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Strange popping noise coming from wheel well area?

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Old 07-01-2010, 07:00 PM   #1
AaronM
 
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Default Strange popping noise coming from wheel well area?

Hey guys,

I've been researching this noise problem I'm having with my 2006 Mustang CE and can't seem to find anything related.

There is a popping sound coming from my front left wheel. The sound is very hard to describe. To be accurate it sounds like the popping noise that heated metal make when it's cooling off.

This only happens when I'm driving straight on the freeway and start once the car heats up to normal temperature. Once I get of the freeway the noise disappears.

The rate at which the popping sounds occurs is like popping popcorn in a microwave. It doesn't sound like popcorn popping but that how consistent the sound is.

It does not make the noise when I turn. Only at high speeds 60-80MPH on the freeway.

This noise first started a few months ago with the right front wheel area. Now the noise from the right front wheel area is gone and now the left front wheel area is making the noise. I can't tell exactly where the noise is coming from.

At first I thought it was my AC/Heater fan behind the dash but it sounds more like it's coming from the wheel well area.

I can only hear it when the windows are up. It sort of makes the sound like a catalytic converter does when it's cooling down on some cars (not mine). But the rate of the popping is more like popcorn popping.

I've checked my lug nuts and there's no rocks in my tires. It almost sounds like something is stuck under my car making noise in the wind or possibly a rock or bolt vibrating against metal but not exactly.

The steering and suspension still seem in great shape just like brand new so I don't think it's the struts or anything to do with the suspension or tie rods.

I don't know as much about cars are some of the people here do so it's hard to describe.

I've had a look under the car by kneeling down looking for something loose or some foreign object but I don't see anything out of place.

The fact that the sound originally came from the right front wheel area and now only the left front wheel area is very strange.

Anyone have any ideas what it could be?

I don't have a lot of money right now to take it into the shop so I'm looking for suggestions.

Any help would be much appreciated.

Thanks!
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Old 07-01-2010, 07:52 PM   #2
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Sorry for the grammar and typo errors. I'm new to the forum and don't see and edit button.

I guess the best way to describe the noise is a crackling sound coming from either behind the dash or wheel well area.

Thanks,
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Old 07-01-2010, 09:15 PM   #3
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If its a heavy clunking noise when you hit very small dips on the highway, it could be your swaybar endlinks. They are known to come loose over time and make crazy loud popping noises. Mine have done this repeatedly. Take off your driver side wheel and torque the upper and lower nuts on the swaybar endlink. Then go drive it and see if the noise is still there.
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Old 07-01-2010, 10:17 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jahudso2 View Post
If its a heavy clunking noise when you hit very small dips on the highway, it could be your swaybar endlinks. They are known to come loose over time and make crazy loud popping noises. Mine have done this repeatedly. Take off your driver side wheel and torque the upper and lower nuts on the swaybar endlink. Then go drive it and see if the noise is still there.
As above. But I've found that the end links usually make a clunking noise. Check 'em out.
Also, many have reported popping noises from the upper strut mounts that crack. If so, replace them with Shelby 500 units (cheap) or Steeda strut mounts. (expensive and alignment needed afterward.)
Noises can be difficult to locate as you are discovering.

Good luck.

Cheers.
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Old 07-02-2010, 07:15 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nemosgt View Post
As above. But I've found that the end links usually make a clunking noise. Check 'em out.
Also, many have reported popping noises from the upper strut mounts that crack. If so, replace them with Shelby 500 units (cheap) or Steeda strut mounts. (expensive and alignment needed afterward.)
Noises can be difficult to locate as you are discovering.

Good luck.

Cheers.
+1, thats the first thing that came to mind.
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Old 07-02-2010, 08:07 AM   #6
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My 06' make the clunking sound as well, so I researched it through the forum and came up with the same conclusion. I need to get my strut mounts replaced. I just haven't been in any rush to do it. I'm kinda getting use to it I guess.
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Old 07-02-2010, 11:30 AM   #7
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Search "CHUCKLE" and see the many posts on the defective upper strut mount.
Also check your sway bar end links for super tightness.....

I just went to my local dealer and they said the new upper strut mounts
(8R3Z-18183-B)cost $58.23 each.
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Old 07-02-2010, 11:34 AM   #8
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you can get the J&M camber plates that repalce those strut mounts for $209 on AM befor eour discount, much cheaper than the steeda ones. And i beleive you are supposed to get an alignment even if you go back with the stock mounts.
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Old 07-02-2010, 12:11 PM   #9
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Thanks for all the replies guys.

I'm still not convinced it's the strut mounts because the crackling noise is very dull not loud. It sounds like tiny sand particles hitting tin metal. It's not loud at all and it's not coming from the road. I know what it sounds like when the struts have gone bad because I had that happen to a car before. This is much different.

One thing that I can add that might hint at what's going on here is my brakes make a crackle noise when they are cooling off. I've noticed when the car is parked in the garage ever since I got the car brand new. It's got 50k miles right now. The crack noise coming from my brakes when they cooling off happens at a rate of about 1 pop/crackle every 5-10 mins for hours after the car has been in turned off.

