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Guest Message by DevFuse

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HELP -- Strange Noise!!

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17 replies to this topic

#1 Guest_newsooby_*

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Posted 20 July 2003 - 05:18 PM

I've got a '99 OBW, 2.5 DOHC, with 37K on it. Last weekend, and again today, I noticed it making the kind of sound you get with a loose or dry belt. It makes the noise a speeds under 40 mph, and the noise disappears when I accelerate. It happens whenever I coast on flat areas or downhill. I think it might increase some when I go around a corner.

The darnedest think is that it is NOT loud like a sqeaky belt. But like a "quiet" squeaky belt. In fact, I first noticed it while creeping through North Conway, NH traffic and had something next to the car to reflect the sound back to me. The first time I heard it I thought it was the car ahead of me, or the one behind me. No such luck, it WAS me. :eek: It's not a wheel bearing -- it is definitely and engine noise. AC is turned off when I hear it. I haven't tried it with the AC on.

Please let me know your thoughts (the best and brightest on the board) :) ASAP as I'm heading to NJ this week to visit my mom and if necessary, I'll get it into the shop before I leave!!

If you need more info, let me know and I'll run out and do a test drive tonight. Thanks.

#2 Guest_newsooby_*

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Posted 20 July 2003 - 07:41 PM

I took the car for a run -- about 12 miles, and was able to get it to make the noise on the uphill on a twisty, turning road, again, at speeds under 40 mph. The car does not make the noise when standing still and idling, or when I run through the gears. The noise does NOT change frequency when I rev the engine while driving. Is it possible this is a leaking exhaust manifold gasket? I had that problem with my '90 Corolla, but only in cold weather.

When I approached a stop sign near my house, I heard a rubbing sound from the front left side of the car. Wheel bearing? Sticky brake caliper? Related to above problem? Altogether different problem than the one described above? Gee, two problems in one day?

#3 Guest_Tolerance02_*

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Posted 21 July 2003 - 04:54 AM

Just a thought, as I posted a few days ago in an other topic. Maybe a small peace of stone came between the brake disc and the cover plate. This happens often and is summer (hot weather) related. (for example when they renew road surfaces)


#4 Guest_newsooby_*

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Posted 21 July 2003 - 08:05 AM

Yeah -- I've had that happen before. However, this sounds different, and frankly, has got me stumped.

I didn't hear anything driving to work on the Massachusetts Turnpike at 70mph, however, when I got off at my exit, I heard it again briefly after heading through the toll plaza. I need to do a few more tests, eg does it happen when I shift car to neutral, downshift, cut the wheel back and forth, is it engine or wheel, etc?

I'm beginning to think it might be a wheel bearing, and the sound is intermittent because the load on the bearing keeps changing?!

Anyone else?!

#5 Guest_1 Lucky Texan_*

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Posted 21 July 2003 - 12:00 PM

I suppose this is obvious, but a torn CV boot might hum intermittently and be tricky to spot sometimes. Look for grease around the hub area and actually pull/push around on the boot. Right side (gutter side in the US) often the first to go.

just a WAG

1 Lucky Texan

#6 Guest_newsooby_*

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Posted 21 July 2003 - 04:49 PM

Thanks you guys -- all great suggestions. I heard it again tonight as I drove home from work on a twisting, turning road. When I got home, I checked the temperature of my brake discs. Yup, the right one was cool enough to touch. The left one (where the noise was coming from) was too hot to touch!! I think I've got a sticky caliper. I'm guessing that the sqeal is intermittent because the load changes on the disc depending on road conditions, and the caliper may even be expanding/opening as it heats up (quiet), and then contracting/closing as it cools down (noisy) . I'll let everyone know what it was when I confirm it at the garage tomorrow.

#7 Guest_newsooby_*

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Posted 21 July 2003 - 06:39 PM

I sprayed the caliper "linkage" with WD-40 (didn't get any on the discs), let it set for awhile. Went for a quick spin -- it started making the noise going up a hill about 3 miles from my house. Checked the discs -- I was braking alot -- and they were hot. Probably doesn't mean anything.

OK -- I think what'd important is that it only seems to make the noise when climbing and (sometimes) descending a grade or hill.

Because it appears to be "incline-sensitive," could it be the water pump? What do they sound like before they "go?" Power steering pump? It doesn't seem to vary when I cut the wheel back and forth. There is no visible fluid leakage anywhere in the engine compartment.

Belts? Wouldn't the noise occur if the car were idling in the driveway? Would belts be "incline sensitive?" Belt tensioner/idle pully? Does a '99 OBW even have one? Belt tension looks OK.

This is driving me NUTS!! :mad: Help!

#8 Guest_1 Lucky Texan_*

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Posted 21 July 2003 - 06:57 PM

Perhaps bad motor mount(s) cause some change when on an incline or heavy braking?


1 Luckly Texan

#9 Guest_newsooby_*

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Posted 21 July 2003 - 07:14 PM

Yeah, it could be, but cripes, the car isn't 5 years old and has less than 40K on it -- 34,768 to be exact. I hope you're wrong! :)

It's super clean inside and out. If the motor mounts are already gone, Subaru quality is alot worse than I thought!

By the way -- I checked the CV boots -- they're OK. Soft, pliable, no visible wear.

I'm just pissed because I bought this car because I need reliable transportation, and lately these cars seems to have more "little" problems before they even get to 50K. I need to make an important trip, and now I've got to worry about whether the car can make it.

