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Discussion Starter #1
So my friend has been back and forth with this mechanic (not a VW specialist) like five times, because the problem never seems completely fixed. I don't know much about it, and I'm totally unfamiliar with the 1.8T, other than it also has an accessory belt (unlike my V6).

So after all this work, my friend reports that he is still getting whine sounds, sometimes barely noticeable, sometimes loud and persistent. These sounds weren't present prior to all the work performed. I was thinking belts. He brings it to the mechanic, and of course the car doesn't produce the sound 3 days in a row; I could barely hear it yesterday, but my friend says it gets very loud and annoying.

So, we casually popped the hood yesterday, both of us really non-car people, and did a little poking around. What stood out to me, which I've already emailed to AndreasPassat, is how the serp belt is leaving the lowest pulley (power steering, I believe) - it's leaving at an angle - see pic below. Is this normal? Would this concern you? Every basic "serp belt inspection" has this in the top five of things to look out for ... remember, they replaced the alternator too, which is the top pulley (closest to camera), and it makes me wonder if that pulley is too far inboard and not perfectly aligned. Or maybe something else is causing misalignment. I think they replace the fan too (riding on the back of the serp belt between alt and ps pulleys), because as I remember, this all started when a single bolt busted and ripped apart the fan and serp belt into shreds. Since they were already going in there, my friend decided to do the whole TB kit.

Ideas? Questions?

Serp Belt Pic.jpg
 

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Discussion Starter #2
Posting the schematic for the 1.8T Accessory and Serp belts, just for clarification. Pretty much where that #24 number is pointing (off the ps pulley) is where I'm seeing the belt angle change as it exits/enters the pulley.

1.8T acc & serp belts.jpg
 

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Most probably is the tensioner pulley. I have the same whining sound in my 1.8T. Last week I refreshed the power steering fluid and the noise was gone but now it's back. So I'm now more inclined that the tensioner is the culprit.
 

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Most probably is the tensioner pulley. I have the same whining sound in my 1.8T. Last week I refreshed the power steering fluid and the noise was gone but now it's back. So I'm now more inclined that the tensioner is the culprit.
I'm pretty sure they replaced that too ... will ask.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Most probably is the tensioner pulley. I have the same whining sound in my 1.8T. Last week I refreshed the power steering fluid and the noise was gone but now it's back. So I'm now more inclined that the tensioner is the culprit.
He says he thinks they also replaced the tensioner, but will call to verify. Also, when talking, he said it was more of a squeal than a whine.
 

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Well, multiple people have been down this same road in the recent past with some kind of noise coming from somewhere under the hood.
You guys are obviously not getting to far with this mechanic, is it possible you guys can get that serpentine belt off and run the engine to see what happens?
Whether it makes noise or not without the belt will definitely head you down a different specific path towards resolution.

With belt removed...
No noise produced: definitely an issue in the immediate belt path.
Noise produced: definitely related to something on or in the engine itself.

And if you can, use a long straight edge (like a 24" long steel ruler) to go across the face of the alternator pulley to the face of the power steering pulley. If the faces of the pulleys are not inline, then something is up with that alternator that got replaced. Assuming nothing weird happened to the power steering pump.
 
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He says he thinks they also replaced the tensioner, but will call to verify. Also, when talking, he said it was more of a squeal than a whine.
It may not be a bad idea after all to flush the power steering fluid and use fresh one. It costs about $7 and maybe the cause is the PS pump.
 

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Any way to post a video of it running at that same angle in the pic? I'd like to see how it spins. Also, don't rule out the TB job. If you tighten the TB too much, you get an awful sound. Remove the top TB cover and reach into the the right of the cam pulley. That should be the longest unsupported run of the belt accessible. You should be able to twist the belt 90*. If not, it may be too tight.
 

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Any way to post a video of it running at that same angle in the pic? I'd like to see how it spins. Also, don't rule out the TB job. If you tighten the TB too much, you get an awful sound. Remove the top TB cover and reach into the the right of the cam pulley. That should be the longest unsupported run of the belt accessible. You should be able to twist the belt 90*. If not, it may be too tight.
I had completely forgot about this until you posted. Nice call.

Had that same problem on my 04 GLX V6. I had purchased the Gates brand "blue" high performance 100k mile timing belt, something about the coating on the belt made a horrible shrieking sound.
Pulled that belt out and put in a Genuine VW / Audi timing belt, quite as a church mouse.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
It may not be a bad idea after all to flush the power steering fluid and use fresh one. It costs about $7 and maybe the cause is the PS pump.
Given the fact that the noise started just after all the TB/serp belt work, I find it very hard to believe that the PS fluid is the issue. Because I know PS fluid issues can cause a whine, I did quickly check his PS fluid level, and it was perfect.
 

