Unusual Front End (Axle) Noise

Discussion in '6.0L Powerstroke Diesels' started by snicklas, Jan 30, 2016.

  1. snicklas

    snicklas 6.0 and Loving It!! Staff Member

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    OK fellas, I've been chasing this one for a bit, and am needing a fresh brain to ponder on it. I have looked, and not gotten any definite answers (and afraid to post it on fb, because I am sure like the last time I said something about an issue, I was told it was bad head gaskets, which it most definitely was not!!!!)

    Had an issue, back in July, this was a 90+ degree day, I was on the interstate, doing ~55-60 and I crossed a "bridge lip" where there is a slight gap between the road surface, and the edge of the bridge surface. In this case, there was a slight difference in height between the road and the bridge. So there is a nice straight, sharp jolt introduced into the suspension, almost with a bang.....

    Something like this......

    [​IMG]

    After hitting this joint, there was a loud buzzing noise, very much like a failed bearing would make. I crossed the bridge and went over the expansion joint on the other side and it immediately quit making the noise. I exited the interstate at the next exit, less than a mile, and stopped in a parking lot. I looked over the underside of the truck, in the wheel wells to make sure I hadn't picked something up.... and I saw nothing. I popped the covers off over the lugs and hubs, and felt the outside of all 4 hubs, the floaters in the back, and the lockouts in the front. The passenger side was warmer than the drivers, so I very carefully drove the 9 miles home, at a slow pace and made it just fine with no issues or noise.

    Raised the front, and removed the wheels, brakes and rotor, so that I was down to the bare hub. The drivers side was nice and "tight" with almost no noise (these are the factory unit hubs with 150,000 miles on them). The passenger side was still tight, but it did have a bit of a grumble to it..... I also have an ABS light on, and the Speedometer still works, so I figure it is the hub failing (as they do, it fouls the sensor and/or the tone ring will start to wobble). So I pull everything apart, find the passenger side in a bit of rough shape, and the hub vacuum seal needing replaced. The drivers is in good shape, but I messed up a stud removing the hub from the knuckle, so 2 brand new Timkin Unit Hubs were installed, everything was given a nice dose of anti-seize so it will come apart easier next time. Put the truck back on the road (still need to replace the knuckle seals) but all is good, except I still have the ABS light...... the front is nice and quiet, and no more odd noise...

    Fast forward to around Christmas. I am headed to work, and the truck has been my daily driver since I replaced the unit hubs. This was a day in the teens to low 20's. Same scenario, on the interstate, hit a bridge expansion gap, and bam, and immediately the same buzzing noise. Hit the other side of the bridge, it quieted to about half a loud, crossed another an silent..... There are several bridges in this area of I-70 near downtown Indy and I was in morning traffic.... so I "was where I was"... Crossed another down the road a bit, but I had worked into the very right lane and as soon at it made the noise I headed for the shoulder. I was at speed when I got on the shoulder and when I started to slow down, when I reached ~25-30 the noise stopped. Hit the throttle, back up to speed and all is good. I cross one last bridge before my exit and it started again, as I coasted down the ramp, the noise stopped, and that was the last time I heard it.

    I drove home that evening and went "through town" as to avoid the interstate speed and the expansion joints. I looked over everything I could think of in the front. I checked the tires (which were rotated between the 2 different times the noise occurred) the hubs, the axles, the lockouts, all the tire rod ends, the drag link, the shocks, the springs, the steering stabilizer and the bushings I could see... and nothing seemed out of sorts. The shocks are newer Bilsteins, the Hubs are Timkin, the tires are ~1 year old Firestone Transforce A/T's and all the other components are factory except the ball joints, and they were replaced several years ago with Moog, and all the front end grease Zerks have been greased regularly, and have taken grease. The rotors are starting to show some signs of warping as they are factory, but the brakes have been replaced once, with Wagner Thermo-Quiet pads.....

    I have driven the truck daily since, but have stayed off the interstate. I have driven on rough roads, and have approached the same speeds I was running on the interstate without the noise reoccurring. Also, when we got our first real snow a couple weeks ago, I locked in the front hubs since the ESOF is still inop because of the knuckle vacuum seals. Did not get this noise, or any other odd noises the entire time the front axle was turning due to the lockouts being locked (the transfer case was in 2wd, so I was just "pushing" the front end down the road).

    End of last week, the weather turned "nice" (near freeing and no precip) so I unlocked the hubs again. Then, today, I was moving fairly slowly, I was slowing down as I was entering a small town and was going around a slight curve, and the noise happened once again, for less than a second.... I was still slowing down and it just went silent again, like before.....

    This is getting frustrating, as nothing seems out of order, the steering is still fairly tight for 161,500 miles, I am running stock sized A/T tires on factory rims, and running all factory leaf suspension at factory height.

    I DO NOT believe that it is "Death Wobble" as there is absolutely no oscillations/wheel jerking AT ALL. The only think you can "feel" when this occurs is a vibration in the floor. It "feels" rotary in nature, and the frequency of the sound does change with speed (it is a fast whir at highway speeds, and is a lower slower rumble as you slow down).

    Sorry for the long post, but I am just looking for some direction on what it could be.......
     
  2. 79jasper

    79jasper Chickenhawk

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    When you pull the hub, how tight is the axle shaft far as being able to wiggle it?
    I assume this is the ex, correct?
    Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-G890A using Tapatalk
     
  3. snicklas

    snicklas 6.0 and Loving It!! Staff Member

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    Yes, this is the Ex...

