97 Explorer: Drive Train Noise

I have an unusual noise which I believe is coming somewhere from the drive train. It is a hum (not a whine, as it isn't that high pitched) that sounds
like it is coming from the front of the vehicle. It tends to get a bit louder from about 10 to 35 mph. At freeway speeds, it still is noticeable, but not unusually loud. At about 30 mph, if I make a shallow turn to the left, the noise almost goes away. If I make a shallow turn to the right, it gets just a bit louder. I'm suspicious that it might be the left hub assembly, as it would unload a bit during a left turn. However, I understand that it, as well as the CV joint, would make a "clicking" sound instead of a hum (with the CV joint becoming noisy during a turn). The tires are will inflated, I've recently changed the fluid in both the transmission and the transfer case (and the levels recently checked). The differentials were changed at about 75K. The car currently has about 102K on it.
Another think. If I put the car into neutral and coast, the maginitude of the sound doesn't change (so it isn't related to the rpm of the engine).
Does anybody have any ideas?
Chris
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I had a Subaru that would do a very similar thing. That ended up being a bad wheel baring.
Chris wrote:

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Could be the front axle seals. It's a known problem. Same thing happened on my 99 XLT.

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I agree; this sounds most likely to be a bad wheel bearing. My '91 EB 4x4 w/200,000 miles, had very similar symptoms to those which you describe; the problem was bad front wheel bearings. If you jack up one front tire at a time and spin the wheel you may or may not hear any unusual noise; but if there's "play" in the wheel when it's off the ground, then the bearings are at least way too loose, and likely will need to be replaced. If you do change the bearings, don't forget to replace the rear seal at the same time.
Since you mentioned CV joints, I'm assuming that your vehicle is also a 4x4.
Good luck, Mike

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