Malibu Wheel Bearing

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'99 Malibu 3.1 L82
A couple of days ago a wheel bearing started growling. It sounds like the left/front. Can't feel much vibration yet but you can sure hear
it.
The question is: Are these bearings prone to catastrophic failure??
I'd prefer to do the job myself, but I'd like to wait a few weeks for a break in the weather. (no joy trying to jack it up on 2 inches of driveway ice)
Regards, Al.
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one thing to check this, jack up the car and grab the tire on the top and bottom and wiggle it fromp to bottom (side to side may ture wheel not giving a true indication). If the bearing is going bad you'll have some play in the wheel. If you can't wiggle it very muc you should be ok for awhil, but if it really moves alot, then I'd be replacing it pronto...
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Hey Al a wheel bearing failure is very serious repair it before you drive anymore . I had one go on me it pulled me off the road and also damaged my spindle which is very costly to replace. Don,t take chances.
Jim.J

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It shouldn't destroy anything but itself inless it locks up on you. It should be a Hub bearing assembly which I replaced once on my car. Basically, the bearing and the "race track" I think they call them are replaced together and the whole thing bolts on and off. So there isn't a spindle really to damage. Just keep close tabs on it, because you sure don't want it to freeze up or anything. Sooner the better. Also, these assemblies really rust on good, so be prepared to fight that.
Tony
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"Al Haunts" wrote

> A couple of days ago a wheel bearing started growling. It sounds like

No, they don't usually "explode" or anything like that. I doubt that it will get much worse within two weeks. I think that the new bearing comes with an updated axle shaft nut which is supposed to stop a lot of the premature bearing failures we are seeing.
Ian
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shiden_Kai wrote in alt.autos.gm

like
The bearing will not explode. But it will fail catastrophically. It will seize, causing the tire to lock up and the car to swerve violently, or it will fall apart, allowing the tire to fall off. Which is also a major problem. If a wheel bearing is growling, fix it immediately!
--
Dick #1349
Damn it . . . Don't you dare ask God to help me.
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Really depend how loud is loud and if it rotate freely or not right now. If you are concern about, keep your driving distance short. I have never heard about bearing explode or self-destruct without excessive play within the bearing assy. Grab the wheel on the side (more on top) and shake to see if there is an excessive play or not. Drive slow if you have to limit the heat build up (assuming it is really bad).
Paul,
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"Dick C" wrote

Dick, I work in a dealership....I haven't seen any that have siezed yet. I did see "one" recently that basically spit out "all" of the rollers from both the inner and outer bearings. Front bearing on a truck. The wheel did not fall off even though it was wobbling around quite a bit. We have had a number of Jimmy/Blazer front wheel bearings that get noisy, often the customer has driven them for months before it gets to the point where they begin to wonder what the noise is. Yes, lets fix the wheel bearing problem...no, it probably won't "sieze" up on the guy any time soon.
Ian
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I've got one of those noise Jimmy bearings...but the front wheels don't spin freely (axle seems locked).
How can I tell which side is noisy?
Mike

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shiden_Kai wrote in alt.autos.gm

violently,
Tapered roller bearing do seize. Very annoying when they are on the shaft that goes from the transmission into the crank shaft. Also very difficult to drive home. I used to be a machinist in heavy industry, and I have seen about all the failures possible with every type of bearing. Tapered roller bearings are one of the better bearings in many ways. But they do fail, and when one starts to go bad, in can go bad in a hurry. While seizing is not common, it does happen on occaision. And as you pointed out the rollers can fall out. If the car is traveling at highway speeds this can cause significant problems, such as the wheel falling off. And that does happen. I drove past a rollover accident once, the front wheel was sitting on the road away from the car, with the brake assembly and empty bearing housing. Given the potential for accidents I wonder why you are telling the guy not to worry?
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"Dick C" wrote

Because there are potential's for accidents every time you walk out the door (or getting out of bed for that matter). There is the potentional for an accident every time you drive your car. But that doesn't mean there is any need to be a scaremonger. We are talking here specifically about automotive wheel bearings. I'm telling you as a tech who has been working on GM vehicles for the past 24 years that catastrophic wheel bearings failures are pretty rare. The bearings get noisy and annoying long before they come apart. Of course, as with anything in life, there are always exceptions...but that's exactly what they are...exceptions.
I'd be willing to bet that you might be one of those people that would yell "fraud" if you happened to venture into our dealership and was told that one of your bearings was loose and that "it might sieze catastrophically at any moment" and you need to have it replaced immediately.
Only in the rarest of instances do I advise a customer that not repairing something will be very dangerous to their health. You have to have fairly solid grounds to be able to sieze their vehicle and not return it to them. You tell them that it needs to be replaced, they make their own decision.
Ian
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On Thu, 12 Feb 2004 05:57:53 GMT, "shiden_Kai"

