Metal screaching sound advice

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Feb 13, 2008
Getting ready to drive 1000 miles and noticed in past couple of days (only with windows open and driving below 35mph-- or at least can only hear it then) an erratic metal on metal screech. It comes and goes away by itself, however the frequency seems to more often than say 2 weeks ago. I have shifted into neutral while it happens (coasting) but no difference, I have yanked on hand brake thinking e-brake caliper might be hanging, no difference. I have tried breaking aggressively and it didn't change. I only notice the sound driving straight and best if there is a wall or something next to the road that augments the sound. It comes and goes intermittently and bugging me. Could this be wheel bearing? Front pads are fine but cannot confirm if one of the front calipers has a stuck piston-- but if that was the case and pads are fine I didn't think it would have a metal on metal type sound. Welcome your thoughts or what I can do to eliminate possible culprits! Nothing like heading for a road-trip with 2 kayaks on the roof and wife and a screech (no I didn't mean my wife...hah! I should add that the frequency of the sound does not change with speed-- it remains the same if let is coast and reduce speed.
Thanks, Ed
For what it's worth, I just had a very similar experience in my '99 and that same sound slowly grew over a few months - from intermitant to all the time - but very low volume. Yes, it is the wheel bearings. Deal with it sooner than later is my advice, because mine suddenly got very loud last night and scarred the rotor. Now it's getting all new front rotors and brakes and a bearing repack and seal. My bearings were always regularly packed on service schedule; it's just the seal that failed.
Sounds like your hunch is right on.

You might be fine on a 1000 mile trip but why worry about it on your trip; get it handled before you go. My bearings were scratching on the rotor a bit, that was the metallic sound.
Experiencing the exact same symptoms here as well. Kind of a screeching noise but not really if that makes any sense (for sure metal-on-metal though), low volume and not heard inside the truck but definitely outside, also best heard when near a wall that augments the sound. So it seems like a wheel bearing repack (or possible replacement depending on how they look once I get in there) is in my near future. Thanks for the great info guys!
Maybe something simple like the anti-rattle spring on the front caliper contacting the rotor?
Here's another perhaps useful bit of info:

Diagnosis: My wheels bearing seals were toast. Bearings moving around in ways they shouldn't. In addition to the sound described above, another wheel bearing symptom I was having was when I drove over potholes or bad asphalt, the front end sounded and felt "clattery". I could feel it through the steering wheel, like a jerky looseness.

Now with bearings repacked and tightly sealed, (new rotors also since mine were scarred) there is no clattery noise or vibration in the steering wheel over road irregularities anymore. Also, of course the low metal on metal sound is gone.

Hope that helps.

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