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Old 07-14-2018, 01:10 PM   #1
toggenburg
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2001 SL1
Default Most horrid sound ever!

Daughter has a 2001 SL1, around 150K, automatic.
Recent stuff (since last Christmas): they put on battery, water pump, 4 new Michelin Defender tires.
Car had an overheat due to water pump leakage, but no warpage, no oil/coolant migrating into the other.

She came over 2 weeks ago saying there was a rattle.
I heard nothing, until i purposely allowed right front tire to drift off pavement and strike the grass. Instantly, sounded like the strut was loose. However; keeping foot on the gas and staying on the grassline I put left foot on brake. Instantly the sound stopped. Release brake, sound returned, and etc. Cycling on and off brake, sound stopped, and returned every time brake was released... pulling up on hand brake did not reduce the wobbling sound. I thought of brake/caliper issue. Went to do a turn about and head home, put into reverse and heard a sound like I had never in 50+ years of driving and fixing cars.
It scared the willies out of me...I sounded like something up front dead center was grinding loudly and scraping loudly, not like she had run over a branch or stick, but like metal on metal sound. Gastly horrible sound.
I got it home, tested for wheel bearings, tie-rods, pulled off wheels individually, and looked for something bent/broken/loose. I found zero wrong. Later daughter went home. I had left her car in a spot where she had to do reverse. Neither of us heard anything. Odd, but the car seemed fine. Next day, she heard the grinding again. Husband is working insane hours, and I was at a loss as the what was causing it (transmission I figure though). She was due for a free wheel rotation so I told her to make the appointment quickly and when she gets there, park it so the associate will have to back her car up and see what he says. Turns out she could not make the appointment time, but happened to be near where my wife was. Daughter and mom meet, and as daughter backs the SL1 up, daughter says the grinding was horrible....my wife was standing alongside but could hear nothing at all (don't worry, like most wives, she can hear anything (ha ha...hope she doesn't read this!).
Got the call a few minutes ago, car gave the grinding sound while in drive. Stopped a mile from home, hubby came over, listened outside the car while my daughter started forward....she heard grinding, he heard nothing. He gets in car and in drive heard the horrible grinding sound. They limped it home that mile. It is sitting there, and will probably stay for a long while.
Its gotta be the transmission, but what ever is the issue inside it?
Husband has truck with 5-speed, and always uses his emergency brake as a parking brake...he has her conditioned to always us the E-brake on her car no matter where she parks, she is require to use it. I am from the rust belt and up there we almost never used the E-brake, cause over the years, with rust buildup, that stupid E-brake would sometimes freeze (rust) up and prevent the car from all forward movement...... but her rear brakes are fine down here in the non-rust belt, so they aren't hanging up at all.

Anyone ever had such a thing as this?

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Old 07-15-2018, 02:37 AM   #2
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2003 L-Series 3.0L Sedan
Default Re: Most horrid sound ever!

Differential pin let loose?

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Old 07-15-2018, 09:56 AM   #3
toggenburg
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2001 SL1
Default Re: Most horrid sound ever!

Thanks, I never have checked an automatic for dif pin position.
Most likely, this SL1 has had the dif pin slide sideways and is hitting inside behind the Vehicle Speed Sensor (VSS). Probably real close to shooting out through the trans case....I will relay this to my son in law. He prefers to do it all himself without help.

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Old 07-15-2018, 02:49 PM   #4
Cheyne
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2000 SL2
Default Re: Most horrid sound ever!

Quote:
Originally Posted by toggenburg View Post
I will relay this to my son in law. He prefers to do it all himself without help.
Sounds like a keeper.
Seems like most of my family prefers to drop them off with me and then not help. Understandable with the parents, but the others ...

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Old 07-15-2018, 03:24 PM   #5
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1995 SL1
Default Re: Most horrid sound ever!

The fact that nobody hears the noise from the outside might lead me to think that it's not as horrible as suspected, but rather a sound being transmitted through to the cab mostly. I was thinking diff pin, brakes, strut, etc similar to the OP.

But sometimes the little things will haunt you. I left the spare tire and jack/wrench not secured after doing some front end work, and they only vibrated on certain surfaces at certain speeds. I was thinking something was loose in the front end, and it turned out to be in the trunk.

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Old 07-15-2018, 03:29 PM   #6
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2000 SL2
Default Re: Most horrid sound ever!

I was thinking brakes until OP stated front center. Once had a vehicle with drum brakes where the spring detached. The sound inside the vehicle was bad and not consistent.

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Old 07-16-2018, 12:31 PM   #7
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1997 SW2
Default Re: Most horrid sound ever!

While you were checking suspension components, did you also check the integrity of the stabilizer/sway bar? Perhaps one of the ends with the bolts has pulled out and is hitting other front-end components?

Please keep us updated on this mystery!

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