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Discussion Starter #1
Hi owners of 1st-gen Mazda 6,

I have a 2007 Mazda 6 i Sport 4i 2.3L, it had 158,400 miles today.

Starting from several months ago, the car has had a strange front end vibration and noise. In order to better show the problem, I've recorded a 2-minutes video and uploaded it to Youtube, here is the video (youtube.com/watch?v=wByvgskPDh8).

As you can hear form the video, the clicking noise is very loud and regular. I can feel the vibration from steering wheel, floor, seat, windshield, basically everything vibrates... :-(

It's proportional to speed, not engine speed.

I have replaced the following items but did not solve the problem:
1. new tires
2. new rims
3. new aftermarket CV axle (driver side only)
4. new rotors
5. new brakes

I am sure the engine is bullet proof, I've use full synthetic oil and recently replaced the OEM engine mounts.

Have you experienced same or similar front end vibration and noise? What might be the root cause problem? Does it look wheel bearing?


************** Further thought ******************
Based on the wheel and tire size, I calculated the relationship between the frequency of the wheel (F, in Hz) and the velocity of the car with respect to ground (V, in mph) is:

F = 0.218*V

Using a software called "Audacity", I extracted the audio from the video and measured the frequency of the vibration that caused the noise. It is 14~15 Hz when driving with 70 mph. So it basically proved that the vibration is caused by something, in drivetrain, most possibly between transmission and the wheel. Is is wheel bearing or CV axle?

Thank you all!
 

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So I need to ask, how are the mounts on the car? The reason I ask is because I had something similar to what you have going on the last time I went to NC on vacation. The oil filled mount was so shot that a CV joint was hitting something (I can't remember where exactly) I drove it 500 miles home like that and once back home I was able to switch it out. Nowhere in NC that I was around had a mount and would have had to order 1 and we didn't have the time to wait for it.

It was a bitch to track down and I was lucky enough that my brother in law helped me find it.

With the help from someone, either have them slowly back up and drive forward while you look for anything that is hitting while it's moving or you drive while they look. My noise only showed up under load while the car was on the ground. Sure enough, he was able to see exactly where the axle was hitting due to the mount being blown out.

It may not be exactly what your issue is but it's worth a shot.
 

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My noise only showed up under load while the car was on the ground. Sure enough, he was able to see exactly where the axle was hitting due to the mount being blown out.
I absolutely love reading all these posts. It is like gaining the experience of being a mechanic on ONE type of car for 30 years. There are so many great posts about obscure failures and their associated solutions.
 

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Yeah it was odd. The car drove fine all the way up there from FL and on the 4th day of 7, that noise showed up and freaked me out. I thought it was a rod knock while I was driving but when parked, no knock. When it was jacked up and on stands, the noise wasn't there at all. It wasn't until the suspension was under load and backing up and down the drive way that it showed back up.
 

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did you check the control arms? i had similar issues last year but let it go for a while. went to get my car inspected and the mechanic noticed the inside of my front tires were worn way down. replacing the control arms fixed it for me
 

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Discussion Starter #6
So I need to ask, how are the mounts on the car? The reason I ask is because I had something similar to what you have going on the last time I went to NC on vacation. The oil filled mount was so shot that a CV joint was hitting something (I can't remember where exactly) I drove it 500 miles home like that and once back home I was able to switch it out. Nowhere in NC that I was around had a mount and would have had to order 1 and we didn't have the time to wait for it.

It was a bitch to track down and I was lucky enough that my brother in law helped me find it.

With the help from someone, either have them slowly back up and drive forward while you look for anything that is hitting while it's moving or you drive while they look. My noise only showed up under load while the car was on the ground. Sure enough, he was able to see exactly where the axle was hitting due to the mount being blown out.

It may not be exactly what your issue is but it's worth a shot.
Thanks DJ for your sharing. I was too busy yesterday.

By "mounts", do you mean engine mount (engine mount) or front struts (shock absorber)?

1. I have replaced all three engine mounts and transmission mounts with the OEM one last year. They are expensive, the total price of parts is $400.

2. I also replaced all six control arms last year with aftermarket parts, total price is $160 on Amazon.

The car had been great, I enjoyed every minute when driving it.

But since last year, as a 11-years-old car, it began showing many problems, such as
1. control arm balljoint noise
2. thermostat stuck open and leak
3. radiator leak
4. rough idle.
5. transmission shift problem
6. driver speaker no sound
7. center dash lid broke
8. many electrical circuits problem, such as headlight flicker

I did most DIY repair myself to save money. But my wife complains that I spent much more time on a old car than on her and the kid...

