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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hello! I've been lurking around this forum for years, basically since I bought my Element brand new in 2007. She's never given me any trouble, until today...

This morning, I noticed a grinding/growling sound from the front left of the car. I can feel the vibration of this sound in my left foot. It feel like it's right below the brake pedal. Here are the specifics:
  • 2007 EX 2WD. 78,000miles. No warning lights or abnormal gauge readings.
  • It sounds exactly like a rubber belt with teeth slipping on it's pulley (grwaaaaahhh). It doesn't sound like metal on metal, definitely not like a rattling heat shield, but more like hard rubber on metal. Imagine what a toothed belt would sound like if it got loose and was slipping on the pulley. That's the best way I can describe the sound.
  • The sound only happens when accelerating from a dead stop.
  • If I roll forward slowly first, or accelerate very gently, it doesn't happen.
  • I only hear/feel the growl for about 1.5-2 seconds.
  • Turning while accelerating seems to reduce the growl about 90%.
  • Does not happen in reverse.
  • Does not happen when revving the engine in park.
  • DOES happen if I set the parking brake, put the car in D and step on the gas.
  • No vibration felt in the steering.
  • Probably not a wheel bearing since there is no sound when I load the left side by turning hard.
  • Transmission fluid was low about a month ago. I noticed some very slight slipping in the tranny, dipstick was showing low, so I added a qt. of fluid. Dipstick reads normal and no slipping since.
There have been many threads about similar problems, but they either didn't apply to me (i.e. 4WD) or there was no followup from the owner. I'm happy to provide any more detail if required. Ask questions, I'll answer ASAP.

Thanks to everyone for helping!
 

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Should always start with a thorough visual inspection, all the front end bushings, etc.

If one of the bushings is bad, perhaps it's moving when you come to a stop, then when acellerating from that stop it's moving back again. Maybe a very s l o w c r e a k ?
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks Jeffro. I just had all the bushings and brakes replaced about 5-6 months ago, so I don't think that's it, but it's worth a look for sure!

Also, it doesn't really sound like that. It sounds 'faster' than a creek. I'll see if I can get a recording on my phone to post.
 

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This is a long shot... is it possible that the inner fender lining has come loose and you're hearing tire rub? I don't think you would feel that in the floor, but have to ask...

Tires standard size? not lowered?
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Fender lining is securely in place. Factory rims with standard size tires.

Yes, there appears to be a small leak somewhere as the bottom of the transmission and control arm on the left side are both covered with what appears to be transmission fluid. No drips in the driveway though, and the transmission fluid is at the correct level.

I've got an appointment with a shop on Monday to take a look. I'll post their findings here when I get them.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Solved!

Just got word from the shop. It's a broken transmission mount. I suspected that based on something I read, but it didn't look bad from my vantage point. Granted I didn't take the battery out so I didn't get a very good look.

Anyway, I'm glad it wasn't worse! Shop is fixing it for $280. Thanks for all the suggestions everyone!
 
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