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Old 10-23-2003, 01:06 PM
Zoonhollis's Avatar
Diesel Fanatic
Join Date: Jun 2000
Location: Cary, NC
Posts: 551
Harmonic Drivetrain Noise

Okay, I've used the search tool and found some good info, but nothing that describes my problem exactly.

I think I've eliminated the wheels/tires as culprits for this strange highway noise I'm getting at speed. The car is an '84 300D with 230K miles. I'm pretty sure it's something in the driveline--perhaps a driveshaft out of balance. The sound is like:

wwwWWWOOOWWWwww...wwwWWWOOOWWWwww (ad nauseum) other words, it's not constant, but fluctuates harmonically. Could it be worn flex discs? A fatigued tranny mount (deviating the angle of the shaft)? Out-of-balance driveshaft?

I've managed to get this car fairly quiet at highway speeds, and now this noise is particularly apparent.

1995 E300 Diesel (Die Blau Frau)
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Old 10-24-2003, 08:03 PM
Join Date: Jul 2001
Location: Old Lyme, Connecticut
Posts: 3,596

Noise sources rich in harmonics like you describe are usually items with ball bearings. So, the first place I would look is the driveshaft center support bearing. This item is a radial ball bearing with the outer race bonded to a rubber donut, that is then bonded on its outside diameter to what looks like half a pipe hanger for a 4 or 5 inch diameter pipe. When the rubber breaks down water and grit get into the bearing and the isolation the rubber donut provides diminishes and you have a "sound short" to the car body. The body selectively responds to its favorite frequencies so you hear the whole system interacting with the source of the stimulus, the drive shaft turning.

And then, again, it can be the bearings anywhere in the rest of the drivetrain and the front wheels. I would start with the drive shaft center support bearing though as I have had this go out a few times on different cars and it sounds much like your visual description of the noise (pretty good depiction of a noise).

Good luck, Jim
1986 Euro 190E 2.3-16 (291,000 miles),
1998 E300D TurboDiesel, 231,000 miles -purchased with 45,000,
1988 300E 5-speed 252,000 miles,
1983 240D 4-speed, purchased w/136,000, now with 222,000 miles.
2009 ML320CDI Bluetec, 89,000 miles

1971 220D (250,000 miles plus, sold to father-in-law),
1975 240D (245,000 miles - died of body rot),
1991 350SD (176,560 miles, weakest Benz I have owned),
1999 C230 Sport (45,400 miles),
1982 240D (321,000 miles, put to sleep)
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Old 10-25-2003, 07:30 PM
Zoonhollis's Avatar
Diesel Fanatic
Join Date: Jun 2000
Location: Cary, NC
Posts: 551
As usual, thanks for the reply and the good info, Jim.

1995 E300 Diesel (Die Blau Frau)
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