cv joint? whomp whomp whomp when under power

Hi, An '85 Golf 8v, auto transmission. 262,000 kilometres. When accelerating or pulling up a hill, I can feel and hear a slight whomp
whomp whomp in the front, most likely from the area of the left front tire. I can feel the thumping through the steering wheel. The whomp whomp is at the same frequency as the revolution of the tires so I don't think it's an engine problem which would be at a much higher frequency. At low speeds the steering wheel will wobble a bit back and forth. Initially I thought it was a separated belt in the tire, but doing a tire rotation and switching the axles the tires sit on didn't change anything. Also the tire shop said the tires were not the problem. I've lifted the car and rotated the tires and the left front wheel bearing sounds fine and quiet, though I haven't entirely eliminated the wheel bearing as the culprit.
When easing off the throttle after accelerating or after pulling up a hill, the whomp whomp whomp goes away. The whomping is also absent when going down hill and using the engine as the brake.
If I slowly turn in a circle with the steering wheel turned fully to the left, I can hear a click. That is, there is one click per tire revolution instead of a click for every ball in the cv joint . I don't think the tire is rubbing on anything when the steering wheel is turned fully left or right.
So looking for some thoughts? Left outer CV joint? Wheel bearing?
My other thought is the tranny. Since the time of the last transmission service a couple of years ago I've noticed the tranny fluid is way over the full mark. Could an overfull tranny be causing some backlash in the torque converter? However, the whomping noise is more recent than the tranny service so probably unrelated to the tranny.
Thanks in advance for any diagnostic tips or confirmation it's the CV joint. -Tony
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On Mar 23, 12:49 am, snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

Likely as you suggest, CV joint(s) going.
But that should be diagnosed with the vehicle on a lift and both axles free. Given the age of the vehicle and the mileage, you might check both axles.
In any case, don't drive anywhere 'at speed' until you get a proper diagnosis. If you lose a joint you won't go, or possibly worse.
Peter Wieck Melrose Park, PA
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Thanks Peter, I had the front end on jack stands and was rotating the left then right wheels while having the steering wheel cranked to the locks one side then the other. The bearings were silent and there was no clicking noise. I can only hear the click when turning a tight circle with some power applied. Again it's not click click click, but click.....................................then click on the next 360 deg of tire rotation, which I initially thought was something with the tire.
Also, would a failing cv joint cause wobble in the steering wheel?
I have 20,000 km on the right outer cv joint and 10,000 km on the left outer. My understanding is the inner cv joints are un-affected by the position of the steering wheel? The inner cv joints are original.
thanks. -Tony
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Well.... Hmmmm....
Thump that you can feel at the wheel. So. Please forgive some silly questions as I expect all the 'right' answers.
a) The tires are balanced? b) Haven't hit any pot-holes recently or bent a rim/wheel? c) Wheel bearings (NOT CV joints) are all present, correct and intact? d) Do the axles have the correct 'play' (in/out)?
Sometimes when they spin free of load there is not enough load on them to show the 'flat' spot.
Peter Wieck Melrose Park, PA
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Hi Peter, Good questions. a) It's been a while since I've had the tires balanced, but the tire wear suggests they are okay. b) No recollection of hitting any major pot holes or protruding man holes. c) I'm not so sure the state of the wheel bearings. I've lifted the front end and hand-spun the wheels. All sounds normal, but there was no load on the bearings. Shaking the tire/wheel doesn't reveal any thing lose. d) Axle nuts torqued to 195 ft.lbs. I did the outer CV joints so torqued the nuts myself.
I have a wheel bearing on the shelf and can put that on (have never done it, but have recently bought a 12 ton press that's dying to be used), but I'm not entirely sure that's what is the problem. I don't mind replacing parts to rule out problems. The shop would probably do the same at higher cost to me.
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To double check to see if the front wheel bearing is bad I usually take off the brakes and remove the CV Joint out of the hub so I can spin the hub freely by hand. Then I can both listen to it AND feel it as I rotate it.
I would not think that the front wheel bearing would create a whomp noise though, but at least you can also try moving your CV Joints around to see if they bind. ;-)
BTW I prefer to TEST parts before ordering new parts, but I am a CB. ;-)
--
later,
(One out of many daves)
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If replacing your front wheel bearings is like on my '97 Jetta, you don't need to take your steering knuckle off of the car to press the bearing if you borrow a press system from your local Advance Auto or other shop. It's like a Greenlee Punch, if you're familiar with that. Basically a threaded rod and various sized punches to push the bearing out and back in. Saves a lot of work, possible damage to joints and no alignment needed. I got mine from German Auto Parts with a deposit and freight charge but the local shops have them now.
wrote:

