What on earth could this rattle be? 02 Vw Jetta...

Joined
Jul 3, 2020
Messages
127
Location
Canada
Hi everyone, yesterday evening this odd rattle had developed while driving on the highway... I got around to investigating today, and I have had no luck with everything I have tried. First I thought it was the typically belly pan cover... So I went ahead and removed it, but noise was still present. Then I found some other loose trim around the fenders which was making noise, so I removed that but the rattle was still present...then by pure chance, I noticed the front suspension fork bolt and nut on the left side was completely loose! I have never seen that before and I can't understand how it happened, as I never touched the suspension since I got this car, and it looks original... So I tightend that bolt and nut to specs (with intention to replace it with a new one this week) but, the rattle is still there! I'm so perplexed, I don't know where else to look. It only happens at highway speeds, and what's ironic, after every investigation, I drove the exact same route. I went south on the highway, then made a u turn when the highway ended, and went back north on the highway, and that's when the noise reappeared... Always going north, never south... It also only happens if I'm going straight or slightly left, if I pull the wheel to the right just a little, the rattle goes away. I have posted 3 videos below, 2 of the rattle noise and 1 of that loose bolt and nut that I found







The only thing that I've done recently is the front pads, rotors and calipers... I did this 2 days ago and didn't have this rattle until last night... I also did the rear rotors and pads yesterday. I did everything by the book and everything is seated properly... What could it be?
 
Last edited:
Joined
Jul 7, 2014
Messages
3,365
Location
Winnipeg MB CA
Hi everyone, yesterday evening this odd rattle had developed while driving on the highway... I got around to investigating today, and I have had no luck with everything I have tried. First I thought it was the typically belly pan cover... So I went ahead and removed it, but noise was still present. Then I found some other loose trim around the fenders which was making noise, so I removed that but the rattle was still present...then by pure chance, I noticed the front suspension fork bolt and nut on the left side was completely loose! I have never seen that before and I can't understand how it happened, as I never touched the suspension since I've got this car, and it looks original... So I tightend that bolt and nut to specs (with intention to replace it with a new one this week) but, the rattle is still there! I'm so perplexed, I don't know where else to look. It only happens at highway speeds, and what's ironic, after every investigation, I drove the exact same route. I went south on the highway, then made a u turn when the highway ended, and went back north on the highway, and that's when the noise reappeared... Always going north, never south... It also only happens if I'm going straight or slightly left, if I pull the wheel to the right just a little, the rattle goes away. I have posted 3 videos below, 2 of the rattle noise and 1 of that loose bolt and nut that I found







The only thing that I've done recently is the front pads, rotors and calipers... I did this 2 days ago and didn't have this rattle until last night... I also did the rear rotors and pads yesterday. I did everything by the book and everything is seated properly... What could it be?

It is a terribly discouraging thing, and I speak from personal experience, when one hears a bad car noise, investigates, finds the obvious source, and does the repair, only to have the noise still there.

Good luck, and please let us know how this turns out.
 

Johan1

Thread starter
Joined
Jul 3, 2020
Messages
127
Location
Canada
is the shock absorber still seated properly? compare to the other side.

Does the rattle dissappear under braking?

I did check the strut in the fork and it looked in the proper position. Didn't compare it to the other side but I'm certain that it was fine but I will check later and compare the two

As for the braking, I want to say that it does go away but I'm not certain. I wasn't paying attention that much on the braking as I was on what speed it happens at
 

Johan1

Thread starter
Joined
Jul 3, 2020
Messages
127
Location
Canada
Ball joint, wheel bearing, or maybe worn out bushing in the upper or lower control arm?

Could be but it would be so coincidental that it happens right after a brake job (go figure)

What I did originally was raise both front wheel, put the car in 5th gear (it is a manual, and I let the tires spin in 5th without accelerating, but I didn't hear anything). What I will do next is raise the front again, put it in 5th, but this time try accelerating and see if I can replicate the noise
 
Joined
Oct 31, 2017
Messages
4,681
Location
California
Just an anecdote. Many years ago, after I got my Golf back from the mechanic I heard a similar noise. It was an on and intermittent and very irritating racket and I couldn't find anything loose. Eventually I found out that someone had dropped a screwdriver into the engine compartment and the scewdriver got stuck in the radiator fan cage. I could barely see it wedged behind a strut. Ever so often, the fan blades would contact the screwdriver's handle. The screwdriver was stuck very much and it took an extraordinary amount of bleeding skin and foul language to dislodge it.
 

Johan1

Thread starter
Joined
Jul 3, 2020
Messages
127
Location
Canada
Yea, it's a floating brake pad, apperantly caused by shaving too much of the bracket... Problem is, bracket is part of the spindle on this car, so that means I need an entire spindle... What's even worse is this happened before I got the car... I didn't shave anything down. I'm going to try adding a spacer as I don't have much of a choice at this point

 

Johan1

Thread starter
Joined
Jul 3, 2020
Messages
127
Location
Canada
So looks like the actually clips on the brake bad, the ones that go inside of the caliper piston, one of the clips was bent inwards... Luckily I went back to my old pads and compared the new versus old... After I corrected that clip, I went for the same drive and so far haven't heard that noise anymore
 
Last edited:

Johan1

Thread starter
Joined
Jul 3, 2020
Messages
127
Location
Canada
Good diagnostic work! That could have been a lot worse.

Thanks, and in the process I found that loose suspension bolt/nut, which could've lead to something way worse farther down the line... I still can't understand how it got that loose, but thankfully I caught it. For my own curiosity, I used medium strength thread lock to tightnen it back, I want to see if it will loosen again... I know I should get a new nut and bolt, but I know there are varying theories out there. Of course the vw service manual will tell you to replace the nut and bolt, but I find it interesting that in the case of a Honda, the service manual says just to replace the nuts and not the bolts... So that's what I did when I did the whole suspension on my 01 accord, even though everything I have read and heard from other mechanics states that you can reuse the old nut and bolt as long as the threads on the bolt aren't stripped (which obviously makes sense)
 
Joined
May 25, 2005
Messages
2,347
Location
USA
As a previous cw sales associate and following forums do you have a sunroof? If so certain VW's have been known to have those rattle in their sunroof tracks.
 
Top