98 Suburban-squeak-increases with road speed

Discussion in 'GM' started by phoebeisis, Oct 28, 2012.

  1. phoebeisis

    phoebeisis Well-Known Member

    Help-for the last 5 months I noticed a faint kinda squeaky noise -
    ONLY when the vehicle is MOVING-increases in frequency as speed increases
    It last 2-3 minutes-then goes away.
    Seems to be coming from "under the vehicle"
    My brother-slightly better hearing-says seems to be coming from the rear.

    My BIGGEST concern- would any wheel bearing-any bearing-or U-joint-act like this when it was failing or running low on grease?
    Any chance this is just brakes? Do the rear shoes(no idea how long since changed) have some sort of squeak indicator like pads? Or could any of the brakes be slightly dragging?
    The noise isn't exactly a squeak-NOT THAT HIGH pitched-

    1998 2wd Suburban 1500 221,000 miles- I've owned it the last 5.5 years-bought at 195,000 miles($2950-best $2950 anything I'll ever buy-reat truck)

    Help-any ideas-?
    Oh how long do wheels bearings last anyway-and how tough to DIY- need special tools-Auto Zone borrows maybe? I ask because in 8 months-3500 mile trip.
  2. RedylC94

    RedylC94 Well-Known Member

    Steady Squeeeeeeeeeee ... , or pulsing squeak-squeak-squeak-squeak ... ? If the latter, how many squeaks per wheel revolution?

    Differential oil is OK?

    Failing wheel bearings would normally roar, not squeak, I think.
  3. 08EscapeHybrid

    08EscapeHybrid Moderator

    I would check for a worn wheel bearing. What I suspect is happening is its a little loose when cold, but when it warms up it expands and tightens up.
  4. herm

    herm Well-Known Member

    Bearings are usually easy to replace, except some older FWD that you would take to a shop to press the bearing into the rotor?. Make sure you pack the grease in properly.. perhaps you hit a pothole and damaged a bearing.. my bearings last a looong time but I have spares.

    Have your brother cruise next to you in his car and see if he can tell where the noise is coming from.
  5. msirach

    msirach Well-Known Member

    Take a drive for several miles then check the temp of your wheel hubs and u-joints. Failing bearings will be hotter than non-failing. An inexpensive IR gun is handy for this.
  6. ILAveo

    ILAveo Well-Known Member

    If you have zerks for your u-joints or wheel bearings this would be a good time to squeeze some grease into them to see if that makes a difference. A vehicle of that age it could be anything, but IMO a likely explanation would be brakes (sticky caliper or e-brake adjuster). Sticky calipers or e-brake adjusters make your brakes squeak a little when you first start until you wear enough material off your pads/shoes to let the wheel spin freely. I've had a couple of old vehicles that started out with exactly this symptom before their e-brake cables seized.
    Last edited: Oct 29, 2012
  7. WriConsult

    WriConsult Super Moderator

    What msirach said: drive for a few miles at fairly high speed, then stop and check for heat. If one wheel is hotter than the other, it could mean either a bad wheel bearing or a sticking caliper/drum, but at least you'll know which wheel it is.

    Also, try making turns in both directions while it's squeaking. That may also help isolate the problem to one end of the car or the other.

    BTW, I've had bad bearings make a rhythmic squeaking sound like a sticky break, so based on what you've told us I wouldn't rule either out.
  8. phoebeisis

    phoebeisis Well-Known Member

    thanks all
    Big Aside-I posted this on two GM truck forums
    But I always get better GM truck info here??
    Better as in "righter" and more too the point-er
    Odd-but lotta barely reformed motor heads here-and lotta frugal DIY types
    In any case -THANKS!

    This AM- got lucky-kept the radio off-no point in Mike and Mike telling me the Saint's defense..
    In any case-cold-maybe 50 degrees-bitter cold for NOLA Oct.
    It was there-stayed there-but it faded a bit after 2-3 miles
    It never went away-but when I was braking to a stop-it was much louder-and easier to hear.
    If I didn't P&G I probably wouldn't have even noticed it during the warm months.
    But it was plenty lound today
    It is rhymic(sic-but no spell check) not quite squeak-more a sorta rub rub rub but with a pitch less than a pure metal to metal rub squeak.