Anyway.. The noise from my brakes cooling off is probably normal since it's done that ever since the car was new.

The noise on the freeway is not a knocking sound and it doesn't only happen I hit dips in the road. There is no squeaking or knocking sound and it doesn't matter how smooth or rough the road is.

Any more insights as to what this may be is much appreciated.

Thanks!
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Old 07-02-2010, 04:48 PM   #10
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If you push in the clutch is the noise still there? Or if you have an auto, let off the gas? Just wondering if its engine ping b/c of the summer? Probably not it, but just throwing out ideas
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Old 07-02-2010, 04:55 PM   #11
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Added lock washers to my swaybar link nuts as they kept coming loose. Seems to have fixed it for good.
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Old 07-02-2010, 07:23 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jahudso2 View Post
If you push in the clutch is the noise still there? Or if you have an auto, let off the gas? Just wondering if its engine ping b/c of the summer? Probably not it, but just throwing out ideas
My mustang CE is an automatic. I'm 99.99% sure it's not coming from the engine, transmission, or clutch.

I totally baby this car. I never peel out, accelerate, or brake too hard. The car is in pristine condition.

The weird thing is I only hear it on the freeway with the windows up because the wind drowns out the noise. It does the same thing whether my AC/Heater is on or off too.

As soon as I lower my speed to less than 40-50mph (when I hit traffic) the noise goes away. It's been making the noise even before spring time so I don't think weather is a factor.

I'm pretty sure that what ever this crackling noise is it's not hurting the car in any way as far as safety or performance.

It's just pretty damn annoying!

Thanks for your suggestions.
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Old 07-02-2010, 07:25 PM   #13
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Quote:
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My mustang CE is an automatic. I'm 99.99% sure it's not coming from the engine, transmission, or clutch.

I totally baby this car. I never peel out, accelerate, or brake too hard. The car is in pristine condition.

The weird thing is I only hear it on the freeway with the windows up because the wind drowns out the noise. It does the same thing whether my AC/Heater is on or off too.

As soon as I lower my speed to less than 40-50mph (when I hit traffic) the noise goes away. It's been making the noise even before spring time so I don't think weather is a factor.

I'm pretty sure that what ever this crackling noise is it's not hurting the car in any way as far as safety or performance.

It's just pretty damn annoying!

Thanks for your suggestions.
Forgot to mention...

Yeah the noise is still there if I let off the gas when doing 60-80mph.
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Old 07-05-2010, 10:10 AM   #14
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I have a similar problem. Started happening all of a sudden and it is most noticeable when driving slow. Does not matter much turning or not, hard to pinpoint exact location and happens even when the engine is off. Its a small metal noise, popping like a small metal part like a loose nut or bolt hitting something larger like a small thin metal plate... Happens totally randomly...
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Old 07-05-2010, 04:08 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by ym42 View Post
I have a similar problem. Started happening all of a sudden and it is most noticeable when driving slow. Does not matter much turning or not, hard to pinpoint exact location and happens even when the engine is off. Its a small metal noise, popping like a small metal part like a loose nut or bolt hitting something larger like a small thin metal plate... Happens totally randomly...
Anybody here have a CAI?

Shortly after putting my Steeda intake/SCT tune back after a dealer visit, got a persistant squeak from up front even with the smallest of bumps. Thought it might be associated with the end-links again. However, searching about the engine area, I accidently touched the CAI. Squeak, squeak! Turns out I had forgotten to remove the rubber grommets from the factory intake and put 'em on the Steeda! So metal on metal. Duh.

Cheers.
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Old 07-05-2010, 10:50 PM   #16
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I have the same noise in my 07 GT. It sounds like maybe the passenger side forward O2 sensor plug tapping on the headers or something every once in a while. I wish Mustangs were not full of annoying noises.
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Old 07-16-2010, 04:05 AM   #17
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I don't mean to bump this thread but I thought it would be useful for others having this problem to know that I did get this fixed.

To my surprise it was the strut mounts. The crackle noise was so dull I had a hard time believing it was the strut mounts but as the experts here were right!

When the advice was given to check the strut mounts I did have a look and felt the bolts by hand to see if they were loose. They seemed to be pretty tight so I dismissed it.

The noise kept bothering me so much I decided to take a wrench to the 4 strut mount bolts and was able to tighten two of the bolts about a quarter of a turn. The other two bolts were on solid tight. After tightening them I still didn't think that would do the trick because they were on pretty tight already.

Thankfully that quarter of a turn must have been enough because the noise is now gone. I'm crossing my fingers that was it.

I'd like to thank everyone who shared their advice!
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Old 06-23-2014, 10:29 PM   #18
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I have the same problem on my 2000 gt .. Im going to check the strut mounts I really hope that fixes it .. Thanks
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Old 06-23-2014, 10:29 PM
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2005, car, catalytic, coming, converter, crackling, front, jalopnik, mustang, noise, popping, sound, sounds, strut, well, wheel, wheels

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