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Old 03-02-2006, 10:14 AM   #1
Smokey
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Default Whining noise

1996 SL2 with 99,000 miles.

It has all of sudden developed a strange whining noise. It seems to be emanating from the passenger side of the engine and is directly related to the engine rpm's.

Any suggestions? Belt tensioner, alternator?

Thanks...Patrick
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Old 03-02-2006, 10:33 AM   #2
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Default Re: Whining noise

Probably the alternator or power steering pump. Has it been excessively cold out, i.e. below freezing?
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Old 03-02-2006, 11:19 AM   #3
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Default Re: Whining noise

Pull the serpentine belt off and start the car. Don't run it long, your water pump won't be pumping. If the sound is gone without the belt, you know it's a belt driven device. Try turning the pulleys by hand to see if you can find one that's rough to turn.
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Old 03-02-2006, 11:21 AM   #4
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Default Re: Whining noise

First: Tensioner [Belt] Bearing
Second: Idler [Belt] Pulley Bearing

With said, and the mileage on the vehicle, I'd replace both, in as much as you'll be working in the area.

I'd, almost, be that it's one of those two units. You can take a length of hosing, and put one end of the hose near the pulley guide and listen. A vacuum hose works well on this effort.

Should you elect to replace the units, rather than the bearings, save the old units, so that you can use them as back-ups, after replacing the bad bearings in those removed units. That's what I've done; when I think it time to replace them, I simply remove the old units, insert the back-ups, and at my leasure, replace the bad bearing in the just removed units. Then they sit as back-ups.
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Last edited by Luke; 03-02-2006 at 11:26 AM.
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Old 03-02-2006, 11:48 PM   #5
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Default Re: Whining noise

A high pitched whistling whining noise would indicate that the diodes in the alt are shot. Lower high pitched noise would indicate more of a bearing noise. It could even be something like a glazed serpentine belt making noise.
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Old 03-16-2006, 10:32 AM   #6
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Default Re: Whining noise

I have a lower pitch whine at start up, that goes away after the car warms up. I replaced the Alternator and belt(due to crappy charging), and no changes in the noise.

If indeed it's one of the 2 aformentioned pullies, does this mean they are getting ready to fail?, or is this just an annoying thing I can deal with for a while?
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Old 03-16-2006, 11:07 AM   #7
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Default Re: Whining noise

Quote:
Originally Posted by SofaKingDumb
If indeed it's one of the 2 aformentioned pullies, does this mean they are getting ready to fail?, or is this just an annoying thing I can deal with for a while?
They will fail eventually, but it's unlikely to have a pulley lock up completely. I've never seen it happen yet, and I test tensioners for a living. But they will create an unhealthy load on the engine, and shorten the belt life significantly. It's more likely for them to wobble and throw your belt off before locking up. Remeber to check the belt regularly, and replace it every 4 years or 50,000miles. And replace it with a Gates belt of course.


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Old 06-29-2006, 07:00 AM   #8
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Default Re: Whining noise

Hi, I have been tearing apart my 96 SL2. I've got the overheating problem under control now that I've rigged a grounded switch to the relay to manually switch on the fan - no big. Also replaced coolant temperature sensor.

However, the engine has been making a distinct "grinding bearing" noise on the passenger side of the engine. I verified with a local mechanic and he seems to agree with Luke's posting - it's most likely the tensioner or idler pulley bearing.

However, I checked the Hayes manual and I can't find how to replace these parts nor where to buy them! I can't afford a mechanic otherwise I would be driving a newer car.

Any help would be appreciated! Thank you in advance anyone!

