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 Post subject: Silent car suggestions?
PostPosted: Mon Sep 13, 2010 1:01 pm 
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Location: Sweden
I'm annoyed by (uneceessary) noise, in PC:s, as well as in cars.

Now cars are somehat inherently noisy (apart from my wife's Prius, which can scare the hell out of you, sneaking up like that).

I'd like some suggestions for silent cars, primarily for the driver, but also for innocent bystanders.

I'd think beemers and the like are great at this, but do you have to shell out big for a silent car?

/d

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PostPosted: Mon Sep 13, 2010 2:03 pm 
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You're looking at the wrong end of things. There's silent car, and there's quiet car. Silent cars are dangerous, If I failed to notice a car coming, and stepped into the street to be greeted by a car that made little or no noise, I'd be terrified.

That being said, I had the pleasure of driving a 2009 Honda Insight hybrid for a week, and I can't complain about it. I'm not sure of it's availability in your neck of the woods, but from my point of view, having driven a slew of performance, muscle and other insane machines, the Insight was a pleasant car. It uses a small (very small) 4cyl engine, which honestly, I never bothered to take a look at closely, but it was not a loud or obtrusive car.

It is nothing like the Prius though, and that should be a thought held high. The Insight will not switch to complete battery power below 25mph, it in fact does not use the batteries at all to solely power the car. The electric mode simply assists the gasoline engine, and is very good at it. The car gave me a very respectable 40+mpg, and I filled the tank once when first getting it, and it was not even a 1/8 down after 6 days of driving it. The response is a bit sluggish, and I felt like it was very weak coming out of a stop sign or red light, but the car did what a car is supposed to do, and got me from point A to point B. The car has great rear visibility, having a split rear window just like the Prius, and it also had a respectable gauge layout on the dashboard.

As a whole, the car gave me no problems, and despite being sluggish to start, it had no problems keeping up with traffic.

At the same time my daily driver is a 2004 Dodge Neon SXT. I've got a 2.0L 4cyl and a 5spd manual trans. The car has given me few problems since purchasing little more than a year ago, but has since gotten a new transmission, which seems to have a slightly different gear ratio. When shifted properly within the given shift points, the car has had no problem returning 40+ highway mpg, and mid 30's for around town. Taking into consideration that the transmission had been due for replacement since it was bought, I'll just say that while it died at an inconvenient time, I wasn't unprepared to drop $1000 on getting a replacement put in.

The Neon can have a slight growl to it, but the car has a very quiet and smooth ride, and to be very honest, I have no intention of modifying it with anything other than maybe a new throttle body (slight whine at times, many people blame pinholes in the throttle body for this).

If you use the right oil, and treat the car well, and don't run it into the ground, any stock car can be a quiet ride for you. Any small 4 door with a respectable engine will do just fine for you. Wen it comes down to whether a vtec is any better than some other 4cyl, I can't tell you. Picking the right tires can also make a world of a difference on any car.

Use, don't abuse, and whatever you have will do just fine.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Sep 13, 2010 3:28 pm 
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So you might step into the street and directly in front of a bicycle. The only sensible thing to do is only rely on your eyes and so never step into the street without looking!

I've heard that Lexus cars have very good noise insulation so that at least people inside should be happy.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Sep 13, 2010 10:53 pm 
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Quote:
any stock car can be a quiet ride for you

Is this true? My experience is that cars will generate noise differently (wind shear, engine, tyres) as well as dampen this into the cabin differently.

Noise sometimes comes up in car reviews, but I thought we could have a more (semi)scientific discussion here.

I'll try some of the car forums and see what I find.

/ d

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Sep 14, 2010 10:26 am 
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I found american needs to shell out big money or get an older bigger car...

the inbetweens (the hypermilers beyond electric- or performance) they need a good old fashioned tear down and a thing called steel ADDED.

if you go new they got them so pigged in recycling they sound like they are bearely running. Ahh.. nice and quite... and p[igged. to last the 5 year payment plan, and then teyh make you go to hell liike most people. you could go that route, that is most of humanity...and then you can pretend its all good like "everybody" else for a short time in this wallet raped life.

I am a mechanic bordering bournt out and wasted. don't mind my pessimism. :roll:

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Sep 16, 2010 12:46 pm 
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Location: Belgium
Any stock car can be quiet?! Some are, but many are not!

