Wheel bearing or not?


Back in December I drove to Latvia to visit the inlaws. Father in law has a 2000 1.4 petrol (AUA) A2 that I bought for him in the Netherlands and then took to Latvia. So I didn't get bored while there (although the missus speaks English and will translate anything that seems important or interesting to me, the rest of the time everyone rabbits away in foreign and I sit there reading random rubbish on the internet), he had a couple of jobs to keep me occupied. One was to replace the drooping headlining (see https://www.a2oc.net/community/inde...headliner-headlining.51075/page-2#post-543721) but the other was to replace both front wheel bearings, discs and pads. Having read through a couple of threads, it became obvious I needed a 36mm 12 point socket and the puller/pusher tool to remove the old and fit the new bearings. Ordered the tool but then ran into a problem. After checking my toolbox(es) I found all 3 socket sets only went up to 32mm, the 36mm socket I bought many years ago for something else was only 6 point and my neighbour, a recently retired Land Rover technician, also only had a 6 point. Too late to try to get one so had to hope I could find one in Latvia.

What seemed odd to me was that both front wheel bearings had been replaced within the last year but FiL insisted that they needed doing again. He had complained to his mechanic who had replaced them previously and been told that it was almost certainly down to the cheap Chinese bearings on the market these days. I wasn't convinced as the mileage he does isn't huge and even poor quality bearings would last more than a few months so my theory was that rather than using the special tool he'd hammered them in and damaged them.

So, armed with the material and glue to do the headlining, a pair of decent quality front wheel bearings, discs, pads and enough tools to do a complete rebuild on a car, we set off for Latvia. Got there to find the daytime temperature was around -3 degrees C with 42cm of snow on the ground. Not ideal for working on a car but he does have a garage. Unfortunately it is beneath the house so the first job was to clear the snow so the outward opening garage doors could be opened and the car got in there. A2 dashboard told me that it was a balmy -0.5 degrees C in the garage but my AA man style thermal overalls should keep me warm, I hoped.

Anyway, on the first day there, went out and found a 36mm 12 point socket without any problem. It was 3/4" drive but picked up a 3/4" to 1/2" adapter too for around £16 for the two. Got stuck in and found problem number 1. Having read through this thread https://www.a2oc.net/community/inde...-abs-sensor-and-bearing-tools-and-tips.49139/ and a couple of others with links to Youtube videos, all showed the 3 bolts holding the lower wishbone to the bottom swivel. His were a solid wishbone without the 3 bolts but fortunately I had my clamp type ball joint splitter so was able to take the bottom swivel ball joint off instead. What I found slightly confusing was the LH side bearing was the one most recently changed and clearly stated Made in Germany on the flange. So not a cheapo Chinese one after all. Pulled the driveshaft out to clear the splines and the bearing was perfect. No play, no rumbling when spun, nothing, odd. So. leaving that side on a big block of wood (there had been so much stuff in my car that there was no way my axle stands would have gone in as well) pulled the other side apart. This one didn't own up to who had made it but was also perfect. So put both sides back together with the new discs and pads. The pads had plenty of meat left on them but the discs had definitely seen better days. The outer face on one was just about passable


But the inner faces had definitely seen better days....


Decided to take it out and see if the wheelbearing noise had really been down to the discs. Slight problem there was that even on winter tyres couldn't get enough traction to reverse it up the slope out of the garage so ended up putting the towing eye in and dragging it out.

Up to about 40 mph it was completely silent but then started to drone, just as you would expect a wheel bearing to. But what was odd was that the noise sounded like it was coming from the RH front so you would expect it to get worse on a LH bend and less on a RH bend but it was the other way round. Having got back I had a closer look at the tyres and noticed the tread appeared slightly castellated. Pressures were also down so pumped them up, swapped them side to side and tried it again. Sure enough the noise had moved to the LH side, conforming that it wasn't wheel bearings at all but tyres. After the missus had given her father the verdict, he realised the noise had started after he fitted his winter wheels and tyres......

Fortunately, as they hadn't been opened, my motor factor took the wheel bearings back and gave a full refund but if anyone wants to make me an offer for a 36mm, 12 point, 3/4" drive socket with 3/4" to 1/2" adapter and the wheel bearing replacement tool kit that has never been used, make me an offer. I can't see I will ever need either.
I did a thread on what i thought was bearing noise. Let’s just say that after replacing all 4 bearings and the gearbox (suspected diff) it was a premium tyre that had gone egg shaped. Noise only after an hour at motorway speeds. It drove me mad trying to find it.
There is a probability that your calliper pistons are sticking. If your new discs quickly get messed up its new pistons and seals or ideally new callipers.

There is a probability that your calliper pistons are sticking. If your new discs quickly get messed up its new pistons and seals or ideally new callipers.

When I first bought the car in the Netherlands I drove it back to the UK and took it in for an MoT pre-test. The only things they could find was a split boot on one of the anti roll bar drop links and front brake pads getting thin. So before taking it to Latvia I replaced both ARB drop links and bought a set of pads and left them in the glovebox. At some point since then FiL had taken it to his mechanic who had fitted the new pads but there was no sign of any brake grease having been used anywhere. So when putting the new discs and pads in I cleaned and greased all the contact points and sliding pins, worked the pistons in and out a couple of times to make sure they weren't binding too. If anything I would say that the sliding pins were the cause rather than the callipers.