MY CAR HAS THIS LOUD WHINING NOISE COMING FROM THE FRONT END.
2004 Saturn Ion
May, 2, 2012 AT 10:52 PM
It gets louder the faster I go. It isn't coming from either side in general. Just sounds like my axle is spinning a thousand miles and hour. I looked at the control arm bushings and the left front is bad but the right front is fine. Could this be causing the whining? I was under the impression worn arm bushings causes a clunk, which I also have. The whining is fairly new and very loud. What do I look for?
You're right about the clunking bushings. The whine is typical of a noisy wheel bearing and is very common on all car brands. Some people can find which one is noisy by rotating the wheel by hand and feeling the vibration on the strut. I've had the best luck using a stethoscope next to each one while running the vehicle in gear on a hoist.
May, 3, 2012 AT 1:28 AM
Just to add to this one putting it on jack stands and then put the car in neutral. Then put one hand on the coil spring spin the wheel as fast as you can with the other hand. You will be able to feel the bad bearing. Compare the left side to the right side. It a lot safer then spinning it in gear and listening for the noise.I have always been able to find the bad bearing feeling for the bad bearing.
May, 3, 2012 AT 1:31 AM
Thanks, I will give this a shot.
May, 3, 2012 AT 2:25 AM
Let us know what you find.
May, 3, 2012 AT 1:42 PM
I have a bit of a problem thou, I don't have jack stands? A redneck friend of mine down the road does but I don't like asking him for anything cause I am a female and all those boys hate females! Anyway, I think I will take it to the shop I work with sometimes and have them check it. I am just trying to learn things for myself. I will let ya no thou. Thanks again
May, 3, 2012 AT 6:12 PM
Jack stands are for safety in case the vehicle falls off the jack. I'm REAL easy-going, but my students know better than to try to get away without them in the shop. For your purposes, you only need to raise one front wheel at a time off the ground, just enough that you can spin it by hand. Just don't crawl underneath during that time. At most, it will fall an inch or two. You'll need to shift into neutral to spin the wheel.
I find using the stethoscope is fast and accurate, ... If you already have one. That's where you want the vehicle well supported so you can run it in gear and crawl under it. Auto parts stores have stethoscopes for less than ten bucks.
Three of my top students were girls. If you have a bunch of guys who give you a hard time, it's because they're intimidated by your knowledge and ability. Ignore them and do what makes YOU happy. I have total respect for anyone who wants to learn, regardless if it's about autos, electronics, or carpentry.
May, 3, 2012 AT 8:23 PM
Well thank you "caradiodoc"! I appreciate a man that respects a woman! I will work on it but I have been busy rebuilding a lawn mower right now. Although, I am pretty sure it is the right front wheel bearing. Blah! I hate Saturns! Don't know why we even own one! I will get to it and let you know soon!
May, 3, 2012 AT 8:53 PM
Saturntech9 loves Saturns and I have no reason to doubt him. In my opinion small GM front-wheel-drive cars are involved in a lot of fatal low-speed crashes, but that could be because there's more of them on the road too. The Dodge Shadow was a tough little ostrich egg when it came to crashes. Now we have the stupid Neon with styrofoam bumpers, so it's obvious we can't use past experience to determine what new cars are like.
Here's another way you can identify which bearing is noisy but it involves a lot more setup time, and you'll definitely want to have the car safely supported when you crawl under it. This is a copy of a previous reply: There is a tool you might be able to borrow or rent from an auto parts store that borrows them called the "Chassis Ear". It is a set of six microphones, a switch box, and headphones. You clip the microphones to suspect points, then drive around while listening with the headphones. You can move the microphones around to zero in on the source of the noise. Be aware that many mechanics have never seen or even heard of this tool. Suspension and alignment mechanics use it to find rattles, squeaks, and other noises.
May, 3, 2012 AT 8:57 PM
Forgot to mention you can find that tool on the MAC or Matco tools web site but I always have a hard time finding it. If you have any of the guys who drive tool trucks around to local shops, they will know what you're talking about. Snapon and Cornwell are two more, but Snapon is always much more expensive.
Once you see what it is or use it, ask your redneck friends if they know what it is and how to use it.
May, 3, 2012 AT 9:32 PM
Just to add to this one the chassis ear is made by steelman its much cheaper to by one on amazon. You wouldnt even need anything like that find the bad bearing. Also another trick I use when I have a bad front wheel bearing is drive down the road uo to the speed you hear the realy good. Then when it safe turn the wheel a little to the right and left listen for thr noise to get louder. For instance if the noise gets louder turning to the left its most likely a bad right wheel bearing. Also if you go to the right and the noise gets louder its most likely the left wheel bearing.