marc_w Posted July 18, 2005 Report Share Posted July 18, 2005 I got a new one for you guys. I lost a wheel bearing in my truck, with only about 42-43,000 miles on it. The drivers side bearing. Of course it let go at a very poor time. Towing our travel trailer back from vacation... about 75 miles from my house. I'm going to list the history of things, and all of the symtoms I had (with maybe a little venting thrown in). Nothing here clicked with me, until I found out what the problem was. This is going to be long. - I had that front end growl in the truck since new. I have chosen to ignore it. It quieted down a good amount over time. I rarely hear it now. - A few months back, I started noticing grease spatter on my rim. I looked around, and assumed it was coming from my tie rod end or upper ball joint, which sometimes weap grease on me. Couldn't really pinpoint anything. Problem ignored. - * Over the last month and a half, there have been a few times where I would get a rather pronounced whirr or growl like tire noise from the front of the truck. It would only last a second or so. It was rather obvious. This concerned me. I was not able to duplicate it, and the noises were so far and few between, I thought it may have possibly been poor pavement or actual tire wear that would make itself known under certain circumstances. - About three weeks before leaving, I noticed that I had the SLIGHTEST, occasional, "chirp... chirp... chirp" coming from the drivers side front of the truck when making tight right hand turns in parking lots or parking garages. It sounded like slight brake-squeal. I figure I must have ran over some foriegn substance or just brake dust was collecting up and making the noise on me when the wheel was slightly stressed during right hand turns. Problem ignored. - * One week before the trip, I (re) installed my stock cam, and the engine falls dead silent again when I let off the throttle. I have noticed what I thought was the front-end growl, when I let off the throttle and when coasting in a straight line. Usually at speeds between 20 and 45mph. It was not "bad" AT ALL, just slightly noticeable every now and then. It would sometimes be accompanied by the louder growl noise. * These two had me worried. I dropped the fluid front diff to check to see if I was getting any shavings or anything. I had a few fuzzies on the magnet that dissolved in a rag, but nothing to write home about. I filled the diff back up and decided things were fit to go, and I'd worry about the occasional growl when I got back. I made it to our destination fine. About 125 miles away. Approx. 5,000lb payload behind/in the truck. I put on about 300 (additional) miles during the week, with maybe 4 one-second, "pronounced growls" from the front end. Again, nothing to REALLY worry me, just something to say, 'Hey I gotta really look into that when I get back'. Coming home, cruising up the highway at 65-70mph, 90* out... arm out the window, having a grand old time, when I hear the growl at that speed - something that never happened before. I immediately backed out of the pedal, and within 3 seconds flat, before I can even think, it goes from growl to all kinds of drama. Horrible squealing, crunching, grinding and vibrating. The noises in most motorheads nightmares. At first, I thought my front diff bearings let go. I pulled over immediately, and noticed a strong mechanical burning smell. I looked under the truck expecting to see diff fluid all underneath the truck but there was nothing obviously wrong. I sat there for 10 minutes to gather my thoughs, and limped off the nearest exit which actually put me on a smaller highway with a nice dirt shoulder outside the breakdown lane. It was making some UGLY noises, let me tell you. Rolling a coffee can full of rocks down a hill would have been pretty in comparison. Truck got towed to a friend-of-the-families shop, an uncle rescued the trailer from me. I owe them tremendously. It's hard to explain the amount of stress involved in this here. If you've ever broken down you know "that" feeling. Now do it over an hour from home (towing $$$), but with two vehicles at once ($$$ x2) ... and with lots of large valubales spread between them. Not fun! I wasn't even thinking of the carnage in the truck, just how to get my valuables (our stuff, and the two vehicles, home). From breakdown-to-home took 8 hours after it was all said and done. I loved how in the 2.5 hours we were on the side of the highway, THREE SEPERATE VEHICLES pulled over within a stones-throw to us to adjust cargo they were carrying on cars or in trucks, but neglected to even yell over, "Hey, you guys all set there?". We weren't running the hazards and looking down the highway for nothing. Pondering on the side of the road, I didn't know what the problem with the truck was. I thought either a CV fried, or the diff ate itself up. The friend was pretty well conviced it was the wheel bearing before he even had the truck in his possession. He was right. The bearing (it's a hub assembly actually) ran us $290. It took 1.5 hours for our friend to whip it out in his garage. I was in no mood to work on it myself at that point. I owe him a lot. Got the truck Friday night, had it done Saturday at 3pm. I probably drove a mile total from initial noise, to tow, and the front wheel had about an inch of play in it up on the lift. I talked to the friend pretty extensively about the problem. I consider myself pretty Chevy savvy, and never heard of K1500's losing wheel bearings. He said it's actually real common from what he's seen, and that it's always been the drivers side that he finds gone. He says if any little spec of debris or salt gets in there (our winters suck), that it can pit a bearing, and the pit can magnify itself, quite slowly at first, then exponentially basically, until the bearing fails. The bearing is non-adjustable, and non-serviceable. ....so if any of you have any of these symptoms, I HIGHLY recommend you lift your front wheels off the ground and give those wheels a tug... Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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