Well, I finally had it today. I had already planned to stop at my old
mechanic to have them listen to the noise, and complain about the braking.
Got some really bad personal news on my way home, which did nothing for
Went to the mechanic, but they were eyebrow deep in vehicles, and there
was a line. So I left. Remember when I was asking about my battery a
while back? Well, quite suddenly in the last couple of days it had
become harder to start the truck in the morning, so I stopped at Sears
to get a new battery (Die Hard Platinum [something, I think]).
They were pretty slow, so against my better judgment (never heard
anything either way about Sears as a decent auto shop), I decided to let
them diagnose the truck's noises.
Meanwhile I went to the mall and tried to get my prepaid phone service
switched over to a non-contract data plan, but for the second time
utterly failed. Maybe I need a new cell company too... but that's
another story, just inserting this to show just how wonderful my
Went back to the Sears Auto Center, verdict was bad wheel bearings on
both front wheels, bad tie rods (tie rod ends were newer - were the rods
themselves part of a recall?), and improperly turned drums.
They sensed I was a skeptic so they showed me the play in the front
They charged me what I think was Way Too Much for the bearings; after
nearly having a heart attack at the total charge for just the battery
and wheel bearings, I decided not to have them deal with the drums and
tie rods. Still, cost me a grand just for that - nearly $600 for the
wheel bearings "because they're 4x4 and had to match them". National is
the brand. Pretty sure I got taken but by that time I was more than a
little distraught, so I said go ahead and do it, since they were willing
to stay late to do it right then. A little Japanese guy with broken
English did the work; he was very nice though and willing to show me the
problems and talk about options. He stayed an hour past their usual
closing time to do my truck for me, so can't complain about that!
He seemed mighty surprised that my mechanic hadn't noticed the wheel
bearings were bad. Considering I had complained about the grinding feel
in the gas pedal before, so am I.
The good news is - all the bad stuff went away! No noise when turning,
no grinding sensation in the gas pedal!
It's too short a drive home from Sears to really be sure all is well,
but felt pretty good. I'll test the brakes on my ride to work tomorrow,
and see if the other noise I was getting when going straight at speed is
What would be the symptoms of bad tie rods though?