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Vehicle: Road: Lane
"What's that noise?" lane.   (+5, -6)  [vote for, against]
A lane designed to allow you to figure out what the noise is.

Sometimes cars make sounds that can only be heard at a certain speed, which is usually inconvienent to recreate in a mechanic's shop. Sometimes you can hear the noises reflected off bridge walls or curbs, but this usually only lasts long enough to make you think 'What the heck was that?'

Create a lane, preferably part of the road system that anyone can easily use, with specially designed walls on either side to amplify the sounds and reflect them such that you can hear them. Obviously it should be a couple of miles long to give you enough time to identify the noise.
-- StarChaser, Sep 22 2001

Mopar Car got you down?
Extremely useful database [thumbwax, Sep 22 2001, last modified Oct 21 2004]

Once you know with certainty what the problem is, are we going to be able to tell what road surface to drive on to minimize the noise?

Born of the concern that I have with the total incompetence found in the auto dealership service level, I fully doubt that a standard auto shop will acknowledge that the problem is anywhere but in the driver or in an out of warranty part. Is there a concept service that uses jacks and clamps to isolate auto components for testing?
-- reensure, Sep 22 2001

I'm imagining a car going 60 MPH down the highway, hood up (retracted?), robotic arms moving about within the engine compartment replacing parts...
-- phoenix, Sep 22 2001

What about a big variable-speed treadmill for the shop, complete with faux asphalt? You could drive on that, and the mechanic could pop the hood and mess around.

Precautions would be necessary to avoid certain failure modes.
-- egnor, Sep 22 2001

I stuffed a croissant into your gas tank - Sorry.
-- thumbwax, Sep 23 2001

As long as it didn't have sugar on it...

I'm not talking about repairing the thing on the fly...Mostly, I'm talking about home mechanics. 'Real' mechanics have tools to do the same thing <One of the things I used to support for Chrysler, waaaay back when>.

The idea came from my car the other day. It's making an odd sound, but I can't tell from WHERE, because it only does it at 65+, and it's hard to get going that fast in the driveway, not to mention keeping up alongside...and it really stresses the cats.
-- StarChaser, Sep 23 2001

Garages should keep a stock of taped car noises and a list of possible causes for each one. The motorist can then listen to a range of thumping and knocking sounds, identifying the one his car makes. It will then be a simple matter for the mechanic to determine the problem.
-- pussygalore, Sep 23 2001

Now available from the Halfbakery CD shop.
-- hippo, Sep 23 2001

Engine should already be warm prior to this Engine Diagnostic on Mopar product.
Turn the ignition key on/off, on/off, on:
write down how many times the light flashes:
flash flash pause flash - long pause
flash flash pause flash flash flash, long pause, etc.
would be 'Code 21', 'Code 23', etc..
This will indicate what problems are under the hood.
I have diagnostic codes if you are unable to find them on net. has a wonderful database on net which often has listings of similar situations such as what you may be experiencing.
-- thumbwax, Sep 23 2001

Pussygalore: You laugh. The system that replaced the Mopar Diagnostic System <Imaginatively named 'Mopar Diagnostic System 2'> does that.

Thumbwax: This is wonderful if A) your car is a Chrysler, and B) it's the engine that's the problem.
-- StarChaser, Sep 24 2001

Could simply be time to rebalance, realign, rotate. Gets noisy down there
-- thumbwax, Sep 25 2001

Contestants in the Virtual Mechanic Contest will be judged on poise and lucidity.
-- thumbwax, Sep 25 2001

UnaBubba, you were The RepoMan?
-- hippo, Sep 25 2001

I once drove 2 and 1/2 hours to an increasingly unnerving, regular, fast-pitched "thwucka-thwucka-thwucka" sound, accompanied by the appropriate scary vibrations (the physical kind). We reached our destination and went to a mechanic who immediately diagnosed the problem as improperly screwed-in bolts on the right-front wheel. While we drove, the wheel became increasingly unstable as the bolts worked themselves loose. Ten more miles, the guy said, and the wheel would have come off (at 65 m.p.h. on a crowded highway).

Not the scariest story of all time, certainly, but Starchy's invention would have been just the thing that day.
-- snarfyguy, Sep 26 2001

UB - You'll have to check with the Onomatopoeia Registration Office.
-- snarfyguy, Sep 26 2001


<grin> No, it's just clickyclickyclicky. But I can't tell whether it's an expensive clicky or a cheap clicky.
-- StarChaser, Sep 29 2001

as I am too young to drive I'm not totally sure oh usful it would be but if it could get rid of annyoing sounds I guess my parents won't get as stressed (but usually the noise is my sister saying ARE WE THERE YET)
-- GreeboMaster, Sep 30 2001

Thanks for clearing that up, Greeb.
-- snarfyguy, Oct 01 2001

Take a big cable tie and put it around the driveshaft. Will make a whizzing sound that is dependent on speed. Or an oldie but goodie, stones in the hubcaps.
-- Amishman35, Feb 16 2002

get this one baked, Star. My car is *still* laughing at me.
-- po, May 27 2002

I once went to a speedometer shop that a garage bay with a free spinning wheel so you could actually test your car with the wheels moving at any speed. It was really scary I thought the car would take off through the wall at any moment but I had to get the little piece of paper saying my speedo was out of calibration to get a speeding ticket fixed.
-- foolandhismoney, Jun 25 2002

It's baked, pretty much. "Dynamometer" is the name of the treadmill-for-cars device that the expensive auto repair shops have. It's normally used for measuring horsepower in hot rods but also allows most of your other moving noises to be diagnosed. (exceptions include noises related to the suspension and non-driving wheels). Check out for specs... (sorry I haven't figured out how to do fancy URLs yet)
-- white, Jun 25 2002

-- Weirdgirl27, Dec 26 2002

StarChaser, you're in the Tampa area, right? Well try driving around the inner loop of the Clearwater beach roundabout. I don't know if the curb is still there now that the fountain is gone, but it was/is large enough to get a good amplification off of, methinks.
-- Malakh, Dec 27 2002

random, halfbakery