@ topicstarter, as you're from Europe just like me, let's focus on European cars :-)

First of all, if you're talking smallish cars, avoid diesels at all costs. In a car the size of a VW Polo / Opel Corsa / Peugeot 206 etc, any diesel will be A LOT noisier than any gasoline powered car.

For middle-class cars, a French car would usually be the quieter choice. E.g. a Renault Mégane is A LOT quieter than a Ford Focus or an Opel Astra. But you have to like the feeling of a French car, or better, the lack thereof... personally I prefer to feel I'm driving, feel what the wheels are doing in a corner etc... over a quieter car.

If you've got a bigger budget, things get a lot easier :) Spend more and drive quieter. Whether it's a Volvo V50, a Renault Laguna, or a Lexus IS220D - they're all pretty quiet. With a super tip: the Opel Insignia is very quiet - about as quiet as a BMW 5 series GT, which is twice the price and business-limousine-like quiet.

One last tip: avoid "run-flat" tyres at all costs. They've got steel reinforced sidewalls which transfer all of the road noise directly in the suspension. I got some on my Beemer - it's the only thing I'd like to change about that car :)

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Sep 16, 2010 2:40 pm 
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Out of the requested price range, but the Hyundai Equus, not yet released everywhere, is said to have devoted great attention to quietude.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Sep 17, 2010 3:35 am 
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My parents 2008 Toyota Avensis is very quiet, I'd recommend it. My 13 year old Nissan Primera was also a quiet car, except maybe on the highway. I've sold it now but I never had any problems with it. I'm not sure what Nissan cars are like nowdays.
Generally speaking, like others have said, avoid small diesel cars (VW Polo, Citroen C3, Renault Clio).

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Sep 26, 2010 3:53 pm 
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My ears are greatly bothered by shaking structures, literally sub sonic motion typically from 4 cylinders at idle, and large ones more so.

I was pleasantly surprised to ride in my friend's Subaru with the 2.5 flat four. I expect life inside would be that of a subdued paint mixer, but nothing, not even at idle.

I wonder if flat fours are inherently smoother running. Honda's Goldwin has been a flat 4 or 6 for a very long time.

A

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Sep 26, 2010 4:21 pm 
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lm wrote:
So you might step into the street and directly in front of a bicycle. The only sensible thing to do is only rely on your eyes and so never step into the street without looking!


Hey lm, this world you live in, where humans don't make mistakes... where can I sign up?

bonestonne wrote:
Any small 4 door with a respectable engine will do just fine for you.


Actually a 4-door will typically have more chassis flex than a coupe, resulting in more rattles later in car ownership.

aristide1 wrote:
I wonder if flat fours are inherently smoother running. Honda's Goldwin has been a flat 4 or 6 for a very long time.


They are, because the force on the crankshaft is opposed by the other cylidner, whereas in a straight-4, it all goes downwards.

6 cylinder motors are better than 4's, because they are harmonically balanced as well. Subaru make a flat-6 (EZ30) 3-litre which is not only mechanically balanced, but harmonically balanced as well. You literally won't find a more balanced motor with the sole exception of a flat-12 (which you'll probably only find in a Ferrari 512M / Testarossa).

I have a 2000 Subaru Lancaster with the flat-6 and it's a wonderful car to drive; could use more sound deadening but that's easily fixed.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Sep 26, 2010 5:05 pm 
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Quote:
use more sound deadening but that's easily fixed.

And where else but here would anyone car about that? :)

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Sep 26, 2010 9:32 pm 
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OP here. Seems the interest is not well spread amongst us, oh well.

My experience is that noise comes from two major sources- wind drag and tyres. Tyres I suppose you can fix (albeit coarse roads is another issue), but wind drag is inherent in the car construction. I can sense the difference from car to car in this respect, and was hoping for some suggestions in this area.

Apart from this I beleive premium car are better noise dampened (and therefore also heavier), and might also be better in motor balancing etc.

Since I know little about cars, but hear the noise, I'm looking for pointers to silent car alternatives. Haven't found much in car forums, apart from deadening the construction for music system purposes.

