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Faint gear like noise at low speeds.

Posted: Wed Apr 18, 2018 11:25 am
by Valdemar
2011 130k+ miles. Noticed a minor noise today while driving in a parking lot, faint periodic clicking, kind of gear type clatter. Doesn't seem to be affected by the steering. Can it be the CV joint? Hope it's not the reduction gear, gear oil change is overdue but it doesn't usually cause issues this early.

Re: Faint gear like noise at low speeds.

Posted: Wed Apr 18, 2018 1:02 pm
by LeftieBiker
IIRC, a noisy CV joint will make more noise when turning one way than the other. Try some low speed sharp turns.

Re: Faint gear like noise at low speeds.

Posted: Wed Apr 18, 2018 10:09 pm
by Valdemar
I'll experiment more but turning didn't seem to have any effect, which makes me think it might not be the CV joint.

Re: Faint gear like noise at low speeds.

Posted: Wed Apr 18, 2018 10:46 pm
by SageBrush
Valdemar wrote:I'll experiment more but turning didn't seem to have any effect, which makes me think it might not be the CV joint.

I've forgotten details but failure of the joint on the wheel side and transmission sides of the half-shaft have different symptoms.

Re: Faint gear like noise at low speeds.

Posted: Thu Apr 19, 2018 12:30 am
by Valdemar
SageBrush wrote:
Valdemar wrote:I'll experiment more but turning didn't seem to have any effect, which makes me think it might not be the CV joint.

I've forgotten details but failure of the joint on the wheel side and transmission sides of the half-shaft have different symptoms.


Good point. I always thought that the transmission side almost never breaks however.

Re: Faint gear like noise at low speeds.

Posted: Thu Apr 19, 2018 9:14 am
by goldbrick
Valdemar wrote:Good point. I always thought that the transmission side almost never breaks however.


Depends on the specific car. For example, on a Subaru Outback the inner (trans side) joint fails at > 2x the rate of the outer joint since it is close to the exhaust and the additional heat ages the rubber quickly. But in general, the outer joint sees more stress since it experiences higher articulation angles during normal use.

On most of the cars I've had, outer joint failures will show up as clicking on tight turns. Inner joint failures usually show up as vibration under acceleration. Of course, the easy test is to check the boots. Most modern CV joints will last as long as the car if the boots are intact.

Re: Faint gear like noise at low speeds.

Posted: Thu Apr 19, 2018 9:28 am
by Valdemar
Ditto on Subaru, both inner boots went too early on our Tribeca, the joints are holding up though.

Re: Faint gear like noise at low speeds.

Posted: Thu Apr 19, 2018 5:38 pm
by Nubo
Hard to diagnose sounds via text, but I'll just note that I've had "faint periodic clicking" noises from objects embedded in tires, from small stones embedded in the tread and also nails and screws; most easily heard at low speeds with windows down. I've avoided punctures several times by finding and removing metal objects before they penetrated the belts.

Re: Faint gear like noise at low speeds.

Posted: Fri Apr 20, 2018 9:11 am
by Valdemar
I know but this is definitely not tires. Sounds more like gear teeth engaging during rotation, hence the concern about the reduction gear, but from my experience with failing differentials they tend to whine at high speed, nothing like that fortunately, or at least not yet. The sound is very faint, can only be heard with windows up and the speed may be up to 3mph.

Re: Faint gear like noise at low speeds.

Posted: Tue Oct 16, 2018 6:48 pm
by coolorangecat
Did you ever find out what the sound was? I have a 2012 that sounds exactly like what you're describing.