Tip for diagnosing a chirp / squeal from the engine (1 Viewer)

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I am working to solve all squeaks and chirps coming from my engine, instead of hijacking other threads I wanted to do a quick write up with some tips for others since these issues come up more often in the colder weather. This isn't for replacing and fixing, just safely diagnosing.

I have a 2002 Cruiser with 199k miles. In my case I have a chirp chirp chirp that happens when warming up and goes away once warm.

While diagnosing belt chirps and squeaks the first step is going to be to remove the belt. Don't spray it with WD-40, don't stick a long extension onto a pulley and hold it to your ear, oh and don't rub a bar of soap on it ( saw all of these previously suggested on other threads )

Use a breaker bar with a 14mm socket and grab onto the tensioner pulley bolt with the bar positioned as far left as you can go. The wrench can fit between the airbox and coolant res so no need to remove while diagnosing.
** Remember it's a left hand thread so turn counter-clockwise to release pressure from belt, and slip belt off pulley. Slowly and carefully let the pressure off the tensioner.

OK the belts off, You should inspect the belt for any signs of distress, cracks, grease, etc. How about that tensioner? Does it feel like it still has tension when working it to its end limits? Put your breaker bar back on it and work it, it should have a fair amount of resistance. Check around the outside of the tensioner, in my case the sleeve between the pulley and tensioner failed and I could see little bits of metal everywhere.

Next move to the most likely culprits. We have two idler pulleys, spin them both and check for proper feel. They should turn smoothly, they shouldn't free spin, and no grindy, scratchy, or notchy feeling. In my case both idlers would free spin for a while and once removed you could feel the scratchy/grindy feel.

Fan clutch holding up? Grab and check the fan clutch for any wobbles and give her a spin. When cold it shouldn't free spin, maybe 1/4 - 1/2 a turn when spinning from the blade tip.

With the belt off you should also start the motor and see if the noise continues. If the noise continues this can be diagnosed to an issue with timing belt components.


OK so that is about as far as my experience takes me, hope that helps someone.
 
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Joined
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I'm not usually one to say I have a noise and expect to find a solution online, but here it goes.

I have a really weird noise at startup on cold mornings

Conditions
Temperatures under 32 degrees, much louder lately when it is 0-10 degrees

Symptoms
Very weak start, right when it fires up I hear a "honking / quacking sounds noise" like there is a goose under my hood

Recently fixed
Every single thing that spins under the hood has been replaced ( except for the AC compressor ) That includes timing belt, idlers and tensioners. Serpentine belt, both idlers, alternator, power steering. Fan clutch and bracket are also new.
>> All of these parts were replaced as a 200k mile preventative maintenance and chasing down some chirping / typical belt / idler noise.

I will try to post audio soon to assist but this is a tricky one.

Can I sum it up to it's just really damn cold out? My highlander doesn't make these noises and I put $0 of maintenance into that rig. I'm not concerned with the weak start as I am with this honking / resistance sounding noise once it actually fires up.
 
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Joined
Feb 11, 2010
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Eagle, ID
I'm not usually one to say I have a noise and expect to find a solution online, but here it goes.

I have a really weird noise at startup on cold mornings

Conditions
Temperatures under 32 degrees, much louder lately when it is 0-10 degrees

Symptoms
Very weak start, right when it fires up I hear a "honking / quacking sounds noise" like there is a goose under my hood

Recently fixed
Every single thing that spins under the hood has been replaced ( except for the AC compressor ) That includes timing belt, idlers and tensioners. Serpentine belt, both idlers, alternator, power steering. Fan clutch and bracket are also new.
>> All of these parts were replaced as a 200k mile preventative maintenance and chasing down some chirping / typical belt / idler noise.

I will try to post audio soon to assist but this is a tricky one.

Can I sum it up to it's just really damn cold out? My highlander doesn't make these noises and I put $0 of maintenance into that rig. I'm not concerned with the weak start as I am with this honking / resistance sounding noise once it actually fires up.
Do you have a VVT engine? That sounds like the secondary air injection pump going bad.
 
