How to tell if wheel bearing needs replacement? - Mercedes-Benz Forum

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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old 04-14-2011, 07:17 PM Thread Starter
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How to tell if wheel bearing needs replacement?

I noticed a weird sound driving home on the highway tonight, kind of like a quiet hum, not quite a whine. When I got home I felt all of the wheels around the bolts (totally unscientific I know) and the front driver's side was warm to the touch while the rest were cool. Should I be worried about my wheel bearings? I have no idea when they were last replaced, I got the car at 178k miles and it's got 180k on it now.
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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old 04-14-2011, 08:05 PM
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Hey there,

I replaced my (rear) wheel bearing about a year ago, I heard a humming just like you mentioned.

Best thing to do:

Jack up the car and try to move the wheel left to right, then up and down - see if there is any play. If there isn't any play - then rotate the wheel with your hands and make sure it feels smooth and see if you feel any resistance or hear any faint grinding.

If it does any of the above, it is probably a wheel bearing.

Report back here, and we will take the next step.

Good luck.


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post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old 04-15-2011, 11:59 AM
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There are two sets of wheel bearings and races that they ride in. Inner and outter bearings.

When was the last time you repacked the bearings?

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post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old 04-15-2011, 12:57 PM
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Or ...just simply wait until you see your own wheels rolling in front of your car on freeway..

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post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old 04-15-2011, 04:19 PM
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That's a very common oversight of owners, packing the wheel bearings. I would pull the wheels and inspect and pack them. They should be smooth, without pits or scores, and sit reasonably in the races. If they're not, replace them. Or, if you want to do the same job again soon, pack them, replace them and drive a while. That only if you don't find the pits, scores or other anomalies.
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post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old 04-15-2011, 06:23 PM
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Steel raceways of both inner and outer rings eventually flake off because of roller contact fatigue.

When the balls roll over the exposed subsurface, they make a humming noise.

Eventually the cage breaks and the balls roll free to split and be ground up.

Make it a practice to periodically remove the hub and replace the inner and outer race rings. They are pressure fitted and rather easily removed and pressed back in.

Greasing is a slow and thorough process and don't forget to properly reseat a new inner grease seal. Use a proper cap impact tool to press the cap in after setting the wheel bearing preload washer and installing the cotter pin.

Lastly, humming can come from any of the parts I just named, or even from other bearings in the car. The way to find the problems is to look, feel and listen.

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post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old 04-15-2011, 09:23 PM
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prepare to repack the bearing by getting all the supplies you need

take the hub off of the spindle

clean the hub out and inspect the inner and outer races that are pressed into the hub.

If there are still honing marks / cross-hatching marks on the races that go consistently around the entire race, they are good.

Repack and set the bearing clearance.

--if the honing / machining marks are not visible, you should buy new bearings and will have to press the old ones out and the news ones in (you can rent a tool from autozone that fits.)
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post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old 04-17-2011, 03:21 PM Thread Starter
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ok, front drivers side makes a grinding noise. I had the car up on jacks yesterday and did a simple left right, up down wiggle test. When spinning the wheel a noticable grind is heard.

Now, I have to tell you guys, I don't understand much of the above
Races? Packing? I don't know what these things are. I'll watch some youtube videos I guess. Got me this far
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