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Paolino

Name that sound

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There are two sounds my car is making and I'm curious as to what they could be/what could be causing them.

First of all, I'm driving a 1992 Buick Century Special, 3300 V6, 4A. Tomorrow morning's commute will make me pass 106,000 on my odometer.

Sound #1:

If you were to take your cell phone, put it on vibrate, place it on a tray and call it, this would be the sound. A metallic, vibrating sound. Oddly enough, it's not really present at a dead stop or park. It's mostly prominent at low speeds (probably because I can't hear it at high speeds). It comes from under the hood. ;)

Sound #2:

A whirring sound that's getting louder and louder as time goes on. Say you drive a stick, and you're coasting in gear, and the engines' rpms are just slowly decending... that kinda sound. It's fairly loud now, and now that the exhaust is fixed, I can hear it even more. It whirs at all speeds, but obviously while coasting, I hear it slowly lowering it's pitch, and while accellerating, I hear it raising the pitch/tone.

Any ideas what they are and what causes them? I'm just looking to understand my car a little better.

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You can fix um yourself. Just crank the radio.

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You can fix um yourself. Just crank the radio.

Nah, can't do that. Something's wrong with my right ear in which it's extremely sensitive to high pitches. At a certain volume, my right ear sounds like a busted speaker. Since my current radio seems to just not optimize the bass I know my speakers have (since the stock radio was like 90% bass, 10% treble), raising the volume just creates an uncomfortable sensation for me.

I could however, wear earplugs. Then I won't hear car horns :lol:

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Nah, can't do that.  Something's wrong with my right ear in which it's extremely sensitive to high pitches.  At a certain volume, my right ear sounds like a busted speaker.  Since my current radio seems to just not optimize the bass I know my speakers have (since the stock radio was like 90% bass, 10% treble), raising the volume just creates an uncomfortable sensation for me.

I could however, wear earplugs.  Then I won't hear car horns  :lol:

HONK!!

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i can see it now paolino driveing and like 5 cop cars chasing him.

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HONK!!

Thanks.

i can see it now paolino driveing and like 5 cop cars chasing him.

Uffa.

I just have nothing to add. 5 cop cars chasing me in my Century? It just doesn't sound like your typical car chase. :AH-HA_wink: I guess I could lose them if I drove into a senior community, parked and ducked.

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The whirring sound could be something in the wheel bearing assemblies, or the cv axles. The metallic vibration could be front suspension or something inside the engine. I would have to be there to actually hear the sounds to better diagnose them.

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metal to metal.....i had a old buick 83, the shock on the rightside was killing the bushing and had to replace the bushing...but that only caused a noise over bumps....? check your motormounts?

do the noises change directly w/ engine speed, not speeddometer speed?

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The whirring sound could be something in the wheel bearing assemblies, or the cv axles.  The metallic vibration could be front suspension or something inside the engine.  I would have to be there to actually hear the sounds to better diagnose them.

metal to metal.....i had a old buick 83, the shock on the rightside was killing the bushing and had to replace the bushing...but that only caused a noise over bumps....?    check your motormounts?

do the noises change directly w/ engine speed, not speeddometer speed?

Okay... so I just had my front suspension replaced (heard the knocking sounds over bumps, and the wheel bearing replaced on the left side), about 3 months ago.

Now that I think about it--the whirring sound is not related to the engine's rpms, but rather how fast the wheels are spinning (speed)... that makes more sense--because the sound doesn't change when the transmission shifts... it just goes up or down depending on whether I'm accelerating or decelerating. Thanks 76ChevyTrucker.

As for the metallic rattling sound, I haven't a clue what's causing it (like what I do to make it happen--it's rather random, but frequent). It doesn't seem to make that sound when the car is completely stopped (doesn't matter if it's in drive or park). I'll get it to the mechanic in a while. I don't think it's something that'd require immediate attention (so I hope), and I have a day off in a couple of weeks.

