Stong "Rumble Stripe" like sound and vibration

I have 1997 Mazda 626 I4 5 speed manual transmission with 140k on it.

All of a sudden I am getting a horrible reoccurring vibration and noise that sounds like I’m driving on a rumble stripe at about 60MPH coming from the front end when accelerating.

It speeds up as I accelerate.
If I push down my clutch or let off the gas it goes away immediately.
While turning right it will go away immediately until I straiten it back out.
It happens in any gear at any speed in any weather although it seems more likely to happen when everything is cold.
It isn’t always there and there seems to be no rhyme or reason as to when it happens or clears up.

Any ideas?

Michael H.

Sounds like a broken motor mount.

I can’t seem to upload this to my post, sorry about that.
I recorded a sound clip of it. The squeaking is my shifter (it is coooold out there :wink: )

Oops didn’t attach the file. Here it is.

Would the motor mounts change tune with the rpm’s?

60 MPH ? Key Words: "Horrible Reoccurring Vibration And Noise "
Don’t Do That ! Take back streets. Drive slowly, until you get to the shop that will check it out. Have a safety check performed, including tires, suspension, steering, transmission, axles, bearings, and engine.

Mother nature is trying to tell you something. Make sure it’s not very dangerous.


@mleich: I checked the motor mounts and they seem good.

@common sense answer: Oh no, you misunderstand, I’m not driving 60MPH. It sounds like I’m driving 60MPH on a rumble stripe. When I am actually driving 10 - 15 MPH. My pulse just spike thinking about someone doing that, yikes.

I just got back from an auto shop and they checked the suspension. Of course it didn’t make the noise when we took it for a test drive (isn’t that always the case), so he said it could be a throwback bearing that is intermittently sticking? Does that sound reasonable to you guys and gals?

Yes, the throwout bearing is a possibility.
The throwouot bearing is the device that when you push on th eclutch pedal, it is forced by a lever to slide donw the tranny input shaft and push radially arranged levers to lift the pressure plate up off the clutchplate, freeing the tranny from the engine. The bearing is a “thrust bearing”, which means the load it’s designed to accomodate is around the axis of the tranny input shaft. Its aft “housing” spins with the tranny shaft, and its forward “housing” spins with the levers on the pressure plate assembly when you’re pushing the pedal or is free when you release the pedal. The fore and aft housings are kepp free from one another by bearings.

Yeah, it’s a legitamate possibility. How long has it been since your last new clutch?

@the same mountainbike: As far as I know 140k… used car with no service history.
(It was cheap ok lol) Thanks for the detailed explanation too. Helps me with my goal to learn more everyday.

Does the audio clip sound like that kind of noise? If so, I think I just lost my weekend, ugh :slight_smile:

I have no speaker on my computer, so I’ll let someone else here answer that one.
How many miles have you yourself put on it?

@the same mountainbike: No worries, your helping me for free on a free forum, I can hardly ask for more. As for the miles, I have put ~20K on it myself in the 6 months I’ve owned it.

The sound clip did not do much for me but it’s difficult to make much of noises on PC speakers; at least in my opinion.

Based on the symptoms, this problem sounds like a worn CV joint to me. Sometimes these problems can be detected with the shafts in the car and sometimes they must be removed and checked on the bench when it comes to the questionable ones.

Of course removal leads you into the Catch 22 situation of replacing axles on a high miles car seeing as how they’re out anyway.

@ok4450: True, though it would be worth it to get rid of the noise. In retrospect another way to describe the sound part is the sound you get when you slap an automatic into park while moving but much much louder. (So was not me driving!)

Well folks, I really thank you for all your information and help thus far. It is way past my bed time though, so I will pull the CV tonight when I get up and take pictures/video of the general area and upload them. I will also try to get a cleaner audio capture as well.

Until later thanks again,
Michael H.

" @common sense answer: Oh no, you misunderstand, I’m not driving 60MPH. It sounds like I’m driving 60MPH on a rumble stripe. When I am actually driving 10 - 15 MPH."

Michael, You’re correct, I did misunderstand. I misread it. Sorry, My fault.


I agree with OK4450 that it sounds like a worn CV joint. In fact it sounds like a CV joint just before it completely fails. The boot is probably ripped or torn, but if it is not, then I’d guess that someone put a reman axle in there in the past and it is failing.

If it is the CV joint, I recommend that you get a new aftermarket axle to replace it and don’t use another reman. The new aftermarket axles are almost as good as the factory axles cosmetically and are just as good for fit and function and only cost a few bucks more than a reman.

You can compare here, I recommend the EMPI new axles\%2C+Suspension+%26+Steering,wpn_cat_name:Axles\%2C+Driveshaft+%26+4WD,wpn_scat_name:Axle+Assemblies+%26+Shafts)