-Ace
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Old 06-29-2006, 07:17 AM   #9
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Default Re: Whining noise

Quote:
Originally Posted by quadratini
I can't find how to replace these parts
Jack up the passenger side, remove passenger wheel, remove passenger wheel well. It's right there.
May be easier to get to it if you get a block of wood, a jack and jack up the engine a bit (with the block of wood between the jack and oil pan), then remove the upper engine mount. That might just be what you do if you do it the hard way through the top.
Just a note on the quality of the Haynes manual: It isn't worth the paper it's printed on when you "actually" want to do something to fix your car. I do have one and, while it's better then nothing, I need either a FSM or a chiltons.
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Old 06-29-2006, 03:22 PM   #10
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Default Re: Whining noise

Cool thanks for the tip. I did some more searching based on your post and found a step by set in the how-to-library (http://www.saturnfans.com/forums/sho...ghlight=idler). Also a point while I'm in there, probably going to replace the idler pulley, water pump and if the serpentine belt looks nasty, that too.

Quick tip: If you have a Checker auto (same as Kragen) ask if they match prices with their sister company, partsamerica.com. They do where I live and seriously guys for many things IT IS LESS THAN 1/2 PRICE. It will safe you $$$. You can also take your old receipts back there and get money back! Check it out!

-A
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Old 06-29-2006, 03:31 PM   #11
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Default Re: Whining noise

Have a '96 SL2 Auto w/91,500 miles myself.

About 4K ago, it developed a whining noise for the first few seconds when you accelerate from a stop, then went away.

Not sure what it was, exactly, as I had the brakes done for the first time (still had material left) and also added 1 quart of ATF at the same time.
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Old 06-29-2006, 03:36 PM   #12
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Default Re: Whining noise

Cool thanks for the tip. I did some more searching based on your post and found a step by set in the how-to-library (http://www.saturnfans.com/forums/sho...ghlight=idler). Also a point while I'm in there, probably going to replace the idler pulley, water pump and if the serpentine belt looks nasty, that too.

Quick tip: If you have a Checker auto (same as Kragen) ask if they match prices with their sister company, partsamerica.com. They do where I live and seriously guys for many things IT IS LESS THAN 1/2 PRICE. It will save you $$$. You can also take your old receipts back there and get money back! Check it out!

-A
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Old 06-29-2006, 04:04 PM   #13
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Default Re: Whining noise

Quote:
Originally Posted by The Critic
Have a '96 SL2 Auto w/91,500 miles myself.

About 4K ago, it developed a whining noise for the first few seconds when you accelerate from a stop, then went away.

Not sure what it was, exactly, as I had the brakes done for the first time (still had material left) and also added 1 quart of ATF at the same time.
It's probably a worn belt, or tensioner is beginning to fail. Check the condition of the belt and replace it if it's worn, or over 4 years old. If the problem continues, it's likely the tensioner as well.
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Old 06-29-2006, 06:53 PM   #14
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1996 SW2
Default Re: Whining noise

Since you have the belt off, unless you know how many miles are on the current belt, go ahead and replace it, for good measure. Zero extra labor, and will save you some down the road.

You sure about the water pump? How does it sound/feel with the belt off?
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Old 06-29-2006, 07:14 PM   #15
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Default Re: Whining noise

According to another post I read, if the water pump shows signs of play with the belt off it needs to be changed. Figured while I was in there I would change it out anyways - I don't know the history on this thing.

I just bought the car as is 2 weeks ago for $500. It's a 96 SC2 DOHC with 107K on it - the previous owner was an idiot and take any care of it. It's been a bit of a project car and it's been a lot of fun to play with. Thus far I have:

- Flushed the coolant system and removed the thermostat - it was overheating.
(I live in Hawaii - everyone removes their thermostats here because it's warm year-round)

- Swapped the radiator fan - it was siezing up and not cooling the engine, hence overheating (probably why the last owner couldn't deal with it)

- Installed a manual over-ride switch to the fan relay.

- Changed the coolant temperature sensor.

- Degreased the engine - no leaks, good.

- Fuses blown to most things - fixed 'em

- Oil change. Air filter change.

- Seat covers - my wife wouldn't sit on the questionable seats

Things left to do:

- Fuel filter.

- Transmission flush and filter change.

- New tensioner & idler pulley (whining noise still coming from engine)

- Water pump and serpentine belt (while I'm in there)

- Rotors warped - change those out and put new brakes on there.

