1. Welcome to PlowSite. Notice a fresh look and new features? It’s now easier to share photos and videos, find popular topics fast, and enjoy expanded user profiles. If you have any questions, click HELP at the top or bottom of any page, or send an email to help@plowsite.com. We welcome your feedback.

    Dismiss Notice

Wheel squeaks when hubs are locked

Discussion in 'Ford Trucks' started by MadLion90, Feb 12, 2013.

  1. MadLion90

    MadLion90 Member
    Messages: 40

    So we just got hit with a blizzard here in New England (2ft+) and now I have a persistant noise when driving. It actually started 2 days before the storm hit. We had a 1" dusting and I had to lock the hubs on my 02 F350 cause I wasn't getting traction at stops (no weight). Once the hubs were locked and I started driving I noticed a squeaking noise from the front right wheel that is consistant with the traveling speed. It makes this noise when the hubs are locked even if not in 4x4. Once the hubs are unlocked there is no noise.

    Now due to the size of the storm and not wanting to tear my truck apart in a blind search the day before, I decided to at least check the wheel bearing (my 1st pick) by lifting the wheel and checking for play but the bearing seems solid. I plowed for about 40 hrs and it would get louder as the time went by but after taking a break for some hours it was back to the same level it was before (a low squeaking).

    Now the odd thing is yesterday it rained so the streets were wet and slightly flooded. After driving though the water it seems to stop squeaking. But when driving on dry snow/pavement its back. Could this be a lube problem? And would it be the wheel bearing, u-joint, or maybe the hub lock itself?

    I figured the u-joint would knock if bad, the wheel bearing would do it even with hubs unlocked and would have play if bad (especially after 40hrs of plowing), and so the hub lock would be the likely candidate since it only does it when locked. Any thoughts would be appreciated as I had bought all three parts before the storm (state was closing down for 2 days) but now I don't know which to install.
  2. Antlerart06

    Antlerart06 PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,437

    sounds like a U joint jack wheel up and get crow bar see the U joint has play and could be just dry

    What type system you have on dash or on the floor 4x4
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2013
  3. shovelracer

    shovelracer Senior Member
    Messages: 525

    Agreed it sounds like something in the driveline.
  4. BladeBlowBucket

    BladeBlowBucket Member
    Messages: 92

    I'll agree with that … it is the U-joint at the knuckle, but won't be just dry it'll be worn out …. you'll prob see a tell-tale of rust streaks drawing away from where the u-joint is …. just the cost of owning a 4x4 … on the Fords keep in mind that once u'r in there change out the needle bearing cage inside the stub-tube that pilots the driven shaft to u'r hubs…and grease the crap out of it when you reinstall it (needle bearings) ... :waving: :drinkup:
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2013
  5. MadLion90

    MadLion90 Member
    Messages: 40

    Hey thanks for such quick responses and info. It is the on the floor sifter with the manual locking hubs. Now I've had bad u-joints (my Ram 1500) but it would click/knock rather than squeaking and it would do it all the time, not just in 4x4. That's why the u-joint was actually the last on my list of what it could be. Also doesn't the u-joint spin/move anyways when the hubs are not locked or does the axle not spin at all in the mode? Like I said I've had u-joint problem which i fixed in the Ram but it didn't have manual locking hubs like the Fords.

    BladeBlowBucket-- When you say to also change the "needle bearing cage inside the stub-tube" what are you referring to? I looked up needle bearing cage at parts stores but nothing pops up. Is there a different name for it? I was under the impression that the needle bearing was part of the u-joint part (bearing with the cap on it)? Thanks
  6. MadLion90

    MadLion90 Member
    Messages: 40

    Also, what would be a good brand of U-Joint to get that would hold up best. The one I had bought is Moog brand which was all they had in stock but online they are many more brands to choose from. Price don't matter as long as it holds up well. Thanks
  7. grandview

    grandview PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 14,609

    You have a u joint company in town? Drop it off let them do it right. Then all you need to do is bolt it back in.
  8. BladeBlowBucket

    BladeBlowBucket Member
    Messages: 92

    Ok … in order to pull the axle shaft out to get at the u-joint you have to remove the locking hub assy …. then you need to remove the wheel bearing nut (you'll need that big socket with the tabs or lugs on it, available at any NAPA or what have you auto store) and assuming that you've already removed the complete disc brake assy … pull the rotor off catching the front bearing, that's where you will see the stub tube that the wheel bearings ride on, inside that tube is the driven axle shaft (the spline that engages to u'r locking hub) I can't remember how many but there are 6 or 8 bolts or just the nuts some of those used bolts like wheel lugs and stay in place that hold the tube on to the main spindle, after you remove those bolts or nuts you will have to tap lightly or maybe a little harder with feeling all the way around the tube to break it loose (it'll be rusted in) "Don't HIT " the surface where the bearings ride on !
    Inside of the that tube on the back side is where the needle bearing cage is and the rear seal, its purpose is like a pilot bearing in a flywheel it stabilizes the stub shaft in the tube and also does spin in there as well when the hubs are not engaged, when those needles get dry it makes for some really weird noises … now you can pull out the axle assy with the inner shaft and u-joint with the outer stub shaft.

