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Mystery Road Noise Finally Solved

Merkava_4

5.7L LS1 Member
693
66
28
Clovis, CA
Buick Ownership
2000 Buick LeSabre
For the last couple of months I've been getting a noise while the car was in motion. I suspected the left rear tire because it had a cut in the tread; so I replaced the tire with a new one, but the noise was still there. My next suspect was wheel bearings; so I put the car up on jack stands and grabbed each tire at the 3:00 and 9:00 O'clock position. The two back wheels were fine, but the two fronts wiggled with about 1/8 inch of play. The next day I take the car to a frame and wheel shop for an inspection. They said my wheel bearings were fine, but the inner and outer tie rods are shot; so I order up some tie rods from RockAuto.

A week goes by while I wait for those parts to come in and a day off to do the work. I change the tie rods the next Thursday and take the car back to the same frame and wheel shop the very next Friday morning for an alignment. I get the car aligned, but the noise is still there!

Another week goes by until today when I decide to have the tires inspected and rebalanced. While I was at the tire shop, one of the more knowledgeable guys checks the tires over. He said all the tires were wearing well except the right rear. He said the right rear had a wear pattern called "cupping." That's when the tire is getting bounced rapidly because the shocks are shot! The tire will have dents in the center of the tread all the way around from taking a beating on the road. He said does the noise sound like an off-road tire? I said yes! He then said if I want the noise to go away, I'll have to replaced the rear shocks and the right rear tire. The right rear is about a year old. The left rear is only a week old. I need to change those shocks before new left rear gets destroyed too.

Now I need to decide whether to get auto-leveling shocks, or the conversion shocks with the coil over springs. The air compressor still works, so I'm leaning towards getting the auto-leveling shocks. Any comments in relation to that would be very much appreciated.
 

Alan 55

Buick Newbie
276
85
28
Florida
Buick Ownership
2001 Buick Park Avenue, previously owned 1997 Park Avenue
I would like to comment on the two front wheel bearings that have about 1/8 inch play. It has been my experience that there should be no play in the wheel bearings of this type. You may be on to something with the rear wheel cupping and that needs to be addressed, however for the vehicle to be right consider the play in the front wheel bearings.
 

Zeroboostbuick

Well-known member
1,370
374
83
S.W. Ontario Canada
Buick Ownership
2018 Regal Sportback - 2010 Yamaha R6 (track bike) Past cars: 92 LeSabre, 98 Regal, 02 GrandPrixGT
I would like to comment on the two front wheel bearings that have about 1/8 inch play. It has been my experience that there should be no play in the wheel bearings of this type. You may be on to something with the rear wheel cupping and that needs to be addressed, however for the vehicle to be right consider the play in the front wheel bearings.
The best way to check for play in the front wheel hubs is by grabbing the tire at 6 and 12 o'clock. If you grab it at 3 and 9 you will not know weather it's the wheel bearing or the inner or outer tie rods that have play. Same thing applies to for checking the lower balljoint.
 

Zeroboostbuick

Well-known member
1,370
374
83
S.W. Ontario Canada
Buick Ownership
2018 Regal Sportback - 2010 Yamaha R6 (track bike) Past cars: 92 LeSabre, 98 Regal, 02 GrandPrixGT
I liked having the self leveling shocks when I owned a 92 LeSabre.
My choice would be based on the amount of rust the car has.
Little rust I'd go with the air leveling shock. But if the car has lots of rust I'd go with the traditional shocks.
______________________________
 

Merkava_4

5.7L LS1 Member
693
66
28
Clovis, CA
Buick Ownership
2000 Buick LeSabre
The wheel bearings weren't causing the 1/8 inch play at 3 and 9; the worn tie rods were. But the tie rods weren't worn the same amount between the four. The left outer and the right inner were worn the most.
 
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