I was aware of the howling wind noise and had heard discussion about it coming from the wheels, but I think it is more serious than that. I have heard the howling wind noise before but only for short periods, say 2 seconds.
Driving to Knoxville yesterday there were some crosswinds, pretty substantial. Driving at around 75 MPH with all windows closed I hear it again. Only this time it is severely distracting, It interrupted a conversation multiple times. In fact, it was quite embarassing! The noise lasted for about 5-10 seconds and was very loud. It sounded as if it was coming from right above the driver's side door area. I cannot express how annoying this noise was. The noise repeatedly appeared.
I remember the video of the guy, I think it was in Florida, where the noise appears. Well, it was like that but much, much worse. A while back I remember reading a post about this being a design flaw on the Altima. I disregarded that remark because I figured the Nissan engineers would have tested the aerodynamics of the car thoroughly but after yesterday I am seriously disturbed about this.
I'm not saying that there is not a howling noise coming from the wheels but I think that it's unrelated to this problem. I personally never have heard the howling wheel problem. I believe the howling noise that I heard has to do with the aerodynamics of the car in crosswinds. When all the windows are closed and a crosswind hits the car that's when the howl appears. If the moon roof or one of the windows is open the sound dissappears. The problem has to be how air flows over the sealed car when the windows are up. I looked for a TSB on this at: http://www.altimas.net/tsb
but I do not see how a TSB could address this issue. I mean they cannot change the structural aerodynamic integrity of the car without bolting on some insanely ugly fin to change the properties of how air flows over the car.
I am pissed off about this. I mean, you pay a lot of money for a car and should not have to deal with shit like this. This is shotty engineering. I think one of the reasons this hasn't been more of an issue is because up until now it has only occurred at higher speeds, but wait until you hit crosswind that make your car sound like a magnified deer whistle! The crosswinds I encountered were fairly strong but they were not anything I have never encountered before. To blame the problem on the strength of the crosswinds entirely is ridiculous. I never had this problem with any previous vehicle. My passenger that was with me owns a Nissan Frontier and said his Frontier does the same thing.
As of now I am seriously contemplating looking for a new car. I am curious if the 350Z has this problem as well?