Hi Peter, Good questions. a) It's been a while since I've had the tires balanced, but the tire wear suggests they are okay. b) No recollection of hitting any major pot holes or protruding man holes. c) I'm not so sure the state of the wheel bearings. I've lifted the front end and hand-spun the wheels. All sounds normal, but there was no load on the bearings. Shaking the tire/wheel doesn't reveal any thing lose. d) Axle nuts torqued to 195 ft.lbs. I did the outer CV joints so torqued the nuts myself.
I have a wheel bearing on the shelf and can put that on (have never done it, but have recently bought a 12 ton press that's dying to be used), but I'm not entirely sure that's what is the problem. I don't mind replacing parts to rule out problems. The shop would probably do the same at higher cost to me.
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Hi, I had a chance to look at the car again today and had it up on jackstands. With steering wheel turned fully left or right and rotating the tires, there was no noise. No clicking. But then, there was no torque on the CV joints. On the driver side, one of the brake pads is rubbing periodically, on every rotation. I noticed that the pads on the driver side wear faster than the passenger, so maybe a sticking caliper.
Grabbing the driver side wtire at 12 o'clock and 6 o'clock and rocking the tire, there is the slightest of movement. However, when grabbed at 3 and 9 o'clock, there is no movement. On passenger side, there is no movement when the tire is grabbed at any position. The movement on the driver side is small. I put a screwdriver against the shock assesmbly and rested the screwdriver handle on top of the tire to observe the amount of back and forth movement. I estimate the side to side movement at the top of the tire was about 0.5 to 1 mm. More like I could feel the movement but couldn't really see it. So I'm back to thinking it's wheel bearing...???
I returned the press and got a bearing puller similar to this one http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/ctaf/Displayitem.taf?itemnumber=45210 today. But I discovered I can't pull the hub off with it. Others describe an ABS adapter for pulling the hub like this (see step #17) http://www.dubdiy.net/drivetrain/e.html Maybe I can get a short length of steel pipe to sit overv/around the hub (I don't have ABS) and rest on the steering knuckle. The bearing puller plate would rest on the pipe and the hub would pull and slide into the length of pipe. Would this work?
Alternatively, are people using a slide hammer to remove the hub from the knuckle? It's several hundred dollars investment in tools, but I figure it'll pay for itself with a couple of DIY jobs and not having to bring the car to a shop and my down time.
So wondering how I get the hub off. Thanks. This is all new territory for me.
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Been doing some more research. I searched on google for a hub puller and came across tools like an OTC 7208A hub puller (Amazon.com product link shortened) but I don't think this will work on a Golf...nothing to push on with the central threaded bolt. However the solution may be simpler, I found this excellent description http://www.norcalgticup.com/frontwheelbearingr&r.html and the technique uses a couple of long bolts threaded into the holes where the wheel lug bolts normally go, and pressure is applied to the knuckle and the hub should come out. Am I on the right track?
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JMHO but I would not want to use that OTC 7208A hub puller against the CV Joint (driveshaft) or even with a slide hammer. You can try it with a GOOD slide hammer and let us know if it works easily. ;-) BTW Getting the hub out of the wheel bearing is the hardest part of the job along with getting the outer race of the wheel bearing off of the hub! ;-) I have broken a slide hammer trying to get the hub out, but it was not a professional slide hammer. PLEASE someone correct me if I am wrong about using the OTC hub puller against the driveshaft and I will buy one instantly! lol
I can use a baby sledge hammer, or my impact hammer, with adapters/sockets to get them out. WEAR HAND AND GOOD EYE PROTECTION!! Ear protection is nice to use too! ;-)
Maybe those long bolts will work for you. They might and that would be a very inexpensive option for you. With vehicles equipped with Antilock Brake Systems, I sometimes find hubs with the ABS tone rings on them and IIRC the long bolts does not work on those hubs. :-(
--
JMHO
later,
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I have used some bolts on my 84 Rabbit to press the hub out of the hub. Then I used a 1" bolt, some steel plates, some lengths and diameters of pipe to make a press. Also about 2 foot of pipe on a 3/4" ratchet for the pressing out and in of the bearings.
I suppose you have seen enough articles with your google search to get the concept.
http://www.gtishrine.com/wheelbearing.php
On Sun, 29 Mar 2009 14:05:50 -0500, "dave AKA vwdoc1"

