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Old 12-06-2017, 11:03 PM   #1
1999SL2Wagon
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Default Chirping sound from Crankshaft Pulley

Hello all,

I am new to the forum and this if my first post. I have read a few of the forums from here and found them very helpful so I figured I would join and possibly get some more help.

Ok a little background quick, not a certified mechanic but I am very mechanically inclined i do all my own engine work, like complete rebuilds, from engines from the 1910's - today.

I have a 1999 Saturn SL2 Wagon, they have I recently acquired. I have been pretty much though the whole thing. I just wanted to pretty try to restore this car to factory condition as much as possible.

I have one last thing that I have not been able to figure out, and that's the Chirping sound that is coming from the Crankshaft pulley. It does this sound 2-3 minutes after being warm and this is sitting at idle in park. It is not the diff pin, unless I am mistaken some how.

Here is the list of things I have done that would contribute to the problem.

-Inspected & cleaned first serpentine belt, bought another to make sure, but it is not the problem, more on that later.
-Replaced Idler Pulley, it was visibly bad and inconsistent bearings when spun
-Replace Tensioner Pulley, it was also visibly bad and moving erratically from weak spring
-Hand spun all other pulleys, look and feel good

-removed the serpentine belt completely and started the car, noise still exists. (the reason I replaced some of this is the noise was intermittent. it then became a solid noise that started once the engine was warmer about 2-3 minutes. So i actually thought some of this was fixing it at first)

so after listening to it with the belt off and countless hours with a stethoscope I have determined the noise has to be coming from the crankshaft pulley.

I am about to order a new one, and I also have a new seal to put it, but i wanted to ask you guys what is the deal with this? Has anyone ever witnessed this same noise and confirmed it be the rubber in the crankshaft pulley or a front seal actually chirping?

I found this other thread, who went through all of this it seams and came to no conclusion at the end?

w.saturnfans.com/forums/showthread.php?t=232528

I appreciate any help or advice anyone can offer. I am really hoping that someone has in fact encountered this exact scenario before and can confirm it might be the pulley, or the seal.

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Old 12-07-2017, 12:02 AM   #2
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Default Re: Chirping sound from Crankshaft Pulley

I think there was one conclusion that can be drawn from that old thread: noises are very hard to track down. Did you noticed that the noise in that thread seemingly moved from one end of the engine to the other and back? The OP in that thread was also pretty certain where the noise came from, each time it moved...

Point is, consider that the noise really isn't from the belt end of the crank. Some of the stuff mentioned in that old thread, like cracked flex-plate or rubbing trans clutch drum should may apply to your quest too.

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Old 12-07-2017, 01:17 AM   #3
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Default Re: Chirping sound from Crankshaft Pulley

Hi, thanks for the reply

I agree with you on chasing the noise, and that is why I spent a good amount of time making sure to pinpoint it... engine hot, engine cold, while warming. Listened to all areas of the timing cover, all parts of the engine block, pulley bolts, all bolt-on's you name it. The other poster in that thread had the shop do the work and seemed like the thread was all over the place, that is not the case here, I am positive is it coming from the crank pulley or there within

It took a while to come to figure out for sure that it is coming from the crank pulley, because it does not transmit through the engine. It can faintly be heard right behind the crank pulley, on the timing cover, but it is much louder just open ear with your head in the wheel well.

Starts about 3 minutes after engine is on, at just an idle, car in park. It is most audible from the crank pulley with just your head in the wheel well, and sounds like a belt or bearing chirp, same revolution/timing as the crankshaft but with no belt on.

wondering if the crank pulley rubber or seal can make that noise or can the flex plate really make a sound like that, under those circumstances? Has anyone heard any timing chain parts, tensioner, making a sound like that?

Appreciate any more input, thank you in advance

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Old 12-07-2017, 11:36 AM   #4
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Default Re: Chirping sound from Crankshaft Pulley

Well, it seems like we have to grab our flashlights and head down the same rabbit-hole again. Bear with me if I ask some of the same questions again, ones you may have already given info on.