I just don't know if should continue to invest a little more money on the repair or drive as is to engine failure.

Test drove the new 2019 Mazda 6, I don't like the handling of it. It drives like a Camry but with louder windnoise. It was not double wishbone any more. I still like the handling of 1st-gen.

Thanks~
 

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Discussion Starter #7
did you check the control arms? i had similar issues last year but let it go for a while. went to get my car inspected and the mechanic noticed the inside of my front tires were worn way down. replacing the control arms fixed it for me
I also replaced all six control arms last year with aftermarket parts, total price is $160 on Amazon. Considering it low price, it drives okay, not as good as OEM.
The OEM control arms are ridiculously expensive. A whole set of 6 might cost $800. One limitation of Mazda is that its OEM parts are too expensive, comparing with Toyota and Honda.
 

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Yeah it was odd. The car drove fine all the way up there from FL and on the 4th day of 7, that noise showed up and freaked me out. I thought it was a rod knock while I was driving but when parked, no knock. When it was jacked up and on stands, the noise wasn't there at all. It wasn't until the suspension was under load and backing up and down the drive way that it showed back up.
Mine showed the vibration without too much load. The only payload is my weight, 185 lbs :crying:
 

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Mine showed the vibration without too much load. The only payload is my weight, 185 lbs :crying:
Lmfao, if the car is on the ground with nothing but the wheels supporting it, the suspension is under load lol.

I was watching the video again just trying to think. To me that doesn't sound like a wheel bearing. Most of the time that's more of a "wom,wom,wom" sound vs a "clacking" sound. If they are extremely worn and dry, maybe. I'm not familiar with the 2.3 but does it have an intermediate shaft and carrier bearing? These can make all sorts of noises on any vehicle they are on.

I'd jack the car up and take a pry bar and touch everything possible with it. Try to get pieces to move. Check the shafts of any kind of play. Look at the carrier bearing if you have one and see if it looks odd. Does the axle have play where the 2 meet? Take your hands and place them on the tires at 12 and 6 o'clock and wiggle in and out. Hands at 3 and 9 o'clock and wiggle. Is there any play there? If there is play when wiggling the tires but not moving the suspension, that would be the wheel bearing.

This one is definitely an odd one and I'm more than happy to try and brainstorm and post thoughts and possibilities but can't say for sure that's what the problem is going to be lol.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Lmfao, if the car is on the ground with nothing but the wheels supporting it, the suspension is under load lol.

I was watching the video again just trying to think. To me that doesn't sound like a wheel bearing. Most of the time that's more of a "wom,wom,wom" sound vs a "clacking" sound. If they are extremely worn and dry, maybe. I'm not familiar with the 2.3 but does it have an intermediate shaft and carrier bearing? These can make all sorts of noises on any vehicle they are on.

I'd jack the car up and take a pry bar and touch everything possible with it. Try to get pieces to move. Check the shafts of any kind of play. Look at the carrier bearing if you have one and see if it looks odd. Does the axle have play where the 2 meet? Take your hands and place them on the tires at 12 and 6 o'clock and wiggle in and out. Hands at 3 and 9 o'clock and wiggle. Is there any play there? If there is play when wiggling the tires but not moving the suspension, that would be the wheel bearing.

This one is definitely an odd one and I'm more than happy to try and brainstorm and post thoughts and possibilities but can't say for sure that's what the problem is going to be lol.
I will check tomorrow. Thank you! Will keep update!
 

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I will check tomorrow. Thank you! Will keep update!

What a bummer. I struggled with a very pronounced vibration for several months recently. It was speed proportional and shook enough on the highway to shake my phone loose from its mount.
My story was a whine that changed with speed.
https://forum.mazda6club.com/1st-gen/437988-stop-whining-case-study-front-end-bearing-noise.html
I also has a CV boot fail in the typical area (outer crease of inboard boot) on the passenger side.
I decided to replace everything from the right side differential seal outward. (differential seal, inner and outer carrier bearing seals, carrier bearing, CV shaft and wheel bearing).
No change in the whine but the "NEW" CV shaft I special ordered from Mazda was DOA (and also rebuilt despite being listed as new)
I bought a new one from a local parts house. SurTrack MZ-8138 (review) lasted for about 50 miles and something let go inside the ourboard joint. It started the rather violent shaking at this point. When I grabbed hold of the shaft under the car and moved it in all directions it moved significantly more than the OEM axle on the drivers side (180,000 miles).
I have had axle problems on different cars over the years and all of them have been with aftermarket axles.
My solution was to go to the local salvage yard and remove the passenger side CV shaft from a later model (all 2003-2007 passenger are the same regardless of transmission) that had intact boots. I refreshed the boots with OEM (surprisingly easy) and installed it with fantastic results.


