Growling noise from front of car

chevrolet
malibuclassic

#1

So I’ve been trying to get my dads car to stop making this horrible growling noise for about 2 months now. I’ve replaced the wheel baring and the CV shaft on the front drivers side and it hasn’t done a thing to make the noise go away or even make it quieter. The passenger side has no play and sounds fine when I spin it so I’m pretty sure the wheel baring is good on that side. I’m beginning to think it is the transmission.


#2

It sounds like you are just throwing parts at the problem. Have you checked the transmission fluid?


#3

That wheel bearing was bad sounded absolutely horrible when you jacked up the car and spun the tire. And the CV joint closest to the tire was leaking like crazy. So they did both need to be replaced. No I haven’t yet. I will when he gets home from work in a few hrs.


#4

Try jacking up the front again and spin each front wheel with your other hand holding the spring. Many times a bad bearing will “telegraph” a rumbling that you feel in the spring.


#5

Leaping to the conclusion there is no noise when not moving.


#6

Hi, you seem somewhat capable, use jack stands. I usually put it on a lift, get it off the ground, run it and put it in gear at idle, lift it over my head, go underneath it with a stethoscope and carefully listen to bearings, brakes, and transmission. A long screwdriver works too, put the handle to your ear. Stay clear of moving parts. Only use first gear. Do not attempt without jack stands.
Worse comes to worse take it to a shop that will look at it and give you an estimate for free.


#7

@Barkydog I’m not 100% sure ik what you man there?


#8

If growling noise was coming from the rear I would have to suspect vintage ESSO gasoline was added and it is the “tiger in the tank”. Sorry. I could not resist.


#9

Barkey Dog is assuming the noise is only present when vehicle is moving. Have you checked fluid level yet? Does noise appear when in reverse or slow speeds ?


#10

OK, sorry it took me so long we both work full time so it isn’t often I get a chance to look at his car. So there is no dipstick for his transmission fluid (idk if there should be or not but there isn’t one) there is a place where you can add transmit to on fluid but I couldn’t for the life of me find a dip stick. Also I put the front end up on jack stands and idled his car and the noise was still there it sounded like it was coming from the center of the dash. I put my head in the floor board area and it still sounds like its coming from the center. Outside the car both wheels sounded the same as they spun. The noise does pretty much go away when I run it in reverse. While I was test driving it the sound does seem to change when I swerve to the right. The sound starts at about 15 mph and gets louder the faster you go until you hit about 45 then it stays the same and doesn’t get any louder.


#11

Also the passenger tire does have a little bit of side to side play but no up and down


#12

Get your car up the speed you can clearly hear the growling. If the growling noise gets worse when veering to the left, and maybe not as noticeable when veering right, you might have another bad wheel bearing, this one on the right. When you veer left it puts more force on the wheels on the right side of the car.

Also try some coasting experiments in neutral. Do you still hear the growling noise when the transmission is in neutral? Try other stuff, like does the sound change when stepping on the brakes? What if you pull on the emergency brake lever slightly, does that change the sound?


#13

The noise is still there when I coast in neutral. And even when I coast with the engine off. The noise only changes when I veer to the right it doesn’t get any quieter.


#14

Have you tried to lightly apply the brakes when you hear the noise? Will the noise remain or go away?


#15

It stays and gets quieter as the car slows


#16

have you tried to raise the front of the car and spin the tire by hand? Will the noise stay? If yes, you know it’s not your transmission.


#17

Sounds like the right side wheel bearing is the problem, sometimes it is difficult from the drivers seat to identify which side is noisy.

Failing wheel bearings don’t make much noise without weight on them, if the car is on jack stands or on a lift you will need a stethoscope to hear a problem. 90% of the wheel bearings that I have replaced don’t have noticeable play, if the bearing has play someone has ignored the noise too long.


#18

I’ll say it again . . . and Tommy and Ray used to promote the product, as well . . . use Chassis Ears to determine the cause of the noise

I’ve used the wired versions several times to zero in on noises. They really do work

And I agree with Nevada . . . the bad wheel bearings I replaced didn’t have play, but they sounded horrific, when listening through the chassis ears headset. And they often did NOT sound rough when spinning the tires by hand, either, and listening without the chassis ears and/or stethoscope


#19

@Nevada_545 so if I have the car on jack stands and idle the car in drive and still hear the noise inside the car but can’t hear it outside you still think it is a bad wheel bearing?


#20

The shops in my area all charge a “diagnostic fee” of usually one hour’s shop time to do diagnosis, but I agree with the suggestion. Getting a good diagnosis might be well worth the fee. There’s a lot you can tell with a vehicle on a lift that’s hard to find without.

Shops got tired of having do-it-yourselfers get a diagnosis and quote from them and then decline the work and go home and fix it themselves. They all started charging for the diagnosis. Generally, if you have them do the repair they don’t add the diagnosis time to the bill. A mechanic’s shop, time, and expertise has value. The fee is fair. If a mechanic took my car in the bay, did a diagnosis, and then “waived” the fee, I’d slip him something anyway. He’d deserve it.