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Ball Joints Maybe?

Discussion in 'The Garage' started by warcat, Jun 22, 2006.

  1. warcat

    warcat Registered Member

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    OK Guys,

    I need some help figuring out a sound coming from my tires/wheels/brakes???

    Here's how is goes, everytime I turn my steering wheel 1/4 to 1/2 turn off dead center, I get a click/ rubbing sound coming from the front wheel area-- I believe it to be the left front. Sometimes, it also shows itself when I brake. The sound is speed relative-- if I go slow, it goes slow, if I go faster, it goes faster. Just today, I'm getting a bit of vibration at highway speeds also-- not real bad, but noticeable.

    So I jacked it up, turned the steering wheel, and spun the tires... and nothing-- no sound. Anyone have any idea what it could be?

    BTW, a few months ago, I heard this same sound for a couple of weeks before my left front wheel fell off as I was driving. Luckily I was only doing about 5 mph. When I took it in to the shop, they said the only reason the wheel came off was loose lug nuts. I've checked the lug nuts now (and very regularly since then), and they're all very tight.

    Do you think I'm in danger of having the wheel fall off again?
     
  2. JEBSR

    JEBSR 1/2 ton status

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    What make and model vehicle is it? Solid axle or IFA?
     
  3. warcat

    warcat Registered Member

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    Sorry, my bad.

    It's a '85 GMC Jimmy (Full Size) w/ a 4" lift. Solid axle. 35" Tires on 15" wheels.
     
  4. JEBSR

    JEBSR 1/2 ton status

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    My thoughts are the ball joints would not be speed relative. However the axle ujoint would be and would also cause vibrations. Even in 2wd the axle can free spin some and cause this. I would also check the wheel bearings and the spindle flange for tightness. I saw this happen once where the wheel was loose but the bearing were tight. What had happened is the spindle nuts had backed off and the entire wheel was moving around because of it.
     
  5. big dan

    big dan 1/2 ton status Premium Member

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    and after you check the wheel bearings and such, see if you can wobble the wheel back and forth. my trucks was making some funny sounds too, sounded like the brake pads were rubbing the calipers and it would get faster as I went faster. jacked it up to see what the problem was and noticed the wheel wobble before I took it apart so I grabbed it and pushed and pulled and you could see the whole knuckle moving back and forth. after ball joints the sound was gone, so you should check them just to be sure.
     
  6. ramses

    ramses 1/2 ton status

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    Jack it up and check for ball joint play, put one hand at the top of the tire and on on the bottom and see if you can move it any, if theres any play you need ball joints. I assume it doesnt do it when youre parked since you said it was speed sensitive?
     
  7. warcat

    warcat Registered Member

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    Nope, doesn't make the sound when it's parked. I jacked it up, turned the steering wheel to where I know the sound would appear, and spun the front wheel. No sound.

    I haven't tried to see of the wheel wobbles when a try to move it, but it's already dark, and I'll have to wait til tomorrow to check. I had my friend drive it as I watched (during a break at work), and I didn't notice the wheel wobbling-- so I don't think it's gonna fall off. That was my main concern. I'll look at it in more detail over the weekend or tomorrow...
     
  8. reverett

    reverett Registered Member

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    This may seem stupid, but check your centercaps if you have the GM style bolt on ones, before I switched tires and wheels I heard this noise all the time, I thought my springs we're creeking, turns out one of the bolts holding the center cap on was loose and the cap was knocking the hub as it spun around.
     

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