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Near the beginning of December I had winter tires/rims installed on my '11 Journey. A few weeks ago, I began to notice a noise coming from somewhere when cruising around 60-70 km/h. I've since narrowed it down to when the transmission shifts into 5th gear and I am cruising at around 60 km/h, it makes this sound only when I am on the gas (for example, going up a mild incline and using enough throttle to maintain speed). It sounds like a low rumbling/rubbing/grinding sort of sound. I have no unusual sensations or vibrations coming through in the steering wheel or the throttle. If I had to compare the sound to something, it's sort of like when you're driving a standard and you try to accelerate hard in too low of a gear.

I have no idea if the sound is somehow related to the winter wheels. I have inspected the wheels and they are not rubbing the calipers, and I also had the tire shop check that there were no rubs. My stock wheels are the 19" rims, however I purchased 17" steel rims and tires for the winter set (simply due to cost of the larger 19's).

I did some testing and experimenting this evening using the autostick to control shifts. The sound starts in 5th gear around 60 km/h, however it subsides and seems to disappear when speed increases passed 70 km/h. Around 80 km/h, if I shift into 6th, it starts that same noise again. Again, only when being loaded (quiet when coasting). Gears 1-4 do not appear to generate any noise.

I'm not sure if this is a case of the transmission being confused by the lower diameter tires and being in too low of a gear during cruising or if there is something actually wrong with the powertrain somewhere. There seems to be no other symptoms than this noise, and I am positive the noise was not there before.

Anyone have any input on this?
 

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I'd suggest putting the 19's back on and see if it makes the same noise. If not, you have to figure it's got something to do with the 17's, but what, I have no idea!
 

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Well, your speedometer and odometer will be way off with the 17" wheels - they will read too high, as the circumference of the tire is less, and you will not be traveling as far with each revolution of the tire as the computer thinks you are. If the speedometer reads too high, it will think it's OK to shift into 6th and not be lugging, when it actually will be going too slow for 6th. As you increase speed further, you get past the point of lugging and all is well again.

Might be a good idea to shift manually from 5th to 6th in this circumstance, if you can't afford to switch to the proper size tire and rim.
 

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Bob Lincoln said:
Well, your speedometer and odometer will be way off with the 17" wheels - they will read too high, as the circumference of the tire is less, and you will not be traveling as far with each revolution of the tire as the computer thinks you are. If the speedometer reads too high, it will think it's OK to shift into 6th and not be lugging, when it actually will be going too slow for 6th. As you increase speed further, you get past the point of lugging and all is well again.

Might be a good idea to shift manually from 5th to 6th in this circumstance, if you can't afford to switch to the proper size tire and rim.
The tire shop told me that it will read between 1-2 km/h faster at 100 km/h than the vehicle is actually traveling. I wouldn't call that "way off".

Winter tires/rims + TPMS sensors at 17" carried a $1400+ price tag as it is (including taxes and installation). 19's are prohibitively expensive and just about all Journey owners that have been posting on the Journey message board have been going down to 17's and some even 16's for their winter tires. Given the expense I've already put out, swapping to a larger wheel at this point isn't a viable option.

I think I may make an appointment with the dealer next week and insist that I take a service advisor out for a drive to demonstrate the condition. It only happens between 60 and 70 km/h and I'm beginning to wonder if the engine is just lugging from being in too low of a gear. COULD be that the transmission needs to be "flashed" to re-learn the correct RPM ranges for the smaller diameter wheels. Of course, that will mean it will likely need a reflash every time I switch between the two sets of wheels as the seasons change... Hmm.
 

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'Pinion Factor' selection with the scan tool is the term used for matching the tire size in order to correct the speedometer reading.
 

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PTM, my 2011 Journey was occasionally starting to do the same thing before I traded it in, and I had the original wheels/tires on it (19"). It was only sometimes and typically about 2-3 minutes after starting off cold, and when under a bit of load like going up a small hill. I traded it before I got a chance or the inclination to try to have them fix it though.
 

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ImperialCrown said:
'Pinion Factor' selection with the scan tool is the term used for matching the tire size in order to correct the speedometer reading.
Going from 225/55R19 to 225/70R16 results in a +1.2% speedo error.

This is less that the difference between a new tire with 11/32nds tread and a worn one with 2/32nds.

For perspective, IIRC, the speedometer accurancy requirement is +/-4%.
 

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gforce - PTM and I are in Winnipeg... when we say cold, we are talking sub -25C for days or weeks at a time.

Are you talking Winnipeg cold or Rothesay cold? (I used to live in Rothesay for a while... so I know the difference.)
 

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I don't even really mean that COLD cold (and yes, Rothesay). Maybe under 10C or so, it would do it, although not all the time. Perhaps about once a week or so, if I remember right. And it may have been even warmer, but I can't remember. But the sound/sensation was quite pronounced when it would do it, and only on an uphill grade. Also, once the vehicle was warmed up, it would never do it.
 
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