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Old 07-02-2016, 06:44 PM   #1
OlHillbilly
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2002 SL1
Default Front End Noise Mystery..

Ever since I bought the car there has been a wheel speed noise mainly coming from what sounds like the right front corner. It's definitely wheel speed and very audible inside the car. It's also a "warble" (best way I can think of to describe it), that sounds like it only occurs for around half of the wheel revolution. Not a grinding or crunching sound, more of a moderately pitched rumble that as the car speeds up sounds just like the old school rough lug snow tires did. The fast wah wah wah wah that is more noticeable when turning left than it is turning right. Does it in a straight line too, due to the crown in the road. It has been there for a year and a half and 11k miles without changing.
At first I thought it was the wore out tires that came on the car, but a new set and a 4 wheel alignment made no change. Tires are all wearing very evenly (actually have barely worn at all). I have just jacked up all 4 corners (1 at a time) and turned the wheels by hand, not a sound. Nothing loose, nothing rubbing, nothing.. My '97 didn't do it, so I know it's not inherent.
Am kind of at a loss now. Anybody else experience this or have any ideas as to where I should look next?
Thanks.. Tom

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2002 SL1
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Old 07-02-2016, 07:57 PM   #2
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Default Re: Front End Noise Mystery..

Maybe you're looking to far outboard...start checking axles and differential/transmission.

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Old 07-02-2016, 08:31 PM   #3
OlHillbilly
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Default Re: Front End Noise Mystery..

I couldn't hear anything unusual from either axle. Could faintly hear the differential gears rolling as I spun the one wheel with the car in neutral and the slight amount of slack when I turn the wheels forward then backwards. May be something that only appears under the weight of the car too. I'll get someone to turn it out of the driveway (where the sound is most audible while the car is going very slow with the wheels turned almost all the way to the left) while I get outside of it and see what it sounds like.

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Old 07-05-2016, 08:29 PM   #4
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Default Re: Front End Noise Mystery..

I'm terrible at these mysteries not even knowing all the parts of the front end myself at all times but with no other posts in 3 days.. i'd want to be ruling out things like ball joints, CV shafts, and wheel bearings assuming you already ruled out all brake related issues.

You might try driving in a parking lot while someone tries to hear it going by... might even buy one of the cheapest digital cameras either driving over it (not with the wheels) or jerryrigging it to be under the car pointed up at various parts as you try to get 'footage' of the car under driving conditions to review. Could make the microphone directional using a toilet paper tube to aim it at something specific (ie where the CV shaft goes into the transmission for instance) to try and narrow down where it comes from. Thats what I might try... without knowing what is causing the problem i'm not sure how to suggest fixes.

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Old 07-05-2016, 09:05 PM   #5
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Default Re: Front End Noise Mystery..

I have wheel bearings and new hubs coming from RockAuto. The louder/quieter thing when I turn left or right is leading me to that being the first thing to go to.

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Old 07-05-2016, 10:46 PM   #6
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Default Re: Front End Noise Mystery..

Quote:
Originally Posted by OlHillbilly View Post
I have wheel bearings and new hubs coming from RockAuto. The louder/quieter thing when I turn left or right is leading me to that being the first thing to go to.
CV shafts going bad will be louder in turns too. Not that i'm saying thats what it is.

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Old 07-06-2016, 06:20 AM   #7
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Default Re: Front End Noise Mystery..

I'll be able to have a better look at the CV shaft when I get the hub off. Boots look to be in really good condition and there's zero sound coming from it while spinning the wheel by hand. All of it seems strange in that, it is so audibly noticeable, but hasn't gotten any worse, or changed really at all in almost 11k miles. Would think something making that much of a noise would have deteriorated quite a bit, or completely failed, by now.

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1997 SL.. Killed by a texting driver
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Old 07-06-2016, 11:07 AM   #8
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Default Re: Front End Noise Mystery..

I say hub bearing. That's the noise they make.

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