TL;DR Don't trust aftermarket axles.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
What a bummer. I struggled with a very pronounced vibration for several months recently. It was speed proportional and shook enough on the highway to shake my phone loose from its mount.
My story was a whine that changed with speed.
https://forum.mazda6club.com/1st-gen/437988-stop-whining-case-study-front-end-bearing-noise.html
I also has a CV boot fail in the typical area (outer crease of inboard boot) on the passenger side.
I decided to replace everything from the right side differential seal outward. (differential seal, inner and outer carrier bearing seals, carrier bearing, CV shaft and wheel bearing).
No change in the whine but the "NEW" CV shaft I special ordered from Mazda was DOA (and also rebuilt despite being listed as new)
I bought a new one from a local parts house. SurTrack MZ-8138 (review) lasted for about 50 miles and something let go inside the ourboard joint. It started the rather violent shaking at this point. When I grabbed hold of the shaft under the car and moved it in all directions it moved significantly more than the OEM axle on the drivers side (180,000 miles).
I have had axle problems on different cars over the years and all of them have been with aftermarket axles.
My solution was to go to the local salvage yard and remove the passenger side CV shaft from a later model (all 2003-2007 passenger are the same regardless of transmission) that had intact boots. I refreshed the boots with OEM (surprisingly easy) and installed it with fantastic results.


TL;DR Don't trust aftermarket axles.
Thanks for sharing, you provide an important clue. I will check my cv axle again.

I just moved from NC to SF Bay area, I am not very familiar with the local junkyard or pull-a-part. I might need to Google it...

I learned this lesson the hard way that in critical places, OEM is the only way to go such as engine part...

We all knew the thermostat on 1-st 6 has design flaws, it will get stuck open at around 120k miles or 7~8 years. In 2016, I replaced the broken thermostat with a motorcraft, $30...The OEM is just $60. Less than one year later, I found the antifreeze leak from the thermostat. Finally I had to do the job again. This time I used the OEM thermostat. I understand the quality of Mazda part (actually ford part for 1-gen 6). But 7~8 years of lifespan is clearly way better than 1year...
 

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Discussion Starter #13
A quick update of my discovery of the root-cause of vibration.

I jacked the car up in the air, setting the jack stand.

1. I hold the 3-clock and 9-clock of both tires, no play is found, actually no play at all, it is very tight.

2. I hold the 12-clock and 6-clock of both tires, no play is found either.

3. I use one hand to rotate the tire, put the other hand on the coilspring of struct (next to upper control arm). I did feel excessive vibration.

4. I disable TCS, and put the gear in "D". The front tires can rotate freely in the air. I notice some "click-n-click" sound from somewhere between the passenger cv axle and the intermediate shaft. I am not sure exactly where it is from.

5. Finally, I waited until it g0t 10pm at night. I put the car on the ground again, and drove it to a quiet and empty parking lot. I did a lot of testing, such as making left turn and right turns to feel the changes of vibrations. I found that the vibration is stronger when I make left turn. The vibration is weaker (doesn't go away) when I make right turn.

Based on my findings, I suspect the root causes of the vibration most likely could be

a) passenger side cv axle
b) carriage bearing of the intermediate shaft
c) passenger side wheel bearing

I will start with the simple thing first, by replacing the passenger side cv axle.

Thank you for your help~
 

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Nice find! Good luck and I hope you get it sorted out. Please post your findings for others to see in the future.
 

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Based on my findings, I suspect the root causes of the vibration most likely could be

a) passenger side cv axle
b) carriage bearing of the intermediate shaft
c) passenger side wheel bearing

I will start with the simple thing first, by replacing the passenger side cv axle.

Thank you for your help~

Great. My vote is for A.
carrier bearing wont likely change with turn angle and a wheel bearing you likely would have felt with it in the air.
There is a 2006 at Pick-n-pull San Jose North for you just waiting.
Good Luck.
 
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