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Hard to tell. Is it really related to engine rpms? Could be something in the front drive assembly, like a hub assembly or CV joint? Is it more of a knocking or a whirring? A rythmic knocking (but down in a wheelwell) is more like a wheel bearing while whirring sounds more expensive. I would like to think it is NOT in your engine. The 3300 is the little brother of the 3800 and should be hassle free, especially at that LOW mileage. How does the transmission shift? Other possibilities are: something in the pulleys, a water pump or something that is tied into the serpentine belt.

Before I go any further, you don't let on as to how you MAINTAIN your car. You ask questions, but: 1) how often do you change your oil, and 2) how often do you have your transmission fluid and filter changed? Doing this no more than 3,000 and 20,000 miles apart ensures long component life. I just rolled over 224,000 this morning. Baby the car, P -- it's a cheaper way to go.

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Hard to tell.  Is it really related to engine rpms?  Could be something in the front drive assembly, like a hub assembly or CV joint?  Is it more of a knocking or a whirring?  A rythmic knocking (but down in a wheelwell) is more like a wheel bearing while whirring sounds more expensive.  I would like to think it is NOT in your engine.  The 3300 is the little brother of the 3800 and should be hassle free, especially at that LOW mileage.  How does the transmission shift?  Other possibilities are:  something in the pulleys, a water pump or something that is tied into the serpentine belt.

Before I go any further, you don't let on as to how you MAINTAIN your car.  You ask questions, but:  1) how often do you change your oil, and 2) how often do you have your transmission fluid and filter changed?  Doing this no more than 3,000 and 20,000 miles apart ensures long component life.  I just rolled over 224,000 this morning.  Baby the car, P -- it's a cheaper way to go.

It's a whirring, definitely not a knocking.

I baby the car... oil is changed every 3000 miles (give or take a few hundred). I check fluids and make sure they're high, but I don't swap them. However, I have gotten the car 2 tuneups since I've owned it a few years ago.

I do use fuel injector cleaner occassionally (about 5-6 times/year), and I put this tranny stuff in that my brother told me to use (it's supposed to seal leaks in your hoses or something)--but the tranny is not the problem. Fuel pump is loud when my car is down to a 1/4 tank, but I read online that this was actually a common problem for my model/year. I guess Buick thought it'd be nice to have an audible hum when you're low on fuel than a little "low fuel" light on your IP :AH-HA_wink:

I don't drive it hard at all. The worst thing I think I do to it is drive it 70-75 on the highway occassionally. Hell, I even wait until I'm on the highway before I turn the a/c on--give the car a break at lower speeds and try to save a little fuel.

The engine is fine (as far as I can tell). The transmission shifts smoothly and at the right time, occassionally it's a little slow in downshifting, but that's because I would have to punch the gas pedal more than halfway to get it to downshift, and I rarely give it that much gas.

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Hey...an idea. Since your brother is good at this kind of stuff, how about letting him listen to it. He wouldn't have to WORK on it, but at least he can give it a listen. You will have something to go off of when you ultimately take it in to the mechanic. I just hope it's one of those "cheaper" ( :lol: ) noises.

"Yo, mechanic, listen heah, there's a cheaper noise I want you to listen to" (said in Long-Islandese) J/K.

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Hey...an idea.  Since your brother is good at this kind of stuff, how about letting him listen to it.  He wouldn't have to WORK on it, but at least he can give it a listen.  You will have something to go off of when you ultimately take it in to the mechanic.  I just hope it's one of those "cheaper" ( :lol: ) noises.

"Yo, mechanic, listen heah, there's a cheaper noise I want you to listen to" (said in Long-Islandese) J/K.

Well, first of all, I don't have a Long Island accent... NY (very light NYC accent), accent yes, but not Long Island. Secondly, I don't use the word "Yo" when I talk :AH-HA_wink:

Brother is very busy these days--I hate bothering him with my trivial car-related things. I'm sure I'll see him in a couple of weeks when both our schedules are freer.

Speaking of, Mike... what do you think it is?