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That is a perfect link to show the ABS tone ring on the back of the hub. ;-) I think you can now imagine why the long bolts might not work on these hubs to pull them off.
I was contemplating purchasing that Schley Products 63500 VW bearing puller tool and probably will one day. I use that Harbor Freight tool and it does what yours does. But whatever works! lol
wrote:

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On Mar 29, 12:05 pm, "dave AKA vwdoc1"

An update. I had no luck finding the Schley C-shaped tool here in Western Canada for pressing out the hub from the back. Also I couldn't find any bolts longer than my existing wheel bolts for working the hub out. After several more evenings of reading and watching youtube videos on how to do a bearing job, it seems appropriate to use a slide hammer. I ended up investing in a hammer kit figuring I could use it on the next car which likely would have ABS. The kit comes with assorted screw type pullers in addition to the slide hammer and arched bracket that attaches to the hub. There was a great video (which I can't find again!) by a European tool manufacturer demonstrating their air driven tool for pressing out/in the drive shaft and bearings. In that video, they used a slide hammer to remove the hub with 3 blows. Now I'm having second thoughts on the slide hammer as I saw another video where the backyard mechanic tightened a bearing splitter between the hub and knuckle and just used the regular wheel bolts to work the hub off. The bearing splitter gave a nice surface for pushing against with all 4 wheel bolts. That was a nice, low impact approach. I'm aiming to change the bearing this weekend, will update again.
I checked prices on alternatives. VW dealership: $390 for bearing job + $120 alignment + taxes + shop fees (rags, consumables) = about $600. Take knuckle off myself and bring to a shop: $40 to press out/ in + $100 for alignment = about $140. I think I'll invest in the tools and lean to do it myself.
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On Fri, 3 Apr 2009 19:39:27 -0700 (PDT), Tony49122

You do not find tools like that locally. You find them on the internet from a reputable vendor and you order. Or you get out your metal bandsaw and cut of pipe to make your own tool. I order parts and tools often enough as no parts house has the tools or quality parts I want.
Buy bolt extenders. I dig through my scrap metal pile. find some 1/8" and 1/4" plate to shim out contact points to pess against.
I think my bearing splitter has some half inch threaded bolt holes that I made use of. It has been 6-7 years since the last time I did wheel bearings.
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On Apr 3, 8:03 pm, Jim Behning

Hi Jim, Thanks, wish I had a bone yard for parts and bits and pieces. I generally have to buy even my scrap, sad eh? I considered making my own hub adapter buying the 6" length of pipe from a metal fabricator and have them cut a piece of plate for a cross piece and drill a hole. I checked on-line mail order, but the places either don't ship to Canada or they charge exorbitant shipping costs.It's like we're a foreign country or something (joking), plus there are the customs fees and taxes. Funny the auto tool places don't carry things like the ABS adapter to go along with the front wheel bearing kit. You'd think there would be a demand locally.
So pressing against the bearing splitter is a good way to go? I haven't used the slide hammer kit, maybe I can return it (same place I returned the press). Hah.
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Sorry folks, not paying attention to which computer I'm using to monitor the discussion. Posts from bajords9 and tony49122 are mine. -Tony
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An update. I had no luck finding the Schley C-shaped tool here in Western Canada for pressing out the hub from the back. Also I couldn't find any bolts longer than my existing wheel bolts for working the hub out. After several more evenings of reading and watching youtube videos on how to do a bearing job, it seems appropriate to use a slide hammer. I ended up investing in a hammer kit figuring I could use it on the next car which likely would have ABS. The kit comes with assorted screw type pullers in addition to the slide hammer and arched bracket that attaches to the hub. There was a great video (which I can't find again!) by a European tool manufacturer demonstrating their air driven tool for pressing out/in the drive shaft and bearings. In that video, they used a slide hammer to remove the hub with 3 blows. Now I'm having second thoughts on the slide hammer as I saw another video where the backyard mechanic tightened a bearing splitter between the hub and knuckle and just used the regular wheel bolts to work the hub off. The bearing splitter gave a nice surface for pushing against with all 4 wheel bolts. That was a nice, low impact approach. I'm aiming to change the bearing this weekend, will update again.
I take off the whole knuckle and hammer out the hub with a few blows. I press out the outer bearing ring with a piece of pipe in a vice. I then use the old bearing outer ring to press in the new one. The only tricky thing is to support the inner ring while pressing in the center, I use another pipe for that also. So all I use are some pieces of pipe of various dimensions, the old bearing and a vice.
SFC
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WARNING WILL ROBINSON.....................Do you have ABS brakes on this VW? Tone ring will cause you to remove it only certain ways!!!
Yes the removal of the hub and the race that usually gets stuck onto it are the problems. YES you can beat it out of the wheel bearing!
(Amazon.com product link shortened)38847629&sr=8-1 Should be able to handle 99% of the job. And your bearing splitter should handle that last 1% of allowing you to pull that race off.
IF you get the hub out of the wheel bearing then a less expensive tool kit like ebay item # 250400102826 will work like the Hub Tamer kit. ;-)

