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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hopefully, you can pull out from your memory bank one of those rare and surprising solutions for a problem that is reported often but for which the proposed and obvious solutions are not working for me.

I have a 2005 Dodge Ram 1500 short bed, 2WD, with the 5-speed automatic transmission and 4.7 L engine. Purchased new, never damaged, maintained by the book. Runs as perfect as a truck can run except for the following problem.

— Humming-whining-whirring noise seemingly from the right front.
— The loudness and frequency increases with vehicle speed.
— When I unload the right side by taking a right-hand turn, the noise goes away.
— If I load the right side by taking a left-hand turn, noise volume and character do not change.
— If I coast in neutral, there is no change in the noise characteristics.
— if I change gears but keep the speed the same, there is no change in the noise characteristics.
— When I brake or accelerate, no change in the noise characteristics.

I have fifty years as a car enthusiast and Saturday mechanic, working on all my cars old and new, specialty and non-specialty, and I am stumped. I would appreciate your critical thinking on possible causes and how I would test for the cause. My truck is almost 18 years old and in near perfect condition and I want to drive it for ten more years, but the whining noise makes it sound like a schlock rod.

BACKGROUND
I have eliminated tire noise, improper wheel alignment, and worn wheel bearing. Here is the story.

1. I don’t know when the humming-whining-whirring noise started (hereafter let's call it the whining noise) because I ran a Gibson Super Truck muffler for many years and the muffler covered up any noises that might have developed either gradually or instantaneously.

2. The truck came with P245/70R17 tires. I installed much taller P255/75R17 M&S on the stock wheels during the time I had the Super Truck muffler installed.

3. When I removed the Super Truck muffler near the end of the service life of the tires, the whining noise was present.

4. I removed the worn tall tires and replaced them with similar tall tires (P255/75R17 M&S). The whining noise remained. I rotated the tires after 2,000 miles. The noise was still there.

5. I had the best and most experienced alignment expert in the city check and adjust the front-end alignment. He worked on it for two hours due to the fact he missed the front springs dropped 3/4 of an inch over time, and he had to redo the camber. He noted the whining noise and said to keep an eye on the right front wheel bearing, though he said there was no play in it.

6. I eventually replaced the right front wheel bearing with an OEM wheel bearing, because, well, it sounded just like wheel bearing noise. That was a waste of money as the whining remained.

7. When I unload the right side, there is zero tire noise from the tires. Truck is very quiet. So that eliminates tire noise.

Thanks for reading this far. Here are some unqualified guesses on my part: transmission output shaft bearing, drive shaft universal joint, wheel or suspension resonance set up due to tall tires, transmission.

Thanks for any suggestions you can offer.

Regards,

Lowboy

Wheel Automotive parking light Car Tire Automotive side marker light
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Refresh my memory, are these regular wheel bearings (inner and outer bearings w/ races) or a sealed unitized hub? My 08s 4wd, never had to mess with front end. No change under acceleration or braking, ok. What about both at same time? I just did my front calipers at 185k due to a stuck puck on the right side (sounded just like a pad worn to the metal under braking) I can’t see your noise being in trans or driveline, I don’t think that’d be audible in one side vs the other.
Yes, the bearing are part of a heavy duty unitized assembly that bolts into place.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
My truck does not have struts. It has conventional coil springs and shocks in the front.
I take that back. I am confusing my Ram with my 1966 Chevy Suburban. The Ram does have shocks inside the springs, but they do not look like conventional integrated struts. Sorry for the confusion.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Was gonna say, that’s 2nd gen stuff. I can’t see rotation/ speed making the strut talk, but if you’ve triple check everything else and still think it’s at that corner, you really only have so much left to check.
Yes, the most obvious fixes have been completed. I can't help but think that the biggest variable here is the over-sized tires. You can see from the photo they are quite large in diameter. They might be setting up a wheel/tire resonance because the stock wheel was not designed for that tall tire. Why only the right front? Maybe it is referred sound from both front wheels. Maybe the suspension at the right front has worn slightly different than the left front and is promoting the resonance.

Below is a screen capture of a description of wheel resonators. I vaguely remember reading about some Dodge truck wheels have resonators. Does anyone know if the Gen 3 stock wheels include wheel resonators? I have never seen the inside of my wheels.

I have been planning to install my stock spare tire at the right front to see if there is any difference and will report on that test when when I get around to completing it.

Finally, could it be a whining front universal joint referring sound to the right side a bit? When I stress and move the chassis/drive train components around by taking a corner, maybe that is sufficient to move the universal joint wear pattern to a new spot, stopping the whining.


__

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
I have learned over many years of working on these with that type of noise that you should also replace left wheel bearing. The noise will travel through suspension parts and frame. Went through the same thing many times. Hope you get it figured out
Thanks Waygust7. I have been considering referred noise, but not necessarily through frame and suspension. I will keep that suggested solution on my shortlist.

