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Sounds like bad CV joints, but not CV joints?

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My '84 BRAT sounds like it has a bad CV joint in front. I just lived with it for a while -- when I bought it (a few years ago) the seller told me that she'd torn a CV boot and that her mechanic had re-packed it. He said that it was making noise, but it wouldn't get any worse (because it had been cleaned and re-packed). I didn't let it bother me, because I've never had a CV fail -- when they get loud enough to be annoying, I replace them. :)

 

So...I figured I might as well replace my bad axle. Drove my car around, made some tight circles to figure out which side the noise seemed to be coming from, and replaced that axle with a new Chinese one. Hopped in for a test drive, and...the sound was still there! I'm the guy who once managed to change bearings on all 4 wheels before finding the right one, so I just figured I'd picked the wrong side. Bought a new axle, replaced the other side...2 new axles in front, and the sound is still there! Sounds like a bad CV joint to me, definitely coming from the front of the car, definitely tied to the speed of the wheels.

 

Suggestions? At this point, I'm thinking it's either a bad front U-joint in the driveshaft or something much more ominous in the transmission. Has anyone had that U-joint go bad before? I crawled under and wiggled the shaft, but the joint is tight. I've had RWD cars w/worn-out U-joints before -- they clanged like a bell when letting out the clutch and putting a load on the driveline -- but those were sloppy joints with the needle bearings gone from the U-joint, and I'm guessing this is just a dry U-joint. It's the original, so it doesn't have a grease fitting like I've seen on some aftermarket ones. Has anyone had a dry U-joint in front? What were the symptoms? Any test that doesn't require pulling out the driveline? Will the fault be obvious if I do pull out the driveline and try flexing the U-joint by hand?

 

Thanks in advance,

Shane

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Wheel bearing

Loose caliper

Loose break pads

Suspension component

Chinese Axles

 

 

 

 

nipper

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Wheel bearing

Loose caliper

Loose break pads

Suspension component

Chinese Axles

 

 

 

 

nipper

:) I like that last one. How dare you imply that Chinese goods may be inferior! :) To tell you the truth, I turned to the Chinese new axles after having bad luck with units that were remanufactured here in the USA.

 

I've seen all of those maladies before in various cars, and this doesn't sound like a wheel bearing, loose caliper, or pads. It mostly happens (as I recall) under deceleration, it sounds like a CV joint, and the sound didn't change after I swapped the axles, which makes me doubt it's the axles. In my experience, wheel bearings are a constant hum, loose calipers and pads rattle (and the sound changes/goes away/gets worse when applying brakes). This is the growly sound like a CV joint makes, almost a pop-pop-pop-pop, but not quite that sharp in tone...thank you for the suggestions, but I'm pretty sure it's none of those.

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:) I like that last one. How dare you imply that Chinese goods may be inferior! :) To tell you the truth, I turned to the Chinese new axles after having bad luck with units that were remanufactured here in the USA.

 

I've seen all of those maladies before in various cars, and this doesn't sound like a wheel bearing, loose caliper, or pads. It mostly happens (as I recall) under deceleration, it sounds like a CV joint, and the sound didn't change after I swapped the axles, which makes me doubt it's the axles. In my experience, wheel bearings are a constant hum, loose calipers and pads rattle (and the sound changes/goes away/gets worse when applying brakes). This is the growly sound like a CV joint makes, almost a pop-pop-pop-pop, but not quite that sharp in tone...thank you for the suggestions, but I'm pretty sure it's none of those.

 

Rear wheel bearings growl, front ones can clunk. Best way to find out is get a freind in the car and let them listen. Sometimes noises creep up on us and we dont hear them like a stranger would.

 

Also depending upon the method of extracting the old axle, the wheel bearing may have taken a beating.

 

Start from square one, jack up the front of the car, put it on jack stands, and start wiggling things, and turn the wheels by hand, with the wheels cut.

 

Turn them by the axles if you can.

 

Did you reuse the axle pin or use new ones?

 

nipper

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Those stupid cone washers have caused me many a problem, making me think a bad wheel bearing or cv when the damn cone washer was worn causing the axle nut to come loose, then eventually frying the bearing. It is more noticible at low speeds because the centrifugal force of the tire/wheel makes the hub float at higher speeds. Something to check out. I do regularly. I would love to bulk buy those washers, they're pricy at the dealer, and I reuse the old ones which I have to retorque often.

(I just realized 'retorque' is on the same row on the keyboard).

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yep those cone washers are typically problematic....though i can't imagine those doing that for years without issue?

 

front differentials can whine under load (decel and accel).

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