How To Diagnose Noises Coming from Your Imperial's Tires


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Question from John (1956):

When I turn the steering all the way to the right, the left front wheel rubs on the inside. I have checked and all my tires are the correct size  Any other ideas?


From Mark:

this is one of those questions that is so difficult to answer 'cuz it could be one of/or a combination of things. What pops in the top of my head is:

Inner fender. Is the inner fender bent or warped in any way? Is it installed and aligned properly? (Or is the tire rubbing on the frame?)

Toe-in. Is the toe-in set to specification? How's the rest of the alignment? Any front end parts bent?

Loose kingpin or control arm bushing(s). If the front end parts are a bit sloppy, the wheel will tend to "fall in" when the car's turning.

Bent rim.

Tire size. You might want to consider the ACTUAL tire diameter. I've noticed that just because a tire is marked as a certain size, AND that size is what is specified by the manufacturer, doesn't mean that it is the actual size the manufacturer intended. One solution to this problem is to go around the local tire stores with a measuring tape....

From John:

Check your wheels carefully to see if the one that is rubbing is the same as the others. I don't see what else this could be.

From Philippe:

I've a friend who has the same problem with his new-purchased Cad 54: he has 8.20 x 15 and these tires rubb against front wheel well. I've checked the tires: 8.20 x 15, a little bigger than 8.00 x 15 but correct size. But when I've checked the real size, i've seen that these tires have a 80 cm (31.50") overall diameter ! If you look at tires charts you'll find that the 8.20 x 15 have a diameter between 29" and 30.5" (74 to 77cm). So his 8.20 x 15 are defiantly not for his car... He's going to buy L 78 x 15, a good and economical tire, perhaps not the original shape (the tread is larger than 8.20 x 15) but when he put one on his Cad (he has a spare L78 x 15) he saw that this tire was perfect. And this tire is available in 3" or 4" wide white at $ 89.00 each ! When his son bought 4 tires for his Packard, he paid $ 150 shipping from USA to France.

From PEN:

I would ask if you have replaced the front coil springs in your car. If you have not, at that age they will be sleepy, and a tire will surely rub. This would be fixed with new front springs, I believe.

Question from Kevin (1971):

On my '71 Imperial LeBaron, I got some kind of a grinding or scraping noise coming from the right front. With this grinding comes a lot of vibration and seems to grind more and get louder when I turn left. The grinding is also constant. The bearings in the hub are perfectly fine, and I'm out of ideas from where this grinding might be coming from. Any ideas?


From Phil:

This is kind of a tough one. 3 things come to mind as possibilities. 1: Are the rims the correct ones for the car, I ask just in case they may be rubbing on the caliper. 2: Is the brake caliper dragging? Sometimes when disc brake calipers get old, the piston won't retract and the brakes will drag. And if you use metallic pads, the brakes will make quite a bit of noise. 3: Did you check the bearings for smoothness in your hand? I know this may sound unusual, but sometimes there can be roughness on the inner race, where you can't see, while the rollers appear to be fine. Clean the bearing completely of grease with solvent, then turn the bearing in your hands, while you put pressure on the race, it should roll completely smooth. If not, you've found your rough bearing. If the inner race is bad, you should be able to feel the roughness in the bearing when you turn it. Hope this helps, also, be sure the dust shield isn't dragging on the rotor.

From Bill:

I think Phil is right on the money here. I put some chrome slotted wheels on once and they didn't clear the calipers right and caused a grinding noise. And that is what I had to do was grind a little bit of the corner of the caliper. This was on the Budd style discs however. Plenty of extra cast iron on those puppies to grind away.

From Dr. Challenger:

Could it be the dust shield is rubbing?

From Allen:

Take a look at your disks - are they worn. Lastly, take off your wheel covers and see if the noise is from them.....

From John:

Just a thought, did you replace the pads when you changed the rotor?  My thinking is that if the rotor had recently been changed & the old rotor was as bad as you say, I'm thinking that there might be an unusual wear pattern in the pads that is causing the noise. If this were the case, I would think that the pads would eventually conform to the new rotor though. I can't think of anything else that would make that kind of noise. Do you notice any heat buildup on that wheel after driving the car? Is there any wear spots on the tire including the inside of the tire? Have you looked at the rotor to see if anything looks wrong with it now? I'm wondering if everything was reassembled correctly.

Follow-up from Kevin:

I know for sure the rims are the correct size, but I will check the bearings, the bearings were looked at, but never really tried this method of rolling them on my hand. When the car is lifted up (like while changing a tire) the wheel doesn't turn as freely as left side, so it might also be the caliper dragging.

This page last updated October 4, 2004.  Send us your feedback, and come join the Imperial Mailing List - Online Car Club