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Old 11-27-2008, 10:22 PM   #1
Drag Limited
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Default Intermittent Noise from front of car (possible center bearing?)

2001 SC1 Automatic w/ 80,000 miles.
If you have ever heard a car with a flat spot on a tire or a bubble then this is what it sounds like. Much like a light rubbing or possibly even a slight grinding sound between 20-60 mph. Above sixty it goes away. It is much like a woomp woomp woomp sound if that helps at all. The length and speed of the sound are MPH dependent and have nothing to do with rpm or gear.

I let a mechanic drive my car and he said it sounds like the center bearing to him. I thought it was the wheel bearing on the passenger side because it sounded like it was coming from the front passenger. I had the tires rotated and the sound is still in the front right (or center) of the car. I just bought the car a few weeks ago and I knew it had cheap tires so I assumed it was that. Now I am scared it is going to be something serious.

I can't tell much difference in the sound when it is breaking, acc, turning left or right. But the strange thing to me is sometimes it will not do it at all!!!

Any ideas on the fix or how much i'm looking at spending here?

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Old 11-27-2008, 11:08 PM   #2
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Default Re: Intermittent Noise from front of car (possible center bearing?)

If you crawl under the car and look on the right side the right axle is the same length as the left and it is driven by an intermediate shaft from the rear end. The intermediate shaft bearing is right there in the housing bolted to the block next to the inner CV joint. Your most likely failure is a wheel bearing. If you only roll down the right window and while it is making the noise apply a little right and then left steering pressure and see if the sound changes at all. If it does then its probably the wheel bearing.

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Old 11-28-2008, 12:44 AM   #3
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Default Re: Intermittent Noise from front of car (possible center bearing?)

Quote:
Originally Posted by OldNuc View Post
If you only roll down the right window and while it is making the noise apply a little right and then left steering pressure and see if the sound changes at all. If it does then its probably the wheel bearing.
+1. If it changes with direction--> Most likely wheel bearing. Theres instructions in the how-to library for replacement

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Old 11-28-2008, 12:22 PM   #4
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Default Re: Intermittent Noise from front of car (possible center bearing?)

I did what you said and could not tell a difference when turning either direction, now it is starting to sound like it could be coming from the firewall area on the passenger side.

Also noticed that when the car is cool and has been sitting for awhile it seems to not make as much noise as it does when I put about 100+ miles on it in a day and have been driving for awhile.

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Old 11-28-2008, 01:17 PM   #5
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Default Re: Intermittent Noise from front of car (possible center bearing?)

Its not really a turn that you should make. Just apply a light turning pressure. If its the center bearing for the right axle the sound will change when you do any of the following, accelerate, decelerate or constant speed.

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Old 11-28-2008, 04:10 PM   #6
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Default Re: Intermittent Noise from front of car (possible center bearing?)

I'll find out soon enough, I've got an appointment with :GASP: saturn dealer tuesday to get it fixed. I wonder if they will want my arm AND my leg???

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Old 11-28-2008, 05:58 PM   #7
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Default Re: Intermittent Noise from front of car (possible center bearing?)

Hard to tell, bring spare body parts.

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Old 11-28-2008, 07:15 PM   #8
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Default Re: Intermittent Noise from front of car (possible center bearing?)

If you do your own work but just having trouble finding out where the noise is coming from, you might be able to get away with paying a half hour for a diag.

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Old 12-02-2008, 12:46 PM   #9
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Default Re: Intermittent Noise from front of car (possible center bearing?)

Bad News, Saturn cannont hear the noise (Like I said intermittent) but they did notice that a motor mount was in really bad shape so I had them replace it. As soon as I get there I am going to ride with a tech to see if we can get the noise to pop up again so I can show them what i am talking about.

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Old 12-06-2008, 11:11 PM   #10
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Default Re: Intermittent Noise from front of car (possible center bearing?)

I've decided that this noise is worse when turning left. But I was told by saturn that a bearing cannot become quiet and loud in random. Sometimes while turning left there is no noise at all. Also this noise is NEVER a constant noise, it is always a womp womp womp sound much like a flat spot on a tire would sound.

The saturn tech thinks it could be brake related, as in a warped rotor rubbing on the floating brake pads, but there is no vibration in the wheel when braking. The tech said he has "been doing this for 11 years for saturn and never heard this exact problem"

We also think a long time ago the car was in a fender bender on that corner. because there is no vin sticker on that fender so it may have been replaced.

