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What does this mean? 1 front wheel spins freely, one doesnt

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Old 07-27-2011, 10:05 AM   #1
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What does this mean? 1 front wheel spins freely, one doesnt

I've just recently started having issues with vibrations while braking, I had another thread about it but decided to start a new one as I now have the issue localized, but I don't know where to go from here.

I noticed pulsations in the steering wheel and pedal when slowing down, and performed all the standard steering and suspension checks. My steering rack does not move when the wheel is pulled back and forth, but when I push/pull side to side on the wheel there is play. I jacked up the front drivers side, and the wheel on that side is extremely difficult to spin. It doesn't sound like anything is dragging, it's just very tough to move it. When I jacked up the passenger side and did the same thing that wheel moves freely and easily.

I did not jack both sides up at the same time, would that make a difference? Also, where do I go from here? The passenger side inner and outer tie rods where replaced last october, and the drivers side ones are original. My two biggest questions are:
1) why is the drivers side wheel so hard to turn?
2) what is causing the braking vibrations?

Could my caliper be bad? Tie rods worn? A combination? I'd really like to figure this out first before taking it in to the mechanic if possible.
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Old 07-27-2011, 10:09 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kingston73 View Post
I've just recently started having issues with vibrations while braking, I had another thread about it but decided to start a new one as I now have the issue localized, but I don't know where to go from here.

I noticed pulsations in the steering wheel and pedal when slowing down, and performed all the standard steering and suspension checks. My steering rack does not move when the wheel is pulled back and forth, but when I push/pull side to side on the wheel there is play. I jacked up the front drivers side, and the wheel on that side is extremely difficult to spin. It doesn't sound like anything is dragging, it's just very tough to move it. When I jacked up the passenger side and did the same thing that wheel moves freely and easily.

I did not jack both sides up at the same time, would that make a difference? Also, where do I go from here? The passenger side inner and outer tie rods where replaced last october, and the drivers side ones are original. My two biggest questions are:
1) why is the drivers side wheel so hard to turn?
2) what is causing the braking vibrations?

Could my caliper be bad? Tie rods worn? A combination? I'd really like to figure this out first before taking it in to the mechanic if possible.
If I'm understanding what you did, it sounds like you may have a wheel bearing going out on you. If you jack the truck up, there shouldn't be play in the wheel. The wheel assembly shouldn't move without the truck.

As far as the wheels turning, it's because you have an open differential. I'd bet when you turn the driver's side wheel, you'll notice the shaft turn between the front diff and the transfer case, the passenger side is just spinning the half shaft between the diff and the wheel and not the shaft between the front diff and the transfer case.
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Old 07-27-2011, 10:15 AM   #3
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I second the wheel bearing.
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Old 07-27-2011, 10:15 AM   #4
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When the drivers side is jacked and the passenger side is on the ground, the wheel is difficult to spin, but that is because of the differential so that is normal?

OK, that's one issue out of the way. Would a worn wheel bearing cause the vibration during braking?

I just went out to double check, and with all 4 tires on the ground, when I try to wiggle the passenger tire back and forth (side to side) nothing moves, but when I do the same to the drivers side wheel it moves back and forth a noticable amount, and makes what I can only describe as a metal/grease mush type sound.
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Old 07-27-2011, 10:20 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kingston73 View Post
When the drivers side is jacked and the passenger side is on the ground, the wheel is difficult to spin, but that is because of the differential so that is normal?

OK, that's one issue out of the way. Would a worn wheel bearing cause the vibration during braking?

I just went out to double check, and with all 4 tires on the ground, when I try to wiggle the passenger tire back and forth (side to side) nothing moves, but when I do the same to the drivers side wheel it moves back and forth a noticable amount, and makes what I can only describe as a metal/grease mush type sound.
Yes, based on internet diagnostics I would say your differential is normal.

And also, I would say you need a new wheel bearing. With the driver's side wheel in the air, you should not be able to 'wiggle' the wheel without moving the entire truck. If there's play, the bearing is shot. Also, that grease sound sounds like another indicator that things are moving where they shouldn't be.
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Old 07-27-2011, 10:23 AM   #6
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OK, looks like a wheel bearing replacement then. Any suggestions on a good place to buy one, or is this one of those times when OEM is best and I should just get one from the dealer?
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Old 07-27-2011, 10:26 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kingston73 View Post
OK, looks like a wheel bearing replacement then. Any suggestions on a good place to buy one, or is this one of those times when OEM is best and I should just get one from the dealer?
I'll let one of your fellow 1st Genner's respond to that one, I've been fortunate and have not needed to replace mine yet.
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Old 07-27-2011, 10:26 AM   #8
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Start with the rotors on your brakes. They tend to warp and need to be resurfaced on a machine that does them lug-centric. I had this issue over a year ago and resurfaced rotors took care of the pulsing/vibrating issue when braking.

