Knocking noise from a front wheel - second gen Prius

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Old 11 Dec 2012, 02:08 pm   #1 (permalink)
passerby
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Default Knocking noise from a front wheel - second gen Prius

Hi all,

The Prius is 2nd gen (2009) with 67K on it now.

I have this noise I'm having a hard time explaining to the mechanics at the
dealership, perhaps because it has started right after the latest service when
they rotated the tires and replaced the oil in the front differential.

I can describe it as a rather soft knocking sound that seems to be coming from
the passenger side from wheel, with the frequency of once per revolution (or
twice - it turned out to be very hard to drive, count and look at the
passenger side wheel at the same time - need a huge mirror for that!) .
Well, it starts soft but becomes harder and I can even feel it of the steering
wheel after long and highway speed drives.

I brought it down to the dealership and they claim they could not find or hear
anything but the tire and the wheel look OK (tires almost brand new - about 5K
on this set yet, balanced before first installed), brake pads and the disk
look fine and no foreign objects. So, they said, it's safe to drive and don't
worry too much.

My wish for this noise to go away didn't materialize and I think it's getting
worse. So, I decided to ask for suggestions in this esteemed group before
bringing it to the dealership again. What do you guys think it can be? If not
the wheel/brakes, could there be something in the suspension that can make
such noise? The timing it started is very suspicious - could they have screwed
something up in the front differential while changing the oil there? Else
could they have bumped the wheel against something while rotating the tires?

Any suggestion and comment you can offer will be most welcomed!

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Old 12 Dec 2012, 02:27 pm   #2 (permalink)
Le Forgeron
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Default Re: Knocking noise from a front wheel - second gen Prius

Le 11/12/2012 20:08, passerby nous fit lire :
> Hi all,
>
> The Prius is 2nd gen (2009) with 67K on it now.
>
> I have this noise I'm having a hard time explaining to the mechanics at the
> dealership, perhaps because it has started right after the latest
> service when
> they rotated the tires and replaced the oil in the front differential.
> I can describe it as a rather soft knocking sound that seems to be
> coming from
> the passenger side from wheel, with the frequency of once per revolution
> (or
> twice - it turned out to be very hard to drive, count and look at the
> passenger side wheel at the same time - need a huge mirror for that!) .
> Well, it starts soft but becomes harder and I can even feel it of the
> steering
> wheel after long and highway speed drives.
>
> I brought it down to the dealership and they claim they could not find
> or hear
> anything but the tire and the wheel look OK (tires almost brand new -
> about 5K
> on this set yet, balanced before first installed), brake pads and the disk
> look fine and no foreign objects. So, they said, it's safe to drive and
> don't
> worry too much.
>
> My wish for this noise to go away didn't materialize and I think it's
> getting
> worse. So, I decided to ask for suggestions in this esteemed group before
> bringing it to the dealership again. What do you guys think it can be?
> If not
> the wheel/brakes, could there be something in the suspension that can make
> such noise? The timing it started is very suspicious - could they have
> screwed
> something up in the front differential while changing the oil there? Else
> could they have bumped the wheel against something while rotating the
> tires?
>
> Any suggestion and comment you can offer will be most welcomed!
>


Once per revolution... hmmm... of the wheel or steering wheel ?
If the wheel itself:
Check the tire, every section of it, on the rolling band. You might have
a screw or bolt incased in the outer part of the tire. visual inspection
should be seconded with manual inspection: pass your hand softly on the
tire, all over the part that get in contact with the ground.
(afterwards, you're good to wash your hands). You should have to move
the car at least thrice if you do not remove the wheel. Use a mark on
the side of the wheel to ensure you do not look always at the same spot.
(For easier spot, turn the steering wheel full way if possible)

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Old 12 Dec 2012, 04:08 pm   #3 (permalink)
passerby
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Default Re: Knocking noise from a front wheel - second gen Prius

replying to Le Forgeron , passerby wrote:
> leforgeron wrote:
>
> Once per revolution... hmmm... of the wheel or steering wheel ?


The wheel, going straight. Actually, not sure if going in a circle would make
a difference - it only becomes obvious at about 15-20MPH and I've yet to find
a circle large enough to try that.

> If the wheel itself:
> Check the tire, every section of it, on the rolling band.


Thank you for your suggestion. I had it down at the dealership where they
claim they took it off and checked the tire. But come to think of it now: I
would rather check it again myself. They did say it's safe but I would feel
much better if I've seen it myself.


Despite it being synced with the wheel rotation (once per revolution), could
it still be something other than the tire?