Thanks for all the help guys!!!

...
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Old 12-06-2008, 11:15 PM   #11
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Default Re: Intermittent Noise from front of car (possible center bearing?)

A bearing will make more or less noise depending on the load on the bearing. Its possible that you have a bad left wheel bearing.

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Old 12-06-2008, 11:17 PM   #12
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Default Re: Intermittent Noise from front of car (possible center bearing?)

I think I might just go ahead and do both front hubs if they are not priced too out of line. (I was told the wheel bearings are sealed units???)

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Old 12-06-2008, 11:36 PM   #13
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Default Re: Intermittent Noise from front of car (possible center bearing?)

Yes, they are double row zero clearance lubed for life ball bearings. About $40.00 ea RockAuto BCA/National bearing, that's the good one. The Chinese one is 30.00. The knuckle has to be removed and the bearing pressed out and a new one pressed in. I have no idea what the dealer would get to do it. With the right tools its not a bad job. There are directions on here as it has been done several times.

RockAuto discount also.

Your discount code is:

1299480921663


Using Your Discount Code
Enter the code above in the "How did you hear about us" line of the shopping cart. If you are using our traditional HTML catalog, please click the "Apply" button to the right of the field. Your discount will automatically appear, subtracted from your order total.

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Old 12-07-2008, 06:10 AM   #14
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Default Re: Intermittent Noise from front of car (possible center bearing?)

What saturn told you is bull. wheel bearings can and will change pitch depending on the load, like OldNuc said.

Expect to pay an hour to an hour and a half per wheel bearing($80-120). Thats what we got at ford. We pushed our limits with customers for the simple fact that most likely, theyd pay it. Dont be afraid to get a quote and NOT get the work done at that shop.

I did my front bearing over the summer and replaced one of my a-arm bar(name for this?) bushings... something a dealer normally wont even tell the customer about unless he can get another hours work for it.

What is that discount for? Do they do military discounts or free shipping?

EDIT: Also, dont let them sell you a pair of wheel bearings. They work on commission and techs work flat rate. They want your wallet. If one wheel bearing is bad, then just replace that ONE.

Last edited by cormor; 12-07-2008 at 06:18 AM..

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Old 12-07-2008, 09:54 AM   #15
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Default Re: Intermittent Noise from front of car (possible center bearing?)

hey now, what's with the *beater* designation in your sig file??

Melissa_M

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Old 12-07-2008, 10:48 AM   #16
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Default Re: Intermittent Noise from front of car (possible center bearing?)

That code gives anybody a 5% discount off of the purchase price at RockAuto. I don't know about an active military discount.

Sealed bearing have a service life of about 8 to 12 years or so. You will usually see a bit longer than those values but that is the time frame to start thinking about replacement. If you have a 12 to 14 year old car and one bearing is going, do both it will save you time and money in the long run. Most places don't just double the cost for the pair. The dealer will though.

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Old 12-07-2008, 02:58 PM   #17
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Default Re: Intermittent Noise from front of car (possible center bearing?)

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hey now, what's with the *beater* designation in your sig file??

Melissa_M
Oh sorry,
It is not a slam on saturns, it more or less tells what I use it for, it is a daily driver / work car. I sell semi trucks and put about 10K miles a year on it just for work. To me beater = daily driver... as in something I never think about making fast or taking to a track. I've tried to have both in the same car with my first car (acura integra gs-r) but it is too much of a problem when your track car brakes you also have no ride to work

Thank you everyone! I am going to get both front wheel axle bearings replaced and go from there. Heck, with 80K miles it can't hurt to do it anyways.

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Old 12-07-2008, 04:09 PM   #18
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Default Re: Intermittent Noise from front of car (possible center bearing?)

When you get the bearing out you can spin it up on your fingers and then tilt it and feel any roughness. Gyroscopic action at work.

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Old 12-07-2008, 09:55 PM   #19
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Default Re: Intermittent Noise from front of car (possible center bearing?)

might be way off here, but might be worth tring....

have steel wheels? if so try taking off the hubcaps and make sure it still makes the sound, free to check.

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Old 12-08-2008, 07:07 AM   #20
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Default Re: Intermittent Noise from front of car (possible center bearing?)

Quote:
Originally Posted by OldNuc View Post
When you get the bearing out you can spin it up on your fingers and then tilt it and feel any roughness. Gyroscopic action at work.
Ive never came across a bearing that spun like a top. Am I thinking of a wrong part here?

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