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Old 03-14-2014, 07:04 AM   #1
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Bearings question

My wife's 2011 Tahoe makes sort of a "wuh-wuh-wuh" (don't laugh, I don't know else to explain it) sound from the front - it seems to be noticeable when slowing down, esp in the 30 mph and lower range. Is this a sign of the bearings going out? The sound isn't loud but I do notice it since I tend to really try to listen to our vehicles. Thanks in advance!
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Old 03-14-2014, 07:18 AM   #2
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Could be a number of things actually, including tires. When I was running A/T tires, they would make a similar sound when slowing down (at about 20 MPH and lower), it was because the tires were starting to cup so they sounded like M/Ts. Does the sound change depending on if you're turning or not? Usually, if it's a bad bearing, the sound will change when turning depending on which side is bad. You can also jack up each front tire and try to shake it to see if there is any play in the bearing (there should be none so if it moves separate from the truck, you need a new one). Try doing different things and see if the sound changes and/or gets worse or better, that will help narrow down the problem (ie. turning, braking, etc).
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Old 03-14-2014, 07:26 AM   #3
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Thanks for the quick reply. I will drive it again and raise the wheels to check to see if there is any play. If they do need replacing, is there a decent place to get some? And will I need a press or do they come as units allowing me to do it myself? Thanks again for your help!
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Old 03-14-2014, 07:31 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SpacemanSpiff View Post
Thanks for the quick reply. I will drive it again and raise the wheels to check to see if there is any play. If they do need replacing, is there a decent place to get some? And will I need a press or do they come as units allowing me to do it myself? Thanks again for your help!
My dad went through wheel bearing replacements on his Silverado and I'm pretty sure he took it to a shop because they needed to be pressed but don't quote me on that. I'm not familiar enough with the Chevy front to talk about what's required.

Overall, I've had good luck with Rock Auto for replacement parts with the exception of Dorman bearings. If it wree me, I'd try to find a Chevy forum and search there to see what brands people are using and having good luck with. You don't want a cheap bearing that is junk, you want an inexpensive bearing that will last.
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Old 03-17-2014, 07:23 AM   #5
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Ok, so I got a chance to test the wheels by jacking up each side and shaking it (by gripping the wheel at the 12 and 6 o'clock positions, and then again at the 9 and 3 positions), but there was no movement or play. I even spun the wheel while holding the spring to see if there was a different feel. I did this for both front wheels, but found no play in each. So, does that rule out the bearings? If so, then what other tests/things can I do to see what that sound is? Thanks!
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Old 03-17-2014, 07:32 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SpacemanSpiff View Post
Ok, so I got a chance to test the wheels by jacking up each side and shaking it (by gripping the wheel at the 12 and 6 o'clock positions, and then again at the 9 and 3 positions), but there was no movement or play. I even spun the wheel while holding the spring to see if there was a different feel. I did this for both front wheels, but found no play in each. So, does that rule out the bearings? If so, then what other tests/things can I do to see what that sound is? Thanks!
That doesn't necessarily rule out wheel bearings but it means they're not terrible. Wheel bearings shouldn't have any play so by the time it gets to the point where you can shake and see the movement, they're really bad.

You can drive yourself nutty chasing noises. What I do is drive with the radio off and all the windows down (having a passenger can help also) and just try different things to see what makes the noise worse, better, etc. Turning at different speeds, accelerating, braking, 4wd engaged, speed up then throw it in neutral to see if the sound goes away. Basically, try to see if it's RPM or speed related, try to tie it definitely to something, the more info the better. While you were under the truck, is there anything leaking from the front diff? Could be the bearing at the diff side instead of the spindle side. Unfortunately, there are still a lot of possibilities. Possibly even rotate the tires front to back and see if the noise changes to the rear.
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