Brakes/Axle/Wheel Bearing Probem?? Help Diagnose - Nissan Forums : Nissan Forum
 
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Old 03-30-2007, 04:21 PM
Steve9c1 Steve9c1 is offline
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Brakes/Axle/Wheel Bearing Probem?? Help Diagnose

I did try searching but found no answers. This is a 97 Altima with 190,000 miles on it. Total stock(original!) suspension and midas brakes(previous owner, not my own doing).

Here is my situation. Last night coming home I got onto the expressway. The on-ramp was a right-hand clover leaf type, so the driver wheel was loaded with the most weight. Started going down the expressway and this horrible grinding metal noise started. Really thought that I might not make it home. I drive a couple miles like this until I could take the next exit. Once below 45mph, the noise disappeared. I took the surface streets home and had no problem.

Background of this car:
I got this car about 2 years ago and almost immediately started making a slight squeal/rubbing noise about 30mph. Over time, the noise has started at lesser and lesser speed. Right now it starts at about 10mph. This noise can best be described as what it sounds like when you are turning a valve on a workbench. It isn't a constant scrape, but intermediate and becomes a higher pitch constant squeal as speed increases. The CV joints appear to be in good condition as there is no clicking at steering extremes and no thuds/clunks on accel/decel.

What I need help is diagnosing this problem. I will be taking the wheel off this weekend and inspecting what I can. My theory is that it is the wheel bearings going bad and/or axles. That the additional load made the metal to metal contact much more pronounced and once that load decreased, due to lower speeds, the "normal" scrape/squeal resumed. Need and ideas, opinions, etc.
Thanks!
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Old 03-30-2007, 04:35 PM
jserrano jserrano is offline
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Maybe someone else more knowledgeable in front end/suspension or that forum itself can help you out better but,

What I would possibly have done is lift the car somewhere in the center support with the two front wheels up in the air. Then start and race the engine while turning the steering wheel far left and right. If you don't hear anything rubbing then I'd think it is more of a suspension issue than the front end drive train/axle.

Hopefully one of the front end gurus will step in with their thoughts.



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Last edited by jserrano; 03-30-2007 at 04:38 PM.
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Old 03-31-2007, 06:41 AM
iconz21 iconz21 is offline
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I haven't made it to the "horrible metal grinding noise..." but definitely the loud squeal/rubber noise from front driver's side... I'm just as interested in anyone's help here!
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Old 04-01-2007, 01:16 PM
Steve9c1 Steve9c1 is offline
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Update

I got the front-driver's side side up in the air yesterday. I wasn't able to both front tires up as jserrano suggested, due to my jack stands being too tall, and the factory jack too short. Here is what I found though. I turned the disk by hand(after putting the car in neutral)and the only noise whas from the caliper/pad area. I'm definitely leaning towards it being the brakes. The calipers have an enormous amount of caked on crud all over them. I'm thinking that the pads are starting to drag and/or the brake rotors are glazed over as well. The rotors were smooth but are definitely really really old. After putting everything back together, I only had the "normal" noise of the past 2 years. Will update this thread as any updates happen.
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Old 04-01-2007, 08:51 PM
Altima_Craze Altima_Craze is offline
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clean up the brake pad with some sand paper. use some brake cleaner to get all the crap out of the caliper and bracket as well as the anti-rattle springs and shims. Then see if the noise is still there. If it is then here is how you test for a bad wheel bearing. Have someone sit in the car, because a wheel bearing will resonate louder inside a car. Lift up the front end. and have a buddy inside the car run the front wheels to like 20 miles an hour. In the mean time you have to take a rag and HOLD the passenger wheel from spinning to isolate the drivers wheel noises. Use the rag to hold the wheel still. Dont worry its not gonna kill you ( i hope you dont have a limit slip diff though, if you do then DONT do this test ). At 20 miles an hour you will CLEARLY be able to hear the wheel bearing. If you hear something but you are still confused as to whether its coming from the brakes or the bearing then take the brakes apart. Take the caliper, bracket and rotor off. If the noise is still there then its your wheel bearing, if the noise is gone, then it was your brakes duh! A bad bearing has a distinct sound though, you wont confuse it with brakes.
PS The drivers outer joint will make noise on a right hand turn. Give that a shot if you suspect thats its the axle.

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Old 04-05-2007, 03:35 AM
flir67 flir67 is offline
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whats strange is , he mentioned having caked stuff all over the caliper. sounds like a caliper causing a pad to be worn down. or a rock in his brake pad.

did you smelling anything burning while this loud noise was happening?


I had the squeling sounds also, found out on my second brake job that the pads were installed wrong. theirs a link in these forum showing you exactly how to put brake pads on right for our cars.

best of luck.

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Old 04-06-2007, 06:35 PM
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superblackz superblackz is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve9c1
What I need help is diagnosing this problem. I will be taking the wheel off this weekend and inspecting what I can. My theory is that it is the wheel bearings going bad and/or axles. That the additional load made the metal to metal contact much more pronounced and once that load decreased, due to lower speeds, the "normal" scrape/squeal resumed. Need and ideas, opinions, etc.
Thanks!
1. Does the car pull L/R under braking on flat, straight road? How about while not braking? Is the noise worse when steering than driving straight?
2. How effective are the brakes? Do you have to stomp on them to get them to work well, and or push the pedal a long way before they seem to work?
3. The "normal" squealing noise could really be anything - noise travels.
4. Did you check brake fluid at the master cyl?