Is the noise "reliable" enough that you can pop off the belt and run the hot engine for 15 secs or so and tell if the noise has "gone away"?

Have you tried spraying some kind of lube behind the pulley, towards the seal, to see if that changes the sound?

Have you checked end-play on the crank?

Have you pulled the cover off the bell-housing and checked the flex-plate as well as possible?

I suppose the next step would be to remove the pulley and see how that affects the noise, but that will be tricky to make any sense of if the noise isn't "reliable", only intermittent. Let's talk about that later.

The advantage in this thread, of course, is you are doing the work personally, so we will probably get better testing and reports.

Lastly, can you post a video/recording of the noise? Make it something simple, like a youtube link. I'm pretty good with electrical/mechanical/fluid systems... not so much with computer GUIs.

Oh, and in regards to your specific question: I find it hard to imagine anything in the timing cover that can chirp or squeak. There should be some oil everywhere in there, and chirps are usually from a dry motion.

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Old 12-07-2017, 06:18 PM   #5
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Default Re: Chirping sound from Crankshaft Pulley

It seems I have been down in this hole for a week now, the batteries in my flashlight must have gone out because I think I am lost.....

Yes, the noise is now reliable enough that it will make the sounds with the belt off.

Yes, I tried to spray behind the pull and in the groove to see if the noise changed and it may have changed very little, or I was imaginging it, but it may have changed it a very little amount for a very short time.

I recorded 2 video's of the sounds to demonstrate for you, but while I was reviewing the video I noticed the sounds like a tap or knock at first in the video but if you wait toward the end of the video it is more chirp like. I find this really odd, maybe the bolt is not torqued down enough and the keyway is knocking and this moving action causing a chirp also? I also found that the timing chain rattle was pretty evident in the video, which will be the next thing on my list to do, but I don think it has anything to do with the noise in the other video..

First here are some details of the latest-

I had the crank pulley off when I read your reply and I had a front seal sitting here so I figured I would go ahead and put in a new seal and get that out of the way.

I cleaned both surfaces and put a thin layer of good mobil grease on them both, carefully set the seal, put a thin layer of RTV on the washer where it meets the pulley, then slid the pulley and bolt back on.

3 things of interest.

- pretty significant grove in the pulley shaft from the front seal
- pulley slid all the way on I would say pretty dang easy.. which I think is kind of concerning?
-I have read of a concaved/convexed washer... I seem to have a flat washer that is not removeable from the bolt (wont go past threads)

After getting everything finished up, I started the car and to my amazement 5 minutes later it was not making the noise, but i could hear the noise very very faintly. After driving the car for 5 minutes the noise came back.

So perhaps the grease wore off on the front seal where the groove is and the lip is just barely touching there making the noise, but I have no signs of leakage before or after?

Maybe the pulley is bent, or the rubber is failing because I noticed it wobbles more with the belt on and another bad pulley has caused the rubber to fail?

Ok here are the video's the first one is in the passenger wheel well obviously, you can see the belt is off and dont pay attention to the weird wobbling through most of the video the cameras was touching the car. You can hear the sound starts as almost a knock then turns to a sorta metal metal chip toward the very end of the video.

#1

w.youtube.com/watch?v=dfo8IEYiQiU


The second one is a over head of the sounds, if you listen carefully it definitely sounds like more of a high pitched chirp in the background, you can really hear the last 2 seconds of the video when i move the camera away. Dont pay attention to the loud timing chain noise, or the lifter noise the point is it can barely be heard above..... I guess timing chain and lifters/valves that is next on my list of things to do. Main thing is the high pitched chirp in the background barely heard above. But that is why my original question if the chain tensioner could be going back and forth so fast its squeaking and the chain is slapping all at once?..

