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Highway 'humming' noise

Old 01-11-2019, 05:47 PM
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Highway 'humming' noise

My 2006 E55 has developed a 'hum' which is very noticeable when on the highway. It is not tyre noise and it only varies with speed, not with on/off throttle so is not the diff and shifting to a lower gear does not alter the noise.. I suspect a wheel hub bearing(s) or tranmission output shaft bearing. The car has 110k km only. Would either of these issues be common on these cars? Cheers.
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Old 01-11-2019, 07:14 PM
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Wheel bearing is the first suspect. Can you sit in the back seat with someone else driving and try to find which side the noise is coming from?
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Old 01-11-2019, 07:28 PM
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Put the car into a slow left and right hand turn....like a slow bend in the road or just turn the wheel left and right as you are going straight. If the noise gets more quiet during a left turn you have a bad bearing on the left side and vise versa. all you are doing is taking the load of a bearing and the noise will change.
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Old 01-12-2019, 04:16 AM
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Can you be a bit more descriptive, I'm not quite following: "...it only varies with speed, not with on/off throttle". Since you must engage the throttle to experience speed variations, the statement is a bit misleading. Where I'm going with this is... it might be your diff. you shouldn't expect a dramatic change upon engaging the throttle, BUT, you will experience a change in the sound depending on the speed. I'm not trying to be an alarmist, because it very well could be your wheel bearings. I would still suggest that you get the car in the air, have an indie shop that you trust put a stethoscope on the diff under acceleration. Eliminate that from the equation and also look at the wheel bearings.
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Old 01-12-2019, 10:30 AM
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There is also a carrier bearing on the drive shaft.
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Old 01-12-2019, 05:20 PM
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Originally Posted by benzokirk View Post
Can you be a bit more descriptive, I'm not quite following: "...it only varies with speed, not with on/off throttle". Since you must engage the throttle to experience speed variations, the statement is a bit misleading. Where I'm going with this is... it might be your diff. you shouldn't expect a dramatic change upon engaging the throttle, BUT, you will experience a change in the sound depending on the speed. I'm not trying to be an alarmist, because it very well could be your wheel bearings. I would still suggest that you get the car in the air, have an indie shop that you trust put a stethoscope on the diff under acceleration. Eliminate that from the equation and also look at the wheel bearings.

I have had bad diffs before and this is not the same. A bad cwp will change tone instantly when the load changes direction when you on/off the throttle. The noise is directly related to speed no matter what the inputs. Only the drive shaft, half shafts and wheels have a single relationship to speed. This and the other replies confirm in my mind that it can only be a wheel bearing or the output shaft bearing in the trans or the drive shaft carrier bearing. Thankyou all for your help.
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Old Today, 01:32 AM
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I have determined that the carrier bearing for the drive shaft is at fault. There is a bit of play when pushing the drive shaft up and down on the hoist. There seem to be many of these for sale on Ebay. Have any of you replaced this without going to the Merc dealer and can recommend a supplier? Cheers.
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