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  #1  
Old 05-02-2001, 08:18 PM
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Location: Iowa
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My 92 400E has developed a mysterious rattle of an unknown origin. This is driving me absolutely crazy! I'm a miracle ear candidate, but can hear a 1db rattle in a wind storm at 800 paces.

I took it in last friday and as of today, the shop is still unable to find it. It sounds something like links of a chain being rattled together, and coming from under the passenger side towards the rear.

It only rattles on sharp bumps in the road, or multiple dips. It did not develop after any type of modification or service, as though something may not have been tightened correctly, but more "out of the blue".

My mechanic has checked the dust(?) sheilds by the rotors and the parking brakes, but cannot seem to locate the source. Anyone with any experience? This could cost me as much as upgrading to the 500E I want!

Please any suggestions are greatly appreciated, it is going back on thursday!

Thanks to all!
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  #2  
Old 05-02-2001, 08:27 PM
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Check the upper shroud on the shock absorber. May be bent or broken loose. I have seen this two times, however, neither was an MBZ. Also, look for any missing or broken parts in the exhaust system.
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  #3  
Old 05-02-2001, 08:32 PM
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Maybe driveshaft center bearing or exhaust pipe/muffler hanger? Or a loose belly pan? Check the easy ones first: nothing in the center console or glove box that is loose, seat belt not banging against the center piller, wiring under the seat loose, etc. These noises can be hard to pin down.

I had the same kind of rattle - clink noise, and it turned out to be a pen that the previous owner had let drop down the defrost vent and it had worked its way into the ac ducts under the seat - it still had the owner's name on the pen!

Good luck!
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  #4  
Old 05-02-2001, 08:42 PM
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You guys are quick, thanks for the replies! The shocks were checked and all seemed ok.

My initial suggestion, just by the sound, was the exhaust hangers, but he said they seemed ok also. Maybe they need checking again.

JCE,

Your pen story hits close to home, as I just had a pen removed from a vent a few weeks ago. When cornering, it would slide back and forth, but he located that one in seconds.

But the sound is much more dynamic and involving what appears to be several metallic parts.

I'll be in the garage banging car stuff.
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  #5  
Old 05-03-2001, 06:56 AM
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If you're sure the undercarriage is fine and all intact, then I would suggest starting the investigation from the boot. Take everything out and have a look to see that the spare tyre and its accessories are in place. Make sure nothing is left unturned.

Then, Once you're satisfied of the boot having been cleared (given the green, they say), move into the cabin.

With military precision, remove the back seat and inspect again for any loose metal particles. Pay special attention to the rear seat buckels. Once you are satisfied, and have declared the area green ... check your front seats underneath. Am not going to ask for their removal as visual inspection will ensure that the bolts and nuts are in place, and no loose metal objects are left unidentified.

That having done, are you sure the doors aren't the culprit?
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  #6  
Old 05-03-2001, 10:09 AM
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Thanks ymsin,

That's where I started before taking it to the shop. Removed everything from the trunk including all panels and checking the "pockets" on each side. I removed the rear seat and the front and rear door panels. My doors are quite solid now!

I have been convinced it is coming from outside and when driving past a bridge or concrete wall it is quite clear it is not coming from the inside. I had someone ride in the trunk as I drove around a parking lot with the lid open and it is from underneath the car...somewhere.

I have also removed the plastic cover the protects the fuel pump (I think) and have put spliced rubber fuel lines on and in between any area around this platic cover and the brake shields, but the rattle still haunts me!

Thanks for the replies!
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  #7  
Old 05-03-2001, 12:42 PM
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Could it be something like a loose parking brake cable? Or (real stretch here!) a loose bolt and/or bad rubber bushing in one of the suspension arms - does the car handle OK? Is there any rattle noise in the doors when they are firmly closed?

Final wild shot - I noted on a stereo thread on this site that someone had put foam tube type water pipe insulation around the coil springs in the trunk. I tried this and an annoying rattle that occured when the trunk was closed went away forever! Good luck - maybe you could do a repeat of the parking lot ride-in-the-trunk with the person listening through a diagnostic stethascope to different areas to try and pinpoint the area. Might be more accurate than my amatuer shotgun diagnostic attempts!
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  #8  
Old 05-03-2001, 12:48 PM
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I would love to watch JCE crack this riddle.

Anyway, looks like its well covered what with someone being tucked in the trunk! You must have pretty good suspension I must say.

Hoist up your MB and give it a thorough check. That would have saved you some trunk-loading. Do check on the wheels too .. take them off and see what you have in the cavity.
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  #9  
Old 05-03-2001, 01:03 PM
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With the description of the "rattling chain" noise, I believe it is safe to assume that you are just being haunted. I suggest you take your car to an exorcist. Don't stand too close to the front as you might get antifreeze on your shoes.

All kidding aside, check the fuel filler door springs and behind any lower trim panels and fender liners.
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  #10  
Old 05-03-2001, 01:40 PM
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How about front wheel bearings? They can have a "rattling chain" sound. That came to mind after your comment about hearing it from the outside when crossing a bridge. Might be worth a shot.
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  #11  
Old 05-03-2001, 02:30 PM
Rodgeda
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Phantom rattle

Does this car have rear disc brakes? If so, it is common on older domestic cars for the bushings that hold the calipers in place to wear. When that happens they make a high pitched rattling noise when going over small irregularities, like a washboard before a stop sign. This is simple to diagnose by removing the wheel and trying to wiggle the caliper, keeping in mind that there is some friction against the rotor even at rest.
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  #12  
Old 05-03-2001, 03:24 PM
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Try checking the trunk, and then the compartment the fuel tank is in, there may be a rattle trap gap there. I had an anoying sound from the back and started taking out the back seats. I found they are great insulators. Driving without them was noticable louder and the rattle clearer and its location easier to locate. My problem was the tail pipe was replaced a long time before and had checked it several times before I found the problem.

Definition: research: looking again (re-search).
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  #13  
Old 05-03-2001, 05:15 PM
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I have encountered something very similar on both Audi A6s my father once owned (both V6s). As you say, metallic, rattling chain noise from outside of the car, particularly apparent when driving next to a reflective surface (eg a bridge or wall) with the window down.

Does it come on only when the engine is warm?

I think on our Audis (Audii?) the problem was a catalytic convertor heat shield. These thin and lightweight pieces of metal are particularly prone to resonating at a high frequency. The movement need only be tiny and may not be apparent on inspection and shaking by hand.

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  #14  
Old 05-03-2001, 05:31 PM
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We have a winner!

JCE, you're the man! It was a loose parking brake cable allowing the parking brake shoes to rattle. My mechanic had put little wooden shims between alomst every piece of metal on the suspension and both rear wheels before he could narrow the search.

This was difficult to replicate without the car moving, but also had to hoist the car in order to inspect.

Nevertheless he located it and I want to sincerely thank all of you for your timely attempts at solving the riddle.

Thank you!
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  #15  
Old 05-03-2001, 09:12 PM
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How much did solving the riddle cost ya?
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