This all started with, what I thought, was a bad wheel bearing. "wub wub wub" noise on left turns indicating the front right bearing, shimmy while breaking at highway speeds (brakes and rotors all around done about 2 months ago)
When I first noticed the noise, I jacked the car up and spun both front wheels as well as rocking them at 6 & 9 but I got no noise or movement. Couldn't hear anything from either knuckle with a long screwdriver to the ear. So I decided to wait a bit for it to get worse so I could identify it.
The sound is so bad now that I hear it driving straight, left and right, but turning to the left remains the loudest. Last weekend I jacked the car up and took another look. Still no movement in either wheel, no indication that the seals have gone bad, but I did spot a torn boot on the DOJ on the driver's side. I grabbed the axle shaft and it had a lot of play. I compared to the passenger's side which also had some play, but the driver's side had substantially more play.
At this point I figured since I didn't have any other new info, and that axle would need to be changed regardless of the wheel bearing issue, I decided to change it. I pulled the axle and while I had it off I rocked the stub axle and it has some wiggle. I don't know if these should have any wiggle in them, seems to me that if they are under preload that they really shouldn't. I didn't pull the passenger's side axle, but it has some play at the DOJ too.
I put everything back together with a new axle and tested the play in the axle shaft again and it seemed to match up with the play in the passenger's side. I went for a test drive and the noise is unchanged. I'm worried that I have some bad bearings in my trans.
So my questions are, when the diff carrier bearings go bad, is there play on both sides?
If so, then are they both bad?
If not, then how do I determine which one is bad?
and lastly, and I'm not holding my breath here, are these bearings I can get to without tearing the trans apart?
I have not yet changed the trans fluid to look for metal shavings as I ran out of light/energy, but that's first on the list tomorrow.