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I did the deed today. The job went relatively smoothly. Things I learned are below. But first, unfortunately the new bearing and new hub didn't correct the whomp whomp sounds when under load nor the wobble in the steering wheel. I'm pretty disappointed. On the test drive I drove around in tight circles forwards and backwards with the steering wheel at one lock or the other. No clicking noises so I'm putting the cv joints low on the culprit list. I've noticed the inside driver side brake pads are wearing faster than the passenger side, particularly the driver inside pad. My next test is to put in some old rotors to see if the current driver side one is warped. But there is no pulsing on the brake pedal when braking. My other thought is something in the auto tranny but getting in there is beyond my abilities.
Anyways, lessons learned and comments. I won't repeat describing the detailed steps as they are well documented elsewhere including how-to videos on youtube. 1. To free the drive axle, some people advise to remove the 3 bolts on the ball joint bracket on the lower arm. I find disconnecting the horizontal bolt through the ball joint and pushing the arm down to free the stud is easier and faster. Any downsides to this? Also the bearing kit includes a new ball joint bolt and lock nut.
2. Slide hammer worked well and fast. I started with baby blows to get the feel. It took about 10 blows to pop the hub out.The part that mounts to the hub where you screw in the slide hammer was a bit too large, the smallest hole spacing barely fit the VW hub and the wheel bolts wouldn't tighten down. Next time I'll get some regular bolts without the spherical part that's on the wheel bolts. The slide hammer kit is like this one http://us.st12.yimg.com/us.st.yimg.com/I/sjdiscounttools_2049_4387358 and the mount I'm talking about is the item on the far right.
3. I broke a good screwdriver getting the old snap rings out. Advice: get some large and hefty snap ring pliers to fit the snap rings to make the job easier. The snap ring is bigger and stiffer than others you'd find on the car.
4. The old race was really stuck on the hub. None of the bearing pullers I had would get enough purchase to budge the race. The best I could do was budge it with a cold chisel and hammer, then the chisel bottomed out in the 2 notches and I couldn't move it anymore. I don't have a grinder or dremel to do that trick nor did I have a bearing breaker.I ended up running out to buy a new hub.
5. Removing the old bearing went smoothly. Advice: make sure you have a socket that fits the bolt on the hub remover and a wrench that fits the long nut on the back. They are fairly large size and not in the range of sizes you'd use normally on the car. On my kit http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/ctaf/Displayitem.taf?itemnumber=45210 the bolt takes a 38 mm socket and the nut takes a 36 mm wrench.
6. Pressing in the new bearing went smoothly, No surprises.
7. Pressing in the hub, using the old race for size, I picked a backing disk for the hub tool that would press on the inner race. But I forgot to account for the snap ring in the hub. So when I pressed in the hub, the backing disk was pressing on the snap ring in the hub and not the inner race. I think in pressing in the hub, I pressed out the inner race by the thickness of the snap ring. I picked a smaller diam. disk to fit inside the snap ring and seated the hub the rest of the way. Dang, I wonder if I ruined the bearing? I'll know in a few weeks or months.
8. The rest of the assembly went smoothly: tighten ball joint nut, install rotor, pads, and caliper. Attach wheel. Lower car and tighten up the wheel bolts and axle nut and test drive.
The new bearing removed the previous wobble when I rocked the tire by grabbing it at 12 and 6 o'clock, so I corrected something but the main complaint still persists.
Thanks for making your way through these long posts.
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Well congrats and thanks for letting us know what you had to do and how you did it. I might have to try a good heavy slide hammer next time. ;-) I usually feel how the hub rotates after reassembly. It needs to rotate very smoothly and quietly.
