Unknown bell-like tone

This site may earn a commission from merchant affiliate
links, including eBay, Amazon, Skimlinks, and others.


I break stuff.
Apr 10, 2006
Bountiful, UT
Driving home the other day a new noise popped up. It sounded like there was a heavy nut or bolt rattling around. It was a bell like tone. Think of a bolt inside a dutch oven, or a bolt tied loosely to the drive shaft. It rattled around as the tires rolled, inconsistently, and was most noticeable when turning, but barely more than when driving straight.

My birfs are clicking and I thought maybe a ball had fallen out of the bearing and was being flipped around, like a bolt in a dryer. Logic says no because the housing is full of grease. For it to make that noise the housing would have to be totally dry. Next thought was the drive shaft or U-joints, but again, everything is solid and in place.

I couldn't see anything unusual when I climbed underneath and I couldn't find it...without laying on a creeper tied to the frame while my wife drove around the parking lot. If I'd had one I might have tried it.

Took it to the shop and they couldn't find anything. In fact, the sound stopped on the way there. They lifted it on the rack and put it in drive. With all 4 wheels spinning and then turning the steering wheel they couldn't replicate it. We've had it home for over a day now and no sounds.

Should I be worried? Any thoughts?
Something hitting the exhaust or one of the heat shields rattling?
It was definitely in time with the either the turning of the wheels or driveshaft. It wasn't swinging or rolling forward/back. It was also hitting just one type of surface...meaning it kept the same tonality every time it hit. So if it was the exhaust, which might ring clear like that, it would have to have been swinging from the drive shaft and hitting the pipe. I think the heat shield would have produced a flatter sound. It was almost like hitting your wife's big Pyrex bowl with a wooden spoon. (come on, I'm sure she has one! If not, there's your next birthday/anniversary/get out of the dog house gift.)
I had a similar noise. It turned out to be the clip for the abs hitting the dust shield on the front drivers side.
Is this an electrical clip or mounting clip? Was your ABS system out when this happened? I'll check that out in the light...when it's not raining. (no garage)
It's the drive shaft U-Joint, as suspected. It has finally gotten bad enough to become obvious. Rear U-joint on the front drive-shaft.

Users who are viewing this thread

Top Bottom