Thanks!

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Old 12 Dec 2012, 04:53 pm   #4 (permalink)
Le Forgeron
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Default Re: Knocking noise from a front wheel - second gen Prius

Le 12/12/2012 22:08, passerby nous fit lire :
> replying to Le Forgeron , passerby wrote:
>> leforgeron wrote:
>>
>> Once per revolution... hmmm... of the wheel or steering wheel ?

>
> The wheel, going straight. Actually, not sure if going in a circle would
> make
> a difference - it only becomes obvious at about 15-20MPH and I've yet to
> find
> a circle large enough to try that.
>> If the wheel itself:
>> Check the tire, every section of it, on the rolling band.

>
> Thank you for your suggestion. I had it down at the dealership where they
> claim they took it off and checked the tire. But come to think of it now: I
> would rather check it again myself. They did say it's safe but I would feel
> much better if I've seen it myself.
>
>
> Despite it being synced with the wheel rotation (once per revolution),
> could
> it still be something other than the tire?


It could. On another car (not even a Toyota), I once met the same
symptom (1 clong per revolution). Turn out it was the ball bearing of
the wheel that was faulty (and expensive to replace) (might be due to a
chock of the wheel against a sidewalk). Check is harder: rotate the
wheel while it is off the ground (so the car must somehow be suspended
.... the apparatus to change a wheel with the fifth wheel (if any) is not
secure enough, do not do that alone). Free rotation of the wheel made it
clear: clong every revolution.

Might be hard to perform on the front wheel (neutral N mode ?)

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Old 12 Dec 2012, 08:27 pm   #5 (permalink)
Elmo P. Shagnasty
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Default Re: Knocking noise from a front wheel - second gen Prius

In article <511bb$50c8f231$42bb6765$25207@news.flashnewsgroup s.com>,
passerby <065b0505594b06f549b8b6640ba408f1_818@example.co m> wrote:

> > Once per revolution... hmmm... of the wheel or steering wheel ?

>
> The wheel, going straight. Actually, not sure if going in a circle would make
> a difference - it only becomes obvious at about 15-20MPH and I've yet to find
> a circle large enough to try that.
>
> > If the wheel itself:
> > Check the tire, every section of it, on the rolling band.

>
> Thank you for your suggestion. I had it down at the dealership where they
> claim they took it off and checked the tire. But come to think of it now: I
> would rather check it again myself. They did say it's safe but I would feel
> much better if I've seen it myself.


This isn't it because it wouldn't necessarily be synchronized with the
wheel rotation on a 1:1 basis, but a buddy of mine wrestled with a
knocking noise that turned out to be a screwdriver left inside his tire.
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Old 12 Dec 2012, 11:08 pm   #6 (permalink)
passerby
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Default Re: Knocking noise from a front wheel - second gen Prius

replying to Elmo P. Shagnasty , passerby wrote:
> elmop wrote:
>
> This isn't it because it wouldn't necessarily be synchronized with the
> wheel rotation on a 1:1 basis, but a buddy of mine wrestled with a
> knocking noise that turned out to be a screwdriver left inside his
> tire.
>


Oh, boy! This sounds like one of those horror stories about a surgeon leaving
a scalpel inside a patient's body ...

I now think I should definitely take L.F.'s advice and rotate the wheel while
suspended and on neutral, all the while keeping your story in mind, too.

When I brought it into the dealership last time, I was mostly concerned about
break pads - had a pebble lodge itself in there on a different vehicle that
also made weird sounds. They seem to have been going under the same assumption
and perhaps didn't look for much else.


As far as the bearing failing, it would seriously suck indeed. I'm so not
looking forward to an expensive repair. However, there's one observation that
perhaps supports the bearings theory: the knocks seem to become louder when
the car is climbing a hill. I can't come up with any explanation for that
which would include the wheel. The wheel is round - should make no difference
if the car's nose is slightly up.

Thanks!

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Old 13 Dec 2012, 08:51 am   #7 (permalink)
Michael N. LeVine
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Default Re: Knocking noise from a front wheel - second gen Prius

In article <511bb$50c8f231$42bb6765$25207@news.flashnewsgroup s.com>,
passerby <065b0505594b06f549b8b6640ba408f1_818@example.co m> wrote:

> replying to Le Forgeron , passerby wrote:
> > leforgeron wrote:
> >
> > Once per revolution... hmmm... of the wheel or steering wheel ?