So the whomp noise is still in the front? Did you switch the front tires to the rear? The inner CV Joints might cause issues like yours. You might want to check them out.
I did the deed today. The job went relatively smoothly. Things I learned are below. But first, unfortunately the new bearing and new hub didn't correct the whomp whomp sounds when under load nor the wobble in the steering wheel. I'm pretty disappointed. On the test drive I drove around in tight circles forwards and backwards with the steering wheel at one lock or the other. No clicking noises so I'm putting the cv joints low on the culprit list. I've noticed the inside driver side brake pads are wearing faster than the passenger side, particularly the driver inside pad. My next test is to put in some old rotors to see if the current driver side one is warped. But there is no pulsing on the brake pedal when braking. My other thought is something in the auto tranny but getting in there is beyond my abilities.
Anyways, lessons learned and comments. I won't repeat describing the detailed steps as they are well documented elsewhere including how-to videos on youtube. 1. To free the drive axle, some people advise to remove the 3 bolts on the ball joint bracket on the lower arm. I find disconnecting the horizontal bolt through the ball joint and pushing the arm down to free the stud is easier and faster. Any downsides to this? Also the bearing kit includes a new ball joint bolt and lock nut.
2. Slide hammer worked well and fast. I started with baby blows to get the feel. It took about 10 blows to pop the hub out.The part that mounts to the hub where you screw in the slide hammer was a bit too large, the smallest hole spacing barely fit the VW hub and the wheel bolts wouldn't tighten down. Next time I'll get some regular bolts without the spherical part that's on the wheel bolts. The slide hammer kit is like this one http://us.st12.yimg.com/us.st.yimg.com/I/sjdiscounttools_2049_4387358 and the mount I'm talking about is the item on the far right.
3. I broke a good screwdriver getting the old snap rings out. Advice: get some large and hefty snap ring pliers to fit the snap rings to make the job easier. The snap ring is bigger and stiffer than others you'd find on the car.
4. The old race was really stuck on the hub. None of the bearing pullers I had would get enough purchase to budge the race. The best I could do was budge it with a cold chisel and hammer, then the chisel bottomed out in the 2 notches and I couldn't move it anymore. I don't have a grinder or dremel to do that trick nor did I have a bearing breaker.I ended up running out to buy a new hub.
5. Removing the old bearing went smoothly. Advice: make sure you have a socket that fits the bolt on the hub remover and a wrench that fits the long nut on the back. They are fairly large size and not in the range of sizes you'd use normally on the car. On my kit http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/ctaf/Displayitem.taf?itemnumberE210 the bolt takes a 38 mm socket and the nut takes a 36 mm wrench.
6. Pressing in the new bearing went smoothly, No surprises.
7. Pressing in the hub, using the old race for size, I picked a backing disk for the hub tool that would press on the inner race. But I forgot to account for the snap ring in the hub. So when I pressed in the hub, the backing disk was pressing on the snap ring in the hub and not the inner race. I think in pressing in the hub, I pressed out the inner race by the thickness of the snap ring. I picked a smaller diam. disk to fit inside the snap ring and seated the hub the rest of the way. Dang, I wonder if I ruined the bearing? I'll know in a few weeks or months.
8. The rest of the assembly went smoothly: tighten ball joint nut, install rotor, pads, and caliper. Attach wheel. Lower car and tighten up the wheel bolts and axle nut and test drive.
The new bearing removed the previous wobble when I rocked the tire by grabbing it at 12 and 6 o'clock, so I corrected something but the main complaint still persists.
Thanks for making your way through these long posts.
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