Whirring/grinding That's Speed Sensitive
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Northstar Engines and System Technical Discussion Discussion, Whirring/grinding That's Speed Sensitive in Cadillac Engine Technical Discussion; Hey guys...I've got a '97 SLS w 156k, no codes tripped. I've got a whirring noise that gets louder and ...
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    digitalcaddie is offline Cadillac Owners Fanatic
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    Whirring/grinding That's Speed Sensitive

    Hey guys...I've got a '97 SLS w 156k, no codes tripped. I've got a whirring noise that gets louder and changes pitch (gets higher) as I speed up...def not related to engine speed. Its also sensitive to steering wheel position. If I'm going straight, the whirring is noticeable...if I turn the wheel 15 degrees left it gets louder, no change if I turn right. The noise is more of a whirring/whining and not as harsh as grinding... Is that a sign that one of the front hubs is going bad? Anyone else had this kind of a problem? Thanks in advance.

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    Zorb750 is offline Cadillac Owners Connoisseur
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    Re: Whirring/grinding That's Speed Sensitive

    Yeah, it's probably the bearing, which is in the hub. It's probably not a constant velocity joint, they don't usually care which way they turn, the farther you turn either way, the noisier they get when they start to go. It wouldn't matter which side it's on. I'm thinking it's the right side, because when you turn left, you load (put weight on) the right side suspension. When bearings whine or roar, it gets louder with more loading. When they bang/click/clatter, they tend to get worse when UNloaded, though not always.

    Either way, it takes an hour or so to change it and is really quite easy. I suggest putting an anti-sieze agent on the spline between the halfshaft end and hub. Don't put it on ANY threads! Also, locktite the hub to knuckle bolts, they have been known to back out a bit, same goes for the caliper bracket bolts (I've actually lost one once, that I KNOW I tightened correctly).

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    Submariner409's Avatar
    Submariner409 is offline If it won't run, stick on fender vents
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    Re: Whirring/grinding That's Speed Sensitive

    Assuming there's NO noise when sitting still, but it increases as you gather speed, a careful check of the brake pads and hub play will tell you a lot.

    If you can, jack up one front wheel at a time, or put the front on jackstands. Grab a wheel at 12:00 and 6:00. Rock it in and out. Any play? Hub bearing(s). Grab it at 9:00 and 3:00. Rock it left-right-left. Any play? Tie rod ends or suspension play.

    Pull the wheels and take a hard look at the brake pads. Are the warning spring fingers really close to the rotor?? They tend to make a nasty squealing noise close to the end of pad life.

    Inspect the CV joints for play, also.

    Last, if you begin to suspect the transmission, that's a whole different can of worms.

    Good Luck !!!

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    Zorb750 is offline Cadillac Owners Connoisseur
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    Re: Whirring/grinding That's Speed Sensitive

    Trans noise that changes when turning would be differential related. This would cause it to show up either way you turn, but perhaps not when driving straight.

    Another one to check is that the brake dust shield is not bent.

    Also, you can have wear in bearings and not play in the set.

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    digitalcaddie is offline Cadillac Owners Fanatic
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    Re: Whirring/grinding That's Speed Sensitive

    OK, thanks guys. I'll take a look at a couple of those items. I did the brakes about 12 months ago so those should be OK. I changed a hub on a different car (see story below) so that shouldn't be too hard to do.

    Here's a funny story...I had a "scratch" noise on a Taurus that would show up once each time the wheel went around. Obviously it sounded constant and loud when driving 50+mph... I went to my mechanic and he said the hub was bad. So I go to take the old one off and can't get the half-shaft out of the hub. The guy working with me hit it with a sledge a couple times (rather than using the puller that was sitting in the garage) and deformed the end of the half-shaft which screwed up the threads. So we put the new hub on and I still had the scratch. We figured we got a bad part from Autozone so we pulled that hub off and then got another one. We put the new one on and the scratch was still there. Next we thought we weren't getting the thing tight enough due to the damaged threads on the half-shaft. So we tightened things down so far we completely stripped the threads. The scratch was still there. So we thought AZ was still giving us bad parts so we went and got one from the junk yard and had to replace the half-shaft too since the threads were stripped. After doing all that work and putting the 3rd hub on, the scratching was STILL there. At this point after working on this problem for 4 days, I happened to look inside the rim where a little bit of chrome was flaking off. This chrome piece was catching a part of the brake every time the wheel went around so I pulled the flake off which fixed the problem. 4 days of knuckle busting work and $200 in parts which all could have been avoided by simply tearing off the stupid chrome flake. Good times, right??

