2013 WRX cold start "whistle" noise
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This is a discussion on 2013 WRX cold start "whistle" noise within the General Maintenance, Troubleshooting & Accidents. forums, part of the Tech & Modifying & General Repairs category; I first noticed this whistling sound during the start of my car one very cold morning. As the car was ...

  1. #1
    Registered User olenderc's Avatar
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    2013 WRX cold start "whistle" noise

    I first noticed this whistling sound during the start of my car one very cold morning. As the car was warming up it would make an intermittent whistle and would also whistle at various RPMs. It would also make the noise while I was driving until the engine was fully warmed up and then it seemed to go away. I decided to record it one morning so I could at least have something to show the techs at the dealership because I knew they wouldn't be able to reproduce it when I showed up with the car warmed up.



    I showed the video to a tech at the dealership, he said he's never heard/seen anything like that before. I had done some prior research on the subject as I had this whistling for a couple weeks as the weather progressively got colder. I was making an educated guess as to what the cause could be after reading about various people having issues with the intercooler to throttle body hose coming loose. I also showed them a subaru tech tip from february 2012 (I think it was called "excessive engine noise under boost") which pointed to this issue of hoses frequently coming loose from IC to TB. I asked that they just look at that and anything in the area and tighten things down.

    After waiting a couple hours, a service desk guy brought my keys back to me and said they can hear the whistling but can't pinpoint where its coming from and said they tightened down what they could. He also said to just keep any eye on the issue and if the whistling gets louder or any worse to just bring it back to them. I said okay and went on my way.

    Prior to having this issues getting looked at I did notice the car didn't seem to "pull as hard" and seemed to "hesitate" when I would try to step on it or do small WOT bursts. After getting my car serviced it seemed like I no longer had this issue on the drive home and the car seemed to pull smoother and harder. Honestly, it could all have been a placebo effect and they didn't tighten anything of importance really, but it did seem to be running smoother. Its only been 2 days since and on cold starts in the morning I don't really hear the whistle sound as much though its still there, just doesn't seem as prominent?

    I've seen people suggest taking off the intercooler and reseating all the hoses and putting t-bolt clamps in place of whatever was there before and said this has fixed the issue for them. The problem is I'm not too mechanically-savvy and wouldn't be too sure of what I'm doing if I were to do this by myself, and I'm not sure how far I would get with the dealership seeing as how they couldn't figure out where the noise was coming from in the first place. Anyone have any suggestions as to how I would go about doing this myself so I could ensure all hoses are secure and in place?

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  3. #2
    Registered User Stawgn10's Avatar
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    Another dealership maybe? Why work on it yourself when it's still under warranty, let them chase the noise.
    2010 WRB WRX wagon

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    Registered User 99pgpgt's Avatar
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    Re: 2013 WRX cold start "whistle" noise

    That sounds like a metal on metal noise.

  5. #4
    Registered User olenderc's Avatar
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    Personally, I just don't trust dealerships, and I'd like to be able to do some work on my own car. Though it may not be simple for me (yet), a job like this doesn't seem like it should be too intensive tightening down a couple hoses. I just wouldn't know where to start since I don't have experience with something like this, but have no problem learning.

    Also, I'm not sure how I would go about having the dealership cater to my specific requests. I don't think I would be able to say "Hey, could you tighten the hose from the intercooler to throttlebody and maybe put a t-bolt clamp there to secure it in place so it doesn't keep coming loose?" Maybe they would, I'm not sure, but it just seems like that would be an odd request especially if they can't find anything imminently wrong with the car aside from an intermittent whistle they can't replicate.

    For bigger issues though that are way out of the realm of learning to do myself, I would have no issue bringing my car in, just seems something like this I could possibly do on my own.

  6. #5
    Registered User olenderc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 99pgpgt View Post
    That sounds like a metal on metal noise.
    You know its kind of ironic you say that because one of the techs I showed the video to initially said it sounded like that. I was just a little skeptical because I couldn't picture metal on metal making that type of noise. Any idea where that type of metal/metal contact could be happening? The whistle is prominent sometimes even when I don't touch the throttle so I'm not sure if its anything directly correlated to a certain RPM or me giving the throttle a blip.

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    Registered User 99pgpgt's Avatar
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    Re: 2013 WRX cold start "whistle" noise

    I would look at the pulleys.

    It sounds like a bearing in an idler or maybe the alternator pulley.

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    Registered User olenderc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 99pgpgt View Post
    I would look at the pulleys.

    It sounds like a bearing in an idler or maybe the alternator pulley.
    Unfortunately not sure where exactly I'd be looking for this. Is this something that can be problematic or end up being problematic down the road?

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    Registered User 99pgpgt's Avatar
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    Re: 2013 WRX cold start "whistle" noise

    If it's a failing bearing, it could end up seizing up, resulting in the pulley seizing as well or getting torn to pieces and your belt will also rip and get thrown.

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    Registered User olenderc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 99pgpgt View Post
    If it's a failing bearing, it could end up seizing up, resulting in the pulley seizing as well or getting torn to pieces and your belt will also rip and get thrown.
    That doesn't sound very good.. Is this something I could request a dealership look at specifically? What would I characterize it as or tell them to do? Kind of feel like it would be pointless if they couldn't specifically replicate the whistling to see where its coming from and wouldn't want to do unnecessary work if they can't actually prove anything is wrong in the first place.

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    Registered User 99pgpgt's Avatar
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    Re: 2013 WRX cold start "whistle" noise

    Have a buddy go to the dealer with you. Tell them to let the car sit for a couple hours and then come back and start it for them so they can hear it.

    Tell them you believe it could be a pulley bearing going.. Unfortunately with a bad bearing... It's one of those replace and check to see if that's the problem.

  12. #11
    Registered User olenderc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 99pgpgt View Post
    Have a buddy go to the dealer with you. Tell them to let the car sit for a couple hours and then come back and start it for them so they can hear it.

    Tell them you believe it could be a pulley bearing going.. Unfortunately with a bad bearing... It's one of those replace and check to see if that's the problem.
    Thanks for the info, I'll keep an eye on it and see how things go in the mean time.

  13. #12
    Registered User jsBLwrx's Avatar
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    Re: 2013 WRX cold start "whistle" noise

    How old is your oil? Hope all is good - 13 sedan here

  14. #13
    Registered User olenderc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jsBLwrx View Post
    How old is your oil? Hope all is good - 13 sedan here
    Oil should be fine. Changed the oil at 1209 miles with Amsoil 5w30 100% synthetic. Car is now around 2200 miles.

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    Registered User jsBLwrx's Avatar
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    Re: 2013 WRX cold start "whistle" noise

    Quote Originally Posted by olenderc View Post
    Oil should be fine. Changed the oil at 1209 miles with Amsoil 5w30 100% synthetic. Car is now around 2200 miles.
    Ok.... Hope all is well.....

  16. #15
    Registered User EndlessSea's Avatar
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    i know how you feel. i love working on my own car. i do all my own mods and maintenance. always have. that being said.

    TAKE IT TO ANOTHER DEALER. as much as you may love getting your hands dirty. there is no point in chasing the sound yourself when you can have them do it for free. part of the price of your brand new car was the warranty. may as well get some use out of it. this is exactly what its for.....

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