    I'm guessing either they are worn out-the shoes-and this is the warning
    "noise" or they are dragging-seems slightly to the right.

    I HOPE it is the shoes-and HOPE I can get away with one of my typical cheapouts-just replace them-shoes-for now- no machine work-I am LITERALLY that broke until May2-when I'll suddenly be $1500/mo richer-it will seem like a fortune-still will work of course-

    Of course it is entirely possible that it still is a U-joint or bearing- but hoping it is just shoes.
    Been YEARS- maybe 30-since I had to do shoes on a car/truck- any tricky little springs in there
    special tools required-nasty little surprises?Pads were so easy-wish GM hadn't cheaped out
    It is just a 2wd 1/2 ton-98 ??

    Thanks all-will keep you posted-let me know on the shoe replacement
  9. Blackbelt

    Blackbelt Well-Known Member

    Could be the springs or shoe hardware hanging up a little?
  10. phoebeisis

    phoebeisis Well-Known Member

    Hey that would be my kind of fix-FREE! Just how hard is it to replace shoes?
    I suspect the shoes are ancient-Bought April 2007-PO gave me last 3 years worth of repair bills($4000- AT rebuild AC rebuild intake gaskets)-no mention of brakes-he put 20000 miles per year on it.
    Front brake pads wore to the metal in 2009-replaced with $15.95 AZ-no machining no problems-just put pads on-no pull no pulsing-owner proof vehicle

    Shoes-rear ebay $31.00 per set delivered-so AZ might be $45 per rear set
    Love this Suburban-parts easy to find-cheap-and repairs are easyish(usually)
    MPG not great-but only average 3000 miles per year-except when we go to Arizona-
  11. herm

    herm Well-Known Member

    Just put it together the same way it came out :)

    Might just need a bit of cleanup and tiny bit of grease in the right place.
  12. ILAveo

    ILAveo Well-Known Member

    Sounds like you have tired return springs from your description. You should also replace the shoes and check your e-brake cable while you're in there. I'd wager that there is an online video tutorial for Suburban rear brakes.
  13. phoebeisis

    phoebeisis Well-Known Member

    ILAVEO-So it might even be hurting my mpg??
    That would be nice-a bonus for doing a greasy job
    I did a very quick search-but I'll look harder since there are videos u-TUBES for EVERYTHING NOW.I have a cheapo repair manual 86-98 repair manual-I'll look there also.

    Herm-no special tools required-no nasty spring spronging out and blinding me?
    And looks like just $40 for shoes-I'll check the springs price.
    Love these cheap easy to find parts.
  14. ILAveo

    ILAveo Well-Known Member

    Probably would help a little. If there isn't a video for the Suburban, look for one for the equivalent GMC/Chevy pickup because the brakes are probably the same. I used one for a Ford SUV when I did the back brakes on my Ranger.
  15. Blackbelt

    Blackbelt Well-Known Member

    Charlie, it isn't difficult if you take your time. A brake spring tool is helpful, but it can be done without one., as long as you have some decent pliers or vice grips. You may want jack it up and spin a rear wheel by hand while someone apples the brakes so you can listen for the noise.
  16. phoebeisis

    phoebeisis Well-Known Member

    Guys-thanks for the info.
    Yep I have vice grips and good pliers also-sturdy screwdriver also if I need to pry it a bit.

    Is there anyway to actually see the shoe wiht the wheel on?
    Maybe someway to get a peak at it-must be someway to check if you need new shoes without pulling the wheels off and jacking it up(got that backwards)?
  17. Blackbelt

    Blackbelt Well-Known Member

    Not that i know of. Most cars have an oval hole in the rear on the backing plate to adjust the shoes, but you really cant see the shoes without taking the tire off and then pulling the drum off.
  18. herm

    herm Well-Known Member

    I just use a needle nose locking vice grips to deal with the spring.. its probably a good idea to replace all the springs etc, probably original and all corroded. Not expensive.. hopefully the drum is not corroded in place too badly and it just pops off. Does that year car have a ratcheting emergency brake adjustment in-between the two pads?
  19. 08EscapeHybrid

    08EscapeHybrid Moderator

    Yes it does.
  20. herm

    herm Well-Known Member

    Charlie, before you spend any money just take it apart, inspect and clean it.

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