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I noticed this noise coming from my drivers side front wheel area about a week and a half ago, it's almost like a belt squealing because it's going bad, but I know for sure that it isn't one. The noise has only been happening after I'd go 55-70 mph for an extended time, and I'd notice it whenever my speed dropped below 30 or so. Once I get past thirty, I don't hear it anymore, but when I start slowing down or accelerating from 0-30 it's extremely prevalent. I'm about to take this into a mechanic tomorrow, I just needed some suggestions on what it is so I don't have him charging me four hours of labor on something I could tell him what it is.
Pretty sure I have the EXACT same problem, and I think I figured it out, but not sure of best fix.
I drove mine (97 f150 4wd 5.4) until it started to squeal and then jacked up the front drivers side. While my wife spun the tire by hand I used a short pc. of hose to track down the noise. It appeared to be coming from where the front axle shaft goes through the knuckle. I verified that this was it by spraying a very small amount of WD40 on this area and the squeal went away IMMEDIATELY.
Now I can't decide if this is rubbing due to some excessive wear somewhere in the front end (bearing, bushing, etc) or if this is the result of possibly some rust, grime, break dust, etc between these 2 surfaces.
So, do I:
1. Use a small screwdriver/prybar and try to increase the gap between theses 2 surfaces?
2. Pull the assembly and use emory cloth to clean up these surfaces?
3. Replace something else that may be causing the 2 surfaces to come in contact (hub, etc)?
4. Apply WD40 daily?
#1 would be the easiest, but not sure if I would create a bigger problem.
I fixed mine yesterday. Again, sounds like the EXACT same thing.
I pulled the hub assembly so that I could get at the part of the axle shaft that goes through the knuckle. I then cleaned both the back of the knuckle (a light gauge metal "lip" that may actually be part of the seal) and the axle shaft with a small scraper then brake cleaner. Then I used some emory cloth on both surfaces and hit it with brake cleaner again. Both the axle and the knuckle had a build-up of "crud" which closed the gap between these surfaces and caused rubbing when hot, which lead to the squeak/squeal that we experienced.
Start to finish it took me one hour to complete this procedure in my driveway with a floor jack (a shop with a lift could probably do this faster).
I can't stress enough how your description sounds exactly like what was happening to me... I could have written the same thing word-for-word.
starnge metalon rubber sound from pass side front wheel
2003 f 150. Noise started after having ball joint replaced last Nov ( failed inspection). Brought it back to the shop, noone could hear it or find anything wrong. The sound totally disappeared during the extreme cold weather only to return this spring. Spraying lubricant where the axle and hub meet only lasted a few days. Several mechanics confrimed that is not the bearings
I bet they bent that light gauge metal lip where the axle goes in to the knuckle/hub or for some other reason they are coming in contact. It would make sense that the lubricant would wear off after a few days and the squeak would return. Does it go away when you turn hard one way or the other?
I would take it apart, check for bends in that "lip", clean it all up with a wire brush/emory cloth and brake cleaner. Or if that metal lip is part of the seal that is in there you might think about replacing that too. Then all you would have to clean-up is the axle.
By the way, mine sounded exactly like a metal on rubber noise too. Very much like a squeaky belt.
I'll try your method today. Turning hard doesn't change the noise. What was wierd is that it went away during the cold weather. Once we got above 40 degrees it came back and now that we are in the 60s it gets even louder
I have the same noise, only does it when tranny is in drive, on cool-humid days. I put it in 4wd, and the noise went away. I told my mechanic about it and he told me it is something to do with vacuum, and the hubs trying to lock in. Gonna carry it to him monday after thanksgiving, will try to post after it is repaired.