Mechanics

'PULSATING' NOISE BETWEEN 50-60MPH

2007 Honda Civic • 55,000 miles

At highway speeds (50-60mph on freshly paved roads) I hear what can best be described as a pulsating noise coming from my front end. When I brake the noise becomes more pronounced and if I brake hard enough, I can feel it in the steering wheel. Otherwise, I do not feel the noise when it can be heard.

My initial thoughts were a bad alignment/out of balance wheels since I've had to have all four wheels aligned twice in the last yea, perhaps the tires have uneven wear as a result of being out of alignment? After the most recent alignment and balance (early August 2012) the noise wasn't as pronounced unless on a freshly paved road or under hard braking.

All repair work/oil changes have been performed at the Honda dealership it was bought from since new. I was told the bearings are OK. The front brakes were last replaced about 25k ago by Honda. Maybe the front brakes are on their way out or the rotors need to be turned? I do a lot of mountain highway driving. I also experience a lot of stop-and-go traffic on the way to work, so there is heavy brake usage. I don't hear the typical 'squeal' that usually happens when pads are about to go out.

The question is: Should I take the vehicle to a different Honda dealer to check for bearings, have the rotors turned, or look at something else?

The last major service was when the short-block was replaced due to cracking (thank god for service bulletins about this) at the beginning of August 2012 when the alignment and wheel balancing was performed.

Thanks for any help!
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GoldenDave
August 23, 2012.




I would have the rotors checked for being warped the tie rods checked for being bad also the wheel bearings. Also the front end in general.

Saturntech9
Aug 23, 2012.
That makes sense, because even after the tire rotation it still seems to be coming from the drivers side front. When a wheel bearing is about to go out, isn't it more of a loud groan that is continuous and increases with speed vs pulsating?

Tiny
GoldenDave
Aug 23, 2012.
I have heard it both ways on the wheel bearing noise. The reason I said to check the wheel bearing 2 was just to cover all our bases.

Saturntech9
Aug 23, 2012.
Excellent, I'll have it looked at this weekend and let you know how it goes.

Thanks for your help so far.
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Tiny
GoldenDave
Aug 23, 2012.
You're welcome that's what were here for please keep me posted.

Saturntech9
Aug 23, 2012.
Update: The Honda dealer said the noise was coming from the rotors as from the factory, they are incredibly thin and can really only be resurfaced twice before they need to be replaced. They recommended upgrading to heavy duty rotors and pads since I put on 2k a month on my vehicle they would most likely warp again very quickly if I just had them resurfaced. This was priced out to $479 (includes alignment).

Honda also recommended upgrading the rear control arms. I asked if they needed to be replaced and I was told no but it would be an improvement over what is there now. For $390 I felt it was OK to hold off for now.

Is upgrading the control arms something I should look at? I haven't had any problems with handling or uneven tire wear so I'm not entirely sure why I would need them.

Tiny
GoldenDave
Aug 25, 2012.
If you had no handeling issues or alignment or a tire wear issues I wouldn't worry about the control arms.

Saturntech9
Aug 25, 2012.
They showed me the tire wear and how it was beginning to become uneven. It was explained that they may be part of the reason why I've had to get an alignment twice in the last year. So I went ahead and am having the control arms replaced too. Supposedly, like the rotors, from the factory on Civics the control arms weren't the best. The new ones are 'upgraded' supposedly. Spending over $700 at the dealer on a Saturday morning isn't my idea of fun but I'd rather take care of things now before they become an issue down the road.

Tiny
GoldenDave
Aug 25, 2012.
Yeah I don't see any TS B's on the rear control arms or the front rotors. Must be something the dealers aware of but Honda's not willing to admit.

Saturntech9
Aug 25, 2012.
Must be, I've found a couple of different forums that Honda seems to know about the control arms. The new 'upgraded' arms have a white 'c' stamped on them. The factory originals weren't to spec and caused alignment issues. Supposedly it was an isolated incident.

Same with the rotors. The factory rotors are thin and can only be resurfaced twice before they get too thin. These 'upgraded' rotors are standard now.

Tiny
GoldenDave
Aug 25, 2012.

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