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Whining noise alternator or belts? what is it?

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Old 02-04-2009, 03:14 PM   #1
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Whining noise alternator or belts? what is it?

My max just recently started making the "whining" noise everytime its started...i can hear it for sure and i can that its not the same sound it used to be. My car is at 102k, runs perfectly fine...Could it be the alternator giving up? How about the belts? Does it need some sort of quick tuneup (oiling up the belts, or anything else thats needed)? It's really cold here in MA, so you can hear it quite noticeably.


VIDEO UPLOADED DOWN BELOW!!!

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Old 02-04-2009, 03:16 PM   #2
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Is it squeeling or whining? Kinda hard for us to diagnose it for you with the info provided. Squeeling = belts. Whatever you do, do NOT oil your belts
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Old 02-04-2009, 03:22 PM   #3
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Post up a sound clip.
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Old 02-04-2009, 03:36 PM   #4
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By whining, do you mean whining out of the speakers? If this is in fact what you're referring to, the whining most likely increases when you accelerate, yes? Anyway, if this is the case, it sounds as if you have a grounding issue with your stereo. If you have recently added or modified an existing sound system, you may have grounded it too close to the altenator which is why you're having the whining through the speakers. I had the same problem, but I recently just gutted my stereo system and the accompyning wires and the sound simply vanished. So my advice to you would be to check your grounding wires and possibly relocate them, good luck!
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Old 02-04-2009, 09:47 PM   #5
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If it does it only on startup, is it your starter? The grease in them gets dried and caked, and the starter makes an aweful whine on startup. The cold will intensify the problem. Have someone start your car (from being stone cold) while you are facing the engine from the front. If it is from your left, alternator or belts. If from your right, starter.
Once that is figured out, we can go from there.

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Old 02-05-2009, 08:17 AM   #6
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on the starter....same thing happened to me.
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Old 02-05-2009, 09:37 AM   #7
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If its a constant whine it may be your ac compressor bearing going out. Turn on your AC and if the noise stops then that what it is. I got sick of hearing mine so I bypassed my ac completely and it stopped.
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Old 02-05-2009, 10:43 AM   #8
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The whining sound is NOT coming from the speakers, its definetely coming from the engine. Im not sure if its the starter because my car starts up perfectly fine (i dont have to hold down the key too long)

It sounds like a constant "rerrrrrrrrrrr" ing, at idle, and noise increases as you accelerate (cant really hear it over my intake though )
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Old 02-05-2009, 11:34 AM   #9
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yea bro im having the same thing on mine. i jus had my belts replaced so i know its not that. so like my man said up there i think its a bearing. cuz mine is cuming from ythe left. and towards the back of the engine. one of the bearings on the belt system is takn a dump on me. but i cant worry bout that now. i have 2 replace my clutch. its gone! so a stage 2 act or excedy would go nicely in it. let me know what u find out bro
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Old 02-05-2009, 02:44 PM   #10
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Is it squeeling or whining? Kinda hard for us to diagnose it for you with the info provided. Squeeling = belts. Whatever you do, do NOT oil your belts
No sense of adventure these days lol

I'm gonna guess it's your AC bearing! Very common issue. It could be the idler pulley as well .... does the noise go away if you run the AC? If so, that is likely your problem. If not ... tensioner pulley.

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Old 02-05-2009, 02:50 PM   #11
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It would be much easier to just get a video or just record it from your phone or something. Just tighten the alternator belt. It may be your alternator bearings, you can just simply take it down to a alternator and starter shop and have them lub the bearings.
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Old 02-05-2009, 03:01 PM   #12
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It would be much easier to just get a video or just record it from your phone or something. Just tighten the alternator belt. It may be your alternator bearings, you can just simply take it down to a alternator and starter shop and have them lub the bearings.
Wow ... you gotta know the 'common' problems with our cars. Not the alt bearing and if you tighten the belt, it's not gonna help and will probably make things worse. You'll either brake the tensioner or the belt. Poor advice mate.

Also ... you're selling a Bose h/u that doesn't work, but it's in good shape? How is it in good shape if it doesn't work?
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Old 02-05-2009, 05:11 PM   #13
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Wow ... you gotta know the 'common' problems with our cars. Not the alt bearing and if you tighten the belt, it's not gonna help and will probably make things worse. You'll either brake the tensioner or the belt. Poor advice mate.

