2005 Honda CRV - tire noise or bearing noise?
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Thread: 2005 Honda CRV - tire noise or bearing noise?

  1. #1
    crv|oc Rank: Member
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    2005 Honda CRV - tire noise or bearing noise?

    Good day all,

    Long time reader, first time poster, and I want to thank this forum for a multitude of good answers and advice in the past!

    For this question, I've done my research, and am still slightly stumped.

    I have a 2005 Honda CRV (RD7), with 190k km on the clock. Over the last 10000km or so, there's been a slight hum coming (I'm pretty sure) from the rear, and sloooowly getting worse.

    The specifics of the noise:
    • It starts getting noticeable around 60km/h
    • It peaks in volume around 70km/h
    • It seems to get slightly attenuated from around 80km/h onwards
    • It is worse when I have load in the rear (1-2 passengers)
    • It's a really loud hum, filling the cabin, but with no specific rhythm to it
    • I can't say for sure that it gets worse or better in turns

    Some background:
    • About 20k km ago, I put a new set of Pirelli P7s on the rear. At the time, I wasn't aware that my rear suspension was in need of some work, and the tyres accordingly feathered.
    • I replaced the rear shocks about 7000km ago, but the damage to the tyres had already been done.
    • I have checked all the other recommended sources of noise, including flushing both the transmission and rear diff - this does not seem to have materially improved the noise.
    • I've had the car for almost 3 years, and do an equal mix of city and highway driving.
    • I'm in Brisbane, so salty air could be a concern. To the best of my knowledge though, the car has never done any beach driving.
    • Also to the best of my knowledge, the car has never done any serious towing (or carried big loads), or gone proper offroading.

    In summary, I can't for sure pinpoint the noise source to bearings (usual tests like spinning, tugging, cornering have inconclusive results). I also can't get any consistent idea of how long a set of bearings on the CRV should last. The tyres are definitely feathered (probably about 1-2mm ridges), but I have no idea how much noise they would contribute with all else being equal.

    Based on a LOT of other posts on the net, service centre and mechanic opinions on this particular issue isn't always accurate, and unfortunately I don't have the money ($500/bearing installed, $150-200/tyre) to throw at the problem and hope for the best. I am probably skilled enough to install the bearings myself, but they're still $150 a side, and apparently on this particular model there's an issue with getting ABS sensors out of the hub without breaking them, which will add another $50-100 per side potentially.

    Any advice would be greatly appreciated!

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  3. #2
    crv|oc Rank: Senior
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    I would start with switching/rotating the front and rear tires to see if that is the cause of the noise.

  4. #3
    crv|oc Rank: Member
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    That is on my to-do list, however the front ones are also slightly feathered, since they were on the back before I rotated them (and before I did the suspension work). I am, however, going to try and swap out my (unfeathered) spare with one of the rears, and see if that makes a difference of any kind.

  5. #4
    crv|oc Rank: Member
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    Ok, I've rotated the tires front to back, and also tested with the spare in the place of the heavily feathered tires in the back. I found:
    • There is a slight reduction in overall noise, but it is not completely gone. Whether this is because there might still be a different problem, or whether it is because the feathered tires are now generating noise at the front, but resonating through the cabin, I don't know.
    • With the slightly reduced noise, I tried the swerving slowly at about 60km/h trick. The noise seems to dissipate slightly when I veer right, and stays about the same when I veer left. For reference, this is a righthand drive vehicle.
    • The pitch changes slightly between about 60 and 80km/h, after which it drops in volume to about 100km/h, making it difficult to detect.
    • At 100km/h, it becomes 'rhythmic' - basically coming and going at probably 1Hz or so.

    I've also tried the screwdriver to the hub listening test, but can honestly not hear anything out of the ordinary. While driving, the noise only starts becoming audible at around 40km/h or so.

  6. #5
    crv|oc Rank: Member
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    Just did some more reading on tire wear patterns. It seems that the guys at the shop describing the issue to me, had their terminology wrong. What I have, is heel/toe wear, NOT feathering. It is also not related to my (previously) worn suspension, since that would likely cause diagonal wear or cupping (neither of which I can spot).
    Last edited by roelofs; 08-25-2014 at 11:02 AM.

  7. #6
    Super Moderator Carbuff2's Avatar
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    Replacing the rear shocks (struts) would not affect your suspension problems. You would need to replace the springs to restore the ride height, if out of kilter.

    Before you do that, inspect the control arm bushings to make sure nothing is deteriorating.
    Then have a four-wheel alignment done. Verify that it is spec. Too much toe and camber can cause feathering of tread blocks.

    Unfortunately, once the tires have been heat-cycled enough they will always be noisy. So even if you do eliminate the cause of the feathering, you will have to put up with the noise.
    Atwell "Buff" Haines
    '06 AWD CR-V, 5 speed MT!
    '07 Fit Sport, 5 speed MT!
    North NJ

    I MAKE BEER DISAPPEAR. What's your superpower?


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  8. #7
    crv|oc Rank: Member
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    Right, some more information came to light this week:
    • I had the car in for a basic service, and the mechanic mentioned that he couldn't trace the problem directly, but it sounded like it /might/ be the left rear bearing. This didn't quite track with what I heard while turning (that suggested something wrong on the right rear), but he mentioned that sometimes unloading the bearing can make noise. Is this true?
    • I then took the car to the people who normally do my wife's Mercedes services (and who I generally trust on diagnosis issues), and after a drive, and 25 minutes on the hoist (unfortunately Australia-I can't be in the workshop), the senior mechanic reckoned that the bearings sound somewhat noisy, but not to the point that he'd be concerned about. What he did notice though, is that my right rear suspension assembly has vibration at speed, and it almost looks like the sideshaft/axle isn't running true. Again - is this a feasible explanation for the noise?

    Carbuff2: My rear shocks were pretty worn previously, and I was told that that could cause heel and toe wear on the tires, hence why I replaced them. I did have an alignment done after, and it wasn't mentioned that camber was off. Control arm bushings by and large appear to be ok - no major free movement there.

    Oh, and I ended up rotating the tires, but couldn't find a major difference in noise, so I suspect it's now down to driveline or suspension issues...

  9. #8
    Super Moderator Carbuff2's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by roelofs View Post
    but he mentioned that sometimes unloading the bearing can make noise. Is this true?

    Not in my experience. Usually bearings will be noisy under load.
    • is that my right rear suspension assembly has vibration at speed, and it almost looks like the sideshaft/axle isn't running true. Again - is this a feasible explanation for the noise?
    Yes, maybe. Not often heard of on the rear.


    Carbuff2: My rear shocks were pretty worn previously, and I was told that that could cause heel and toe wear on the tires,
    In my experience, a worn shock (that would allow the wheel to hop, who has seen this on a highway?) causes a "scallop" or indentation across several tread blocks. Perhaps as large across as a fist.

    Alignment would cause individual tread blocks to be canted, hence the term Feathering. You can feel this effect by stroking a tire around it's circumference, the block edges will feel sharper in one direction VS the other.
    Atwell "Buff" Haines
    '06 AWD CR-V, 5 speed MT!
    '07 Fit Sport, 5 speed MT!
    North NJ

    I MAKE BEER DISAPPEAR. What's your superpower?


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