Squeal/Squeak from front of Engine. Alternator? [video included to help diag]
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  1. #1
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    Squeal/Squeak from front of Engine. Alternator? [video included to help diag]

    Hi Guys,

    My car has started making an intermittent squealing/squeaking sound from what seems like the front of the engine. I first noticed this a couple of months ago, and thought it was my serpentine belt/tensioner. So I went and got those replaced (they were due anyways). Unfortunately that didn't solve the issue, and after this past weekend (250mi trip) the squealing/squeaking is less rhythmic and more constant. Which makes me concerned that whatever it causing this is going to fail soon. I have a 1k mi drive the weekend after next for a wedding, and I'd like to get this sorted out before potentially be stranded on the side of the road.

    I took a video of it and have posted it to youtube so you can hear exactly what it's doing. Please take a look and let me know what you guys think.

    [ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JpxlCOz5zv4]Strange squealing/squeaking coming from the engine - YouTube[/ame]

    2002 Passat 1.8t, 96k mi. APR 93 octane since 65k mi. Other than the squeaking everything is running just fine.
    Last edited by RazorBack; 09-27-2011 at 07:46 AM. Reason: Typos

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  3. #2
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    To me it sounds like something on the belt, maybe one of the pulleys? Alternator pulley? Hopefully someone with more experience can chime in.

  4. #3
    PZ
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    That sounds like a pulley starting to seize. Start with pulling the a/c belt and then the serpentine belt and see if it stops. A mechanic's stethoscope would be great to find the noise.

  5. #4
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    A seizing pulley would make sense to me. If you pause the video at 2 seconds you can clearly see my alternator pulley. It certainly looks a bit rusted, and would match my rudimentary listening around.

    Now, assuming that's it, but I'm still very open to options, can you replace just a pulley? Or would I have to swap the entire alternator? Please excuse the noob-ness.

  6. #5
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    I would go for the "mechanics stethoscope" idea like PZ suggested aka a long screw driver against your ear and see which pulley is making the noise.

  7. #6
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    I just googled around a bit, and it looks like just the pulley itself can be replaced. Which is good news.

    VWAudiFan - I do like the idea of the Mechanic's Stethoscope, and I admit I had to google that one as well. And from what I've read I'm supposed to put the metal probe on what I want to hear. Which would work fine in most circumstances, but how do I use it when I want to hear a pulley/belt/something else that's moving?

  8. #7
    PZ
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    You put it in the nearest solid object. The sound carries quite well. IF it ends up being the alternator, replacing the pulley will not help. The bearing would need to be replaced and that would require rebuilding the alternator. I would suspect either the serpentine or a/c belt tensioners before the alternator.

  9. #8
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    just in case its not a pulley problem (if it still squeals when the belts are off and engine running) try pulling the oil dipstick or oil cap. if it goes away instantly, then theres a problem with your pcv system somewhere. i have a 99 passat with the 2.8l 30v v6 and it squeals like a bastard when the engine isnt under load, soon as i pull the dipstick or oil cap it goes away. have yet to isolate the problem and fix it though

  10. #9
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    I forgot to reply with what fixed it. So here it is.

    I brought it to the dealer near my place and they took a look. It ended up being my timing belt tensioner, which is HUGELY alarming, for all the reasons I'm sure you all already know, but if that went my engine would have effectively eaten itself. Yikes! I had that originally replaced at 60k, along with my timing belt and water pump, because I was paranoid. Not sure if it failed early, or was only "replaced", not actually replaced. I'm not sure, but I'm just happy the squeaking is gone, and everything seems normal. I've already put 1k miles on it since that repair (500 in a single drive) without any issues.

    Thanks for all the help guys! Glad to be able to put this one behind me

  11. #10
    PZ
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    Glad you caught it in time. Mine blew after 22K (replaced at 72K) and took out most of the valves.

  12. #11
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    engine squeak in cold temps

    Hi Guys,

    perhaps you can help me. I bought my passat 6 months ago. It has always had a little 'squeak' when it starts in cold temperatures.

    With winter coming on and temperatures around 0C (32 F) the squeak is getting a little worse. It goes away after the car warms up, however.

    Today, I took the oil cap off just after I started the car, It sucked in air as it came off and the engine died.

    What does that mean?

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