I do not remember the noise changing any, whether I accelerate or decelerate. I will have to check again on the steering part, if that makes it worse. It seems OK at first but starts a dull vibration noticeably when you get up around the 40-50mph range, and stays until you stop (varying in frequency relative to car speed). Maybe it is the inner CV. I could not hear anything from the wheel brg or outer CV, and could not seem to isolate any noise from the inner cv directly but it is from that area. I used a hose as a stethescope.
I have the car on jack stands. A couple things happen. The Tracs Off light is always on. At first both wheels turn, and the noise is there. I can run it through the gears. They both turn. I can turn the wheels L-R with no effect on the noise. If I stop a wheel, then the other turns faster but the speedo stops working. If I let the other wheel start turning it gradually starts turning again (engine at idle) so they are at about the same speed. THe speedo does not register, AND THERE IS NO NOISE, where there was before at that speed (around 10 mph). Turning the wheels causes no noise. So I conclude it is not the CV joints. If I stop the engine and start over, both wheels are engaged and the noise starts, and the speedo works. All times the Tracks Off is lit no matter what. So is the ABS light. Sometimes they both go off while driving. I haven't had the car very long but driving it, they will both go off. THe noise is made though most always.
I think somehow the Traction control seems to be causing the noise when it is working.
If it was a wheel bearing, the noise would not go away ever, when the wheel is spinning, right? I could stop the L (noisy) side, and the R side spins, then I let the L wheel start up again and it speeds up but makes no noise. But if I shut off the engine and start again, the noise is there, when the tracs is on or something. And when I listen to the wheel bearing with a hose to my ear I don't hear anything. It sounds like it comes from the inner joint or trans, esp as you listen from the engine compartment. Can the wheel bearing transmit the sound along the shaft? I did feel the bearing while I had the shaft out, and it did feel a little rough at one portion.
But is there something that can go wrong with the Tracs system in the transmission?
Also could I remove the shaft and run it in gear on jacks (I know I will lose some oil)? If it was the trans it would still make the noise. Or could low oil level make the noise??? It is a quart or so low from when I had the shaft out and it drained out (forgot to drain the trans).
Its possible for the noise to only happen at certain speeds. The best way to test the wheel bearing is by driving the car. Drive it at the speed the noise occurs. Turn slightly in each direction. If the left bearing was bad, it would get worse when you turn right, because you are loading the bearing.
If you are testing this on jack stands, you need to turn TRACS off. The TRACS system is not in the transmission at all. Its simply part of the ABS system and it brakes the wheel that is slipping to apply power to the wheel that is not.
If you felt a rough spot on the bearing, that is cause for concern. There should be no rough spots. You can run it with no axle but keep an eye on the fluid.
You need to understand that I cannot hear the noise online. I can only tell you common causes and some checks. I have never had a trans make a noise (though it is possible) and I have replaced many wheel hubs. Also, the bearing is the cheapest of the three (bearing/axle/transmission). So if I were to guess, based on symptoms and cost of guessing, I'd guess the wheel bearing. If you want to be sure, you might consider having it professionally diagnosed.
A hub will run between $85 and $190 here. Its the most common cause and the cheapest and you feel a rough spot, so it might be worth taking that guess rather than a $5000 transmission guess or $500 axle.
I drove the car and yes it does get slightly worse turning to the right! So it appears to be a wheel bearing. Makes sense. Thanks - appreciate the time spent.