If that doesn't fix it, then you know it's suspension/bearing related.
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Old 07-27-2011, 10:29 AM   #9
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I may end up replacing the rotors and front pads any way, but that alone doesn't explain the side to side play and sound from the drivers side. I'm going to have to go search the forum, I'm sure somebody on here must have a wheel bearing replacement thread, right?
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Old 07-27-2011, 10:38 AM   #10
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From what I'm reading and finding online I think this may be beyond my abilities. How bad is it to drive the truck like this? Is there potential to fall apart and crash here?
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Old 07-27-2011, 10:44 AM   #11
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Is your truck manual hubs or ADD? I can hook you up with a cheap wheel bearing for your truck, but my best advice to you on how to get it changed depends on your hub setup.
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Old 07-27-2011, 10:48 AM   #12
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It's a 2001, with auto hubs. I don't know if it makes a difference, but mine is a 5 spd manual with the manual shift selector for 2wd/4hi/4lo, not one of the ones with a switch or knob to turn.

The thing that has me most hesitant is the need to use a press to remove and reinstall. That and the fact that I've just turned over 170,000 miles I'm thinking I may just suck it up and pay to have a mechanic do it and check all the rest of the suspension and steering bits out while they're there.
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Old 07-27-2011, 10:55 AM   #13
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Your truck, your way definitely man. I was going to say that if you want to save a little money, then you can take the spindle off yourself and take it to a press shop to have them do it for you. It bypasses a mechanic, which is okay as long as you feel comfortable working on your own truck, but its understandable if you would rather a mechanic do it than yourself. Let me know if you want that bearing. A press shop will charge you maybe $50.00-$90.00 for the work. A shop will charge about $300.00 or so to do it. But, the shop comes with a certain amount of peace of mind.
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Old 07-27-2011, 10:57 AM   #14
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The reason one side turns easier than the other is because of the ADD disconnecting that wheel via a stub shaft, the opposite side has to turn the shaft and diff... but it should turn too hard.
If you can move your wheels side to side with it jacked up you got some kind of front end problem: idler arm, ball joint, etc
I would say the pulsating when slowing down is a warped rotor.
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Old 07-27-2011, 10:58 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kingston73 View Post
It's a 2001, with auto hubs. I don't know if it makes a difference, but mine is a 5 spd manual with the manual shift selector for 2wd/4hi/4lo, not one of the ones with a switch or knob to turn.

The thing that has me most hesitant is the need to use a press to remove and reinstall. That and the fact that I've just turned over 170,000 miles I'm thinking I may just suck it up and pay to have a mechanic do it and check all the rest of the suspension and steering bits out while they're there.
Good call. It would create a lot of other problems to be driving around when the bearing disentegrates. Irregardless of the condition of your brakes, the wheel shouldn't move or make squishy grease sounds as has been stated. Good luck.
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Old 07-27-2011, 11:08 AM   #16
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I agree with others the wheel bearing needs to be replaced. I believe the hub and bearing is pressed into the steering knuckle so if you do it yourself you'll need to take it to a shop to have it pressed out and a new one pressed in. Probably best to take it to a service shop and just have them take care of it. The vibration while braking may be do to the bearing but you could have the service shop check the brakes too.

On another note I recently lifted my 04 4x4 and I don't remember one side (wheel) being any easier to turn than the other. I remember turning the wheel after the lift to make sure the CV joints were not affected. Maybe I'll check it again and make note for future reference.
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Old 07-27-2011, 11:13 AM   #17
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Any ideas how much I'm looking at for a shop to repair? I guess a big factor is how many parts they think need to be replaced. As for the bearing, it looks like you're right, the hub/bearing/steering knuckle all have to come off to be pressed out.
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Old 07-27-2011, 11:29 AM   #18
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It'll cost $250.00 or more, just given the time it'll take them to get the spindle off and then to dig down to the bearing itself. Not hard by any means, but it can get expensive. Last time I did mine, I just pulled off both sides off and had them change the bearings out at the same time. They only charged me for the press time so it wasn't too expensive and I assumed that if one was going out, the other one would follow in the next couple thousand miles too.
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Old 08-01-2011, 04:29 PM   #19
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Dropped it off this morning at the mechanic, and got a call a few hours later saying it looks like the caliper is sticking, which caused the rotor to warp, and also a bad tie rod. I forgot to call them before they closed so I don't know what kind of progress was made before 5, so still waiting to hear the final verdict and the bill. I'm expecting about $800 give or take, especially if they need to buy a new caliper.
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Old 08-02-2011, 06:03 AM   #20
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Caliper $100.00
Brakes $35.00
Rotor $40.00
Tie rod $40.00
Misc stuff, incl brake fluid: $15.00
Total on parts s/b: $230.00
That's if they use the expensive parts, which I'm sure they will.

All of that should take a real mechanic 1.5 hours tops to put on. Really, that is generous. That'd really only take about an hour. Given that the mechanic charges a ridiculous rate, like $90.00/hr, then your grand total should still only be about 365.00 before tax. If they align it for you, maybe tack on $100.00 or so.

If they charge you something more than that, then you just got effed and should tell them to show you why it took so long to do the job. Hope that helps you.
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