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Latest acquisition- chassis ears

Just got them last night. Not sure why I waited so long to get this tool. It’s fantastic. You could probably hear a mosquito walk across the microphone.

I have been stalled on two issues because I just cannot isolate where the noise is coming from. In the past I’ve tried many things like riding in the back seat, trunk, walking along side, up on stands with the drivetrain running. It’s rarely definitive. Sounds are deceptive where they originate.

The one I have been battling recently I can only hear with the windows rolled up and drivetrain loaded going above 30 mph. Hooked up the ears in about 10 minutes and had an answer. They’ve paid for themselves already. Don’t usually get too excited about new tools but these things are awesome…

How’s it/they work?

I bought the wireless version.

They have multiple transmitters and a single receiver box.

The transmitters have a plug in battery type clip with a microphone embedded in them.

The transmitter has a magnet, clip and various velcro or tie wrap methods to attach it. Then clip onto the area in question.

Think you have a bad front bearing? Put a transmitter at either wheel. Drive around and switch between transmitters while comparing the relative noise from each. The receiver has built in speaker or earphones along with a very sensitive LED bar graph.

It was obvious where the noise was coming from when I did my road test. You could hear the bearing grinding away…

Oh man! When I was a broke college student studying broadcast journalism I used to swipe the wireless mics from the campus TV station and use them chase down noises in my old heap. I’m sure I looked ridiculous with a giant TV camera in the passenger seat connected to an earpiece so I could hear it.

I’d have to position a mic, drive for awhile, then get out and re-position it over and over again until I found the noise. I wish I’d had this thing!



It sounds like more fun than I had when I bought my non-contact infrared thermometer or my radar gun!

This is kind of rude, but do you mind my asking a price range on such a unit? What brand?

I’d never criticize anybody for buying tools like that one, regardless of price.

Tom & Ray needed that. They just told everybody to turn the radio up.

I actually took a chance on the budget version. It looks exactly like the Snap-On version but is offered by Steelman. $195. Seems to work just fine. Even came with all the batteries…

See here-

Here’s the Snap On version-

I have no point of reference on any performance differences between them…

I believe Steelman is the brand I’ve seen TSBs of some car manufacturers refer to for quite a few years.

That seems like a good deal. Heck, I spend that much for a set of paper manuals for used cars I buy.

One or two uses of those “ears” and properly diagnosed problems (instead of expensive educated guesses) and they’ve paid for themselves!

That’s how I justify buying manuals, tools, etcetera.
Some folks probably spend that much at Star Strucks buying coffee every month.
CSA :sunny:

They look so much alike that I’d say Steelman makes the Snap-On version and doubles the price.

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I’m glad you like your new tool

I have the wireless and the wired versions

Not to sound like a sourpuss, but the wireless versions conked out on me a long time. To be more specific, the control panel failed

BTW . . . I also bought the steelman versions. AFAIK, they are the originators, Snap On merely slaps their name on and marks up the price

I have had very few problems with the wired version

I’ve identified many bad bearings, sway bar links, shocks, etc. using them.

I figured they were the same except for branding. That’s why i felt comfortable buying the lower priced one.

Do you still have the receiver box that failed?

Yes, I still have it. It’s at home, in my garage

But I was never particularly motivated to attempt a repair, or even buy a new control panel, because I just fell back on the tried and true wired chassis ears

Seems like the bargain of the century for anyone diagnosing suspension and brake noises. I sure like the wireless part as it would seem to make setup very easy. At work we used to use a device that was about $20,000 for similar things. I love progress!

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I had never heard of them before being a non-mechanic. There is a new start-up (can’t remember the name now-two garages down or something like that) where people can rent their tools out to other neighbors. I’m not sure why you wouldn’t just go to a rental agency but I’ll throw my unused probe in for rental if you throw your ears in. Tools you need once every ten years or so but well worth having.

Bing, just curious, what were you before you became a non-mechanic? Is the answer as obvious as I think it is?

Ray and Tommy actually used to mention them on the radio show, from time to time

And it was always the same scenario . . . somebody calls in, saying they’re having a difficult time figuring out a noise. And the brothers would tell them to go to the mechanic and ask him to use his chassis ears to figure it out

Never been a mechanic. Dishwasher, fry cook, assembler, green house worker, salesman, but mostly 30 plus years as manager/administrator. Drove a lot though and general DIYer.

What’s “fry cook” . . . anything like short order cook?

Yep, hamburgers, fries, hot dogs, chicken, etc. Thousands of hamburgers in high school for 85 cents an hour. Thing is most of my friends worked there too and I learned a lot about business from the owner. To bring it to cars, he asked me if I could drive to deliver chicken for catering and I said yes and took off. A few weeks later he asked again if I could drive and I said yes, then he asked if I had a license and I said no. I’ve always been honest but you have to ask the right questions. What the hey, I was only 15.

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