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Q: grinding noise in front end on 2002 Volvo V70 XC

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2002 V70XC has a grinding noise in the front end that gets louder and higher pitch as speed increases. I suspect wheel bearings, but I'm not sure.
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Start by jacking up and supporting the car on the side you hear the noise. Grab the wheel top and bottom and then side to side and see if you feel excessive wheel bearing play. Spin the wheel, do you hear the noise you had been hearing? Remove the wheel. inspect the brake rotor and condition of the brake pads it is likely to be brake related noises you are hearing. Get this checked out and repaired before serious damage occurs.
Thanks Patrick. I did this and didn't hear anything. The brake rotors are in great shape and the pads are about 3/8" to 1/2" thick. The calipers are solid and appear to be adjusting okay, the pads are worn evenly. The boots on the shafts are in fine shape as well, with no noise when I spin the wheels. I'm not sure what the angle drive is that Zee is referring to in the following post, but is this something that I can check? Thanks! John G.
Great answer from Patrick.
I'd just like to add that the angle drive goes bad on these all the times. They lose oil and that's the usual cause. Ask your shop to check that part also. Unfortunately it isn't reparable, the whole unit needs to be replaced.

Thanks Zee, I responded to Patrick and I'm interested to know about the angle drive. Is this the same thing as the CV joint? I haven't heard that term. Can I check it, or is that something that the shop has to look at? Thanks, John G.
Volvo (Ford) didn't put a real transfer case on these cars to drive the rear wheels, but a 90 degree drive, that's the angle drive.
It's mounted to the right side of the transmission and the drive shaft to the rear wheels is connected to it. Unfortunately there isn't much you can do to it, beside probably check the oil level (it's a special oil from Volvo), but even this would need a lift.
You can usually see leak from the unit.

Which side of the car is this visible from? I remember seeing oil weeping (a stain really) around the passenger side of the engine (with the wheel off), but I don't remember exactly where. John G.
If you post an e-mail I can send you an exploded view of the assembly.
It's behind the engine, the right (passenger) CV axle attached to it, and the drive shaft from the back.

I had a local garage diagnose the problem to be the left front hub assembly. After struggling with the four bolts holding the assembly to car, I replaced the assembly, reassembled, and test drove the car to verify the noise was gone. It took about three hours, not a bad job. Thanks for the help of all those who replied, I needed it.
John G.
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