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Discussion Starter #1
Having a tough time figuring out a rear passenger side noise. Sounds like brake rubbing. Squeals at low speeds. Squeal increases when I put on the brake. Gets louder on a left turn. Quiet on a right turn. Changed out the brake pads and drums. Thought maybe the parking brake was sticking so I adjusted it pretty loose to see if the noise changed. No difference. Brought it to a tire and wheel guy. He says everything looks just fine and he didn’t see anything that looks likely to be causing noise. He adjusted the brake for me to make sure. It is sometimes louder first thing in the morning when I first get going. Gets quieter as the car warms up. Sounds exactly like squealing brakes. Any ideas how I might troubleshoot this?
451. 2013 model with drum brakes and stock steel wheels if that makes a difference.
 

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Sounds like the wheel hub might be going. I’ve heard them squeal, drone and sound like a low-flying aircraft. In lots of cases, you will hear the noise increase or decrease during turns, depending on the direction you are steering.

One caveat... the smart’s short wheel base can make sounds from the front sound like they are coming from the back and vise versa. I replaced the wrong in my ‘08 thinking it was the front, but ended up replacing the back.

Fronts are press-fit bearings. They can be replaced without replacing the entire knuckle assembly, but make sure the shop uses the driving pins to press the bearing in place. Pushing on the bearing during assembly will cause damage.

The tears are easier, with bolts holding the hub in place.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
I’m going to jack it up and push and pull on the wheel to look for looseness. Another trick is to remove the back brake hub and put it on backwards (gives you something to grab) so the brakes won’t rub and spin the wheel to listen for grinding noise. Does that sound like the right track to figure this out?
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Narrowing it down to the wheel bearing; Unhooked the parking brake to make sure it wasn’t dragging. The drum is cool to the touch so I’m thinking the brakes aren’t dragging. Part is only 40 bucks or so. Going to order and replace to see if that helps
 

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I had to change my LF bearing last year, and my LR bearing this year (2008, now at 222,230 mi)..
 
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