#2

w.youtube.com/watch?v=nPf62FahpIU

Thanks again

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Old 12-07-2017, 09:16 PM   #6
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Default Re: Chirping sound from Crankshaft Pulley

How many miles are on it? I showed my father the video and thread (1995-2000 Saturn Mechanic) and he said it could possibly be the oil pump. Or he thinks it is the timing chain. But he said the best bet is to take off the timing chain cover and check it out.

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Old 12-07-2017, 09:17 PM   #7
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Default Re: Chirping sound from Crankshaft Pulley

Man oh man, if you can hear a chirp, then you must have super ears. I can't detect anything over the ticking....lifter or timing chain slapping.
I would deal with the ticking and probably never worry about any chirp.

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Old 12-07-2017, 09:42 PM   #8
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Default Re: Chirping sound from Crankshaft Pulley

Quote:
Originally Posted by cgg17 View Post
How many miles are on it? I showed my father the video and thread (1995-2000 Saturn Mechanic) and he said it could possibly be the oil pump. Or he thinks it is the timing chain. But he said the best bet is to take off the timing chain cover and check it out.
It just went over 130K, it was owned by some older folks who took pretty good care of it.

Yeah, I think that will be the next thing I have to do, with the timing chain rattling it just makes sense. I had a thought that the oil pump could make a sound like that. Has your father heard an oil pump make a metal on metal chirp / tap like that??

I am just trying to gather as much information as I can before making anymore repairs / spending money. I appreciate your time and your fathers as well.

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Old 12-07-2017, 09:46 PM   #9
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Default Re: Chirping sound from Crankshaft Pulley

Quote:
Originally Posted by toggenburg View Post
Man oh man, if you can hear a chirp, then you must have super ears. I can't detect anything over the ticking....lifter or timing chain slapping.
I would deal with the ticking and probably never worry about any chirp.
Yeah if you watched the second video It sure seems like exactly what you are saying, but the chirp is very audible, if you stand 20 ft away from the car, you can't hear the engine running but you can hear the tap or chirp sound.

Did you watch the 1st video? The noise is much more apparent in that video.

If you did watch it, are you thinking that noise is a lifter noise? A week ago I thought the same thing before I started into this. I came to the determination that with a stethoscope I should be able to hear the lifter easily in various areas and not just from the crank pulley and I couldn't. The noise was also louder with the open ear then through the stethoscope.

I appreciate your input

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Old 12-08-2017, 01:17 PM   #10
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Default Re: Chirping sound from Crankshaft Pulley

So does anyone think its a waste of money to throw a new crankshaft pulley at it? Does anybody think or have experience with the pulley making a noise like that??

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Old 12-08-2017, 01:30 PM   #11
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Default Re: Chirping sound from Crankshaft Pulley

Probably the seal and not the pulley. The seal is easy to replace after removing the pulley.

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Old 12-08-2017, 02:13 PM   #12
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Default Re: Chirping sound from Crankshaft Pulley

Hi thanks for the reply,

I did replace the front seal. I mentioned in the post that has the Youtube video links. The sound went away for a while.

The pulley has a significant grove cut into it from the seal do you think this is a likely culprit??

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Old 12-08-2017, 02:17 PM   #13
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Default Re: Chirping sound from Crankshaft Pulley

When I have the pulley off and the seal out can I blow air through small oil pump holes/journals? I just had a thought of engine crud or timing chain pieces clogging them up..


Also... Is it possible to run the engine without the pulley on there? I understand it will probably flow a decent amount of oil out, but the thought was get the engine warm and producing the noise, quickly remove crankshaft pulley and run it for 5-10 seconds to see if the sound is eliminated. I think that would be a pretty definitive test proving it be pulley or oil pump related?

I just don't know how good an idea it is to run the engine like this.... Im sure it will have little to no oil pressure, but as far as I know the engine is internally balanced and at worse I will loose a bunch of oil if I keep it around 5 seconds?

What you think?

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Old 12-08-2017, 02:49 PM   #14
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Default Re: Chirping sound from Crankshaft Pulley

Quote:
Originally Posted by 1999SL2Wagon View Post
When I have the pulley off and the seal out can I blow air through small oil pump holes/journals? I just had a thought of engine crud or timing chain pieces clogging them up..
--No, don't try that.


