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Discussion Starter #1
Recently I became the proud owner of a 2003 Chevrolet Impala with a 3.4L engine and 117,000 miles.

No Check Engine light and everything seems to be functioning properly, coolant and oil are good.

But there's a low humming/buzzing sound when I reach a certain speed and it changes pitch with engine speed. I can let go of the gas pedal and the noise will not go away. And the pitch will change upon shifting. Oddly, it doesn't appear to happen in town or on the interstate (unless I can't hear it?).

Anyway, I've heard it could be a myriad of things so I'd like to know where to start, and whether or not it could be a crippling issue.
 

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When I've experienced this, it was my hub bearings. Not sure if this is your problem for sure but I test them on an open road at about 55 MPH. Jerk the wheel from side to side so the body rolls a little and puts more pressure on the wheels. If the noise gets louder on one certain side, it's the bearings.
Also you said low humming that changes with shifting so it probably isn't PS pump. Maybe check engine mounts and make sure they are tight and that the lower ones aren't leaking fluid.
Hope this helps.


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Discussion Starter #4
Does it do this with the radio turned off?
Yes, the radio doesn't seem to be producing the noise.

I also misspoke earlier, it does make the noise when going 80 on the interstate, the Auto Vol probably drowned it out that's why I didn't hear it.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
When I've experienced this, it was my hub bearings. Not sure if this is your problem for sure but I test them on an open road at about 55 MPH. Jerk the wheel from side to side so the body rolls a little and puts more pressure on the wheels. If the noise gets louder on one certain side, it's the bearings.
Also you said low humming that changes with shifting so it probably isn't PS pump. Maybe check engine mounts and make sure they are tight and that the lower ones aren't leaking fluid.
Hope this helps.


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I should have phrased that differently. The pitch increases with higher RPMs, I think when the car shifts from 2nd to 3rd, it drops down. Either that or it's changing with speed but I'll verify tomorrow when I go to work.

Will be checking all the fluids and going up to my uncle's place on Wednesday for him to take a look at it.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
When I've experienced this, it was my hub bearings. Not sure if this is your problem for sure but I test them on an open road at about 55 MPH. Jerk the wheel from side to side so the body rolls a little and puts more pressure on the wheels. If the noise gets louder on one certain side, it's the bearings.
Also you said low humming that changes with shifting so it probably isn't PS pump. Maybe check engine mounts and make sure they are tight and that the lower ones aren't leaking fluid.
Hope this helps.


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My uncle seems to agree, the left front bearing must be bad. Also, I was wrong when I thought it changed with shifting. It only changes with speed.

The left front is also missing a hubcap, I wonder if this could be related, did whatever that damaged the hubcap also somehow cause problems for the bearing?
 

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If it is the plastic snap-in type hubcap then no, whatever took that off wouldn't damage the bearing.


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Discussion Starter #8
The bearing did appear to be bad when we replaced it. But no, the noise is still present. Is it possible that we got the wrong side and the other bearing is also bad? We replaced the one on the left front.

The noise gets a bit softer when I turn right, I'm not sure if this means the left or right side is causing the noise.

The left-front bearing is brand new, so we can rule that out. Any other ideas?
 

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Yes it is possible the wrong one was replaced or they are both bad. I would expect the noise to get louder when turning left because more pressure is put on the right bearing.
I usually try to replace things in pairs so they wear evenly so to speak.


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Yes it is possible the wrong one was replaced or they are both bad. I would expect the noise to get louder when turning left because more pressure is put on the right bearing.
I usually try to replace things in pairs so they wear evenly so to speak.


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Agreed and, do yourself a favor and get good bearings. I changed out all four and in 6 months changed the front ones again because I went cheap. NAPA or at least Moog will save you doing it again soon.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Agreed and, do yourself a favor and get good bearings. I changed out all four and in 6 months changed the front ones again because I went cheap. NAPA or at least Moog will save you doing it again soon.
Both hubs I purchased from Detroit Axle and both have a 5-year warranty.
 

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I would say maybe take a short Video with the Radio off and the post it on the forum so we can see or hear anyway what is going on to better help with what it could be. Worst thing that could happen that it can't be picked up by the camera but at least you tried and it could be something someone has had before for better guess work of the issue....

James
 

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Discussion Starter #13
I would say maybe take a short Video with the Radio off and the post it on the forum so we can see or hear anyway what is going on to better help with what it could be. Worst thing that could happen that it can't be picked up by the camera but at least you tried and it could be something someone has had before for better guess work of the issue....

James
I'm getting the right-front bearing replaced tomorrow but I'll see if I can't take a short video before and after. Hopefully it will have gone away after the replacement.
 
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