Joined
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Messages
633
Location
Northwest Montana
Do you have a VVT engine? That sounds like the secondary air injection pump going bad.
I don't think so , I have a 2002.... Im going to try to get a recording in the morning . It's unlike any belt or engine noise I have ever heard before. Maybe this is too extreme but it's almost like a dry sounding piston rubbing or sticking against the cylinder.

I'll need to get and get some audio of it.
 
Joined
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Messages
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Ok , calling for help on this one . I suspect someone may have heard this noise before . Audio clip link below.

Conditions
-20F outside has caused this to be louder than it ever has been , but it can be hard up to 20-30F degrees just more subtle
>> Battery is on a tender all night and has a warming pad.
>> I'm not too concerned with the slow start but the devilish noises to follow are a bit nasty .
>> Everything under the hood that spins has been replaced within the last few months except for the AC compressor.

Ignore the first 5 seconds of audio, that's my phone vibrating, noise in question comes at 14 seconds. Couldn't figure out how to attach an audio clip so google drive link below
>>
 
Joined
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Northwest Montana
Is that the brake master cylinder motor?
I meant to comment on that, I do not believe this is brake related but I could be wrong.

When I fire up the truck I can hear the brake system priming up from inside the cab and I am used to that noise. This is loud and sounds a bit different, but I am really not sure.

When it was sounding off this morning I was up under the hood and put my hand on the brake components and didn't feel any vibrations, it seems to be coming from the front of the engine bay but that is still up for debate as well.

This is a doozie
 
Joined
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Messages
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Northwest Montana
What about the power steering pump?

Any CEL?
The following have been replaced within the past few months. Nothing was broken, replaced as preventative maintenance and to quiet down some belt noise.

Power steering pump is new ( less than a year ) OEM
Alternator New ( reman) OEM
Timing belt , idler, tensioner - Toyota replaced in December 2020
Serp belt, idler, tensioner / idler - OEM parts, replaced by me
Fan clutch and bracket - OEM

The noise is also there in warmer temps ( up to 35F) but not as noticeable and for much less time.

No CEL and if I was deaf I would never know the difference performance wise.

Following this noise is a sure fire belt / pulley squeal as well, which is equally frustrating since ever spinning part ( except AC ) is new. I am putting the belt squeal noise lower on my list of concerns and just summing it up to the extreme cold, but it's lame that my other vehicle that gets 0 maintenance fires up easily on these days with no noise.

Focusing on the "honking / goose" noise , I am still stumped as what the heck would make that noise. Maybe it is brake related.
 
Joined
Feb 20, 2019
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Minneapolis, MN
I have the same exact noise in the extreme cold. Isn't the serp belt. I'm 90% sure its the power steering pump. My pump works fine and doesn't leak but it has almost 300k on it so I'm sure the internal seals aren't as good as new and some air is getting in when the seals contract due to the cold. If you run the pump with air in the lines (during a rack replacement/bleed), it makes almost the same noise. IMO, not anything urgent to worry about.

It isn't the brake booster, that is more of a metal on metal screech. This goose sound is pretty distinctive.
 
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Joined
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Messages
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Northwest Montana
I have the same exact noise in the extreme cold. Isn't the serp belt. I'm 90% sure its the power steering pump. My pump works fine and doesn't leak but it has almost 300k on it so I'm sure the internal seals aren't as good as new and some air is getting in when the seals contract due to the cold. If you run the pump with air in the lines (during a rack replacement/bleed), it makes almost the same noise. IMO, not anything urgent to worry about.

It isn't the brake booster, that is more of a metal on metal screech. This goose sound is pretty distinctive.

Thanks all for the input


I agree, I don't think this is related to the serp belt or anything that spins either.
>> You mentioned air in power steering system, sure seems possible but my pump is brand new OEM and has show no signs of whining or air since it was installed ( Last year in the Spring time)
>> I also agree it doesn't sound like anything brake related as that noise is a bit different, more of a priming / building pressure type of noise

I have slight peace of mind knowing most components under the hood are pretty darn new, but at the same time I would think that should reduce all these funky noises. Guess I will wait till it explodes
 

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