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Old 12-22-2015, 01:23 PM   #1
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Terrible sound coming from belts

Hey guys,

I have a 2001 e46 with 150,000 miles. For a few months I've had this screeching sound coming from under the hood. At first the sound would be intermittent for about two minutes and then go away. The weird thing is that sometimes the sound would happen and then other days it wouldn't happen at all.

It got terribly worse last night, as the sound continuously went on. It seems to be coming from the belt area next to the alternator. I was wondering if you guys would know what it is by hearing the sound. Tensioner? Pulleys? Belts? All the above?

Thanks, and here is a video of the sound:

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Last edited by Enzo8; 12-22-2015 at 01:24 PM.
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Old 12-22-2015, 01:26 PM   #2
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It's your belt tensioner, super easy fix. Cheap too
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Old 12-22-2015, 01:51 PM   #3
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There's no real way for us to say exactly what it is, even from a video. But it is clearly a problem in the belt drive system. What you need to do is take the belts off and start the car for a minute with them off. If you don't have a sound, you can be 100% sure it's in the belt drive system. Now shut the car off and spin each pulley until you find one that's making noise. Not very hard.

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Old 12-22-2015, 04:08 PM   #4
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If manual, easy to replace all three pulleys and belts...and to listen with a hose or stethoscope to isolate the source of the sound (careful around moving things!). In the automatic, it's hard to see which pulleys you have without taking things apart some. There is a mix of the two different tensioners...you need to look, or order two of each and return what you don't need.

Don't run the car for long without the belts on...you won't have a wp cooling it! You can spin the pulleys without the belt on and if they free-spin like a skateboard wheel, they're shot.
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Old 12-22-2015, 06:38 PM   #5
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I had the same recently and knew from my previous e46 it was tensioner or idler pulley. With your miles just order and replace both. I did and quiet and smooth now. Less than $50 and then they're both good for a long time. It sounds bad I know!
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Old 12-23-2015, 12:14 AM   #6
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+1 ^ Replace your tensioner and idler roller pulley, simple diy.
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Old 12-23-2015, 01:09 AM   #7
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I had a similar sound, not as bad lol but close. I would do what I did. Buy a whole belt/tensioner kit and replace everything like I did. I got mine for like $150 from autohaus az and thank god that noise is gone now
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pulleys. belts, screech, serpentine, sound, tensioner

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