/d

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Sep 27, 2010 1:08 am 
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Wind noise is much interest to me. Well not noise per se, but the wind drag.
More streamlined car and less speed are the answer

How come it is so hard to find a LOW overall car. There are almost no models listed below 1400mm unless you go to sports coupes and small fun cars.

Lower narrower car = smaller cross-section. Easier to get lower wind drag. Duh.

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PostPosted: Mon Sep 27, 2010 6:21 am 
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I know people love to pick things apart like vultures, so I'll back myself up on a couple of points I made before.

1) 2 door vs 4 door, I say 4 door for insurance purposes. I don't know about all insurance companies, but around where I am, any 2 door car is automatically considered a sports coupe. Even if it's a 1996 Plymouth Neon. This is a selling point to me, because if I own a car, I don't want to pay my life away just to keep it on the road (as keeping it on the road is the #1 most important part of driving it).

2) I'm somewhat hard pressed to say a 2 door has less flex than a 4 door. For exotic sports cars, they have a frame designed to soak up the power of whatever behemoth is powering it, however a 4 door sports car (I'm at a lack for examples, so I'll just say beemers and audi's) they have that B pillar right in the middle. I would consider that an important part of structure for the car compared to a 2 door version of the same car, which would lose that pillar and support, etc. The frame of a 2 door is stretched a little more to support the longer doors (most 2 doors I've seen that seat 4/5 have much longer doors than a 4 door car). I don't consider a door to be very structurally integral to a car. Yes, it does open/close/lock into place, but in terms of real flex, it's a moving part on the car, meaning it will have more give than a solid bar in it's place. I'm not an automotive engineer, but that's how I see it. The frame will make the difference, in any car, but I would expect 4 door cars to have better structural support than 2 doors.

3) Stock 4cyl cars are usually pretty quiet. My neon has a bit of a tick to it at idle when it's warm, but it's a pretty pleasant tick, nothing harsh like a 428 with 2" pipes. If you use the right oil, keep the air filter clean, and do regular maintenance car care, I'm hard pressed to say there would be a problem with a stock 4cyl. Granted, I don't drive automatic often at all. Less and less cars today even have 4cyl engines, so I think a lot of people are comparing cars I have in mind (VW GTIs, honda fit, chevy aveo, dodge neon, etc) for cars that actually have larger engines, like the nissan altima and most other sedans today. While a V6 might have better power, and a better sound to it (harmonically tuned or otherwise) it's also going to use more gas under most conditions. I can rattle a steady 37 out of my neon, around town, on the highway, stop and go traffic, I know people that can barely get 20 with cars with bigger engines.

I definitely agree that tires will make a huge difference...I just think that people are being a little too literal about things. A stock Ford F-150 isn't going to necessarily be a quiet car, but assuming you need that kind of truck, you're buying it for it's capabilities, not how quiet it is. If you're looking for a small 2 or 4 door sedan, sure, a 6cyl will have more get up and go, but compare it to a well cared for 4cyl, and the 4cyl will usually give better mileage and cost less to maintain in the long run.

With that said, my dad's 2003 chrysler voyager minivan with a 3.3L v6 just went 37k between oil changes, and gets him roughly 25mpg (for a 3 ton car, that's pretty good).

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Sep 29, 2010 4:32 pm 
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bonestonne wrote:
2) I'm somewhat hard pressed to say a 2 door has less flex than a 4 door. For exotic sports cars, they have a frame designed to soak up the power of whatever behemoth is powering it, however a 4 door sports car (I'm at a lack for examples, so I'll just say beemers and audi's) they have that B pillar right in the middle. I would consider that an important part of structure for the car compared to a 2 door version of the same car, which would lose that pillar and support, etc.


A 2-door car does not lose the B pillar. It moves backwards an inch or two. Sources can be quoted either way, nevertheless I would note the following: http://www.jdm-option.com/eng/feature/05_10/bodyup.html

Quote:
A 4 door sedan has lots of interior space and compared to a 2 door coupe it comparatively lacks chassis rigidity.


Since you lack examples, may I suggest an interesting one to consider - the Subaru Impreza WRX. Google images will tell you that Colin McRae was driving a 4-door in the WRC in 1996, yet by 1998 they'd moved to a 2-door version. I wonder why they bothered? :D

I would note further that a hatchback or stationwagon has less ridigity than either a coupe or sedan.

I largely agree with your other points :)


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