If anything, maybe the mechanic can take the white plastic bag that got stuck underneath the car that I can't reach! :lol:

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Well, first of all, I don't have a Long Island accent... NY (very light NYC accent), accent yes, but not Long Island.  Secondly, I don't use the word "Yo" when I talk  :AH-HA_wink:

Didn't you see the "J/K" at the end of my post, Paolino? I LOVE the New York accent but can't tell the difference between B.B.Q./LI/NJ...it all seems the same, so I guess I need an education.

Keep in mind that most of the Italians on "the coast" hail from your parts and our house had a revolving door of them. They would call our house looking for my mom: "Hallohhh, is Pwauline theah?" (sound of nails on chalkboard).

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Sound #1:

If you were to take your cell phone, put it on vibrate, place it on a tray and call it, this would be the sound.  A metallic, vibrating sound.  Oddly enough, it's not really present at a dead stop or park.  It's mostly prominent at low speeds (probably because I can't hear it at high speeds).  It comes from under the hood. ;)

Maybe the rockers are loose? Sounds like when I heard somebody's rockers tapping the top of their valve covers because of clearance issues.

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Maybe the rockers are loose? Sounds like when I heard somebody's rockers tapping the top of their valve covers because of clearance issues.

Well, we'll have to see. I think I'm going to bring the car in next week to have it looked at because I can borrow one of my parents cars for work. I still think one of the problems is (and pardon my lack of technical terminology), the "wheel bearing"? I had the one on the left wheel replaced when I had new front struts put in, and it's making the same noise it did before. But, what do I know. As for the rattling sound, well, that is all my mechanic. He'll have to figure that one out.

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My first suspect for the rattle would be exhaust system shielding (annoying but not a crisis). That stuff loves to rattle.

That's interesting you say that.. the mechanic fixed something with my exhaust right before this sound started up, so maybe something got loosened?

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As for the metallic rattling sound, I haven't a clue what's causing it (like what I do to make it happen--it's rather random, but frequent). It doesn't seem to make that sound when the car is completely stopped (doesn't matter if it's in drive or park). I'll get it to the mechanic in a while. I don't think it's something that'd require immediate attention (so I hope), and I have a day off in a couple of weeks.

if it is when you go over bumps and such hazards, check your brake calipers and rotors. had to have that fixed on my car. there was a metal piece loose. it wasnt a problem for braking, but it made a very annoying metal rattle every time i went on a bumpy road.

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As for the metallic rattling sound, I haven't a clue what's causing it (like what I do to make it happen--it's rather random, but frequent). It doesn't seem to make that sound when the car is completely stopped (doesn't matter if it's in drive or park). I'll get it to the mechanic in a while. I don't think it's something that'd require immediate attention (so I hope), and I have a day off in a couple of weeks.

if it is when you go over bumps and such hazards, check your brake calipers and rotors. had to have that fixed on my car. there was a metal piece loose. it wasnt a problem for braking, but it made a very annoying metal rattle every time i went on a bumpy road.

No, not when I'm going over bumps--it's a constant rattling sound... if I can tape it on my cell I'll post a wave file of it for people to hear.

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Well, we'll have to see.  I think I'm going to bring the car in next week to have it looked at because I can borrow one of my parents cars for work.  I still think one of the problems is (and pardon my lack of technical terminology), the "wheel bearing"?  I had the one on the left wheel replaced when I had new front struts put in, and it's making the same noise it did before.  But, what do I know.  As for the rattling sound, well, that is all my mechanic.  He'll have to figure that one out.

Best you can do its is extremely hard to diagnois some sounds such as you describe without hearing them in person because everybody thinks of a sound differently such as the "whirring sound" you describe... Edited by reeferman

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Okay, the final result:

Took the car in...

1) Whirring sound: hub bearing (figured it was that)

2) Rattling sound: heat shield (no idea what that does really)

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My first suspect for the rattle would be exhaust system shielding (annoying but not a crisis). That stuff loves to rattle.

So, you win a prize. :lol:

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congrats to me for suggesting the hub bearing.  and congrats to Camino for guessing the heat shield.

Oh, congrats to you :)

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