- Trunk was crowbared - need to get a generic solenoid to communicate with the trunk release. Got the electrical working back to there.

Probably going to also cover up the doorlocks - they're all destroyed from being broken into so many times. Probably just going to use one of those remote entry systems. In other good news, no valve damage (whew!) due to the last owner's idiocy. I guess they had the common sense to pull over once they saw the temperature creep past the 3/4 mark and let the fan kick on.

I like the car a lot and am really surprised that there's not more of a sports-enthusiast following for Saturns. It can sure beat a stock Civic on the 1/4 mile. Also, great body due to tupperware-like technology. Haha!

-Ace
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Old 06-29-2006, 07:24 PM   #16
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Default Re: Whining noise

Quote:
Originally Posted by quadratini
- New tensioner & idler pulley (whining noise still coming from engine)
If you do this, check my gallery for pics of which tensioners to get, and which one to avoid. RockAuto.com has all 3 on sale. The bearing for the idler pulley can be replaced much cheaper than the pulley, and bearing assembly. It's much cheaper, and it's not hard to do. If the pulley shows no sign of beaing warped, broken or damaged, I'd just swap the bearing.
As for everything else, it seems likke you have a plan, and a good one at that. Good luck.
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Old 06-29-2006, 07:39 PM   #17
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Default Re: Whining noise

Well, the parts I was looking at getting were the following (from partsamerica.com / checker). No shipping charges since I can pick them up at the store at the online price

Part No.

49026 Goodyear 49026 GDY PULLEYS $16.99
OR
1911 Ready-Aire 1911/45975/45973 IDLER PULLEY $16.99

And for the tensioner:

49212 Goodyear 49212 GDY TENSIONERS $56.99

For the water pump:

A5516112 Cardone A55-16112/A130-1800 WATER PUMP $27.99

As for the serpentine belt, they have 3 to choose from:

Part No.

4050665 Goodyear 4050665 GDY SERPTN BELTS $21.03

4050778 Goodyear 4050778 GDY SERPTN BELTS $19.99

778K5MK Goodyear 778K5MK SERPTN BELTS $15.99


Do any of these stand out as "DON'T BUY THIS CRAPPY THING!" ?

-A
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Old 06-29-2006, 07:45 PM   #18
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Default Re: Whining noise

I'd recommend getting the belt and idler pulley from saturnparts.com especially the belt as I have had problems with non OEM belts as far as fitting.
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Old 06-29-2006, 07:57 PM   #19
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Default Re: Whining noise

Quote:
Originally Posted by quadratini
And for the tensioner:

49212 Goodyear 49212 GDY TENSIONERS $56.99

Do any of these stand out as "DON'T BUY THIS CRAPPY THING!" ?
That's the crappy one. 49212, 38112, 999017 are the 3 part numbers for the crappy tensioner. As well, OEM belt is best. I don't know which aftermarket belt is the same as OEM. I work for Gates Rubber Company for Quality Control in their North American tensioner plant. I know tensioners. The accessory belt drive system in the Saturn 1.9L is a rather troublesome one. The shape and design of the tensioner is a big part of the problem. Get the OEM tensioner and belt. Saturn switched to a Dayco tensioner in '98. The parts are interchangeable, and the two OEM tensioners (Gates, and Dayco) are far more reliable than the aftermarket Gates built one. Gates makes the Goodyear, Gates, and CarQuest brand tensioners. Between the Dayco and Gates OEM, I don't know which one is better. I'd buy the cheaper of the 2 to be honest. As for the pulley, as long as it's round, made of steel, and has a decent bearing, it doesn' matter which one you get. I think they're all made by Gates anyway, but I'm not sure.
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Old 06-29-2006, 08:01 PM   #20
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Default Re: Whining noise

Good advice. I looked up the parts and was ready to check out and then.....

they only ship to the continental US and I'm in Hawaii :P

oh well, Checker it is for now - I'll make a post up here when I find out if the parts fit or not.

-A
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