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Old 10-15-2012, 04:58 PM   #1
kcult
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Need direction for front end noise

1999 328i 5sp with 165K on the clock.

I've got a clicking noise similar to a card flicking against bicycle spokes. Here's what I've noticed so far:
  • It doesn't happen when the car is still, engine running with the clutch in and in gear.

    It doesn't do it as above with tranny in neutral.

    It does make the clicking sound when the car is rolling forward slowly (1 to 15 mph)

    So far, it hasn't happened when moving in reverse.

    The noise happens whether the clutch pedal is pushed in or not.

    The noise happens most of the time, but not all of the time. Seems less intense after the car has been driven dozens of miles.

    The noise goes away after about 20 mph (or the clicking is so close together that it is no longer heard as separate clicks.)

Where can I start looking to find the source of the clicks?

Thanks!

Last edited by kcult; 10-15-2012 at 05:04 PM.
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Old 10-15-2012, 05:01 PM   #2
choxor
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Check CV axles
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Last edited by choxor; 10-15-2012 at 05:01 PM.
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Old 10-15-2012, 05:03 PM   #3
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Check for nails/rocks in the tire.
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Old 10-15-2012, 05:09 PM   #4
MercForHire
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grease/change the strut mounts
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Old 10-15-2012, 05:30 PM   #5
kcult
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Quote:
Originally Posted by choxor View Post
Check CV axles
Ok, when I think of CV axles, I picture my 4WD Jeep GC. Would a RWD sedan have these in the front? That's where the noise is coming from.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Scooby24 View Post
Check for nails/rocks in the tire.
I wish it was that simple. I know it's hard to diagnose over the internet, but if it were a rock or nail, I should be able to hear it going backwards. Thanks, though.

And when I say it goes away after 15 or 20 mph, it seems to be more of a load issue than pure speed. Well, except when I'm cruising at 65 or 70 mph, there isn't much of a load anymore, now is there?
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Old 10-15-2012, 05:54 PM   #6
Scooby24
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What kind of tires are you driving on? I only ask because I have snow tires that make virtually the same noise. The car was out of alignment for a long time, got it aligned and the uneven wear in the tires because an audible noise like you're describing.
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Old 10-15-2012, 07:55 PM   #7
kcult
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Originally Posted by MercForHire View Post
grease/change the strut mounts
I can certainly do/look into this, but can you tell me why this may be the culprit?
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Old 10-15-2012, 08:55 PM   #8
MercForHire
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the balls are rubbing against each other. without grease they get hot and itchy and noisy
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Old 10-16-2012, 07:29 AM   #9
kcult
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I'll be under the car in a couple of hours, changing FCABs. How do I grease the front strut mounts? Is there a nipple I can access with the wheel off or do I pack in grease from above?

Thanks!
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Old 10-16-2012, 08:54 AM   #10
MercForHire
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kcult View Post
I'll be under the car in a couple of hours, changing FCABs. How do I grease the front strut mounts? Is there a nipple I can access with the wheel off or do I pack in grease from above?

Thanks!
pack it into the strut towers under the hood. very easy. use something that can push the grease into the gap. Use long lasting paste like grease, not WD

Last edited by MercForHire; 10-16-2012 at 08:55 AM.
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Old 10-16-2012, 08:57 AM   #11
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Last edited by MercForHire; 10-16-2012 at 08:58 AM.
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Old 10-16-2012, 09:00 AM   #12
kcult
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Originally Posted by MercForHire View Post
pack it into the strut towers under the hood. very easy. use something that can push the grease into the gap. Use long lasting paste like grease, not WD
Thanks! I'll be doing the work at my Dad's shop (if he ever calls to let me know he's there) and he has plenty of wheel bearing grease he uses when putting hubs on spindles of utility trailers.
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Old 10-20-2012, 04:53 PM   #13
kcult
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Struts are all greased up, but the sound is still present.

I pulled onto the street to my house and got to about 15mph in 2nd and let off of the throttle. The noise started and didn't go away until I turned into my driveway.

I went through two drive thrus and one parking lot and heard the sound all three times.

Again, the best way I can describe it would be clicking like playing cards in bicycle spokes and it will click whether the clutch is pushed in or not.
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Old 10-20-2012, 05:47 PM   #14
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If you put the car up on jacks and roll the wheels by hand, is the noise there? Considered wheel bearings yet?
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Old 10-20-2012, 06:27 PM   #15
kcult
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Originally Posted by Scooby24 View Post
If you put the car up on jacks and roll the wheels by hand, is the noise there? Considered wheel bearings yet?
I'll check them out. Thanks.
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Old 10-21-2012, 08:44 PM   #16
kcult
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I haven't had a chance to jack the car up yet, but I thought I would add this tidbit.

As my wife was leaving for work, she drove forward, through the yard and circled back around to get back on the driveway (I was parked behind her, preventing her from backing out). When she slowed at the end of the driveway, the clicking started. I could hear it very well from about 50 ft away.

It's a fast-paced clicking, like it may be associated with something spinning at a constant speed, regardless of vehicle speed. I will srill check the wheel bearings for noise, but if there are any other suggestions for areas to check, I'm all ears and very appreciative.

I do realize it's hard to diagnose over the internet and I may not be describing it with 100% accuracy, but that's all I have at the moment. I'm working and the car is driven by my wife at various times of days and nights due to school and work. Thanks!
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Old 10-25-2012, 06:39 PM   #17
kcult
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Getting closer. I haven't had a chance to check wheel bearings, but I did spend some quality time driving around the neighborhood, testing.

My wife drives the car, primarily, and mentioned that it didn't seem to make the noise when the A/C was off. I decided to give it shot and here's what I noticed:

When the revs are going up, at exactly 1500 rpms in 2nd, 3rd and 4th, there is a noise that sounds like someone running their thumb across the end of a deck of cards. This happens with the A/C off or on. I suspect something loose. With the A/C off, the clicking sound mentioned earlier in this thread doesn't happen.

Now, with the A/C on, I still get the noise at 1500, as the revs climb, but I also get the clicking (which more realistically sounds like thin metal vibrating) as the revs are falling. It happens somewhere around 1200 and 1300 rpms. Also, the car doesn't have to be moving, as earlier thought. I sat in the driveway and revved the engine with the A/C on and was able to hear the noise.

Time to do some digging, I suppose.
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Old 10-25-2012, 08:31 PM   #18
Scooby24
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Vanos Rattle.

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