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With the main serpentine belt installed, the OP should run the engine with all electrical accessories (Headlights, HVAC fan on 4, Defroster, Seat Heaters, All Interior Lights, All 4 doors open, Emergency Flashers, etc) operating to eliminate the alternator as the source of the whine if there is none with everything except windshield wipers on (can't operate WW with hood raised without "micro-scratching" the windshield!).

When timing belts are replaced, even when properly tensioned, they'll usually make a faint or louder than normal whine. This is the belt getting "broken in" to running over all pulleys. Square belt tooth shoulders make noise when leaving a toothed metal pulley! The shoulders on each side of every timing belt tooth must wear themselves away a small amount for the new belt to operate as quietly as the old one did. This faint whine noise was gone after around ~50-100 miles of driving the '99 Passat (AEB 1.8T).

Good Luck :beer:
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Any way to post a video of it running at that same angle in the pic? I'd like to see how it spins. Also, don't rule out the TB job. If you tighten the TB too much, you get an awful sound. Remove the top TB cover and reach into the the right of the cam pulley. That should be the longest unsupported run of the belt accessible. You should be able to twist the belt 90*. If not, it may be too tight.
I've asked him to forward a video to me. Will post when I receive. Thanks.

Is it easy to access the TB, like you say, on a 1.8T? I'm just not familiar with it's location and accessibility on that engine.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
With the main serpentine belt installed, the OP should run the engine with all electrical accessories (Headlights, HVAC fan on 4, Defroster, Emergency Flashers, etc) operating to eliminate the alternator as the source of the whine if there is none with everything except windshield wipers on (can't operate WW with hood raised!).

When timing belts are replaced, even when properly tensioned, they'll usually make a faint or louder than normal whine. This is the belt getting "broken in" to running over all pulleys. Square belt tooth shoulders make noise when leaving a toothed metal pulley! The rubber shoulders on each side of every timing belt tooth must wear themselves away a small amount for the new belt to operate as quietly as the old one did. This faint whine noise was gone after around ~50-100 miles of driving the '99 Passat (AEB 1.8T).

Good Luck :beer:
Thanks. I told his lazy azz to monitor the thread, so hopefully he tries the different tests suggested and reports back.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
I had completely forgot about this until you posted. Nice call.

Had that same problem on my 04 GLX V6. I had purchased the Gates brand "blue" high performance 100k mile timing belt, something about the coating on the belt made a horrible shrieking sound.
Pulled that belt out and put in a Genuine VW / Audi timing belt, quite as a church mouse.
There's some kind of Gatorback model/brand that doesn't have contiguous ridges, and I've heard it's dead quiet. Search amazon.
 

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Discussion Starter #16 (Edited)
You need to find a qualified mechanic to work on the car. That pulley sure looks like it is crooked.
Totally agree, and he says this is the last time with the mechanic. He has an acquaintance that only does VWs, so he's doing the next job. Problem is, he doesn't want to pay twice to have the job fixed - the old mechanic should fix the issue. I'm going to send him another email asking for a video.
 

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Totally agree, and he says this is the last time with the mechanic. He has an acquaintance that only does VWs, so he's doing the next job. Problem is, he doesn't want to pay twice to have the job fixed - the old mechanic should fix the issue. I'm going to send him another email asking for a video.
I used to run by this same rule. Problem is, this donkey is costing you more time and money than anything. I got royally burned many years ago by an 'ASE Certified Mechanic'. This guy jacked up my car so effing bad. It was right then and there I cut my losses and vowed I would never let that happen to me again. That is the reason I wrench on my own cars. The only thing I don't do is body work and paint.
 

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I used to run by this same rule. Problem is, this donkey is costing you more time and money than anything. I got royally burned many years ago by an 'ASE Certified Mechanic'. This guy jacked up my car so effing bad. It was right then and there I cut my losses and vowed I would never let that happen to me again. That is the reason I wrench on my own cars. The only thing I don't do is body work and paint.
Yes, definitely costing HIM more time and money to continue to go back. It's quite possible he never needed a new alternator, and they have been misdiagnosing all along. As you know, Andreas, that's also why I like to try to do my own work, because I simply don't trust anyone to do the job with care, and own their mistakes.

Even VW dealers can screw up your car - on my first timing belt job, they broke so much crap just getting to my TB. I caught some of it, like left turn signal, electrical housing, etc, but not all of it.
 

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As said above that "mechanic" was not a mechanic. He is a parts changer. A mechanic is a whole different deal. Through a set of tests why the whine is there would have needed to be identified and then corrected. Hope it gets sorted for your friend.
TomK
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Because of Easter and spring break, I've had trouble getting video or having him do your suggested tests. Sorry. If he ever wants to help solve his own problem, maybe I'll get some info (rolling eyes). Thanks for everyone's input so far. I've been telling him over and over he needs to go to that VW trained mechanic, well before this round of repairs. I guess some people need to learn their own lessons themselves.
 
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