Also ... you're selling a Bose h/u that doesn't work, but it's in good shape? How is it in good shape if it doesn't work?
I know its not that good of advice, but still just throwing out what might be the problem. And the trim part, buttons are in good condition. Like if somebody needs some buttons or the black trim parts, I can sell them the parts, instead of them buying a brand new HU or posting a thread (which most new members cant do without posting alot).
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Old 02-05-2009, 06:06 PM   #14
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if it a rerrrrr sound then thats a timing guides issue not belt when u start it if it makes a rerrrr sound like u said then stops thats a timing guides and tensioner..
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Old 02-05-2009, 09:22 PM   #15
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I had a whining noise on the passenger side, but then I dropped her off at work and it went away.
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Old 02-05-2009, 09:41 PM   #16
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I had a whining noise on my passenger side as well. Then my alternator went out when I was driving home one day. Replaced it and no more whine.
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Old 02-05-2009, 10:06 PM   #17
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Sometimes its just the bearings that need replaced, thats been the problem with 5 cars I've worked on.

Why spend $100.-$400. for a new alternator, when you can fix the problem (which might not be the hole alternator).
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Old 02-05-2009, 10:54 PM   #18
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Now that you mention that the noise continues while the engine is running, I can rule out the starter. Alternator, AC compressor, idler pulley, timing chain guides, and power steering pump would all come next. To rule out alternator, AC compressor, and idler pulley, remove your main belt temporarily (but put it back on when done). If the noise is still there, then it's the timing chain tensioner (doubtful), water pump (again, doubtful), or power steering pump. If the noise disappears without the main belt (most likely), it's the alternator, AC compressor, or idler pulley.
A mechanic's stethoscope is a wonderful item. However, be extremely cautious when working on that side of a running engine with it. Getting under the car can also help puinpoint the noise a lot. But use caution here, too. I would use ramps for this. Do not get under a car using just a jack. Even for just a minute. Jack stands would greatly decrease the risk.
I would not automatically tighten your belt. This can put undue stress on your components bearings, making them fail prematurely.
You can check your alternator's output with a multimeter. At idle, you should have 13.8-14.2 volts or so at the battery. My alternator will whine for a little while if I run my battery down too much while washing my car (hours of electrical drain). The added stress (output) on the alternator to recharge a low battery makes it whine, but only temporarily (several minutes or so). My alternator has stressed tested fine, and is quiet at all other times.
Along with the alternator, check your grounds. Checking grounds only takes a minute or two, and it's free. Could help narrow things down, especially relating to alternator output.

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Old 02-05-2009, 11:19 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by snowboi1289 View Post
Sometimes its just the bearings that need replaced, thats been the problem with 5 cars I've worked on.

Why spend $100.-$400. for a new alternator, when you can fix the problem (which might not be the hole alternator).
400 for a new alternator? Damn. I got mine for 25? It wasn't new but wow if it lasted 230,000 miles I'm sure this one out of a 80,000 mile motor will last o.O
also if you have something that can check voltage? Say a safc/vafc etc, like he said 13.8-14.2. I got lucky, if you want to call it that, my alternator eventually just went and the car died while I was driving. -shrug-

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Old 02-06-2009, 06:50 AM   #20
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Looks like it can really be anything...I will try to make a video after work today and get you guys a sound clip.

Let's get it down to the bottom of this!
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Old 02-06-2009, 12:00 PM   #21
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tensioner, tighten the belt
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Old 02-08-2009, 10:28 PM   #22
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Ok guys, finally was able to make a video today...here's the link!

http://rapidshare.com/files/195822976/MOV03654.MPG.html
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Old 02-09-2009, 02:01 AM   #23
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Wow. Definitely not the starter. Sounds more like a bearing, but not sure on which component. When my alternator whines (from recharging the battery), it is a higher pitch, and not as loud. I think you're going to need to pinpoint the exact component better. A mechanic's stethoscope would be ideal, but a piece of heater hose will work. Use plenty of caution working around the moving parts/belt.
Taking off the passenger wheel and approaching the engine from its "front" can help pinpoint it. Getting underneath (I noticed the snow on the ground, damn) could help. The more angles you can hear from, the better you'll be able to pinpoint exactly what is making the noise. The alternator and AC compressor are pretty much inline vertically, which is why I suggest checking through the tire well. That can give you the vertical reference.

