in Tennessee (with some wicked mountains and switchbacks). Didn't notice this on the trip, but right after returning home I noticed a grinding noise from the front end, along with a little vibration - it only occurs when turning left (even slightly), and it doesn't seem to occur at extremely low speeds (under 5mph) or higher speeds (above about 50mph), although it's possible I'm just not hearing it. It's also not constant - it's a pulsing grind that sounds to me like it's happening about once-per-revolution on the front tires (hard to say for sure since I'm in the car when it's happening and can't see them!)

 

Handling doesn't seem to be affected at all, but clearly something's wrong and I want to fix it before it becomes a larger problem. Any suggestions on diagnosis? I plan to jack it up later today to check for wheel play to see if it's a hub bearing, but that seems unlikely given the "only on left turn, once-per-revolution" nature of the sound.

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Jacked it up in a parking lot earlier today and shook the wheels - I would've sworn the problem was on the driver's side, but sure enough the passenger side front wheel has a ton of play when I shake it. New hubs & brake pads sitting in the front seat now (I was just a mile from Autozone and they had them in stock), I know what I'm doing tomorrow. Looks like it'll be a beautiful day for it, too. :)

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It went pretty well ... breaking the bolts loose on the caliper bracket took some doing, and the bolts for the hub itself all seem perfectly placed so that something will be in the way of using a socket on them, but they finally came free. Then the fun began - it's the original hub, so it's been on there for 240K miles and 11 years. After hammering it for about an hour I finally had to call a more mechanically-inclined friend for help & tools - took him all of 5 minutes with a couple of mechanic's chisels (clearly I loosened it for him!) Once it was all apart, reassembly was pretty quick, and it road tested just fine - noise is gone, handling & braking are good!

 

One thing that surprised me ... I've clearly never done the front brakes, as I had to buy the T55 bit to take the calipers off this time. If I ever had them serviced, it would've been close to 150K miles ago before I started doing most of my own work. To my surprise, the rotors are still nearly pristine, and the pads were only about 1/2 worn ... I had new pads so I replaced them, but kept the old rotor (someone gave me a set a while back, they'll just stay in the box for the future). Whatever parts got used at that last brake service were GOOD!

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