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  1. #1
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    Roaring sound- Differential, Bearing or Tire ?

    Experts please weigh in:
    99 323i, MT, 110 K- had a diff fluid change a couple months go and a problem started this week. What is hear is a roar from 30 mph that does not change much in volume. Sounds almost like driving over grooved concrete- the noise is driving me nuts. Makes no difference if the car is in gear or neutral or accelerating.

    I raised the car and see no leaks in the diff, CV boots. Checked the bearings by rotating the rear wheel with parking brake off- The rear wheels turn OK- less freely than the fronts and the drivers rear seems a bit tighter still but neither wheel was binding or making any noise.

    Don't see anything odd with rear tires and the tires have ~ 15000 miles on them with no vibrations or any other issues. It does sound like a bad tire I once had but that turned out to be a broken belt but that tire was new. To add to the confusion one rear tire had a puncture in the tread a month ago- it was nail and was fixed with a rubber plug- the plug looks fine.

    Could this be related to the diff ?


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    if it doesn't change with acceleration or...

    deceleration and no change with turning right or lrft, I'm thinking a bad tire. Differential problems usually don't present themselves all of a sudden. They're more of a gradual increase in noise. That is unless you sheared a tooth off of a gear or something similar.

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    On two different sets of tires, I've noticed that

    tire noise increases greatly as the tread gets significantly lower. More so than on any other car I've ever had.

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    Why not swap front/rear tires and see if the noise

    moves with the tires? I take it from your list of suspects that the roaring sound is coming from the rear of the car. If you move the tires and the noise moves, too, I would think you'll have found the culprit.

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    What kind of tires?

    I have Goodyear GS-D3's on my car and am going to have to dump them soon because they are VERY noisy. My ears cannot take it much longer. Goodyear cannot seem to make a tire suitable for a BMW that is a daily driver. Although they have 15K miles on them they also still have 8/32" or more still left, and in perfect condition otherwise, no cupping or unusual wear. Anyone need some autocross tires (225/50-16's)? They handle like crazy but the noise is unacceptable.

    You problem may nust be tires. Can you switch to another set just for testing (obviously that are already mounted)

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    UPDATE- Roaring sound- Differential, Bearing

    Did some extensive checking:
    - Changed rear tires to a different set (I had a spare tire + wheel set)- the roaring sound is till present. So, I have ruled out the tires (Kumho Ecsta ASX)
    - Differential fluid level and color is as expected
    - I can hear a "wub-wub" when making right turns at 40 mph or higher (on ramps). Don't hear that on left turns or on right turns at slower speeds.
    - Noise definitely coming from the rear

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    Re: UPDATE- Roaring sound- Differential, Bearing

    I am leaning toward an emerging bearing problem. Not having dealt with bearing failure before, I want to hear from others whether this will leave me stranded or should I wait until it manifests more symptoms.

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    Probably not stranded, but always better to

    deal with a problem as soon as possible. One problem could lead to others that will cause much more expense.

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    Does seem like it's a bearing, and I would fix it

    now. You don't want that thing to seize.

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    Agreed.

    My wife's 2004 325ci was making a very loud rump rump rump sound as it was driven even though the tires were not near the wear bars yet. It had the Continental ContiSportContact in the 225/45-17 size. The noise was loud enough that I could hear her coming down our road on her way home. Tread was probably at 20-30% so I being a titewad did not want to put tires on it will spring when the snows come off.

    Well I used the car for travel to Wisconsin to bring a sailboat to Indiana across lake Michigan and barely made it 20 miles until I lost the sidewall in the P/S rear tire. I don't drive the car much but it felt as if one tire was low on pressure and I was headed to a service station prior to getting on the toll road to check pressures when the tire failed.

    I replaced the tires with the Bridgestone Potenza RE760 Sport. Tires feel good, noise is gone and Mama's happy!
    M3Woody
    1986 911 Carrera
    1990 M3
    1994 Chevy C2500
    2004 325ci
    2005 MINI Cooper S (4 sale)

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    Re: Roaring sound- Differential, Bearing or Tire ?

    It sounds like you have eliminated the tires by changing to another set. I went thru this recently also. While I'm not sure what is meant by a "roaring" noise, I had what sounded like tire problems turn out to be a wheel bearing. If I remember correctly special tools are needed making it out of the reach of many. The good news is it was only @$300 at my indy. The other side failed about 15K later.

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    Re: Roaring sound- Differential, Bearing or Tire ?

    My mechanic confirmed that the noise is RR bearings. Will replace both next week and update this group.
    Thanks all.

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    Update- Problem fixed with new RR bearings

    Two new rear wheel bearings and the ride is smooth, no noise. The old bearings were shot per my mechanic although there was not any appreciable amount of resistance when turning the rear wheels. ~$400 for both incl. parts.

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