July 25, 2023: Rattle Battle

The inevitable auditory attack on your senses.

As Big Blue climbs in age so do the number of annoying interior creaks/rattles as parts warp slightly with the outside temperature fluctuations and things become loose. Slowly and subtly, perhaps, but time will eventually have its revenge ... until one day you're driving on pothole-ridden freeway asphalt no better than aquarium gravel and that's when that one rattle in the far corner somewhere finally triggers your eroded emotional tolerance, causing an unintended Autopilot override. You know, the kind of ear-piercing abnormality you can't drown out with volume 11.

A few years ago I fixed some of these issues but the passenger front door has had a noticeable gremlin for a while now. Something in there was loose and knocking against another surface. And this happens when it feels like it and wasn't consistently reproducible. Those are always frustrating.

I finally decided I've had enough. One 10mm socket for a bolt in the door pull (cave) and two more T30 hex screws later behind the manual latch and the door panel was off.

While removing the door card is easy, it's always handy to do a quick YouTube review before going in cold.

With only some black painter's tape and closed cell foam, I got to work looking for any wiring or other pieces which could randomly knock against another hard surface while the car's in motion. As a reference I got the foam from Amazon but this specific vendor product is currently unavailable at the time of this writing. However I also bought a similar item which seems to be the same thing although it's a spare for more such projects down the line.

Some of the gray circular noise preventers had edges that were peeling off a bit so I just covered those areas with some tape. Not aesthetically pleasing but it'll all be hidden by the door card anyway. Primitive problems require primitive solutions.

As shown above there was a loose unused wiring harness that was likely the root cause of the rattling I've been dealing with for a long time. It's probably for the accent lighting which was an option back in 2014 when I ordered my car (I opted to not order this as it cost an extra $1000 if I recall). Tucking that against a small panel of foam and stuck on with some tape should do the job. It ain't pretty but if it'll dampen unwanted sounds I'm all for it.

I taped down some extra pieces of foam along the wires near the speaker just for good measure:

These things get on my nerves:

One in particular did not want to stay on when trying re-mount the door card. In addition the window sweep (with the felt lining attached to the top of the card) which lines up against the window and hooks the card onto the door seemed to need additional bending outwards to squeeze into place again into the slot where the window lines up. Tricky, annoying, and aggravating when working in a small garage where the door can't be fully opened. I don't recall having to deal with this with the driver's side door a few years back. I suspect my neighbors heard plenty of frustrated NSFW euphemisms from my garage today.

Afterwards I took a drive to test the results and so far it has been a success. It almost feels like a new car again. Maybe. The door probably has a few very subtle rattles that I can barely register but at least for the moment I don't notice the previous unwanted sounds in the cabin. Hopefully it won't reappear like these things sometimes do regardless of effort put in. If the rattle(s) don't reappear by the end of the week they're likely hammered down for good.

Until I notice the next one in the trunk somewhere.