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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Im just curious if anyone has changed out either the driver or passenger side rear wheel brearings. A few weeks ago my wife mentioned hearing a weird noise coming from the rear end while sitting in the middle row seating. I wasnt able to hear the noise at the time but it has started to grow louder. It seems almost like a grinding noise possibly and the only thing i can think of is the wheel bearings. When i rotated the tires last i couldnt find anything that could have been making the noise leading me to believe i drove through one to many water/mud holes while off roading causing my wheel bearings to go bad. Also I just changed the rear axle fluid and to my surprise it actually looked brand new(not sure why we have to change a full synthetic gear oil every 15,000 miles). So has any one else have problems with there wheel bearings or know how tough or easy it is to replace them.

EDIT: Just got off the phone with my dad and he mentioned that there is possibly a hub/bearing assembly in the rear and the the dealer should fix it under waranty if thats what the problem is. Can anyone confirm there being a hub/bearing assembly in the rear?
 

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There are few failures harder to diagnose than rear axle noise.
The first step is to rotate the tires front to rear to be certain the sound does not move.
A cupped tire will whine or warble the same as a bearing. The more aggressive treaded tires are more prone to this.
Once you have rotated, and the sound has not changed, you can assume 1 or more bearings are beginning to brinnle. This is the chipping of the hardened surfaces between roller and race of the bearing.
There are 6 bearings in the rear axle.
2 are supporting the pinion. The pinion is the component the drive shaft is attached to.
If failing, they will tend to whine more on deceleration, and pitch can be changed by lightly applying throttle and then slightly reducing throttle at speed.
2 bearings are supporting the ring gear carrier. If failing, they tend to whine or howl at the same frequency, regardless of throttle load.
2 bearings support the axle shafts at the wheel hubs. These tend to have a low rumble type sound at about 1/3rd. wheel speed, when failing.
There are no cartridge type bearings on this rear axle.
For the record, there are cartridge bearings supporting the front hubs.
Once you have proven the sound does not change through tire rotation, and the sound is worsening over mileage, it can be assumed a bearing is failing.

All internally lubricated axle components are covered under regular and lifetime warranty.
Sometimes, the dealer can attach a electric sound meter to the axle area at the outer bearing and isolate the noise in the hopes of replacing the correct bearing the first time out.
It can be a bit of a crap-shoot as bearing noise can ring throughout the entire final drive (axle) housing, and sometimes both axle bearings are exchanged as a first step once the tire noise potental has been eliminated.

Good luck, hope that helped a bit,
Rob
 

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Discussion Starter #4
That definately helped. For the record I have stock Fortera's that have been rotated every 3,000 miles. Yes i said it, every 3,000 miles. When I change my oil at the shop, I rotate the tires while the oil drains from the engine. It takes less then 5 minutes to do with air tools. I have about 30,000 miles on the tires and they are wearing normal with a slight cupping on the outer edge of the 2 tires that were on the front after installing the BDS lift due to waiting a week before getting an alignment. It is hardly noticable and I really dont think that is the problem. As for the outter bearings what is required for the dealer to replace them? Do they have to take the axles shafts completely out to replace them or does it just require disassembly of the calipers/rotors?
 

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07,

The calipers, rotors need to be removed.
The axle flanges have a hole to access the bearing retainer bolts.
Once removed, an axle puller (slide hammer) is attached to the flange and the axle is driven outward. The bearing stays on the axle.
With a press, the bearing is removed and replaced along with outer seal.
Before re-install, the inner seal is replaced in the axle housing.

But, even though you have been religious about tire rotation, it does not negate the need to prove the failure by shortcutting the diagnostic process.

Rob
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks for the quick reply. You seem like the man to go to when it comes to the commander. I need you to school me a little. My last vehicle had c-clips holding the axles shafts from coming out. What holds our axles in since it sounds like we dont have c-clips. I just made an appointment with the jeep dealer for saturday so hopefully they can help me out.
 

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Thanks for the quick reply. You seem like the man to go to when it comes to the commander. I need you to school me a little. My last vehicle had c-clips holding the axles shafts from coming out. What holds our axles in since it sounds like we dont have c-clips. I just made an appointment with the jeep dealer for saturday so hopefully they can help me out.
OK,
Order of parts, from outside(hub)and towards inside:
1. Axle retainer plate
2. Outer axle seal(keeps dust/water out, grease in.
3. Wheel bearing assy.
4. Bearing retaining ring.
5. In the rear axle housing...Inner grease seal, pressed into housing.

Note: this design bearing is pre-packed with grease. It recieves no lubrication from the gear oil(unless the inner seal leaks)

Regarding the C clip design,
There is only a outer seal and it is pressed into the axle housing.
There is a flat roller bearing pressed in prior to the seal.
The axle itself acts as the inner bearing race.
The entire axle assembly is held in position with a C clip that is located in the final drive housing. The spider shaft must be removed so the axles can be pressed inward to disengage the C clip, and then the axle is withdrawn from the housing.

Note: this design bearing IS lubricated by the gear lube that migrates down the axle shaft housings.

Schools out,
Rob
 

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Good info on the bearings. My pinion bearings are going. Noticed the whine on coasting and steady throttle. Not very loud but its there and anyone can pick up on it. Mechanic says its common and wasn't a problem. Said is wasn't bearings but some shaft alignment. Yah Ok, not a problem today, but it will be. Only have 12k on it. I'll drive it a bit more and then they can fix it.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Honestly i think my front pinion bearings are going to. I could be wrong but who knows. Well the Commander is going in at 10:30 this morning for them to check out the rear end. Ill let you guys know how it goes. Knowing my luck they will return the vehicle and say they dont hear the noise and there is nothing wrong with it. I get that all the time.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Well it went as expected. Dropped the Commander off and waited while it was being "fixed" since its our only vehicle. I sat there for about to hours when the lady came to me saying that it was finished. I asked her what they ended up replacing and she stated that the mechanics couldnt hear the noise and had taken it on a test drive. I insisted that the mechanic go out on another test drive this time with me. Well of course once i went along with him he could hear the noise. We headed back to the dealer and he stated that he would put it on the lift and pin point the problem. Another 35-40 minutes past and the lady came back saying they could not find the problem. She stated that they cant do anything unless it keeps making the noise or it gets worse. I explained to her that the noise has been getting worse over the past few weeks and that i dont forsee it getting any better. So basically to make a really long story short i wasted 3 hours of my day and was told to come back when it gets worse.
 

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It seems all the mechanics are given the same line to use. A friend had an 08 liberty, the rear pinion bearings were shot at 4,500 miles and I do mean shot. You couldn't hear the radio. And of course they say they have never seen one go bad. Maybe you should drive around the block and tell them its worse... It would have to be.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Well they ended up ordered some "bushings" that day due to the squeaking noises I hear wheneve i hit bumps so once those come in ill let them know that noise i keep hearing is getting worse.
 
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