Mysterious Noise. fluttering, clunky. CV Axle? Wheel Bearings?

mercury
sable

#1

Anywhere below 15 mph there is a faint fluttering or clunking noises near front drivers side. Around 15-30 the noise becomes much louder. 30+ mph the noise become faint almost nonexistent. HOWEVER, when I decelerate it turns into a loud roaring noise. The slight tap on the gas and the noise disappears.

The roaring noise almost sounds like the transmission in down shifting, but I have seen no major fluctuations in the rpms. There is a slight shake to the steering wheel but it is not consistent.

A guy at the local oil change place “who specializes in brake and suspension repairs” believes my CV axle needs to be replaced.

There are no noises when I turn. I checked the boots on the CV axle, no tears or grease splatters.

If anyone does think it is the CV axle, is there a way I can check or test anything to confirm it before I attempt to replace it.

Car is a 2001, 100k miles. Purchased used about 8 months ago. Sat unused by previous owner (the first and only owner) for about 2 years.


#2

It doesn’t sound like a CV joint to me, but of course no way to tell via the internet. Since it seems to be coming from just the one wheel area, maybe jack that wheel off the ground and see if there’s any unusual play by pulling, pushing, twisting the wheel. I expect you’ll find nothing unusual. Next step would be to go underneath (use axle stands or better, take it to a shop w/a lift) and see if there’s any unusual play associated with that cv axle. Have someone turn the wheel by hand while you are under the car, see if you hear anything unusual.

Any noises coming from the CV joint on either end of the axle, you could try to re-lube it I guess, but best bet is to just replace that half shaft, You’ll get new or rebuilt CV joints in the process.

My guess, it isn’t the CV joint or axle. Instead, there’s some problem with the differential or the transmission. The transaxle is acting up in other words. Suggest to check the fluid level in the transmission, and if your has a separate place to check for the differential, check there too. I’ve had symptoms similar to that when the rear differential fluid got a little low on my truck.

Edit: Checking the brake pads for wear makes sense for this too. Sometimes when the pads are near the end of their wear limit the brake’s wear indicator will make a racket like this.