I would hate to spend another 400 dollars for installation of an OEM bearing only to find out that is not the solution. That would be 800 dollars in total. It does not seem like there is any easy way to test this outside of checking for play in the left side bearing. Is there a more conclusive test?

I will keep that solution on the short list as I drill down on all the suggestions. Thanks.

Lowboy
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
My opinion and only that is both front wheel bearings get replaced. Thinking that the noise travels and it could be the left, and also 50% of the parts today are junk so the new right bearing may be a loser. A strut rod that’s worn it’s biscuit could rub and make a noise.

Andygears
Hi Andy, Thanks for those suggestions. I saw Waygust7's response first and it echoed your idea about replacing both bearings. See my response to him. Having two people suggest that brings it up higher on my consideration list. Anyway to test this hypothesis without spending another 400 dollars?

I will inspect the biscuit too.

Thanks,

Lowboy
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Having worked for Dodge and Chrysler for over 35 years, there are a couple of possibilities.
You say the noise changes with engine speed and left or right turning. There is a outside
possibility it could be related to the steering system. I have no idea of the mileage, but have
replaced steering racks and/or pumps for this exact complaint. Also might be the left side is bad.
Hand rotating a tire in the air, or checking for slack by hand is not always conclusive.
My last conclusion would be experience. If I had a dollar for every time I pulled a bad part
out of a new box, I could have retired 10 years sooner !!!!!!!

Good Luck, Daddyododge1
Hi Daddyododge1,

Well you answered my questions about testing the left bearing. I can at least check for play in it. I might just have to take a chance and replace it if no other solutions work out.

Just for the record and technical accuracy, the whining changes with road speed. If I coast with engine idling, or if I down shift and keep the same road speed, the whining remains unchanged. I think that is what you intended to say.

The truck has just over 100,000 miles. It has never been worked. I get bread in it and take an occasional load of pruning branches to the dump.

The idea that it could be related to the power steering is interesting. For some unknown reason, I lost a power steering reservoir cap many years ago. Pretty sure I put it on correctly. The OEM replacement did not seem to be vented and pressure would build up. For example, if I removed the power steering reservoir cap after a drive, it would pop and release pressure when I removed the cap. I had to drill a small hole right through the cap to vent the reservoir properly. (At least I think I did the right thing. The reservoir should not build pressure, right?)

Is there a way to test the steering rack or power steering pump as the cause?

Thanks,

Lowboy
 

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Discussion Starter · #21 ·
On my Dakota I had the same noise. Turned out to be the rear end. The rear end crapped out. The driver's side bearing that supports the differential in the axle housing went bad. Swapped the rear end out. Now no noise. Check it out. Won't cost you anything but some time. Check axle end play, check pinion shaft for side play at yoke as well as end play at yoke.
Thank you 44MagLeo.

I will definitely check the rear end axle end play and the pinion shaft when I jack my truck up to mount the original-sized spare tire on the right front as a test.

I can't think of any examples off hand, but so many times in troubleshooting problems over the years, I have found conditions or events that you could never have imagined would cause a specific problem, yet they were in fact the source of the problem.

This is just the kind of real-life experience I was hoping to uncover.

Thanks to everyone for these good and experienced-based problem solving suggestions. I will let you know how I make out.

Regards,

Lowboy
 

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Discussion Starter · #23 ·
That's what I would check is the differential check fluid level if it ever gets to low it gets hot and the whine will never go away even if you fill it. It will still work unless it's to damaged but it will always whine
Thanks dmalou123. No problem with the fluid level. I just changed out the fluid at 100,000 miles in the spring.
 

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Discussion Starter · #24 ·
Today I mounted the stock spare tire first on the right front, then on the left front. Basically that did not make a difference in the humming noise.

Friday, I am bringing the truck back to Daigle's, the most experienced alignment shop in the city to see if they can test drive it and dig deeper into the drive line and rear wheels. Maybe they can spin all the wheels using their dynamic balancer.
 

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Discussion Starter · #26 · (Edited)
I went to the alignment shop today. The mechanic had me drive the truck with him as the passenger and he agreed the whining noise was not normal. He then did exactly what I thought he might do. He spun the front wheels with his wheel spinner. The passenger side bearing--the one I replaced--was quiet and smooth. The driver side bearing exhibited a loud and rough roaring noise.

The shop is installing a new wheel bearing assembly on the driver side now. We believe there is a 99.9 percent chance that this is the problem.

I will keep you posted.

Lowboy
 

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Discussion Starter · #27 ·
Case closed.

Replacing the driver side wheel bearing eliminated the whining. So happy now.

The whining noise was originating from the driver-side wheel bearing even though it sounded like it was coming from the passenger-side wheel bearing. Not only did the whining sound like it was coming from the front passenger-side wheel, but as noted above, when we unloaded the passenger-side wheel, the noise disappeared. So we were totally faked out until we spun the wheels.

Thanks again to everyone who offered ideas, particularly Waygust7 and Andygears who suggested the correct solution. Lesson learned there.

Regards,

Lowboy
 
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