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Discussion Starter #1
So I've had my FJ for 5 days now...for the most part I love everything about this truck, but I am experiencing one thing that I suspect may be a problem.

When decelerating (most noticeably from highway speeds, but still there at street speeds) I am hearing a low-pitched hum. The hum seems to be tied into vehicle speed, not engine or transmission. I wouldn't call it loud but it is definitely noticeable. I am thinking wheel bearing, tire (though these are not aggressive tires) or possibly u-joint. Not sure if the noise is there the rest of the time but may be masked by the engine/exhaust note.

I don't *think* this is normal, but please let me know if it is. I would like to be better informed before taking it back to the dealer (on the bright side this was a Certified Toyota so I have a warranty).
 

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What year is the FJ, how many miles, Standard or auto trans? What make and style of tires and roughly how many miles or worn are they. Do you only notice the noise during deceleration and only within a certain speed range. What kind of exhaust, stock or aftermarket.
What happens if you get up to speed and just cruise and have you tried coasting for a short distance in neutral. Does the noise change worse or better when turning right or left? Do you have a roof rack and what make?
Lots of questions but all can either be a source of the noise or help identify the source.
Cheers.
 

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Discussion Starter #4 (Edited)
2010, all stock, auto trans, 50K miles. The tires are new or nearly new, Nexen I think is the brand (basically the cheapest tire the dealer could stick on there). They just have a boring all season tread, not aggressive at all, so a tire would have to have a broken belt or something to be a cause.

The noise seems pretty constant all the way to zero, like when you are coasting on an exit ramp, it just changes in pitch with vehicle speed, so I don't think it is in the tranny or engine. I have not tried coasting in neutral, I will do that. As mentioned, so far I can't tell if the noise is there or not when cruising or accelerating due to engine/exhaust noise. I will experiment a bit with light throttle at highway speeds, maybe I will be able to hear it then. Have not noticed any difference while turning, but I will pay more attention to that. Maybe I will do some swerving to check the wheel bearings.

I am reasonably competent at diagnosing noises like this (I seem to be the only one who is for our work fleet, you wouldn't believe the stuff people ignore in a work truck), but in addition to general diagnosis I just wanted to check if it is "normal" for an FJ. Truthfully though I don't think it is normal.

Oh, it may also be worth mentioning that it has been very cold the last few days, it was minus 10F or so on the way in to work today.
 

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The hum seems to be tied into vehicle speed, not engine or transmission. I wouldn't call it loud but it is definitely noticeable. I am thinking wheel bearing, tire (though these are not aggressive tires) or possibly u-joint.
2010, all stock, auto trans, 50K miles. The tires are new or nearly new, Nexen I think is the brand (basically the cheapest tire the dealer could stick on there). They just have a boring all season tread, not aggressive at all, so a tire would have to have a broken belt or something to be a cause.

The noise seems pretty constant all the way to zero, like when you are coasting on an exit ramp, it just changes in pitch with vehicle speed, so I don't think it is in the tranny or engine. I have not tried coasting in neutral, I will do that.
Coasting in neutral will eliminate everything but bearings, brakes and tires. Getting on/off the brakes while coasting will eliminate the brakes.

My money's on tire noise. You don't need to have a very aggressive tread to hear it, but obviously the mud-style treads are a bit louder. Even BFG All Terrain's make noise. Are you feeling anything through the steering wheel?
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Coasting in neutral will eliminate everything but bearings, brakes and tires. Getting on/off the brakes while coasting will eliminate the brakes.

My money's on tire noise. You don't need to have a very aggressive tread to hear it, but obviously the mud-style treads are a bit louder. Even BFG All Terrain's make noise. Are you feeling anything through the steering wheel?
Nothing in the steering wheel. The vehicle drives and steers fine. The tires are not nearly as aggressive as BFG ATs, although I agree they could still be a cause if defective. I have driven an off-road truck with MTs for many years so I know what simple tread hum sounds like.
 

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The tires are not nearly as aggressive as BFG ATs, although I agree they could still be a cause if defective. I have driven an off-road truck with MTs for many years so I know what simple tread hum sounds like.
The only reason I don't go to bearings first is that you mostly hear of them being a problem on the early trucks (2007) and then around 100K+ miles. Being that your truck is newer and with half the miles, it's less likely to be the problem. If your truck came from a southern market and spent a lot of time in the water, maybe?

Do you have a GoPro or some kind of suction-cup'd camera? You could stick it on each corner and record the sound, to see if one corner is notably louder than another. Last-ditch: do a mod day and swap wheels/tires with another FJ, if your truck still makes it then it's 99% the bearings.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I agree that 50K is way early for bearings. This FJ was in CA, AZ, and NM for most of it's life, and it is totally stock so it seems unlikely the POs did much fording.

I'll do some more situational listening and report back.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Shifting into neutral does nothing for the sound. Swerving a bit from side to side changes the tone of the sound some, though not dramatically.

I'm leaning toward tires too. But I think I'm going to have to make the dealer test drive it and tell me so for warranty purposes.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Maybe your air dam
Doesn't seem likely, based on the nature of the noise and the way it remains all the way to zero speed. I would think an aerodynamics-related noise would drop away before I came to a stop.
 

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I would jack it up and check the bearings. See if there is any play in the wheels and rotate them by hand when elivated.

I also have a humming noise when coasting in 2wd. I jacked it up last weekend and found that the driver's side front did not spin as freely and made the mystery noise.

I ordered a wheel bearing/hub assembly and will be replacing it soon.

For the record I am at about 57,000 miles.
 

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There's a big chance that the noise is from tires. Cheap tires makes a lot of noise even after 5k of use. Usually they put the cheapest tires on the market for used vehicles that they are selling.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
I would jack it up and check the bearings. See if there is any play in the wheels and rotate them by hand when elivated.

I also have a humming noise when coasting in 2wd. I jacked it up last weekend and found that the driver's side front did not spin as freely and made the mystery noise.

I ordered a wheel bearing/hub assembly and will be replacing it soon.

For the record I am at about 57,000 miles.
Interesting.
 

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(snip) I also have a humming noise when coasting in 2wd. I jacked it up last weekend and found that the driver's side front did not spin as freely and made the mystery noise.

I ordered a wheel bearing/hub assembly and will be replacing it soon.

For the record I am at about 57,000 miles.
When you performed your "wheels spin freely" test, you removed all four front brake pads, right?

Very rarely do worn & noisy wheel bearings affect the "free-spinning" characteristic of a wheel hub unless the bearing is literally disintegrating.

If the bearing had enough internal friction (with no load on it) to obviously affect wheel drag when spun by hand, the bearing would be literally smoking after an hour on the freeway at 65 MPH.

I think it's unlikely that your front wheel bearing has gone bad at 57K miles unless it has somehow been subjected to extremely severe abuse.

If you didn't pull the pads the first time, I'd remove the wheel again, pull the pads, and repeat your "spins freely/listen for noise & roughness"" test before going through all the effort and expense of replacing the wheel bearing, which is not a trivial job on the FJ. You know that the wheel bearing is press-fitted into the steering knuckle, right?
 

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Discussion Starter #20
I was taught to test the wheel bearing by jacking up the vehicle, grasp the tire at top and bottom and rock the wheel to see if there is free play. If there is free play, it is either the wheel bearing or the ball joints, so it is helpful to have someone watch the backside of the wheel to see whether the play is in the wheel hub or the ball joints.
 
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