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  1. #1
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    2004 Silverado Rear Wheel Wobble

    2004 Chevrolet Silverado has a noticeable wobble in both rear wheels. If you jack the back end up there is a noticeable wobble and some squeaking in the driverís side brake. The driverís side is worse than the passenger side. I am 90% sure it is not the tires or rims. I am thinking it is bent axles, but what are the chances of it just being the bearings? I have no road noise similar to when I had a front bearing go out, so that leads me to believe it is the axles. I am going to try to fix this myself. I figure a good place to start is the bearings, as with 115k miles it wouldnít hurt to change them anyway.

    What would be the best bearings/seals to put in? I figured NAPA, but they offer more than one. Autozone has timkin bearings. Any help would be appreciated.

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  3. Member
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    #2
    Before I went tossing parts I would dig just a bit deeper. Remove the wheel/tire. Put wheel nuts back on the studs to firmly hold rotor. Run it and see if that wobble is still present. No.......well its in wheel/tire......YES......then remove caliper, then rotor, run it again. See if just the axle is wobbling. I do not see a bearing (in this situation) causing a "wobble" like you describe. Also cannot think of how you could have bent a pair, or even one axle short of extreme overloading.
    It is very possible you have some extremely warped rotors causing you to hear the squeaking in the brake. Take some time and do some CSI work. Your truck has a pretty solid rear axle and though no impossible, id say highly unlikely you have bent axles.

  4. Member
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    #3
    All tire and rims assemblies will have what will appear to be runout. It is difficult to bend both axles, you would remember the hit it takes. Do you have any abnormal vibration or excessivce noise? Also if the axles are bent you will get a seal leak. rayz gave some good advise start checking before buying parts. I replace a good many internal bearings in rear differentials, mostly newer Tahoes and Suburbans. But do get the occasional truck. All come in for noise and all are either pinion bearings or carrier bearings.

  5. Member
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    #4
    Thanks to those who have replied.

    Rayz, I will check for runout this weekend. Great idea. My buddy is going to let me borrow his runout gauge. What would be an acceptable amount of runout? I figure less than a quarter inch?

    Jhl1965, If I were to guess the bend would be in the axle flange and not the axle itself. On my axle, the axle and flange are all one piece. Would a bent flange ruin the bearings? Like I said, with 115k miles it probably won’t hurt to change the bearings anyway if I end up changing the axles. I have no noise in the rear end other than the brakes. At 45mph I sometimes have a small shake.

    I didn’t include this information in my original post, but the truck was wrecked in 2008. My wife spun out at 45 mph and took it over two curbs. I looked at the parts that were replaced last night and it was mostly the front end and all the rims.

    What I suspect is the flanges on both axles got bent in the wreck. I started to notice the small shake when I switched from the stock Goodyear tires to Michelin LTX ms2. I have already been back to the tire place, and I am almost sure the tires and rims are good. I guess I will know for sure when I pull them off this weekend and check for runout in the rotor and axle.

    I suspect that the shake is getting more noticeable because the shocks are getting more worn out. With the boat hooked up, I rarely notice the shake. I have no oil leakage from the axle.

    I only happened to notice the wobble because I was following my wife the other day. I jacked it up when I got home and it was easier to see there is some wobble back there. Not “the wheels are going to fall off” but more of “hey it shouldn’t be like that” wobble.

    If I do need new axles. Would there be anything wrong with salvage parts? I can’t imagine anything would be wrong, but I don’t want to put another bent one in, either.

    Thanks

  6. Member
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    #5
    You might be better off with a rear end form a salvage yard.
    TeeBoy

  7. Member
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    #6
    Noticed you said it seemed to start when you changed tires? Tires may be the problem. Have the selling tire dealer do a road force balance on the tires. this checks the runout of the tires and rims and will also tell if they can be matched for the best balance or if tires need to be replaced. Not uncommon for brand new tires to be off.

