noise coming from rear of car?

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  #1  
Old 10-13-06, 09:21 PM
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noise coming from rear of car?

For about a week I have been hearing what sounded like something heavy rolling back and forth in my trunk whenever I make a turn, go around a curve or hit a bump. I looked in the trunk to see what the heck it was and there was nothing that it could be. I listened more carefully and I think the sound may be coming from under my trunk, could be struts or shocks or something? It is a '96 Nissan Altima. ( forgive me if i sound like an idiot I am a female and know next to nothing about cars!)
 
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  #2  
Old 10-14-06, 01:27 AM
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Welcome Raye! You certainly do not sound like an idiot. Asking questions is how all of us learn, and is really what this forum is all about!

As for the noise you are describing, it is possible that you could be hearing the beginning of a wheel bearing problem. Without hearing the noise myself, or inspecting the car, I cannot say for certain that this is the issue.

If you want to inspect the bearings yourself, here is a site you can go to that provides instructions with lots of illustrations.

http://arrc.epnet.com/autoasp/listvec.asp?sid=1482278&uid=s9072919.main.autorefctr&mk=NISSAN&yr=1996&md=ALTIMA


When the page comes up, all you have to do is click on the "Select" button that corresponds to the submodel of your car. When the "Topics" index comes up, click on "Repair Procedures". Next you will see a split dialog view. On the left side will be a table of contents. Click on "Suspension and Steering", and then on "Rear Suspension", then finally on "Rear Hub and Bearing".

Under Figure 3 there are notes about how to determine if the bearings need to be replaced. Follow the notes - it beats spending time and money for parts you don't need!

Just two quick thoughts: 1) all Altima's use sealed wheel bearing hub assemblies; 2) if you do have a bad rear bearing, I recommend you change both rear bearings at the same time. You don't have to do both, but assuming all the bearings are probably the same age, if one side is failing, the other side is probably close behind. Also, some mechanics believe it is safer because it provides rotational balance for the car.

Give it a try and let us know how it turns out!

Best wishes!

Rick
 
  #3  
Old 10-14-06, 06:54 AM
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Thanks Rick for the advice. One more question, if it is indeed a wheel bearing, would it sound like the noise is traveling from one side to the other? Thats what it sounds like, but I could be wrong about that.
 
  #4  
Old 10-14-06, 11:14 PM
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Hi Raye,

Sorry for the late reply - life gets too busy sometimes!

Noises can be tricky depending on where they originate, and the acoustical properties of the material and conditions between the source and your ears. Also, the sound properties can change as the inertia and load aspects shift with the movement of the car.

With this in mind, we have to consider the parts in the rear of the car that actually move. The Altima is a front wheel drive vehicle, so the only parts in the rear that move mechanically are the wheels, which are connected to the hubs, and the brakes, which "squeeze" the rotor when the brake pedal is pushed by the driver. The hubs turn on the bearings, which rest on the axle stubs, so they are the usually the primary source of any mechanical noise in the rear.

A few other possible sources of motion-related noise are loose objects in the trunk (which you already checked for), tires rubbing on loose parts, worn brake pads, or even worn tires.

Once these possibilities are eliminated as actual causes, then the most likely candidate is the primary mechanical source: the bearings.

If you decide to check the bearings, you can check the brake pads at the same time, since it's not unusual to apply the brakes while turning.

Just out of curiosity, do you hear the noise when making turns when not applying the brakes?

Rick
 
  #5  
Old 10-15-06, 05:17 PM
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Bearings usually make a "roaring" noise...One that will increase with speed and change in turns.
Let's say it's a right side wheel bearing . Steering left will cause a weight shift to the right "loading" the bearing and making it noticeably louder........Steering right will remove that load and the bearing will quiet down considerably. Think in reverse for a left side. Drive the car down a straight road and sway it right to left to right..........That will tell you if you have bearing issues
 
  #6  
Old 10-16-06, 06:21 PM
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Thanks everyone for your advice! I figured out what my problem is. I got down on my hands and knees and tried to wiggle my exhaust pipe to see if it was secured properly and low and behold my pipe seems to have come "unwelded" from where it enters the muffler. As a result everytime I turn or hit a bump it makes that noise. I guess its time for an exhust system overhaul. My boyfriends says its a good excuse to get a flowmaster ( what the heck is that?)
 
  #7  
Old 10-16-06, 09:42 PM
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It's great that you finally found the culprit! There's no substitute for taking a first hand look. What was the muffler rubbing on?

Flowmaster makes mufflers and exhaust systems - really nice ones. You can visit their web site at www.flowmastermufflers.com.

Best wishes Raye!
 
  #8  
Old 10-17-06, 04:19 PM
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The noise is coming from the pipe scraping where it enters the muffler. I might go for the flowmaster I guess if he is willing to foot the bill ! LOL!
 
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