>
> The wheel, going straight. Actually, not sure if going in a circle would make
> a difference - it only becomes obvious at about 15-20MPH and I've yet to find
> a circle large enough to try that.
>
> > If the wheel itself:
> > Check the tire, every section of it, on the rolling band.

>
> Thank you for your suggestion. I had it down at the dealership where they
> claim they took it off and checked the tire. But come to think of it now: I
> would rather check it again myself. They did say it's safe but I would feel
> much better if I've seen it myself.
>
>
> Despite it being synced with the wheel rotation (once per revolution), could
> it still be something other than the tire?
>
> Thanks!
>
> --


Have you had the wheel bearings checked?
--
Michael LeVine - mlevine@redshift.com
"I can remember when a liberal was one
who was generous with his own money"
Will Rogers
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Old 13 Dec 2012, 08:52 am   #8 (permalink)
News
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Default Re: Knocking noise from a front wheel - second gen Prius

On 12/13/2012 8:51 AM, Michael N. LeVine wrote:
> In article <511bb$50c8f231$42bb6765$25207@news.flashnewsgroup s.com>,
> passerby <065b0505594b06f549b8b6640ba408f1_818@example.co m> wrote:
>
>> replying to Le Forgeron , passerby wrote:
>>> leforgeron wrote:
>>>
>>> Once per revolution... hmmm... of the wheel or steering wheel ?

>>
>> The wheel, going straight. Actually, not sure if going in a circle would make
>> a difference - it only becomes obvious at about 15-20MPH and I've yet to find
>> a circle large enough to try that.
>>
>>> If the wheel itself:
>>> Check the tire, every section of it, on the rolling band.

>>
>> Thank you for your suggestion. I had it down at the dealership where they
>> claim they took it off and checked the tire. But come to think of it now: I
>> would rather check it again myself. They did say it's safe but I would feel
>> much better if I've seen it myself.
>>
>>
>> Despite it being synced with the wheel rotation (once per revolution), could
>> it still be something other than the tire?
>>
>> Thanks!
>>
>> --

>
> Have you had the wheel bearings checked?
>



Brake binding? Interference between rim and brakes or suspension?
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Old 15 Dec 2012, 03:08 pm   #9 (permalink)
passerby
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Default Re: Knocking noise from a front wheel - no noise if rotated by hand

replying to Le Forgeron , passerby wrote:
> leforgeron wrote:
>
> It could. On another car (not even a Toyota), I once met the same
> symptom (1 clong per revolution). Turn out it was the ball bearing of
> the wheel that was faulty (and expensive to replace) (might be due to a
> chock of the wheel against a sidewalk). Check is harder: rotate the
> wheel while it is off the ground (so the car must somehow be suspended
> ... the apparatus to change a wheel with the fifth wheel (if any) is
> not
> secure enough, do not do that alone). Free rotation of the wheel made
> it
> clear: clong every revolution.
>
> Might be hard to perform on the front wheel (neutral N mode ?)
>
>


So, I did lift the wheel up with a tire jack and rotated it by hand while on
neutral. Then did it with the other one just in case. *Nothing* at all out of
the ordinary. I mean, I don't look at Prius wheels every day, but there was
nothing embedded in the tire, no tears on the tire or the rubber gaskets, no
sign of any oil dripping, nothing obstructing the wheel or could possibly come
in contact with the wheel, nothing seems lose. I've taken pictures of both
wheel wells while they they suspended, just can't quite figure out how to post
them here.

And, no noise! Well, if you rotate them *very* slow, something in the
transmission appears to start biting and the wheel jerks while you're rotating
it. You can hear tiny "ticks" when you do that but not once per revolution,
more like 100 times per revolution. I think it's how CVT is working although I
cannot be sure.

Anyway, this time the car was cold while I was doing it, I'm going to try to
do it after driving it 20 miles later today. perhaps something will change
when it's warm.

So, I'm still looking for ideas. One that I was pondering myself: could the
wheel be unbalances so badly as to literally lift itself up and then down? The
noise seems to be rather soft and rubbery rather than metal on metal.

Thanks for your suggestions, guys, please keep them coming!


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Old 15 Dec 2012, 06:08 pm   #10 (permalink)
passerby
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Default Re: Knocking noise from a front wheel - no noise if rotated by hand

replying to passerby, passerby wrote:
And so I lifted it again and turned the wheel when the car and the tires were
warm. Made no difference - I still cannot hear anything when turning by hand.
The noise was definitely there when I was driving it, so it looks like the
weight of the car is an important factor.

Would a faulty wheel bearing make the same noise when loaded as when it's not?

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