whirring sound from wheel

On my '94 Ford Explorer (4x4 with automatic hubs) I have a whirring sound, like a baseball card hitting bicycle spokes, coming from the left
front wheel. When I apply the brakes firmly the sound goes away, but it's there if I'm just coasting or lightly use the brakes. I've replaced the pads, and from what I can see the calipers and discs look fine. Maybe the disc needs to be resurfaced? Any ideas?
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Mark Stewart wrote in rec.autos.tech

Wheel bearing comes to mind. A worn bearing would allow a slight misalignment, and when you apply the brakes it would go away. A warped rotor is generally felt as a pulsing in the brake pedal as you apply the brakes. Not noise without the brakes.
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Do you mean a ratcheting sound?
A partially disengaged hub will make a ratcheting sound. The solution for me was to back up the car for about a block to fully disengage the hubs and then not using 4 wheel drive until I could take the car in and have new U-joints and hubs installed.
dickm
wrote:

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