#10 Guest_1 Lucky Texan_*

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Posted 21 July 2003 - 09:50 PM

OK - if you can consistently duplicate the noise on the hill, that is the time to try to determine if it is an 'engine' noise(related to engine revving) or a 'wheel/drivetrain' noise(speed related). try using neutral/clutch in (don't recall if theis is AT or MT?) and diferent gearing,etc.

I think that rubbung may have been something else.

You mentioned water pump and I was gonna mention PS pump but then you seemed unsure as to any relationship/freq. change with RPM.

Can you get someone to pace you on each side to determine if the noise is louder left vs. right? If you 'pop' the hood (obviously not past the safety latch) would it be louder on one side vs the other? Maybe even run some tubing from suspected componenets into the cabin and let a passenegr listen to 2-3-4 diffent areas?

get crazy!

1 Lucky Texan

I hope you get this worked out.

1 Lucky Texan

#11 Guest_camosuba_*

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Posted 22 July 2003 - 05:08 AM

have you had any work done on the driveshafts recently check that they are tight as i seen the noise you talk about caused by the nut on the shaft being loose its a squeek sound not neccesarily connected to the wheels revolution speed.. just a thought :)

#12 Guest_newsooby_*

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Posted 22 July 2003 - 06:28 AM

Carl, Camosuba, and others, thanks for all the suggestions! Actually, it will make the noise on inclines, but not consistently, so I can't say I've been able to "reproduce" it. :(

Strangely enough, it didn't make a sound on the drive to work. I'm got an appointment with the mechanic on Thursday -- I'm going to hand him a printout of this dialog string to save him some time doing diagnosis.

Camosuba, I haven't had work done on the driveshafts -- is it likely they've loosened up w/o being messed with? The fact that the sound isn't connected to wheel rev speed is interesting. But the sound I'm hearing doesn't change pitch or speed when I rev it!

We'll see. Never a dull moment! :rolleyes:

PS -- I checked the AXLE boots! (D'oh -- I've got too much on my mind!)

#13 Guest_camosuba_*

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Posted 22 July 2003 - 06:35 PM

does it change when you swerve ? not violently but gently side to side ? or maybe the tailshaft to the rear diff has a dry uni joint ?

#14 Guest_newsooby_*

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Posted 23 July 2003 - 09:06 AM

Yup, the noise has disappeared completely.

After a long period of hot, dry weather, we received rain yesterday. Lots of rain.

Once it stopped pouring, and I could drive with the windows open to hear better, I went for a 30 mile drive on country roads. And I heard nothing, just the normal sounds of my engine.

I swerved, I shimmied, I slowed quickly, accelerated quickly. I climbed and descended hills fast and slow. No squeal. This all leads me to think it was/is a dry belt, or joint that needs some lubing. I'm assembling a list of all your suggestions to give to my mechanic as "things to look at."

#15 Guest_newsooby_*

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Posted 24 July 2003 - 07:29 PM

Well, brought the car to the mechanic. We drove it together, he drove it alone. No "strange noise." He checked the brakes -- everything was OK, plenty of life left in them. Tightened all the belts -- not much slack to speak of. Checked the steering, all hoses, fluid levels -- everything is OK. Total cost $39.00. No complaints here! :D

When we started out driving I noticed him eyeballing the interior of the car (spotless). As we're driving along, he said out loud, "What year is this car again?!" I told him a '99. Apparently he saw the odometer and said "With under 35K on it?! (My original entry here said 37K 'cause I can't type) This car is great! You shouldn't have any problems with it!" :)

He finshed up with the comment that "You can tell alot about a person by the way they treat their cars." I told him he should meet some of the people on this board, and that he'd appreciate the loyalty and devotion to Subarus. :D

That's all the news that fits!

#16 Guest_1 Lucky Texan_*

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Posted 24 July 2003 - 08:54 PM

Thanx for replying back even though the mystery noise is gone (I hope forever and leaving behind no problems). We need to encourage folks (and remeber ourselves) to reply with any resolutions to problems and to use as accurate/informative subject lines as possible (to facilitate searching). So many folks never reply back it seems after the last GOOD suggestion. I assume they finally got the answer they wanted but?????

I lurk a lot and 'guess' at some problems. But as a new Subaru owner I've learned so much. Not just about Subies but a bout a lot of the 'modern' systems on cars. Stuff I didn't have an opportunity to work on when I was younger.

It's a great group.

1 Lucky Texan

#17 Guest_newsooby_*

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Posted 24 July 2003 - 09:29 PM

Carl, I agree with you 100%. I can't learn from the problem if someone doesn't share the solution. Some/most folks on this board do a good job of follow-up which I really appreciate. My first cars were big old Chryslers with killer V-8s -- simple compared to the cars we drive now! Any clues to potential future problems/solutions are much appreciated. And Subarus are "unique" with their own set of interesting "features." ;)

Hey, not to get too far off topic, but how did you manage to skate your Forester off the road? I looked at the photos last night -- that was one hell of a dropoff!! :eek:

You're really lucky you lived to tell about it! Did they total the car, or did they fix it, and are you still driving it?!

#18 Guest_1 Lucky Texan_*

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Posted 24 July 2003 - 10:20 PM

Sorry if it wasn't clear but that was a link/story I found on usenet (alt.autos.subaru) that I thought folks would enjoy. I haven't managed to wreck my WIFE"S OBW (yet) but don't let her see how I drive it when I'm alone!

1 Lucky texan

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