Question about 2001 Ford Focus

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How to identify source of rumbling noise when car is moving.

I have a Ford at 51,000 miles.
For the last 10,000 miles, there is an annoying ''drone'' or ''rumble'' type noise that changes as the speed of the car changes. Changing gear or dipping the clutch makes no difference to the noise. The noise is more noticeable at speeds above 40mph.

I think it is either a worn wheel bearing or any transmission part that is related to speed, such as a CV joint.

A basic visual inspection of the front transmission and CV joints show no sign of any problems.

In the past I have diagnosed and fixed a rear wheel bearing on another car. This was easy to source because I could hear and feel it on the wheel as I freely spun it when the car was jacked up.

I have also diagnosed and fixed a front wheel bearing on a different. But I had to spin up each front wheel using the engine as I couldn't detect anything by hand. When one wheel was stopped from spinning, the diff kept the other wheel spinning and vice versa. So, from inside the car I immediately heard the noise stop when the culprit wheel was stopped. The bearing was replaced and all was well.

However, with this car I cannot detect any play by hand or any noise by ear, both front and rear. So I tried the trick as above of spinning the front wheels with the engine, but the traction control and ABS systems don't like it and activate!!! This makes it impossible to detect which front wheel, if any, is the problem.

From inside the car it is impossible to tell where the noise is coming from. There is just a constant drone no matter where I listen to!

How else can I diagnose the problem? I am out of ideas.

Please don't suggest replacing all four bearings or just guessing.


Posted by info57146 on


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My daughter has a 2001 Focus with similar sound, problem.  Just drove it from Portland Oregon to Newport Oregon approx. 140 miles.  Hwy. 20 the route from I-5 to the coast has some pretty sharp corners.  There was this knot head behind me tailgating.  So,coming into the sharp corners I decided to accelerate hard through the corners to gain some distance away from the guy.  Well guess what?  45-50 mph into a 25 mph right hand corner and the noise totally stopped for a few seconds.  I did this again and the same noise! So, on the next left hand corner I powered into it. The noise increased.  I had the back seats down as well, carting a surf board, which allowed the noise level to be established that it was from the rear of the car.  With the seats up it was impossible to tell where the noise was coming from; But down clearly from the rear.  Now, going through those sharp corners, the right hand corner throws weight to the left front wheel and the right rear tire tends to lift releasing weight pressure on the bearing resulting in the no noise event.  Thus I am absolutely convinced that it is a bearing failure in the passenger side rear wheel. Quit by accident to have stumbled onto this today...amazing!  Now, Looking for directions on how to replace the bearing which is how I stumbled onto this post.  Have a good one!!!

Posted on Oct 05, 2009


3 Related Answers


Greg Bernett

  • 2989 Answers

SOURCE: 2001 montero/ rumbling noise in front

There are a few things that this could be, and I see that you have replaced a few of the items that it could be but steering systems are a weird thing so here ya go:

  1. Excessive inner CV joint angle
  2. Sticking inboard joint assembly
  3. Lack of lube at the ball joints
  4. Loose upper strut mount
  5. Worn tie rods
  6. Loose stabilizer bar
  7. Loose suspension bolts
  8. And, believe it or not, a blister or bump on the tire
If you got a Chilton's or Haynes manual to do this job, it states in there how much grease should be packed into the bearings. Also, making sure of the length of your CV axle.

Post more info you would like, to pass on.

Posted on Mar 17, 2009



  • 2007 Answers

SOURCE: Rumbling noise on a low speed between 25-40 miles

Does it sound like an exhaust pipe hitting the floor, or is it a different sound?

Posted on Aug 01, 2009


  • 227 Answers

SOURCE: when accelerating, car actually rumbles (shudders)

Look into changing the U-Joints on the drive shaft. You may also have a bad tansmission mount and maybe the motor mounts are bad.

Posted on Aug 08, 2009

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