Road Wheel Bearing Noise? - K-Bikes.com - Excellence in Motion
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post #1 of 14 (permalink) Old Jun 1st, 2006, 8:27 am Thread Starter
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Road Wheel Bearing Noise?

I ride with a Lamina lip on my 34 K miles '97 so I probably hear more now. But recently I've been very aware of what sounds like road wheel speed bearing noise. If I heard this on a cage I'd change out the wheel bearings. It's not shift related and stays with clutch in, freewheeling and sound changing with actual road speed. If I'm riding in a built up area, I'm more aware of the sound bouncing off close buildings.

On the bike sometimes it sounds like it's coming from the front, sometimes the rear (which is the first place I'd start looking). With the bike on the centre stand, there is absolutely no play in either the front or rear wheel. I drained the tranni, the oil was clean, no metal and I've never had a seal leak which is why I'm reluctant to start 'invasive investigation and surgery'. I've run the rear wheel on the stand in gear and listened with a stethoscope, and rolled the front but nothing heard. However, neither wheel is loaded with normal running weight. I've got both side bag rails fitted with no bags so I'm going to put the bags on just in case it's a wind noise issue.

I've never read much about front wheel bearings, has anybody had an issue here? Anybody who has had rear tranni bearings fail, have you had this kind of road noise before detecting a worn bearing? I'm pretty sure if the noise is coming from the tranni bearings it's not the pinion bearing as the noise frequency would be higher.

Tires are both BT 020's about 1/4 worn.

Thanks - Vox



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post #2 of 14 (permalink) Old Jun 1st, 2006, 8:55 am
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[QUOTE=voxmagna]I ride with a Lamina lip on my 34 K miles '97 so I probably hear more now. But recently I've been very aware of what sounds like road wheel speed bearing noise. If I heard this on a cage I'd change out the wheel bearings. It's not shift related and stays with clutch in, freewheeling and sound changing with actual road speed. If I'm riding in a built up area, I'm more aware of the sound bouncing off close buildings.

You sure it's not tire (cupping) noise..where it's more pronounced in turns(leans)
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post #3 of 14 (permalink) Old Jun 1st, 2006, 9:15 am Thread Starter
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I've always had 020's on the bike and never heard this before. Noise stays the same whatever angle the bike is at. It just sounds like wheel bearings to me but which one's and I can't prove anything yet on the stand.

I suppose I could change the front first as that should be easy and cheaper than the rear. But my gut feeling says the rear is more likely - yet I've got no free play, leaks or bits in the oil (yet).



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post #4 of 14 (permalink) Old Jun 1st, 2006, 11:55 am
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Quote:
Originally Posted by voxmagna
I've always had 020's on the bike and never heard this before. Noise stays the same whatever angle the bike is at. It just sounds like wheel bearings to me but which one's and I can't prove anything yet on the stand.
Suspect the front wheel? Take it off and rotate the bearings with your finger. If there are any pitted surfaces (either race or bearing) present, you'll feel it.

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post #5 of 14 (permalink) Old Jun 1st, 2006, 2:23 pm Thread Starter
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Good point Carnadero, Just pulled the front spindle and bearings both sides were smooth to feel. Also pulled out the rear pads and again couldn't detect any side movement. Spinning the rear wheel sounded like a 'swish' from the rotation which might be pitted/worn balls in the output bearing, but with oil and the tranni meshed it's difficult to make out a conclusion.

I think I just have to wait it out a bit longer and watch for any changes or development on the rear. I wish I had a mate nearby with a rolling road! Thanks.



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post #6 of 14 (permalink) Old Jun 1st, 2006, 3:59 pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by voxmagna
Spinning the rear wheel sounded like a 'swish' from the rotation which might be pitted/worn balls in the output bearing, but with oil and the tranni meshed it's difficult to make out a conclusion.
I don't know if you want to try this, but put your steed up on the center stand, fire it up, put it in first or second, and let it run. Get a broomstick handle (or better yet a mechanic's stethoscope), touch it to various places on the exposed drivetrain then put your ear right on the end and listen for any weird sounds.

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post #7 of 14 (permalink) Old Jun 1st, 2006, 4:56 pm Thread Starter
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Thanks, tried that. Had my wife sitting on the front wheel. She was doing 60mph without moving!

I'm quite sensitive to sounds mechanical and early 'death rattles' which most riders probably wouldn't notice. I think I'll keep riding during the Summer and keep listening to that rear drive.

I might get a confident pillion (not my wife) to try tuning in as that puts the rear under more load. It's very difficult to hear things up front with sound bouncing off the plastic. Perhaps I could find a nice quiet straight downhill, no traffic, cut the engine, then coast a bit. I need a helmet free zone for testing.



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post #8 of 14 (permalink) Old Nov 11th, 2008, 9:16 pm
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I know it's been a while on this topic, but.....

What was the status on the noise....I'm hearing some squeeking sound at low speeds now and wonder if the front wheel bearings might need some service (96,000 miles).

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post #9 of 14 (permalink) Old Nov 12th, 2008, 5:29 am Thread Starter
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No change. Even swapped my (rebuilt) final drive for another from a boneyard on the basis 2 sounding the same would be just bad luck. Still the same sound and no detectable wear in bearings or noises when run on the center stand.

I'm sure it has got to be motion related - wind, tires, a vibration path.

I replaced my front bearings ages ago as I was doing everything else. (Never had any sounds from the front).

The front bearings are a reasonable size considering there's not so much weight on them. They are packed with grease and the bearings have seals. I can't see you would get squeeks unless water has got inside and washed the grease out.

The most likely cause of squeeks is the brake pad material surface has hardened and they are making partial contact with the rotor. I had a lot of problems with stuck and seized pistons, now I check the calipers every year. What pads do you use? I fit the softer more dut Kevlars which don't squeek or put on much rotor wear. Perhaps you have the harder HH's.

If you can hear the noise when rotating the front wheel, check the front brake reservoir level can take some more fluid and push the pads back a little so they are well clear of the rotors. If you can't push them the piston has seized, if you can and get no squeeks it's your pads not the bearings.

PS: Front bearings aren't that easy to change.



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post #10 of 14 (permalink) Old Dec 26th, 2008, 6:05 pm
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Are you sure you are not just hearing tranny noise? I know when I put on my Laminar Lip I heard all kinds of stuff that I never heard before. No problems yet. Also check for noise from the universal joints on the drive shaft.
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