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The Tire Rack's Tire & Wheel Forum
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Old 12-28-2006, 04:54 PM   #1
OptimusPrime
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Exclamation Cyclic Humming Issue

To start, I've run searches for over an hour trying to find info and couldn't really find what I was looking for so here goes:

I was driving south on the 14 in Santa Clarita right before it transistions into the 5 and BANG! (very loud) and a considerable jolt from my front left wheel. My assumption is that I hit a pot hole but I've driven that stretch of rode at least a hundred times and never noticed a pothole.

At first I thought that my tire had blown out so I started to slow down but noticed that there was no thumping or irregular pull. A couple miles later I found a place to park and checked the car out. Next thought was maybe I hit something, maybe a 2x4 etc., but everything looks perfect. The only thing that was odd is that it looked like the tire pressure was slightly down on that tire by about a 1/2 inch. I've gone around and checked all of the tires and set them all at 38psi and the front left seems to be holding pressure without any issue.

Now my issue. At speeds between 35-45 and faintly above, a whoom... whooom... whooom... cylic sound is coming from my front left wheel well. I can't be 100% positive that this sound wasn't there before today as I usually have the radio on and the sound is faint enough to be covered up. I can actually here it better with the windows up but I assume that is just because of the noise from wind turbulence when the window is down.

Of course the first thing that comes to mind is a bent rim. Possibly. BUT, I jacked the car and spun the wheels and examined the wheel as best I could VISUALLY. The rim and tire (19" with hankook k104 235/35/19 265/30/19 as in my sig below) looked flawless (only 1000 miles on them). Both the front and rear of the rim do not appear to be bent. I guess there could be a flat spot somewhere in the middle but I don't see it. The other wierd thing is that there is NO vibrations in the steering wheel whatsoever when this happens and no pull so the alignment seems fine.

One thing I did notice, however, is that as I spun the wheel manually it sounds like the brakes pad sliding noise is louder in about 30 degree of the rotation. Maybe the noise is actually coming from the brakes and could have been there before? To test this I drove around and noticed that if I apply the brake at speed that was making the noise, it is no longer a cyclic hum and now seems to be continuous. The pads are about 1/2 to 3/4 gone and the rotor is not looking all that pad but has a good lip on it. Possibly a warped rotor?

One last note, the humming isn't always the same volume under seemingly identical conditions. Sometimes it is loud through 35-45 mph but sometimes it is considerably quieter.

Bent rim?
Normal tire noise?
Brakes?
Bearings?

What do you guys think? Whatever it is, it doesn't seem really serious but is slightly annoying now that I'm noticing it. Sorry so long winded..

Thanks!
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Old 12-28-2006, 06:04 PM   #2
aznballer24
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Just just had this problem about a week ago. It was annoying me like hell. But it turns out that it was the front left wheel bearing that was the culprit. Had it changed on a couple of days ago and everything is great. Smooth as ever!! I'm so happy. The front wheel bearing comes as a unit (whole hub assembly) and it cost me $167 just for the part. What I also noticed is that my gas mileage has picked up as well vs when i had the problem. That was one of the first things I mentioned to the mechanic when this happened that my mpg was down significantly from the norm.
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Old 12-28-2006, 06:15 PM   #3
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That's interesting... I just went in last week complaining about poor gas mileage (20 freeway vs. 26-27 normally) and all they did was check for faults and told me there was nothing wrong.

If this is a bearing issue, wouldn't it be covered under warranty? Do you think they would try to not cover it since I have aftermarket wheels?
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Old 12-28-2006, 08:14 PM   #4
aznballer24
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I don't see why it wouldn't be covered if you're still under waranty. I was told that wheel bearings tend to go around 50k miles or so. Mine went bad at 77k. I hope the other bearing don't go anytime soon. If they do I hope its the rear bearings cause it would be cheaper to fix because that comes as a separate piece vs the whole hub assembly as in the front wheels.
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Old 12-28-2006, 08:50 PM   #5
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Cool thanks... I'll take the car in tomorrow to see if they can get it fixed... before I take it in though can a few other people confirm that this issue sounds like a bearing issue and just coincidentally was noticed because of hitting the pothole.

My car has 32500 miles btw...

Thanks!
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Old 12-28-2006, 09:23 PM   #6
OptimusPrime
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Could a warped rotor create a similar noise?

