Cool Tool: Locate Where That Terrible Noise Is Coming From With A ChassisEAR

Illustration for article titled Cool Tool: Locate Where That Terrible Noise Is Coming From With A ChassisEAR
Screenshot: The Auto Rules / YouTube (Other)

Over the past few weeks we’ve looked at heat-shrink self-solder butt-splice connectors for quick wiring projects, the Mini-Ductor II for rusty bolt removal and automatic wire strippers for the perfect wire cut every time. This week’s cool tool, the ChassisEAR, turns you into a car doctor so you can find out where that really bad noise is coming from.

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This suggestion comes from reader Sheryl, who says this device will find where any noise or vibration is coming from. She says it worked great troubleshooting problems on her Pontiac Bonneville.

Strange noises can be an annoying menace to the DIY wrencher. Not only can they be hard to find, but they can cause a lot of worry. It was always the best part of the classic NPR show Car Talk; when the caller tried to reproduce the worrisome sound their car was making over the phone and the Magliozzi brothers tried to figure it out. 

My parents’ 2011 Ford Expedition EL has made an alarming number of noises over the years. Many of them I’ve been able to find with nothing more than a long screwdriver held up to my ear. However, a concerning audible warning recently developed that neither I nor my parents’ mechanic could pinpoint. To make matters worse, the noise seems to only happen at speed. That means screwdrivers and mechanic’s stethoscopes are useless. This is where the ChassisEar can solve this headache.

Check out this review from The Auto Rules YouTube channel:

The ChassisEAR is a neat piece of kit. You get a receiver, transmitters and clamps that function as a microphone.

Using it is easier than it looks. Hook up the clamps to the transmitters, then attach the clamps to the parts you suspect are making noise. Turn on the system then listen to the output.

The multiple clamps output audio to different channels. In theory, the clamp making the most noise is likely closest to what worn part is keeping you up at night. However, different car parts can present different acoustic environments, especially at speed, so this system may not be a surefire way to pinpoint issues. Still, it beats racing up and down the road and guessing what’s happening.

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Sadly, a tool this cool does come with a hefty price tag. The Steelman ChassisEar costs $230.

While generic versions do not seem to exist out there, some people on different car forums made their own interpretations of the tool for far cheaper.

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Do you know of a weird or unique but must-have tool you think every wrencher should have? Do you want to see us put a type of tool to the test and see how it performs? Shoot me an email or drop it down in the comments!

Staff Writer at Jalopnik and learning pilot. Smart Fortwo (x4), Honda Beat, Suzuki Every, AmTran Bus, VW Jetta TDI (x2), VW Touareg, Audi TT, Buell Lightning, Triumph Tiger, Genuine Stella...

DISCUSSION

syaieya
syaieya

I will keep this tabbed incase my driveshaft change on my 190E doesn’t get rid of this horrid wobble the car has had for years.

It’s right at 60-70 mph, i’ve changed rims, tires, brakes, steering stabilizer, and alignment and it just doesn’t get better.

Something at that speed is just making that car just unnerving to drive.