grinding/clicking/popping noise in front wheel

Discussion in 'Chevy Silverado Forum (GMC Sierra)' started by JROCK_Z71, Mar 14, 2011.

  1. JROCK_Z71

    JROCK_Z71 New Member

    Hey guys. I have a 2003 1500 Z71 Silverado and I recently have noticed a grinding/clicking/popping noise in the front left wheel while in a slow roll, especially while turning a sharp left. I have also noticed in the past while in 4WD a slight grind/vibration in the front left which is more noticeable while accelerating and traveling at higher speeds(>30mpg). Not sure if the two are related(most likely). I know there are a few different problems to cause this(ie- wheel bearing, cv shaft, brakes). My question is what is the best way to diagnose the problem... I believe it may be the cv shaft but not sure how to determine this.

  2. murdog94

    murdog94 Epic Member 5+ Years 5000 Posts

    A CV axle usually wont make any noise unless you are in 4wd and in a hard turn. the wheel bearing will get louder the faster you go. and the brakes best way is to take the tire off and check the pad thickness.
  3. JROCK_Z71

    JROCK_Z71 New Member

    weird... I dont get any noise at higher speeds, and the pads are fine. (Just had new pads/routers installed not too long ago) I checked my front wheels for play but they are solid. Maybe, my hub is stuck locked in?? I did get the "check 4 wheel drive" message on my dash a few days ago... but it went away after next start up.
  4. murdog94

    murdog94 Epic Member 5+ Years 5000 Posts

    It is a central locking differental, the hubs are just bearings that the CV axle goes thru. so i would think that you may have a bad CV axle or else you may have a broken sway bar link as well.
  5. JROCK_Z71

    JROCK_Z71 New Member

    OK, so I guess I'm confused as to how the 4WD system works on my 2003 silverado. Here is how I believed it worked:

    2WD - the hubs are unlocked and the front wheels are free to move independent of the CV axle.
    4WD- hubs are locked and the CV axle turns the front wheels
    auto 4WD - hubs are locked, CV axle turns with front wheels and transfer case engages as rear wheels spin

    I am sorry for my stupidity if the above is completely wrong... i am new to this truck, and not a mechanic by any means... just a do-it-yourselfer trying to learn along the way...
  6. murdog94

    murdog94 Epic Member 5+ Years 5000 Posts

    Not stupid just an update from the 80s..
    2wd. Front diff is unlocked, CV axles spin with the tires and the Diff doesnt, neither does the front driveshaft.
    4wd, Front Diff locks and allows power from the transfer to the CV axles to the tires.
    Auto, Front Diff engaged, and transfer uses a clutch pack to send power to the front.

    The front hubs arent really a hub anymore the CV axle simply is splined into the bearing so power can be spent to the Front wells. This allowed for ease of use and less parts to screw up.
    So id lean twards something being messed up in the front other than the hub if ou dont haver the hum.
  7. JROCK_Z71

    JROCK_Z71 New Member

    Interesting, thanks for your help Murdog. I didnt realize that the CV axle was suppose to spin in 2WD... my "mechanic" had told me otherwise. I am suspecting the CV axle as being the problem, but will inspect it more tonight.
  8. stephan

    stephan Rockstar 4 Years 5000 Posts

    X2.. This is a bad CV joint causing your clicking & popping Jordan. Check it & see if it's dry. You may just need to pump a little grease into the boot & squeeze it into the joint to stop it if it isn't too far gone. The fact that the noise is worse on a tight turn just solidifies the outer CV joint as being the problem. You should grease the other 3 while you're at it. Get a needle tip for your grease gun, slip it between the boot & the axel shaft & give them all a shot, or they will need replacing too, especially the other outer RF joint.
  9. clgoch187

    clgoch187 Rockstar 4 Years 500 Posts

    x2 on the axle, they never disengage like older 4wds. so your axles are always locked in, but they only get power to them when your tranfer case locks in.
  10. JROCK_Z71

    JROCK_Z71 New Member

    I took a closer look at it last night and here is what i'm seeing/hearing... I had my fiance drive the truck back and forth slowly while cranking the wheel both directions. As she turned the wheel at a slow roll i could here a mild grind but not positive it was coming from the wheel or just the stress from the links(sway bar, steering column, tie rods...??). Once the steering wheel was fully cranked(either direction) i could see/hear the wheel bind a little and then popped, but i was seeing this on both sides. I guess it could be coincidence that both CV axles are dry or going bad, but I'm wondering if it could be something else, maybe something to do with the steering column, or bad ball joints, tie rod ends? I'm only speculating now since i haven't had a chance to jack it up and take a real good look.

    ---------- Post added at 09:00 AM ---------- Previous post was at 08:55 AM ----------

    another thought... front diff? didnt get under to see if the front drive shaft was turning or not but I'm wondering if that is where its binding up... which would explain why im hearing it on both sides while cranking the wheel....
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2011

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