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Old 11-16-2005, 20:01   #1 (permalink)
ejlackey@yahoo.com
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1995 Ford Escort - Road Noise

1995 Ford Escort with 97k miles. In the past few months, I've
developed a road noise condition that I can't figure out.

The noise sounds like i have a flat tire or really hard rubber tires,
like mud tires on a 4x4. The thing is, the noise is most prevelant at
around 45 to 50 mph, and then gets quieter. I really can't tell if its
coming from the front or rear of the car, i just know that it gets to a
point where the vibration is rattling the interior.

The most interesting thing is that when I am bearing left at those
speeds, the noise completely goes away, more so than when it gets
quieter at 60. So to me that rules out any connections that don't bear
any weight, like universal joints, etc...

I'm thinking about the other pieces that could be a culprit and wanted
to know if anyone else experienced this. I think I've narrowed it down
to:

Tires
Wheel bearings
Driveaxle/CV Joints
Shocks/Struts

Shocks/struts are original. They still feel pretty good when pushing
down on the front end. Bounces 2 times tops and stops.

The CV joints could probably use some attention. The inner CV boots on
both legs have a leak, because I can see the grease in a perfect line
sprayed up onto the bottom of the engine.

The wheel bearings are sealed and can't be repacked. Is the best test
for wheel bearings still to grab the top and bottom of the tire and
check for play?

I've rotated the tires but haven't balanced them since about 6k miles.
That didn't help/hurt the noise. They are down to about 4mm in tread
depth, and no inconsistent wear on the outsides or in the middle.
Noise occurs on all road types/conditions.

Any help is appreciated.

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Old 11-16-2005, 22:01   #2 (permalink)
Tom Adkins
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Re: 1995 Ford Escort - Road Noise

ejlackey@yahoo.com wrote:
> 1995 Ford Escort with 97k miles. In the past few months, I've
> developed a road noise condition that I can't figure out.
>
> The noise sounds like i have a flat tire or really hard rubber tires,
> like mud tires on a 4x4. The thing is, the noise is most prevelant at
> around 45 to 50 mph, and then gets quieter. I really can't tell if its
> coming from the front or rear of the car, i just know that it gets to a
> point where the vibration is rattling the interior.
>
> The most interesting thing is that when I am bearing left at those
> speeds, the noise completely goes away, more so than when it gets
> quieter at 60. So to me that rules out any connections that don't bear
> any weight, like universal joints, etc...
>
> I'm thinking about the other pieces that could be a culprit and wanted
> to know if anyone else experienced this. I think I've narrowed it down
> to:
>
> Tires
> Wheel bearings
> Driveaxle/CV Joints
> Shocks/Struts
>
> Shocks/struts are original. They still feel pretty good when pushing
> down on the front end. Bounces 2 times tops and stops.
>
> The CV joints could probably use some attention. The inner CV boots on
> both legs have a leak, because I can see the grease in a perfect line
> sprayed up onto the bottom of the engine.
>
> The wheel bearings are sealed and can't be repacked. Is the best test
> for wheel bearings still to grab the top and bottom of the tire and
> check for play?
>
> I've rotated the tires but haven't balanced them since about 6k miles.
> That didn't help/hurt the noise. They are down to about 4mm in tread
> depth, and no inconsistent wear on the outsides or in the middle.
> Noise occurs on all road types/conditions.
>
> Any help is appreciated.
>

Sounds like wheel bearings...

"when I am bearing left at those
> speeds, the noise completely goes away, more so than when it gets
> quieter at 60."


Classic Wheel Bearing noise.

It sounds like you need much more though..

"The inner CV boots on
both legs have a leak, because I can see the grease in a perfect line
sprayed up onto the bottom of the engine."

Those CV joints aren't going to last long if they are spraying grease.

"The wheel bearings are sealed and can't be repacked. Is the best test
for wheel bearings still to grab the top and bottom of the tire and
check for play?"

No, they are noisy and need to be replaced. If you feel play, it's way too late.

I've rotated the tires but haven't balanced them since about 6k miles.
> That didn't help/hurt the noise. They are down to about 4mm in tread
> depth, and no inconsistent wear on the outsides or in the middle.
> Noise occurs on all road types/conditions.


The tires are done. 4mm is the lower limit of safe tires.

Sounds like: 2 tires, 2 Axle assemblies, and 2 wheel bearing\hub assemblies. SWAG
price, about $800. $300-DIY.
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Old 11-17-2005, 08:01   #3 (permalink)
sleepdog@optonline.net
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Re: 1995 Ford Escort - Road Noise

>> 1995 Ford Escort with 97k miles. In the past few months, I've
>> developed a road noise condition that I can't figure out.


Simple and easy thing, pull the front wheels off and inspect the brake
pads and rotors. I recently had a similar road noise issue that
sounded like a wheel bearing wearing out, but it was a stuck caliper
piston scraping against the rotor. In this case you would also
experience a hard pull to one side (to the opposite the stuck caliper)
when breaking at medium and high speeds.

For what your chasing down, make sure you identify the correct problem
first because throwing parts at the driveline can be expensive. And a
wheel failing the "wiggle" test could also signal worn out ball joints
and tie-rod ends, rather than a bad wheel bearing. At 97k I'd be
surprised if a bearing went bad on a later model vehicle.

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Old 11-21-2005, 21:01   #4 (permalink)
ejlackey@yahoo.com
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Re: 1995 Ford Escort - Road Noise

The cause was the left rear wheel bearing. You could hear a difference
in the left versus the right just by turning them. Didn't make much
noise, but compared to complete silence from the other side, it was
obvious the left one had issues.

$53 at O'reilly's for one Hub Assembly. Takes a 32mm socket. Less
than 30 minutes.

I'll be getting to my other problems soon.

Thanks for the tip Tom.

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