From the vid, it sounds like it is coming from the idler pulley, alternator, or AC compressor. But it's hard to tell exactly.
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Old 02-09-2009, 04:35 AM   #24
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if it a rerrrrr sound then thats a timing guides issue not belt when u start it if it makes a rerrrr sound like u said then stops thats a timing guides and tensioner..
My car has been doing this on cold starts recently. It makes the soud for about 1 second, and then doesn't make it on warm starts throughout the day. My defeinitely only happens on cold starts though. 217k miles

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Old 02-09-2009, 07:28 AM   #25
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It started doing that recently (right when winter began) and its not only in startup. I can hear that "rerrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr" noise when driving around 2-3k rpm, then the intake takes over
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Old 02-09-2009, 11:52 AM   #26
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reerrr on startup can be the power steering pump. When I fire up my car the ps pump whines for a bit until it warms up a bit.

Suprised no one mentioned this yet...
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Old 02-09-2009, 02:45 PM   #27
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Can't give too much credit to the fidelity of the recording but it does sound like a PS pump.
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Old 02-11-2009, 09:32 PM   #28
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I'll vote for ps pump too. Mine has started the squealing crap after a few sub zero mornings up here in MI. Only has 91000 miles. The noise used to go away, but noticed it is here to stay. I've read around that it's quite the chore to change belts on this car. '97 5spd.
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Old 02-11-2009, 09:36 PM   #29
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And where do you find an alt. for $25? The cheapest I've seen was Ebay for $95. It's a challenge to find parts where I live locally. ---Not a lot of Maximas around.
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Old 02-12-2009, 07:01 AM   #30
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Start the vehicle, take a long screwdriver's tip to each component (a/c compressor, power steering pump. alternator etc...) and listen through the handle of the screwdriver to see where the noise is coming from. Come on guys!
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Old 02-12-2009, 09:06 AM   #31
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Could be the alternator brushes wearing down to the end. Since the car is over 100K, start looking for an alternator. Many poster reported problems with aftermarket alternators so looks for a Nissan new or reman unit.

I am using a Murano part in my I30 right now. Those work too.
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Old 02-12-2009, 09:28 AM   #32
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the sound is like a dremmel disk spinning...any codes? Maybe something let go and is freely spinning but should not be
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Old 02-12-2009, 09:31 AM   #33
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check your power steering pump i just changed mine out when ever i would turn it would whine..
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Old 02-15-2009, 09:57 AM   #34
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No codes,and i think im gonna change my power steering pump...Will let you guys know when i get it done!
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Old 02-15-2009, 10:19 AM   #35
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I just realized that im not really experiencing any steering problems, just letting you all know...Does that info make any difference or is it still the PS pump giving up one me?
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Old 02-15-2009, 10:48 AM   #36
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Is it a constant whining noise?

My car makes this nose http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8aFB2OKB5DE
because my old battery went kaput and I jumped the car unknowingly and ruined the alternator. It still works but only charges at 12.7v started.
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Old 04-19-2012, 07:59 AM   #37
 
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...Will let you guys know when i get it done!

99MAXSE did you ever get this noise to stop? If so what was it that was causing it? I am having a similar problem and would love to know what you did to solve the issue. Thanks!!
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Old 04-19-2012, 09:04 AM   #38
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99MAXSE did you ever get this noise to stop? If so what was it that was causing it? I am having a similar problem and would love to know what you did to solve the issue. Thanks!!
Check the easy stuff first. Belts and their condition, the tensioner rod and idler pulley. A handful of quarter turns of the adjuster bolt should remove any kind of belt squeal. Just remember to first loosen the pulley bolt and then tighten it back up after.

if there is still sounds, then you can diagnose different pulleys
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Old 04-19-2012, 10:35 PM   #39
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Wow ... this thread is old! Way to kick it back up. This question is asked on here so many times ...

You have to do some things for yourself ya know. We can't tell you what the noise is by you giving us "I got the same prob!" Come on, really?!?! What have YOU done to try and figure out where the noise is coming from? If you can't give details, we can't help.
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Old 04-20-2012, 07:32 AM   #40
 
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All I asked was if he figured out his problem and if he did what was the cause. I didn't ask for any help figuring mine out.
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