Trouble finding source of noise.

2001 Honda Accord. V6 Automatic with 140,000 miles.
I have a noise that starts up around 15mph and gets louder with speed. Slight vibration to go with it. Alignment and tires are good. I don't
/think/ it is the transmission as A) power and fuel economy remain unchanged and B) if I put it into neutral at highway speeds and just coast (letting engine RPM drop to near idle) noise remains constant (in regards to land speed).
Pulled all 4 tires (1 at a time) to inspect brakes and boots and all appear to be in order. No rips or leaks.
Any ideas of what it could be or what I should check next to help narrow it down further. Any pertinent info I should add to the above?
Thanks.
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When - how many miles ago did you rotate your tires - also did you check inflation. Cupped rear tires can make a funny noise - should rotate every 10K or so. Putting tranny in neutral and coasting is not good for extended duration but since the noise remained the same and varies with speed - could be in the tranny. At what mile interval do you change tranny fluid? Could be the thingy in the tranny that connects to the short shafts. Got a slight howl in mine - some idiot forgot to fill the tranny and drove for 10K one quart low.
Tires first and tranny second.
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Tires are inflated to proper PSI and not cupped.

Agreed, that was just done for a few seconds at a time to see if noise was tied to RPM or speed.

Every 35K, most recent being yesterday.

So, if it is this "thingy" howling, A) is it more of a noise/annoyance issue or B) is it one of those things that will get worse and break down?

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Seth wrote:

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Being relatively new to car maintenance (other than oil changes) any hints for determining which wheel? Driving with the windows down didn't help me narrow down which corner it is coming from, and jacking up each corner and spinning the wheel by hand yielded nothing.
In addition, is this something a "typical" DIYer can accomplish? Special tools needed? Or am I better off having a shop do it and not waste my time?
Approx costs to DIY and have a (non Honda) shop do it?
Thanks
Note: I have nothing against my Honda dealership, they were easy to deal with when I bought the car new, but they are not convenient to me where I have a decent shop 5 minutes away.
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Seth wrote:

I had a similar howling noise in a 97 taurus, so this may not apply to a Honda. I jacked up the front and felt no play in either hub/bearing assembly. I then road tested it again, weaving back and forth and the noise was louder when I weaved to the left, so I replaced the right front hub/bearing assy. I got lucky.

I can't answer that because I haven't replaced one on my 2000 Accord, I don't even have a service manual for it.
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Seth wrote:

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Thanks for the response. Please see my follow up to "High" in regards to "if" it is a wheel bearing.
In regards to "inboard driveshaft cup", that's sounds ugly. Is it as ugly as it sounds? Any advice on how to narrow it down to this vs. wheel bearing?
And as before (in my response to "High"), is this something a typical DIYer can/should attempt on their own? Costs of DIY vs. a shop?
Are either of these possible causes of the noise safety and/or increased wear issues (i.e. will get steadily worse to the point of non-drivable) or merely annoyances that I have to deal with till I get it tracked down and repaired?
Thanks
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Seth wrote:

for bearings, jack the suspected wheel off the ground and, leaving the wheel on for leverage, check for play.

if it is a bearing, take it to the shop. the tools necessary to press the old bearing out and get the new one in without damaging it are not cheap or the kind of thing you have laying about in the garage.

if it's the inboard joint, it can damage & loosen the output socket on the diff. driveshafts are relatively easy to replace. check out tegger's faq's regarding the joint separation tool you'll need to do this job properly. when removing the outboard joint from the steering knuckle, try and avoid hammering it - you can damage the wheel bearing.
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Thanks to you and "High" for helping to narrow this down. Turns out is is a bearing (left rear) and my local shop will do it for $200 parts and labor (something about it being a single assembly including the hub).
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Seth wrote:

with the bearings already in it. it's literally a 15 minute job. if you're mechanicaly inclined you can do the job yourself. it's the fronts that are tricky.
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I'll save that for another time. While I am mechanically inclined, I'm just not inclined to take on this task at this time. My work is 160 miles round trip and I'm in the middle of a project that's just a little too high exposure to risk missing extra days off if I mess something up. If it was warmer weather where I could rely on my motorcycle while the car was down, I would consider it.
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