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    digitalcaddie is offline Cadillac Owners Fanatic
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    Re: Whirring/grinding That's Speed Sensitive

    Hopefully I don't have a prob with the differential, but you never know...

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    Zorb750 is offline Cadillac Owners Connoisseur
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    Re: Whirring/grinding That's Speed Sensitive

    Quote Originally Posted by digitalcaddie View Post
    OK, thanks guys. I'll take a look at a couple of those items. I did the brakes about 12 months ago so those should be OK. I changed a hub on a different car (see story below) so that shouldn't be too hard to do.

    Here's a funny story...I had a "scratch" noise on a Taurus that would show up once each time the wheel went around. Obviously it sounded constant and loud when driving 50+mph... I went to my mechanic and he said the hub was bad. So I go to take the old one off and can't get the half-shaft out of the hub. The guy working with me hit it with a sledge a couple times (rather than using the puller that was sitting in the garage) and deformed the end of the half-shaft which screwed up the threads. So we put the new hub on and I still had the scratch. We figured we got a bad part from Autozone so we pulled that hub off and then got another one. We put the new one on and the scratch was still there. Next we thought we weren't getting the thing tight enough due to the damaged threads on the half-shaft. So we tightened things down so far we completely stripped the threads. The scratch was still there. So we thought AZ was still giving us bad parts so we went and got one from the junk yard and had to replace the half-shaft too since the threads were stripped. After doing all that work and putting the 3rd hub on, the scratching was STILL there. At this point after working on this problem for 4 days, I happened to look inside the rim where a little bit of chrome was flaking off. This chrome piece was catching a part of the brake every time the wheel went around so I pulled the flake off which fixed the problem. 4 days of knuckle busting work and $200 in parts which all could have been avoided by simply tearing off the stupid chrome flake. Good times, right??
    I almost went through exactly this at the hands of a bent dust shield.

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    digitalcaddie is offline Cadillac Owners Fanatic
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    Re: Whirring/grinding That's Speed Sensitive

    OK so I jacked the car up and grabbed the left front tire at 12 and 6 and it rocked maybe 1/8". Did the same on the right front tire and it didn't budge so I replaced the left front hub. Got the part from Advance for $105 and it didn't upset the traction control after I got it installed ever though its not a Delco part. Man, is this car quiet now. I'm guessing that hub had been going bad for a while and I just dismissed the noise as road noise. At 60mph now all you hear is air passing by the vehicle. Time for a cold one.

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    Re: Whirring/grinding That's Speed Sensitive

    Nice thread, digitalcaddie - thanks for posting the follow up. That story about the chrome flaking off is a real tear jerker - OUCH!

    Yeah - the improvement always amazes me whenever I change a part on a high mileage car. Also, anytime you put a full set of new tires on - it always make the car seen nearly new

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    Zorb750 is offline Cadillac Owners Connoisseur
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    Re: Whirring/grinding That's Speed Sensitive

    Quote Originally Posted by digitalcaddie View Post
    OK so I jacked the car up and grabbed the left front tire at 12 and 6 and it rocked maybe 1/8". Did the same on the right front tire and it didn't budge so I replaced the left front hub. Got the part from Advance for $105 and it didn't upset the traction control after I got it installed ever though its not a Delco part. Man, is this car quiet now. I'm guessing that hub had been going bad for a while and I just dismissed the noise as road noise. At 60mph now all you hear is air passing by the vehicle. Time for a cold one.
    Time for a new hub. The cheap part at Advance is Dynapak, which is GARBAGE. I bought that at autozone when I needed to leave the next day and it would have taken four to get the Timken part in. It lasted less than 20000 miles, same with its replacement. They gave me full credit toward the Timken part (I only paid the difference), which is still fine, 70000 miles later.

    If not the factory part, Timken or BCA are the only acceptable hubs. Otherwise, you are asking for it.

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    digitalcaddie is offline Cadillac Owners Fanatic
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    Re: Whirring/grinding That's Speed Sensitive

    Fair enough. Yea, the one I installed was not a Timken so I guess I'll have to keep an eye on it. Hopefully it will hold up. I doubt I'm going to get another 20k out of the car, but you never know.

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    MikeThompson is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Re: Whirring/grinding That's Speed Sensitive

    Not trying to hijack, just trying to clarify a similar sounding issue...I have a 2003 SLS and I had a strange noise start last night. It has been about 15-20 degrees out, so not terribly cold...

    Where was your noise coming from? I can't really locate it, but it sounds like it's coming from directly in front of the driver's seat, either under the dash or right against the firewall under the hood. I can't hear it any clearer with a window down, and it does get higher-pitched as I accelerate (but only in drive, sitting in park and accelerating, it doesn't do it at all). Does this sound similar to your experience?

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