Strange whining sound from tires/wheels .. more noticeable at low speeds - Ranger-Forums - The Ultimate Ford Ranger Resource


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Old 02-23-2014
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Icon5 Strange whining sound from tires/wheels .. more noticeable at low speeds

Hey everyone,

2000 Ford Ranger XLT .. 108,000 miles and some change. We had a pretty significant snow here in Charlotte a couple weeks ago. I did get out in it a few times and ran the truck in both 4-wheel high and 4-wheel low. No problems and she ran like a beast.

About a week after the snow was gone I started getting a strange sound from the wheels/tires. Very hard to describe ... it's more of a whine than anything else. Doesn't really sound like the typical tire out of balance where you get the thumping/wobbling sound. It's a low whine that is almost completely unnoticeable at highway speeds but becomes louder and more apparent as I slow down to stop. I've tried to determine which tires/wheels but can't be sure. Seems to be the rear. I'm not getting any vibration in the steering wheel. No thumping or grinding during turns, etc. Front brakes are all new (rotors and pads) about 6 months ago. 4 new tires about the same time.

I keep wondering if it could have something to do with driving it in 4-wheel drive for a couple of days. Until the snow I hadn't dropped her in 4x4 for well over a year.

Any help/thoughts/suggestions/questions would be greatly appreciated!
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Old 02-23-2014
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That's too vague. I'd like to say wheel bearings or rear end but I can't say for sure. It could also be the transfer case.
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Old 02-24-2014
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I'd almost bet money on needing a new front wheel hub. Mine did almost exact same thing.

On a side note you should engage the 4x4 at least bi-monthly to keep the shift motor in the transfer case free and working.
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Old 02-24-2014
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Newman View Post
I'd almost bet money on needing a new front wheel hub. Mine did almost exact same thing.

On a side note you should engage the 4x4 at least bi-monthly to keep the shift motor in the transfer case free and working.
That's what I'm afraid of. I'm going to try and get her to my regular mechanic this Friday. Do you think the snow/4x4 driving recently could have caused or contributed to the hub going bad?
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Old 02-24-2014
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I doubt it could cause it to go bad but if it was already going bad the extra torque MAY have pushed to the point that it is causing noise. I wouldn't get too worked up about it. I've been through 3 of them. It seems to be failure point on the 4x4s. So far I've had good luck with the SK branded hub from NAPA. Others have voiced their approval of this brand as well. Not a hard job should you choose to do it yourself. I did the last one in about 2 hours. Please let us know if that really is your problem once you have it fixed.
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Old 03-02-2014
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Just wanted to update and let everyone know I fixed the problem ...
I kept thinking this had to have something to do with all the 4x4 driving I had done in the snow just the week before the sound started. I drove around with a friend who is a diesel mechanic by trade. Just as soon as the sound started he said he thought it was coming from the front hubs. He said to keep driving and accelerate up to speed. When I got up to about 50 mph he flipped the switch on the dash from 2-wheel to 4-wheel high and immediately back to 2-wheel. The sound went away for about a minute then came back. We did that little switcheroo about 3 more times and it finally took. Evidently the front hubs were not completely disengaging. I asked him if he had any ideas why and he said probably age, lack of lubrication and the fact I hadn't used them in years. I'm going in for an alignment and rotate/balance in the next couple of weeks and I'm going to get everything up there lubed up at the same time. Ball joints, U-joints, hubs, you name it. Anything they can squirt grease on/in and definitely anything that has a zerk on it.
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Old 03-03-2014
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That's a bit of a "my bad" on my part. I had assumed that your truck didn't have unlocking front hubs. I guess that was 2001 they did away with the pulse vacuum system. Glad you figured it out.
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