Looking to the brakes makes sense with the history, you may have a caliper sticking, meaning it does not return the pad back after clamping on the rotor. Weak return is pretty common for high mileage cars. If the one of the pads drags on the rotor, it would make that nasty metallic scraping sound if the pad material is pretty well shot.

In any case, either DIY starting at least with a new set of pads, better to replace rotors aftermarket than turn stock rotors, they may be so thin that they warp easily (and OEM rotors are expensive for what you get) At least pull the pads and check their condition - if there is less pad material than backing, it's time for new ones.

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Old 04-06-2007, 07:12 PM
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Atimadator Atimadator is offline
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In reguards to the Midas pads, that may be a starting point. I was a manager at a Midas for a short time and we put 3 different sets of Midas pads on a vehicle before we figured out that the pads were causing the horrible grinding noise, with no damage or anything to the rotors. Put factory pads on and all was good after that.
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Old 04-13-2007, 06:05 AM
iconz21 iconz21 is offline
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Any update to what you found out, Steve?
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Old 04-13-2007, 05:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve9c1
I got the front-driver's side side up in the air yesterday. I wasn't able to both front tires up as jserrano suggested, due to my jack stands being too tall, and the factory jack too short. Here is what I found though. I turned the disk by hand(after putting the car in neutral)and the only noise whas from the caliper/pad area. I'm definitely leaning towards it being the brakes. The calipers have an enormous amount of caked on crud all over them. I'm thinking that the pads are starting to drag and/or the brake rotors are glazed over as well. The rotors were smooth but are definitely really really old. After putting everything back together, I only had the "normal" noise of the past 2 years. Will update this thread as any updates happen.
To me it sounds like your caliper sliders are seized and that possibly your piston is also seized. I had this same exact symptom on my rear caliper when they seized. It would make a metal grinding noise while i drove under 20mph but would go away once i was up to speed. When i removed the caliper i had the caked crud as well b/c the sliders had seized and the piston was only grabbing 1 disc pad rather than both completely grinding one pad to the metal but leaving the other pad almost untouched. Remove your caliper inspect both pads and your sliders. Make sure you can compress the piston,that the dust boot is ok and not leaking, and make sure that the sliders move freely. Hope this helps. Keep us updated and let us know.



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Old 04-14-2007, 03:01 AM
Steve9c1 Steve9c1 is offline
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Hey Everyone. Thanks for the responses. Haven't check the forum this week as work was hectic as all get out. Yet, Im home on Friday night and my gf is asleep. LOL

Update: New horrid noise has disappeared. The only noise left is the same old one. To further explain it, it happens at all speeds, and is neither louder, nor softer than before. Brake performance is the same.

Ok, my responses to everyone:
Altima_Craze: Awesome tip. Should have thought of this as I have a few years off-road experience. Will def try it next time I get the car up for this issue.

Flir: The only burning smell is my oil leak. LOL. I assume you're thinking of the caliper being seized/brake pad dragging bad enough to heat the rotor and make stuff start to burn? This does not appear to be the case. Also not a rock stuck in there. Been there and done that and this is different. Will also check on brake pad install.

SuperBlackz: 1-3. Car surprising brakes well. Doesn't pull to either side, no fade, nice pedal feel. The noise has only happened a few times. The first after making a sweeping right hand turn onto the freeway. The other time it started after the car was parked. Drove about 2 miles, came home. Next time I went out, it was gone.
4. Will check the brake fluid although I'm pretty sure it's filled.

Atmidator: Previous owner also paid $800 on another visit to Midas to have the exhaust replaced. Started leaking with in a year. I'm sure the brake pads were scooped out of the same pile of $H^T.


My Thoughts: A few things at work here. One is that the pads and rotors are Grade A Midas. That is pretty much an automatic, they should be replaced so you know that you did the job right with quality parts. The other is that, the calipers do not look like they were ever replaced. That's 191K miles of NYC sitting on top of them. So you have inferior pads, and rotors, and also calipers where the slides, and everything else are far from optimum condition. I think everything points to I should get some new brake pads, rotors, and calipers. I'm in no rush to do this as I feel I am putting to much money into as is. I don't feel like it is a safety issue, and if it becomes one, I will absolutely fix it. Yep, I totally just became the guy who gets his problem diagnosed, and is holding off fixing it. Never thought the day would came, but here it is. On a more serious not, thanks for all the help again. I really do appreciate it and am glad that others will be able to search and find this thread.

Last edited by Steve9c1; 04-14-2007 at 03:06 AM.
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Old 04-16-2007, 05:17 AM
tlafrance tlafrance is offline
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Try jacking the noisy side up under the control arm so that the wheel is off the ground. Then grab the tire at 12:00 and 6:00 and rock it top to bottom. You should feel NO play. If there IS play, it could be a wheel bearing. Out here in the desert the fine dirt works its way into the bearing and causes them to fail between 100-150K miles. The bearing usually also wipes out the hub and you can only get one from the dealer The job is not too difficult with the proper tools and a hydraulic press at your disposal. If no press, remove the whole knuckle assy and take it to a machine shop, they usually charge less than 50 bucks labor.

Tom
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