Also... Is it possible to run the engine without the pulley on there? I understand it will probably flow a decent amount of oil out, but the thought was get the engine warm and producing the noise, quickly remove crankshaft pulley and run it for 5-10 seconds to see if the sound is eliminated. I think that would be a pretty definitive test proving it be pulley or oil pump related?
--No, do not try that either. Warm up until you hear the squeak then shut it off and squirt the front seal with a spray silicone then re-start to see if gone.


I just don't know how good an idea it is to run the engine like this.... Im sure it will have little to no oil pressure, but as far as I know the engine is internally balanced and at worse I will loose a bunch of oil if I keep it around 5 seconds?
--Removing the crank pulley has no impact on oil pressure.

What you think?
Spray the seal after you hear the squeak.

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Old 12-08-2017, 03:25 PM   #15
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Default Re: Chirping sound from Crankshaft Pulley

Quote:
Originally Posted by OldNuc View Post
Spray the seal after you hear the squeak.
Thanks for the input but...

Apparently you aren't reading my posts. Don't bother answering if you aren't going to read the thread please.

If you do decide to read the thread, can you elaborate on "No, don't try that" ?

And yes the engine will loose oil pressure with the Crank pulley and front seal removed, its shocking that you don't know that. Apparently you don't have the expertise I thought.

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Old 12-09-2017, 12:02 AM   #16
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Default Re: Chirping sound from Crankshaft Pulley

I can't hear the noise in either video.

Yes, you can run the engine for a short while with the pulley off, some oil will come out, but it is notunder pressure; you won't be lowering pressure to the bearings. With just the pulley off, I don't think there really is any place to blow air into passageways, but I wouldn't do it even if there were.

Try to be more polite to the people trying to help you here. I recently got blasted on a different forum in a similar manner, and it sure wasn't appreciated.

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Old 12-09-2017, 12:39 AM   #17
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Default Re: Chirping sound from Crankshaft Pulley

When you remove the pulley torque load you release the clamp load on the lower chain sprocket. This is a very bad idea. If spraying silicone on the outside of the seal does not stop the chirp then move on to the next choice.

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Old 12-09-2017, 12:47 AM   #18
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Default Re: Chirping sound from Crankshaft Pulley

Agreed, I wouldn't run it for long with the pulley off. That lower chain sprocket would be working back-and-forth on the key.

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Old 12-09-2017, 08:38 AM   #19
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Default Re: Chirping sound from Crankshaft Pulley

Quote:
Try to be more polite
+1

I can see the pulley sliding toward the end of the crank being a bad thing. Seems odd to me that a seal would chirp. It gets plenty of oil on the back side.

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Old 12-09-2017, 09:26 AM   #20
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Default Re: Chirping sound from Crankshaft Pulley

The seal outer lip will be deformed if the seal/cover are not actually centered on the crank/pulley axis. Then it tends to run dry and squeak. This would be a problem I would be very hard pressed to assign to the front seal though as as you have pointed out the back side lives in an incredibly large oil fog. For the curious as to what happens when the engine runs with the crank pulley off. At every 180 degree rotation of the crank the crankcase pressure goes positive and a nice cloud of oil is forcibly ejected from the opening provided. This volume can be measured by the size of the puddle on the floor if the engine runs for a couple of minutes. The lower crank gear hammers the oil pump rotor and chain as it rattles on the key. The intermediate shaft seal is the big offender for this trick and is very close to that timing cover seal.

However, that is not a seal squeak.

The best way to go after this is to put the belt back on so the engine can be run long enough to possibly locate the approximate source. This will require a harbor Freight mechanics stethoscope or a long screw driver and careful probing around on the head and block to get a better location of the source. It is not any of the belt driven components.

Last edited by OldNuc; 12-09-2017 at 09:34 AM..

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