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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi All,

My 53 plate 9-3 Arc (2004) has developed a terrible drumming noise and vibration through the steering wheel that manifests itself over approx 50mph but gets really bad around 70mph. It continues to increase in frequency with increasing speed and I am worried that I am heading for a catastrophic fail or possibly an accident (or both).

I have previously experienced steering wheel vibration around 70mph resulting from imbalanced whells and this is definitely different. This is also borne out by the fact that my local garage (who are usually excellent) carried out ultra-fine balancing of my wheels in different combinations as they tried to identify the problem, and the problem remains - and the mechanics were stumped. From the wheel balancing it is clear that one of my wheels was quite buckled and another very slightly buckled.

The mechanics took the car out several times and could not even agree on where they thought the knocking was coming from as it was not evident when the car was up on the ramps.

I have read a number of threads on various forums about front drop links, warped brake disks - even cracked strut bars but none of the descriptions seems to match my problem perfectly.

My mechanics said that the suspension etc all seemed fine and that they couldn't detect any play in any components. However, they didn't strip down completely and check things like the wheel hubs and bearings etc. Is there anyone out there that has experienced a similar problem or can shed any light on possible causes? I really don't want to experience a suspension or wheel failure at motorway speeds but I could also do without paying for huge amounts of labour to diagnose this elusive fault.

All help VERY gratefully received.

Cheers.
 

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Does it do the same in every gear? What happens if you brake while it's doing it? Does it change if you take your foot off the throttle? If it's a manual, does it do the same if you dip the clutch? Have you swopped the wheels around the car (e.g. front to rear?)? Has anyone carefully inspected the tyres for damage (bulges etc)? Are they really cheapo chinese tyres?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Does it do the same in every gear? What happens if you brake while it's doing it? Does it change if you take your foot off the throttle? If it's a manual, does it do the same if you dip the clutch? Have you swopped the wheels around the car (e.g. front to rear?)? Has anyone carefully inspected the tyres for damage (bulges etc)? Are they really cheapo chinese tyres?[/b]
Cheers for the reply. Can't really say it does it in all gears as only notice the problem at higher speeds so always in at least 4th and usually 5th. I would say that the noise is independent of throttle usage - it changes with mph but not with rpm - and dipping the clutch makes no difference. My mechanics have checked the tyres for bulges etc and swapped the wheels around without it changing anything. The only thing is the buckled alloys (which made me worry about the wheel hub(s)). The tyres are definitely not branded so may not be the best quality but, as I said, they don't appear to be bulging and swapping made no difference.
The problem definitely seems to be something to do with a wheel, brakes or suspension (or a combination thereof) rather than the engine, but I am open-minded to all suggestions and would really value some insight.

Many Thanks,

Matt
 

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I have a similar issue with my 2001 9-5, noise would also increase with loading (ie. rear seat passengers) . Had my mechanic check for bearing wear and gave it the all clear. What he did notice was a flat spot on the rear tyres, getting new ones fitted later in week.
 

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Wheel bearing maybe one option or it's most likely that the rear tyres have gone out of shape (scalloping) and that's what's causing the noise. Check your tyres carefully (or get someone to do it) by running their hand over the wheel to see if it's out of shape or not. It's a common problem on the 9-5. If it is this, new tyres will sort the problem. Also the suspension needs to be checked to see if this wear pattern is being caused by knackered bushes, drop links, arb's etc.
 
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