Thanks...
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Old 12-29-2006, 08:50 AM   #7
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bump... any more insight?
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Old 12-29-2006, 10:13 AM   #8
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I went to the dealer and they said that the cyclic humming noise was normal tire noise due to my tires being low profile. The guy that drove around with me said he could hear the same noise from the right side... I haven't been able to listen on the right myself...

the noise isn't all that loud when driving but does this make sense?

btw these are hankook k104 tires... 235/35/19 265/30/19

I would have thought that tire noise would be a constant hum that changes in pitch... this is a cyclic hum whoom whoom whoom but it does increase in pitch and frequency as well as speed goes up...

SOMEONE FROM TIRERACK KNOW ANYTHING ABOUT THIS?
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Old 12-31-2006, 04:10 PM   #9
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I've decided that the guy from BMW Service was full of crap... the noise is distinctly coming from the left front wheel well and no where else. All signs point to wheel bearings and I'm going to have them check them for sure on tuesday.
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Old 12-31-2006, 05:03 PM   #10
SkipII
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Cyclic(al) noise

What puzzles me is this BANG you heard. Plus, a wheel bearing would not make noise just in a 30-degree range but across the entire rotation.

My guess is that the rotor is very slightly bent. Apply the brakes under light pressure and see again if there is any vibration in the wheel. Could be that something on the road jammed or hit something just enough to torque the rotor.

Wheel bearings almost never give out as early as 32K miles.

You are running 38 psi? At that pressure, I'm surprised you don't hear the thump of little bugs you run over.
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Old 12-31-2006, 05:10 PM   #11
SkipII
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Cyclic(al) noise

Whoosh? Bearings don't "whoosh" -- they hum, howl, roar and giveour a shrieking scream before they fall silent as your bearing seizes and welds itself to the spindle (!).

Have you checked to see if the tired sidewall is bubbled and it rubbing against you strut tower?

Is there anything caught in the wheel well itself that is rubbing against the tire? Is the plastic wheel well liner intact and secure all around?

I'm holding out for something wrong with the rotor.

Or... consider getting your tire pressure back to a more typical 33 psi or so and see if the noise abates. You may just be hearing a slight irregularity in the tire.

Last edited by SkipII; 12-31-2006 at 05:18 PM.
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Old 12-31-2006, 05:57 PM   #12
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How many miles do your tires have?

Before I replaced a set of Goodyear Eagle tires a year ago, I was hearing humming noises. From the outside it looked as if there was still tread left for a couple of thousand miles. But once the wheel was un-mounted, on the inner side the tire was worn out and showing steel wires. No more humming noise after the tires were replaced.
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Old 12-31-2006, 07:22 PM   #13
OptimusPrime
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SkipII View Post
Whoosh? Bearings don't "whoosh" -- they hum, howl, roar and giveour a shrieking scream before they fall silent as your bearing seizes and welds itself to the spindle (!).

Have you checked to see if the tired sidewall is bubbled and it rubbing against you strut tower?

Is there anything caught in the wheel well itself that is rubbing against the tire? Is the plastic wheel well liner intact and secure all around?

I'm holding out for something wrong with the rotor.

Or... consider getting your tire pressure back to a more typical 33 psi or so and see if the noise abates. You may just be hearing a slight irregularity in the tire.
I'll try to check the wheel closer tomorrow to ensure there aren't any bubbles on the inner side of the tire... I've been told that 38 psi is best for low profile tires and for best gas mileage...

If there was something on the tire or rim rubbing some other part I would think that there would be noise at any speed... the noise is only really prevalent between 35-45 mph and quieter above that... Again, the noise is cyclic.. not constant...

I would be surprised if it was the rotor as there is no shaking during braking at all...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Z4EC View Post
How many miles do your tires have?

Before I replaced a set of Goodyear Eagle tires a year ago, I was hearing humming noises. From the outside it looked as if there was still tread left for a couple of thousand miles. But once the wheel was un-mounted, on the inner side the tire was worn out and showing steel wires. No more humming noise after the tires were replaced.
The tires only have 700 miles on them...
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Old 01-01-2007, 07:10 PM   #14
OptimusPrime
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Ok... so I got under the car and found a flat spot on the rim on the inner side about 2 inchs long and bent about .100". Would this flat spot be enough to create the cyclic humming noise? I attempted to reform the rim slightly and it seems like the noise has changed slightly and is more constant.

Noise does not occur on left turns (right side loaded).

Still can't get the rim off... it is stuck... any advice? I've kicked it, shook it, and pulled as hard as I could but no budge.

If the bend is causing the noise, will balancing fix the issue? or will the rim have to be repaired?

It still puzzles me that there is no significant vibration... just noise...
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