Could his noise be caused by a disk pad wear indicator? Do GM vehicles still use pads with wear indicators? I haven't owned a GM since a 1983 Celebrity (and I didn't own it long enough to do any brake work on it), but before that I had owned Oldsmobiles and Pontiacs and their pads had a metal strip bent out that made a scrapping noise upon application, and if ignored long enough made noise almost the entire time the wheel was in motion.
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I have the same vibration in my Monte Carlo. I took it to the local goodyear tire shop and they diagnosed it as a bad bearing assembly.
I have found the part runs around $99 - $189 depending on if you need ABS or not.Any ideas on where to get this at a better price? Does anyone rebuild these or do I have to buy new?
I went to Autozone's website and they have an OK version of how to replace it...http://www.autozone.com/servlet/UiBroker?ForwardPage=az/cds/en_us/0900823d/80/0e/dd/49/0900823d800edd49.jsp , but can anyone suggest a better breakdown? I think I will have to rent or buy a tool to back the spindle out of the assembly.
I recently was successful in replacing the lower intake gasket and have the car back together and running fine...how will this task rate? Take it to the shop or knock it out myself?
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shiden_Kai wrote in alt.autos.gm

When the potential for an accident increases, why take unneeded chances? For instance, if you cross the street you can get hit by a car. So should you cross a busy, fast moving street in the middle of the block, or go to a crosswalk? That actually would depend upon a lot of factors, wouldn't it? How far away a crosswalk is, are there openings in the traffic, is there an island in the middle you can get to, so you only have to worry about traffic in one direction only, etc. But as a general rule, you would tell someone you don't know to use the crosswalk, right? Now, you tell someone you don't know, whose car problem you just diagnosed simply by reading what he had to say about it, and tell him that he doesn't need to get the problem fixed in a hurry. For all you know, he could have understated the problem and the wheel is in bad shape.

I doubt it. On the other hand, I know my car, and I also know enough to ask questions, including having them show me the problem, and it would also depend upon the dealer.
If I take my car in to have the brakes done and the mechanic tells me I need to have a front wheel bearing replaced, I would want to look at it, and probably agree. On the other hand, if I take the car in to have the oil changed and the lube monkey tells me that I need the bearings changed, then I would likely not believe him, or at least have it checked out.

And you tell them the consequences of not having it fixed. Of course if a customer drives in and you can tell the bearing is just starting to go, that is one thing. And if the customer is going to take a long trip, I bet you would tell him to fix it first. My point is that you really know nothing about what the symptoms are except the little bit that you were told over in this newsgroup. All he said was that could feel little vibration, but he sure could hear it. Meaning that the bearing has worn to the point that it is transmitting some shaking back to the wheel. Just how much that is, we don't know.
--
Dick #1349
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spoken like a lawyer (or at least a paralegal)
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TransSurgeon wrote in alt.autos.gm

Nope, spoken like someone who has spent too much time working in customer/technical service. You quickly learn that the customer may always be right, but that same customer never knows what he or she is talking about, or at least badly underestimates the problem. I learned along time ago not to trust what people told me over the phone, it takes a while to be sure that the person actually knows enough to be able to relay useful information.
--
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"my car's making a noise that goes like this...."
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munir wrote in alt.autos.gm

Uh huh. Or like "The reason my computer will not connect is not because the cable is disconnected, I know that is the reason. How dare you suggest such a thing, even though that was the reason yesterday." Half an hour later, she calls back and apologizes because it was the cable after all.
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the old Steve Martin bit...
"I know I had that fifty dollars because I ALWAYS put it in this pocket, I Never put it in this pock....
nevermind"
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Jeeze - you would never make it at some of the 'chain' places..
Umm...sir, I have some bad news, your ball joints (axel, cvjoint, etc etc.) are about to crumble and your brakes are shot; I can't let the car leave the shop... Oh, and you need a whole new exhaust too... plus there might be other stuff once we get into it...
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