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I'm trying to locate the source of the noises coming from the engine compartment, only problem is that it only happens when driving and it's hard to tell where exactly it's coming from as I can't recreate the noise while the car is stationary. I can tell it's definitely coming from under the hood and not the interior of the car. It's a loud metallic clanking noise that almost sounds like something is loose and banging against something else.

I've lifted the car on jack stands and tugged and pushed on every single moving part underneath/above the car including the engine mounts, gearbox mounts, strut towers, anti roll bars , control arm, ball joints, CV axles, power steering rack/pinion as well as various bushings. I haven't found anything loose or play. I suspect that lifting the car is problematic as it unloads the suspension and might lessen play or clearance between whatever that's loose but again it's hard to tell.

I've had this noise for almost a year at this point so I doubt it's dangerous but it's very annoying. Any ideas on how one should go about finding this type of noise?

For reference:

Car: 2004 Seat ibiza 6L

Mileage: 110000 km (63000 miles)

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  • Are you using your hands, to do the tugging and pushing? You really need to use leverage, remember suspension deals with a literal ton of weight, so get a crowbar and a long handled screwdriver in there.
    – GdD
    Jul 9, 2023 at 20:17
  • Hav you considered mounting a gopro underneath you car? that would give you an in-situ picture, and if you have your tablet/phone connected, you can even have a real-tie picture (don't look at it in trafiic though please😉)
    – JoSSte
    Jul 13, 2023 at 11:35

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You didn't mention checking the exhaust system. If an exhaust hangar has rusted away or broken, some part of the exhaust system could be swinging and clanking against the underbody. If you can put the car back up on jack stands or ramps and leave it for awhile to cool down, grab hold of the exhaust pipes, muffler, catalytic converter, tailpipe, etc., and give them a good shaking to see if you can create a knocking sound.

One more thought: be sure the handwheel that fastens your spare tire is tight and that the strap that holds the jack against the spare is tightly fastened.

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  • Also, have good look around the engine compartment for any forgotton tool that is lodged somewhere. Jul 9, 2023 at 18:06
  • Check the heat shields as well, if those get loose they can rattle around.
    – GdD
    Jul 9, 2023 at 20:16
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I've found the noise. Turns out it was loose brake calipers on both wheels.

I managed to elicit the same noise by simply banging on the tires with a hammer while the vehicle was off the ground, then I located the source of the rattle by grabbing various different parts of the sub frame, wheels and suspension assembly while banging until the noise stopped. To confirm that the brakes were the culprit I did a road test over some rough surfaces and applied the brakes and low and behold the noise was gone.

https://imgur.com/a/L9ml4wy

After a closer inspection I found that there was very slight play to the caliper which caused it to constantly bang against the carrier with every bump on the road making a huge racket, I did check if there were missing clips on the caliper and pads but everything is intact, the entire brake assembly including the brake pads are genuine VW parts too so it can't be a fitment issue.

My first thought was that the guide pins might be worn out or loose causing excessive play but they were correctly torqued and they were in pristine condition with no rust or gouges on the surface when I removed them.

Looking at the official repair and service manual provided by SEAT (VW) it makes not mention of lubricants when installing the brakes, typically you would grease the guide pins as well as the sliding surfaces of the pads but not on these brakes apparently as they use dry pins, seems to be common across VW range.

Any suggestions to get rid of the noise?

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  • Does the service manual say specifically to NOT lubricate the moving parts? I always use synthetic brake grease on all sliding parts. I know some manufacturers don't recommend greasing caliper pins that have rubber seals though. That's the only time I'd think about not lubricating. However, I doubt lack of grease would create any kind of noise like you describe. Jul 12, 2023 at 20:49
  • It doesn't specifically recommend NOT to grease or lubricate any part, it just doesn't mention it which leads me to believe that it shouldn't be necessary for normal brake operation and noise. However I will order some liqui moly anti squeal brake paste and slather it on to the sliding surfaces where the brake caliper clatters, hopefully that should reduce the noise to a minimum.
    – Aden
    Jul 12, 2023 at 21:02
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I would suggest replacing the pads. I know you mentioned they were factory parts, but could possibly have been out of spec, or the hold down springs were bent on installation.

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