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Old 03-29-2021, 04:10 PM   #1
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Hot Wheels - Literally

I guess I should check periodically to see how hot my wheels are when I am driving normally. But...I haven't.

When I put air into a tire after driving several miles it is difficult not to touch the wheels. I remember that they are a bit more than warm but I chalked it up to the pads being in contact with the rotors.

The outer bearings in my front hubs have disintegrated 4 times. When that happens the wheel/hub are held on by the calipers and the inner bearings take the load. When the wheel is not supported by the outer bearings the rotor is rubbing hard on the pads. The wheel can be very hot - so much so that the grease in the hub begins to run out past the seal.

Today I heard a sound that I did not recognize. We went to the grocery store. Turned left into the parking area (low vibrating sound during turn). Turned left into a space (low vibrating sound during turn). Wheels were more than just warm.

It is like sliding a shoe that has ridges on the sole across something like pavement. It is a distinct "low rumble" that lasts for 2 seconds. My guess is about 40db. Even my wife heard it.

It sat for about 10 minutes. Wheels less hot so we drove the 3 miles back home. Turned left (sound about 2 seconds) turned left again (sound 2-3 seconds). Put some torque on the steering wheel both ways but did not feel any change.

Had the rear pinion bearing and U joints replaced two weeks ago. No oil dripping from under van. Any ideas as to what might be causing the noise. If I cannot find anything we are committed to drive from Mesa to Payson in the morning. I just don't want to get towed if I could have fixed something before leaving.


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Old 03-30-2021, 09:07 AM   #2
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If it's a limited slip in the rear, maybe a lack of friction modifier in the gear oil making the clutches chatter?

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Old 03-30-2021, 10:50 AM   #3
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Hot Wheels - Literally

Originally Posted by wingate View Post
If it's a limited slip in the rear, maybe a lack of friction modifier in the gear oil making the clutches chatter?

+1 on this as far as the noise goes. My last van made a similar noise when I had the diff fluid changed and the mechanic forgot to put the friction modifier in. Easy to DIY, just get a bottle or two from a Ford dealer. I did mine in a parking lot in Pueblo, Colorado, after driving across from Philadelphia.

That wouldn’t create heat in the wheel, though. That’s weird.
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Old 03-30-2021, 03:40 PM   #4
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Buy a laser thermometer to measure the actual temperature of the wheels + hubs. They're $20 on amazon and rather accurate -
And they're great for pinpointing temp at a specific location.

Are all wheels warm or is one warmer than the others?
Front wheel?
Rear wheel?
Front axle = Dana 60?
Rear axle = Dana 60 full-float or semi-float?
Fluids at proper levels?

Here's a DIY approach:

Besides the friction modifier idea, elevate each wheel and rotate. Is one wheel different?
Next try to rotate with the wheel-tire removed and caliper off the rotor to eliminate those from the equation. Is one wheel different?
If you're unsure if the bearing preload is correct, the front wheels should turn about half a revolution with proper preload on the wheel bearings .
The rear wheels should be the same, but it's been quite a few years since I rebuilt the hubs on a full-floating rear axle.

Go for a drive and when stopped, measure + record the temps for each wheel-hub.
Can one person drive slow while turning left and another person walk along and listen for the sound at each wheel?
A hollow tube (e.g. heater hose) that is held to the ear can help pinpoint the source of a sound.

you have one of these
2006 E350 4x4 SMB: 6.0L-5R110-Atlas-D60-D60-yada-yada-yada
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Old 04-04-2021, 09:56 PM   #5
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When/if you get a laser thermometer, check the temp of the brake calipers themselves. A dragging brake pad will cause the calipers to get hotter than normal also. Will also help identify the culprit caliper/wheel.
2006 E350 SMB RB50 6.0 PSD
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