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Discussion Starter #1
Greetings!
I have a 2004 Honda Element automatic with 110,000 miles on it.
The normal road noise I have always heard seems to be getting louder. It sounds almost like the time my ford lost all the grease in the rear end and froze up. It is a dull woop-woop sound and at high speeds (70 to 90) can get very loud, like a dull whine. My wife won't ride in it because she feels it is going to leave us stranded somewhere. (That isn't necessarily a bad thing...)

My mechanic broke out a new toy, some sort of automotive listening device and he checked out the wheel bearings, rear end, everything. He said the only thing he heard making some sound was the Axle Carrier Bearing. Never heard of that. He can't guarantee this is the problem, as it could be the old tires.

Has anyone had any experience at all with an Axle Carrier Bearing?

If this "goes totally bad" what happens?

Any idea of cost?
I may buy new tires first to see if that helps. Meanwhile I am driving the vehicle about 35 miles per day.

I sure would appreciate anyone's thoughts on this.

Dart
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Tires

Thanks, I hate to replace the tires as they are not worn at all. Probably have another year or two on them. But I may try that first.
 

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If your tires are over five years old then they're toast no matter how much tread is left. Four years old? Maybe.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
New Tires it is!

Thanks everyone, you have convinced me. New tires it will be!

I have had these tires for at least three years.....

I'll report back after I get them.

By the way, are there any tires that work best on Honda Elements? Ilive in South Florida so ice and snow is not an issue.

Thanks again, appreciate it.
Dart
 

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+1 on that. Mine were so loud I thought it was a wheel bearing, replaced them recently and the difference is amazing.
Yep, since I replaced my low mileage Coopers it is so quiet I now hear all kinds of squeaks and rattles I never heard before.:-D
 

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As stated by others, tires can fool you with a similar noise. Usually, one can run a hand lightly around the tire inner and outer edges and feel uneven wear. This can cause a sound just like a bearing noise.

The differential carrier bearings, it that is the noise, are in the rear differential housing. The carrier is the central rotating assembly to which the ring gear is bolted. The carrier has a bearing on both the left and right sides in which it spins. There are also two bearings that support the differential pinion gear. Pinion bearings usually change the noise characteristic when on or off the throttle.

If a differential bearing is going bad to the extent it is making noise there is probably fine metal in the differential gear oil. One can crack the drain plug on the differential case loose to let a bit of gear oil run out and see if it has shiny metal sparkles in it. If so, not good. Big job.
 

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In my experience, when I've had a wheel bearing go bad, it was noisy road noise that got louder proportionally with my speed.

In addition, you can try jack up the car and then grab each tire on the left and right then up and down and try to wiggle it, you should have little to no movement.
 

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The differential carrier bearings, it that is the noise, are in the rear differential housing.
But there is an axle carrier bearing on the passenger side of the transmission and that is what is being discussed here. In this illustration follow the passenger side axle as it comes out of the transmission. It passes through a carrier bearing (circled) and after that it connects to the right hand axle. This is quite common on front drive vehicles.
 

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