2004 WRX - clunking and squealing sounds
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This is a discussion on 2004 WRX - clunking and squealing sounds within the General Maintenance, Troubleshooting & Accidents. forums, part of the Tech & Modifying & General Repairs category; Hi everyone, first time poster here and a novice to dealing with car issues, so please bear with me. I ...

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    2004 WRX - clunking and squealing sounds

    Hi everyone, first time poster here and a novice to dealing with car issues, so please bear with me.

    I have a 2004 WRX wagon that has recently been giving me quite a few headaches.

    The first issue is that recently I've been hearing some squealing sounds when the car is in motion. It's that sound that you hear some older cars make when they first start up and start moving. The noise is not constant but rather seems to occur at certain intervals, perhaps every 15 seconds or so. I can really only hear it when I'm driving in low gears, as I'm going slower. The sound does not occur when the car is idling or in neutral. Any idea what could cause this? Is it a belt related issue? And if so, why does it only occur occasionally and at seemingly far apart intervals?

    The second issue is that I've been hearing this "clunking" or rattling noise that I can really only hear when I'm inside the car and it's turned on (it's usually loudest when the car is idling). I can't pinpoint where the noise is actually coming from though, because you can't really hear it outside of the car and with the hood popped. I recently had a rotor replaced and oil changed, and while there, I asked the mechanic about the issue. He told me that the AC motor was going bad, because you could see the AC motor belt still spinning even when the fans were turned off. But why would this cause a "clunking" sound and cause the car to occasionally vibrate when in neutral?

    Thanks!

    EDIT: I would describe the squealing sound as more of a chirp, as it's a really short duration. Also, I noticed that while the sound doesn't occur when the car is idling, it does occur when the car is in neutral but I'm revving the engine (~2500 RPM). I timed it and the sound seems to occur about every 25 seconds.
    Last edited by stojakapimp; 08-24-2010 at 09:42 AM. Reason: Improved description

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    Quote Originally Posted by stojakapimp View Post
    The first issue is that recently I've been hearing some squealing sounds when the car is in motion. It's that sound that you hear some older cars make when they first start up and start moving. The noise is not constant but rather seems to occur at certain intervals, perhaps every 15 seconds or so. I can really only hear it when I'm driving in low gears, as I'm going slower. The sound does not occur when the car is idling or in neutral. Any idea what could cause this? Is it a belt related issue? And if so, why does it only occur occasionally and at seemingly far apart intervals?
    If it's happening ONLY in gear it has to be related to the driveline. If it was a bely issue it would happen while idling and in neutral as the belts turn once you crank and don't stop til you shut the car off. Since you've pinpointed it happening during motion of the vehicle I would look into areas where movement occurs. It could be a wheel bearing going out, or something of that sort. That's as specific as I cant get as my knowledge of suspension is basic at best.

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    1) Definitely sounds like a drive belt issue. Do an inspection. If the belt looks worn, cracked, or the rubber feels dry and flaky, then it's time to change. It's easy to do on your own, but shouldn't cost much for a mechanic to do it.

    2) Apparently your mechanic doesn't know what the AC clutch is. It keeps the belt spinning on the pulley, but the AC compressor is disengaged. The clutch itself may be going bad, and that's what the clunk might be, but if that's the case, you should definitely be able to hear it when looking under the hood. Is it a loud clunk? Does it increase with RPM's, or is it just a random occurance?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Anub1s View Post
    1) Definitely sounds like a drive belt issue. Do an inspection. If the belt looks worn, cracked, or the rubber feels dry and flaky, then it's time to change. It's easy to do on your own, but shouldn't cost much for a mechanic to do it.

    2) Apparently your mechanic doesn't know what the AC clutch is. It keeps the belt spinning on the pulley, but the AC compressor is disengaged. The clutch itself may be going bad, and that's what the clunk might be, but if that's the case, you should definitely be able to hear it when looking under the hood. Is it a loud clunk? Does it increase with RPM's, or is it just a random occurance?
    Thanks for the tip. If it was a drive belt, then wouldn't the sound still be there if the car were idling, as OrbitalEllipses pointed out? I'll take a look at the belts though and see how they look. The car is coming up on 90k miles, so I wouldn't be surprised.

    As for the clunking noise, it doesn't appear to increase with RPM's. It's most noticeable after I've been driving the car a little bit and then having it idle, but that may just be because the car is quieter and I can hear it better.

    Thanks again.

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