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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Just this week my 97 Sable started making a rhythmic humming sound. Like when you drive next to a semi on the highway and hear the wheels humming. No cracking or squealing. Rotated the tires yesterday because I know one of the tires is out of round more so than the others. That didn't take care of it. Took a good look at the boots and all looked well. I love this car, it has 48k on it and i've never had any repairs done to it. Just manufacturer recommended maintenance. The tires have about 1/8" of tread left, they are the originals. The brake pads have about 1/4" left and are also the original. The rotors are good. I don't beat on this car and was wondering what you all think. Feels like it's in the front, but not one side or the other, if it is a wheel bearing or tie rod how can I diagnose it and can you give me some prices. I think the sound is pretty much always there but you can't miss it at 35mph.

Thanks, this is a sweet site.
 

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Sounds like a wheel bearing to me. If you are driving and you turn one way the sound should stop and when you turn the other way or drive straight the sound should come back. Another way to actually diagnose this is to grab the top of the front tire while kneeling beside the car and start pulling and pushing the top of the tire so that the car rocks side to side. If you feel clunking it's most likely the wheel bearing. Try this on all wheels.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Checked tires pretty good yesterday when rotating, didn't notice any seperation or anything else unusaul for that matter. Not sure I would recognize anything unless it was really obvious though. Looked again today and the tires look solid.

Took it for a ride and turned right and left tried to stay around 35mph not really any difference, pretty constant vibration sound when going straight. Put it in nuetral while coasting and the sound stayed exactly the same. Rocked all 4 tires like you said and they were all the same. No clunking or unusual noises.

I really appreciate these suggestions.
 

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Originally posted by viper@Apr 10 2004, 06:21 AM
Just this week my 97 Sable started making a rhythmic humming sound. Like when you drive next to a semi on the highway and hear the wheels humming. No cracking or squealing. Rotated the tires yesterday because I know one of the tires is out of round more so than the others. That didn't take care of it. Took a good look at the boots and all looked well. I love this car, it has 48k on it and i've never had any repairs done to it. Just manufacturer recommended maintenance. The tires have about 1/8" of tread left, they are the originals. The brake pads have about 1/4" left and are also the original. The rotors are good. I don't beat on this car and was wondering what you all think. Feels like it's in the front, but not one side or the other, if it is a wheel bearing or tie rod how can I diagnose it and can you give me some prices. I think the sound is pretty much always there but you can't miss it at 35mph.

Thanks, this is a sweet site.
If what you say is correct:

1: 97 year model = 8 year old car (manufactured in 96 for 97 year model)
2: Original tires = 8 year old tires with 1/8" tread (old and worn out)
3: Original brakes = 1/4" pad remaining

then I suggest you first need new tires. The rubber compound in tires is only good for about 5 years. (I'm sure everyone has had a car with older tires.... but 5 years is really when they should be changed) Plus 1/8" tread is very little. At 1/8" you are into the treadwear indicator and need to replace your tires.

And, I suggest at 1/4" brake pad and ~50k miles, you should plan to get your pads replaced soon.

Wheel bearing, tie rods, and other suspension components rarely wear out at only 48k.

48k on a 8 year old car is nice. Your Sable is barely broken in!
 

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If everything checks out -

Really, bout the only thing you can do is just let it go if nothing is found. I know t5his is crappy advice, but I have had wierd noises and just let it go til something broke.
By the way, how is the tranny acting? Where the halfshafts fit into the tranny, is there any leaking around those seals?

Stupid question - is it possibly road noise?
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Getting a new set of tires put on next Saturday. I figure I can't lose starting there since I would have needed them soon anyhow. If they were out of balance would the car make the vibration noise I described?

As far as leaks go, I've never had any in this car. The tranny is solid, runs like the day I got it. At 30k I had the tranny fully flushed, all cycled out on one of those machines. Dirty but nothing alarming.

I'll let you know next week if the vibe goes away with the new tires put on and balanced.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
After more driving and testing I noticed today if I change lanes to the right, the sound stops then comes back when I straigten out. If I change to the left the sound never lets up. When I was troubleshooting before I was taking real turns not mild lane changes. The vibe also now seems to be concetrated on the driver side front wheel. Probably will hold off on the tires and have the wheel bearing checked out. Any idea on reasonable repair prices for this?
 

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I had the same noise...I replaced my wheel bearing and it was still there, I replaced my rotor thinking it was warped, and then i got new ties. My noise/vibration is still there and its getting so bad even the windshield is vibrating. I am going to be replacing the whole axel(halfshaft) within the next 2 weeks...I'm hoping this solves it, let know if you figure anything else with yours, and I'll let you know if it was my axel. I slammed my car into a curb going 45 and the sound started fairly after.....did you happen to bump anything? In my dodge aries the car slid into a curb and it busted the halfshaft.......
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
i didn't hit anything. I was thinking possibly the rotor too. The rotor looks good to me and my pads have been about 1/4 inch for over a year. I just really don't feel it's the tires, since I rotated them and the vibe didn't change and now the turn to the right takes away the vibe. I'd like to hear all thoughts.
 

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When I turn my vibe does the same. Change your tires...get that out of the way. I know when I had my Dunlops, they were about 4 years old and the belts shifted, they produced alot of vibration. If it isnt that I would suspect the Wheel bearing or Axel. Right now a guy on ebay is selling a set of steering knuckles on ebay for $99 they include the bearing, its a good deal because they come with ball joints and all, and a bearing usually runs 70-120 bucks alone.
When I had my oil changed they tried telling me the vibration was from my steering rack...but I doubted that.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Had it inspected today. It is the wheel bearing. Quoted a price of $200. Said it wouldn't make it through the summer. He said the brakes have 4-5k left and when i do them i will need to replace the rotors. I didn't think the rotors looked bad but he said the insides were rusted too bad. This guys prices are pretty fair i think. brakes $60 total, rotors $90 total.

Thanks for your help guys.
 
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