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Old 03-13-2009, 12:01 AM   #1
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Car is a 2000 328Ci. I've had it for about 1 year. About 4 months ago it started making a very faint whistling noise from the engine bay, when the engine was cold. As the engine warmed up it went away.

As time has gone on the noise has gotten louder and louder, plus it takes longer and longer until it goes away. Once the engine is fully warmed it does go away though.

But basically when the engine is cold it makes this noise both when i rev it in neutral & when I accelerate in drive. It is most prominent between 1500-2500rpms. Unfortunatly I really can't pinpoint the exact source just by listening.

So I did some reading around here & best I can see is that its related to the belts or pulleys.

So today I started out by looking at the belts. Both appear to be in very good condition.

So first I removed the AC belt. I then started the car, but the noise was still there. So it is definatly not related to the AC belt or pulleys.

I then took off the belt that runs the alternator, water pump, & power steering. I would have like to have started it up without that belt to check for the noise, but I didn't really feel comfortable about this since the water pump would not be running. So I just spun each pulley by hand. They all seemed to spin fine, but of course I can't spin them all too fast by hand.

So in the end I still don't know whats making this noise. I definatly rulled out the AC belt and pulleys. But as for the other belt and pulleys I really can't say for sure if they are to blame or not.

SO here is a video. Maybe someone else has had this happen before & knows what it is. Any help is appreciated.

BTW, (since i'm sure some will notice the intake) the sound is not from the K&N intake. I switch back to stock to check, and the noise still existed.

(uploading video soon)

Last edited by strsi; 03-13-2009 at 01:00 PM.
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Old 03-13-2009, 12:36 AM   #2
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Maybe Active Autowerke made a visit to your car

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Old 03-13-2009, 12:49 AM   #3
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yea i wish. well they kind of did, but they only brought me an exhaust, not the SC.

sorry, youtube is under maintence right now. video will come soon.
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Old 03-13-2009, 01:16 AM   #4
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check your pulleys, take them out and clean the living shiit outa them, you should be good, or you can buy new ones, up to you....

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Old 03-13-2009, 02:05 AM   #5
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muffler whistle. someone put it in there on you
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Old 03-13-2009, 03:42 PM   #6
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video added
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Old 03-13-2009, 03:56 PM   #7
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sounds like a whale mating call...watch out...
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Old 03-13-2009, 04:05 PM   #8
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Could it be a leak in the intake boot?

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Old 03-13-2009, 06:21 PM   #9
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intake boot appears to be fine.
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Old 03-13-2009, 09:44 PM   #10
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Same problem, I mention this to someone else.

You describe the symptoms of a tensioner or pulley gone awry. But the intake boot should definitely b looked at more thoroughly! (Underneath the elbow joint?)

Certain pulleys should NOT spin freely in your hand, specifically the deflection or idler pulley. If they did when you hand spun them, that pulley may b causing the noise! I had the EXACT same symptoms and noise and it turned out to b the deflection pulley located right next to the AC Comp pulley. But if you've ruled that out then I would look at the S-Belt Deflection pulley and/or the tensioner. Alot of times, when the engine is cold, the tensioner isn't fully engaged, and the residual slack due to this would cause the high pitch "whine." It's a PITA DIY but I would definately recommend it. You'll have to remove the fan to replace certain pulleys, and I don't know how many miles you have, but this would b a great opportunity to do some preventative maint. and replace your cooling system hoses and water pump! Try to isolate the location, use a paper towel roll and point it in certain spots to see if the noise increase/decrease (carefully!).

Good luck and I hope this helped!
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Old 03-13-2009, 11:52 PM   #11
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yes thank you. if its a pulley then it has to be one related to the belt that runs the p/s, water pump, alt. Replacing anyone of those definatly does not look fun, but I am capable of doing it.

& I most definatly was intending to replace the water pump while I was at it(95,000 miles on the car). I just wish I could somehow isolate the exact pulley.
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Old 03-14-2009, 03:30 PM   #12
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water pump?
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Old 03-14-2009, 04:34 PM   #13
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not sure, I've never heard of a water pump making all that noise before it ends itself. But I'm not as familiar with BMW's as I am with other makes.

I'm thinking I'll just go ahead and replace the water pump, belts, and the idler & tensioner pulleys soon. I really hope one of those will be the fix, cuz if not I have no idea what else it could be.
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Old 03-14-2009, 05:07 PM   #14
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Old 04-29-2009, 04:15 AM   #15
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For those following, maybe because your having the same problem, I finally fixed it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I replaced the idler pulley & the tensioner pulley assembley. I also did the water pump, just as a preventative thing while I was there anyways.

The sound is all gone. I'm not sure which pulley it was though. The idler was way too stiff versus the new one, pretty much unable to spin by hand. The tensioner was way to loose versus the new one, it spun almost too freely. But which ever one it was, its fixed.

I did the water pump too, assuming it was the stock plastic impeller one (the car is at 95,000 miles). To my surprise the one I pulled out had a metal impellar & it looked very new. But by this point I figured I'd just change it anyways.

This is a very easy job, one you get the dam radiator fan out of the way. These belt driven fans on the automatics are a pain to get off.

I bought the 32mm fan clutch wrench from bimmer tools, but I could not justify spending $40 on the water pump pulley holder. I figured it was unnecessary.

Boy was I wrong though. That bolt wont loosen without something first holding the water pump pulley in place. I tried everything, even broke a couple screwdrivers trying to use them as a wedge to stop it from spinning.

I then decided to try and fab up my own pulley holder. It cost me nothing cuz I had the metal at home already. BUt anyone could build it for about $5-10. I'd say that is totally worth it for a one time only type job.

This is it, next to the bimmer tools wrench. Probably one of the crudest tools ever used effectivly on a bimmer...
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Old 09-10-2012, 07:46 PM   #16
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I recently bought a 01 325xi, my car just started making the exact same noise, do u remember where and how much the idler pully and tensioner pulleys were, the noise is very annoying
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