    I can wiggle is a bit.... it is not rigid. Both side do wiggle, maybe a quarter inch each side of center...... I could try and get a video tomorrow..... since those lockouts are so easy to remove......
     
  4. DaveBen

    DaveBen Supporting Member Supporting Member

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    I posted my suggestion on SDD. I am sure you have seen it by now. Good Luck Scott!

    Dave :)
     
  5. 79jasper

    79jasper Chickenhawk

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    I just remember on my buddies 6.0 there were a lot of little washers in there. And a nylon bushing I guess.
    Didn't know if one was maybe missing causing play.

    Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-G890A using Tapatalk
     
  6. snicklas

    snicklas 6.0 and Loving It!! Staff Member

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    OK, here is an incremental update on my noise.

    Talked with a buddy at work who is a Jeep Nut (so much so the license plate on his TJ is "JEEPNUT") and he and I were discussing this today. With his 4x4 habit, is is friends with the fella who runs the shop at our local 4 Wheel Parts shop. He was talking to him already about some "Jeep Stuff" and he asked about my noise.

    The fella told him, to have me replace the passenger side knuckle U-Joint and the Knuckle Vacuum Seal (the one that goes bad and makes the ESOF Hubs not work) (he also recommended doing a "vacuum delete" and putting "real" lockouts on it). So I am going to order a set of knuckle seals, and replace the U-Joints in the front end (he also has a "driveline guy" that has all the easy tools to swap out U-Joints).

    What is happening is, as all the components wear, their tolerances open up a bit, not to the point of being bad, just loose. When the vacuum seal failed, and the unit hub, it caused the vacuum seal to "wobble out" (which this seal doesn't support the axle, but it does take up some room and makes things tighter) and the "bearings" in the U-Joint wear and open up, it allows the axle shaft to droop as it crosses the truck. When you hit a bump, just right, it allows the axle to bounce and will wedge in the lockout and the axle shaft will wobble instead of spin in a straight line. Once I slow down, the centrifugal force get to the point it won't hold it where it is, and it pops loose and quits spinning.....

    So, I have some parts to order and install, and I will report back what I find........
     
  7. DaveBen

    DaveBen Supporting Member Supporting Member

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    You know Scott, this sounds nutty enough to be real. I can't think of anything in the front-end that would cause the vibration and noise. :dunno

    Dave
     
  8. IDIoit

    IDIoit MachinistFabricator Supporting Member

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    if youre down that far, may as well replace ball joints too....
    those things have the d-50 or 60?
     
  9. snicklas

    snicklas 6.0 and Loving It!! Staff Member

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    I will take a good look at the ball joints. They have been replaced once with MOOG greasable joints...... if they are loose, I will change them too....

    They have the D-50 Monobeam, should be the same front axle as your 01..... Looking at this D-50 vs the D-60 in the 97 and under 350's there are a comparable size axle. The 60 they use now or the "Super 60" as they call them are ENORMOUS..... but they are on the 450/550 chassis.....

    162,000 miles and 13+ years and needing a bit of attention is not too bad, I don't think......
     
  10. snicklas

    snicklas 6.0 and Loving It!! Staff Member

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    OK, Fellas,

    Does anyone have the part number for the Axle Hub Vacuum Seal..... I'm having trouble finding a part number to be able to cross reference. Or am I lucky and this is a Ford/Dana-Spicer only part?

    I found a whole kit, which for the price contains a good amount of stuff...... but........
     
  11. 79jasper

    79jasper Chickenhawk

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    Last edited: Feb 8, 2016
  12. snicklas

    snicklas 6.0 and Loving It!! Staff Member

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    That's the thing..... I am finding 2 different part numbers....

    The 99-02/Early 03:

    F81Z-3254-CB

    Later 03 - 04

    3C3Z-3254-CA

    So I am not sure which one it is, or if they are actually the same....

    I have been considering this kit:

    http://www.ebay.com/itm/AXLE-SEAL-B...-04-/271935347762?fits=Model:F-350+Super+Duty

    As long as the seals will work...... I don't really want to have to take it apart far enough to figure out which seal, then order the parts, and tear it all apart again.

    Another quick question. Do these axles just pop out, or do you have to open the diff and remove a clip?
     
  13. 79jasper

    79jasper Chickenhawk

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    On my buddies, it just popped out.

    Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-G890A using Tapatalk
     
  14. DaveBen

    DaveBen Supporting Member Supporting Member

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    All front axles just slide out, no clips.

    Dave
     
  15. Double-S-Diesel

    Double-S-Diesel parts seller

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    http://www.amazon.com/SKF-28600-Axl...xgy_263_3?ie=UTF8&refRID=1WVTJ7CVJ9S5CGDW6NQ7 or
    http://www.amazon.com/National-7104..._UL160_SR149,160_&refRID=0BZKVVDNS6VVDBD7HQ9Y is the big one
    http://www.amazon.com/National-7104...xgy_263_2?ie=UTF8&refRID=0BZKVVDNS6VVDBD7HQ9Y is the one for the tube side of the shaft

    the hubs didnt change until 05 when they went to coil springs

    that ebay kit has too many parts in it you dont need.
    http://www.amazon.com/Lisle-38060-A..._UL160_SR160,160_&refRID=1WW0P5CA2N9159GGHERJ is a handy tool for installing the seal. or ya can make one like this from some pipe supplies

    dont forget the ujoints if your in that far
     

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    Last edited: Feb 9, 2016

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