  8. Maybe one day........ TRCM's Avatar
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    #7
    Could also be bent rims from some tire jockey not seating the rim prior to cranking the lug nuts on with an impact wrench.

    Daiwa / St. Croix / Abu Garcia / Sufix / Humminbird / Motorguide
    T & H / Power Pole / BlueWater / Loc-R-Bar / Bravo 1 / MercMonitor

  9. Member
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    #8
    Thanks again to all those who have replied.

    Teeboy, I hope you do not end up being right. However, before it is all said and done I may be better off with a salvaged complete rear end. I did locate two axle halves at a salvage yard today for $75 a piece, so that helps.

    Jhl1965, I noticed the shake after changing tires, but I do remember the previous tires having an odd wear to them. They had wear on the outboard edge of the tread if that makes sense. They may have had wear on the inside edge as well, but I did not notice it. I just figured the tires were old and didn’t worry too much about it.

    After I noticed the shake I went back to the tire place (family owned) and the owner went above and beyond to help me out. Balanced all four tires multiple times, road force balanced, checked the rims for runout. He sent me home with two new tires at no cost to me. I guess he should have put it on a lift and ran it in gear to check the rear end for problems.

    TRCM, I really do not think it is bent rims, although some of those guys are pretty vicious with impact wrenches. I have had the rims checked and I do not think I would have the squeak in the brake if it was the rims. I do worry that it might be wallowed out lug holes in the rim.

    Either way, I should have a lot better idea by the end of the weekend. I am going to pick up a runout gauge tomorrow and take the wheels and brakes off Saturday. My biggest fear is putting new axles in and still having the wobble. If it is something in the differential or driveshaft I would be better off doing like Teeboy says and putting on a new complete rear end.

    Right now I would be pretty content with bent axle flanges even though the body shop that repaired the truck when it was wrecked should have caught it. I will let you guys know how Saturday turns out. Thanks again for all the help.

  10. Maybe one day........ TRCM's Avatar
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    #9
    IN addition to possible bent rims, it could be a bent drum flange or rotor resulting form the same impact wrench wielding monkeys...seen that happen as well.

    If that IS the case, it could also explain the brake squeak.

    Also, don't forget, the axle shaft does have some inboard/outboard movement, and if the rim is bent, everytime it rotates it can move the axleshaft in and out. Since the brakes shoes/pads are attached to the housing, and the drum/rotor is attached to the axle shaft, you could very well have a squeak in the brakes from a bent rim.

    Just something to double check.

    BTW, it would be all but impossible for something in the differential to cause the axle wobble you describe without it being very obvious (as in horrible grinding noises from the rear axle).

    Daiwa / St. Croix / Abu Garcia / Sufix / Humminbird / Motorguide
    T & H / Power Pole / BlueWater / Loc-R-Bar / Bravo 1 / MercMonitor

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    #10
    Today I removed the brakes and measured the axle flange by pushing it towards the differential and spinning it by hand. The driver’s side had .040 inches of runout and the passenger side had .030 inches.

    I then ran it in gear and in neutral while holding a marker against the emergency brake for stability. (WARNING: you are going to set off your anti-lock brake (ABS) alarm if you do this) The runout was obvious. It was both vertical and lateral. I feel pretty confident I need new axles. I am going to change the bearings while I have the axle off. I guess I will spend my spare time this week rounding up some salvaged axles, bearings and seals, differential gasket, and differential fluid.

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    #11
    Make sure it's not the tires before you go through all that work.


  13. Member
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    #12
    For those that are interested, I changed both rear axles, bearings, and seals today. The results are inconclusive. On the driver’s side, the wobble and the squeak in the brake went away. On the passenger side, a noticeable wobble remains. After driving the truck for a few short trips, I have not noticed any bounce or vibration in the rear end. I do have some pulsation in the brakes, but that is most likely due to warping from when I had the squeak in the driver’s side brake. The best I can tell, I either have a bend in the rim on the passenger side or maybe the tire tread just gives the appearance of wobble.