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Engine whirring/whining SL-1


wedgema
05-17-2005, 08:46 AM
Hello to the post. While we've had and loved our Saturn for a couple years now, I'm afraid it's time to start talking minor (hopefully) repairs. We have a 99 Saturn SL1. I stopped by a Saturn dealer about a loud whirring/whining engine noise and they said it was probably the idle pulley. The sound increases and decreases as the car switches between gears (it's an automatic), almost like a cartoon car sound. I searched through some forums, and I can't find this problem anywhere. There's reference to a water pump making whining sounds, but I don't think this is it. Any experience out there? Is this idle pulley common? How serious?

Tylerc161
05-17-2005, 09:18 AM
im not sure about your specific problem, but my car does this too. It gets louder and louder as press oon the accelerator more. Its almost like a cartoony turbo, lol. It started after i got my transmission rebuilt. It gets REALLY loud when the AC is on. Its very noticable from the outside of the car. Please, if you get any information share it.

mysatilac
05-17-2005, 12:39 PM
I had to replace the belt idler on my 97 SC2 at about 100,000 miles. It was making a whining noise, kinda grinding too. It was also making the belt run one rib off to one side. I did it myself in about twenty minutes. I found if you take the motor mount loose on the left top you can rock the motor over a little and give you more room to get to the darn thing. I think the new pulley was about forty bucks if my memory is correct. I went ahead and put a new belt on while is was at it since it was the original and had a little wear on it. Mainly from the bad pulley. It wasn't too hard of a fix though.

I believe I have the same problem, but not the cartoon car sound, I get a bad squeak while accelerating,


if the belt is shaking or jumping, then i would be even more inclined to expect the problem to be with the tensioner pulley. an easy way to tell would be to just pull the belt off and spin the idler pulley...if it spins freely, and turns through several rotations with a single hard spin then the bearing is probly all right...also spin the pulley slowly while putting downward pressure on it. if you feel any obvious chinks or grinds, again the bearing could be bad. other than that, check the pulleys on the other accessories. the alternator should spin easily by hand, and you should be able to check the a/c by turning it on and off at the control panel (with the belt on). the power steering i would check simply by running the car with the belt on and watching and listening to the pump while adjusting the throttle at the throttle body. I had my power steering pump throw a bearing, but it was pretty obvious that it was bad simply because of the smoke streaming up from it. :) Probably info that you already know, mysatilac, but possibly it will help someone else who looks at these posts.

wilro
05-17-2005, 12:39 PM
my 1992 sl saturn did that too for a while. it turned out to be the belt tensioner pulley. just wearing out. replacing it was $200. the part was $113.

sierrap615
05-17-2005, 11:31 PM
it is most likely one of the belt driven accesserys. you may want to search on saturnfans.com. R&R for all belt driven components have been listed.

Osteonis
05-28-2005, 12:05 AM
I am going to be changing the water pump this weekend, I have the same whinning noise you are talking about, chances are it is your water pump, and the bearings in it are gone. I just bought a new pump today and will be doing the job tomorrow, I'll make sure to take pics of the entire process. Hope that helps. :)

jgeib
05-31-2005, 12:50 PM
Around a 100,000 miles, my saturn was doing the same thing with the whining and such. I replaced the idler/tensioner myself. The part cost me about $70 (couple years ago). Noise went away, fine ever since. Now it has 145,000 and still quiet. That would explain it getting louder when the A/C is on because it creates more strain on the belt. (Tensioner)

Tylerc161
05-31-2005, 08:09 PM
actually, the other day my check engine light came on, so i went and got it checked where i work. there was some random problems, but i also told they guy i work with about my noise.. he got some car noise things (like a doctors heart beat earphone thing) and checked it out.. turns out, it was the bearings on my power steering and my AC.. we turned on the car without the AC belt and it was almost perfectly quiet. but, with parts and labor on my car to get a short belt to bypass the AC (which dosent work anyways, which is why i was interested) is like $100... so ill just buy the belt and do it myself..

ebailiff
11-19-2005, 01:54 AM
Hello to the post. While we've had and loved our Saturn for a couple years now, I'm afraid it's time to start talking minor (hopefully) repairs. We have a 99 Saturn SL1. I stopped by a Saturn dealer about a loud whirring/whining engine noise and they said it was probably the idle pulley. The sound increases and decreases as the car switches between gears (it's an automatic), almost like a cartoon car sound. I searched through some forums, and I can't find this problem anywhere. There's reference to a water pump making whining sounds, but I don't think this is it. Any experience out there? Is this idle pulley common? How serious?

I am a mechanic, and my parents car, '99 SL1 sohc makes the same noise. They said it's been making the same noise since they bought it. I called a Saturn service advisor, and he said the same, that it's probably the idler pulley. Anybody heard anything about problems with the timing chain? He said they should be good for at least 100,000 miles.

sierrap615
11-19-2005, 11:22 PM
they are good far past 100K miles if you maintain the car properlly( namey oil changes every 3K or less)

ebailiff
11-20-2005, 11:27 AM
they are good far past 100K miles if you maintain the car properlly( namey oil changes every 3K or less)

Thanks. I got another question. I haven't had time to check this car out thoroughly, the '99 Saturn SL1 SOHC. According to the maintenance schedule in the owner's manual, trans fluid is changed at 60k. Well, I just happened to have the dealer fax me a copy of the maintenance schedule, and here it says 50,000. I know a lot of transmission shops and other sources recommend 30,000, but I just started taking care of the car. They had about 64,000 on it, so I decided just to drain the fluid instead of flush because of the possibility of sludge breaking loose and clogging something. I had them run it about 2 weeks, went back and completely flushed the trans and put new fluid in it. Then there was a noise on acceleration, like a squeaking, which they then told me started after the intitial drain. Anybody think it's a tranny problem? The car has had no problems it's whole life except the oxygen sensor.

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