    If your handy it'll be a snap, IF you've never done this type of work it might be cheaper to take it to a shop, reducing your down time …. :drinkup:
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2013
  9. quigleysiding

    quigleysiding PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,129

    Make sure its not the one on the drive shaft before you start pulling the axle apart. My truck was doing the same thing and sounded like the left front but turned out to be the front drive shaft one. just did it yesterday.
  10. tjctransport

    tjctransport PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,390

    he has unit bearings not individual wheel bearings. they are completely different animals from the old style like you describe.

    if memory serves rite, you remove the locking hub, caliper and mount, rotor, and unbolt the wheel bearing unit.
    then slide the axle out.

    it has been around 5 years since i had one apart, and my memory is not that sharp anymore.
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2013
  11. tjctransport

    tjctransport PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,390

    unlike the dodges you are used to, the ford four wheel drive front end parts do not move when the hubs are unlocked.
    that is why you do not hear the squeak when in two wheel drive.
  12. MadLion90

    MadLion90 Member
    Messages: 40

    Thanks again for all this info guys.
    QuigleySiding-- with the front end jacked up I checked each side by spinning the wheel with the hub locked/unlocked. I originally thought it was the left or both but ended up only being the right side. Clear as day.

    I think TJC is right on the tear down though for my particular year. I watched a video of someone tearing down the same year/model and it is as TJC said. Basically gotta remove Hub Lock assembly, caliper, rotor. Then the wheel bearing assembly is removed by the 4 bolts on the back of the spindle/knuckle and comes out in one whole assembly. From there I guess you remove the outer axle seal that centers the axle in the knuckle and the axle will then slide out. I'm going to change that seal as well. But either way I figure I throw in a new U-joint while I'm in there and since I had bought one already. (prob gonna do both sides since my left is clicking now lol).

    And That would explain why it doesn't do it when unlocked. I've always had trucks without manual locking hubs so this is the first for me. As for experience, should be a piece of cake. I've always done my only work and have replaced nearly everything on my Dodge (all u-joints, wheel bearings, ball joints, all the tie rods, brakes, brake lines, inner axle seals..and that's just the front end)

    I'll be tackling this perhaps after this weekend as they are saying 2 very small plowable storms this week. Don't want to rush through it if I don't have to, cause that's usually when everything goes wrong and walls get dented. Thanks again
  13. geer hed

    geer hed Senior Member
    Messages: 275

    Here is how to check your joints, first check for binding, turn your wheels all the way to one side, leave T-case in 2WD, jack up one wheel, lock in only that hub, now rotate the wheel by hand at least one full rotation, and try to do it as evenly as possible without stoping. If the joint on that side feels tight then loose at any point of the rotation, then that joint is binding and should be replaced. I usually rotate them several times in case I missed it.Once the first wheel is done, unlock that hub and do the same to the other side. Then make sure both hubs are unlocked, slide under the truck and rotate the front driveshaft, look and feel for the same thing.
    Next grab the drive shaft near the u-joint and jerk up/down-left/right and watch for movement, then lock everything, T-case in hi or lo,and both hubs. use a prybar or big screwdriver, ( for the joints at the wheels) reach in at the knuckle and pry up/down-in/out-front/back and any other direction you can think of and watch for any movement in the joint, then do the same on the joints at the driveshaft. Any movement, replace it. I have found bad joints by doing this on all the F-series trucks.
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2013
  14. BladeBlowBucket

    BladeBlowBucket Member
    Messages: 92

    Ohh Crap ! :eek:…. that's like on my 1-ton Dodge … those unitized bearings with the built in wheel, or should I say Speed/ABS sensors Are a PITA and pricey too !

    I just assumed it was an older truck he never mention any year, that I can remember ??…. … my mistake :nod:

    I TOO SUFFER From CRAFT ! :laughing:
  15. tjctransport

    tjctransport PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,390

    first post he says 02 F-350. i know because i checked before i posted on the unity bearing, and again just now. :laughing:

    here in joisey, we do not get CRAFT, we get CRS :confused: