04 WRX whine, squeal, chirp noise (Water Pump?)
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This is a discussion on 04 WRX whine, squeal, chirp noise (Water Pump?) within the General Maintenance, Troubleshooting & Accidents. forums, part of the Tech & Modifying & General Repairs category; So I've done my researching and I stuck my ear up against the the belt area of the engine. This ...

  1. #1
    Registered User MisterNBG's Avatar
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    04 WRX whine, squeal, chirp noise (Water Pump?)

    So I've done my researching and I stuck my ear up against the the belt area of the engine. This noise is coming from whatever is to the right of the alternator, is this the water pump? When driving and climbing throughout the RPMs, it sounds like a friggin' supercharger whine lol. Sometimes at idle it will start to chirp. The car's steering is fine so I don't think it's the power steering pump. There are no leaks and my temps are below half.

    I'm taking my car down for inspection next week and I'll have them check it out. Just curious if any of you know off the top of your head what could be the problem.

    Thanks in advance, let me know if you need any specific info.

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    Pro Manscaper Mikie13's Avatar
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    by to the right of the alternator...you mean driver side? That'd be the air pump.
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    He simply abides. SD_GR's Avatar
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    The water pump is on the US driver's side but down low at the bottom of the front cover. Up top are the A/C and the alternator. I don't remember whether an 04 has an air pump.
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    Pro Manscaper Mikie13's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SD_GR View Post
    The water pump is on the US driver's side but down low at the bottom of the front cover. Up top are the A/C and the alternator. I don't remember whether an 04 has an air pump.
    Sorry, I was thinking STI. I'm not sure on a WRX either after consulting a few pics on Google.
    The Hawk-Eye Alliance #90|The Blobeye Syndicate #0|The Stink-Eye Mob #0|N.E.R.D. Founding Member & #3
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    He simply abides. SD_GR's Avatar
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    Since the 2L WRX cars had a catted up pipe I suspect they didn't have an air pump. On my 02 there isn't one.

    OK let's assume what the OP is describing is the A/C. Remove the A/C belt and see if the noise goes away. If it does, see whether you can tell if the tensioner/roller mechanisms are OK of if you have a bad bearing in one of those. If you can't figure it out, buy an authentic Subaru belt and replace the A/C belt. See if that fixes it. If it doesn't, suspect the tensioner or roller for that belt net.
    Last edited by SD_GR; 11-18-2013 at 02:08 PM.
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    The world breaks everyone and afterward many are strong in the broken places. Ernest Hemingway
    I lied. I cheated. I bribed men to cover the crimes of other men. I am an accessory to murder. But the most damning thing of all... I think I can live with it. And if I had to do it all over again - I would. Benjamin Sisko
    DISCLAIMER: Opinions expressed are the author's alone and are inherently worthless.

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    Registered User MisterNBG's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mikie13 View Post
    by to the right of the alternator...you mean driver side? That'd be the air pump.
    Yes, directly to the right of the alternator (driver's side). Whatever that is, I was under the assumption it was the water pump for some reason. But that's where all the noise is coming from.



    Do you guys think this is the A/C ?

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    Registered User Obeisance's Avatar
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    That is certainly the A/C compressor. Luckily, it has a clutch so I think that you can turn on the A/C in the cabin to engage it (and see if the noise intensifies). If the noise is present when the A/C is off, then SD_GR's suggestion sounds good.

    I recall that there's supposed to be some kind of A/C pump oil added with the refrigerant.. not that this should impact your noise much..
    David - '05 WRX

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    Registered User MisterNBG's Avatar
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    Well now that I finally have some spare time to work on my car, it's time to figure this out

    I found a great thread on this forum by the way

    How To Replace/Adjust Accessory Belts - Pictures - NASIOC

    I will report back with what I've found.

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    Registered User MisterNBG's Avatar
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    Okay, 'twas nice working on my car again, it's been awhile since I got my hands dirty :/

    Now here's what happened. I took the belt cover off, then started the car up and listened REAL close to the whiny noise that was coming from the A/C area. The sound seemed to be coming from the tensioner (the pulley under the compressor)

    So I decided to just take the A/C belt off and turn the car back on, the noise was no more. I then spun the A/C compressor's pulley, no noise, no movement, very free spinning, seemed to be in good shape. I then inspected the belt, looks almost brand new. Lastly, the tensioner. The wheel has some play, it does not freely spin and when I tried to spin it, it made a grind like sound.

    So I'm assuming this was where the noise was coming from. Now my question is this, where to find a tensioner and how to replace it. I can't get to the one bolt on the tensioner because it's literally right up against my radiator fans, I hope I won't have to remove those just for this tensioner.

    Honestly though, I'm glad I've found the problem and there is no rush for me to get this fixed right away due to the fact that A. here in PA, I won't be seeing warm weather for the A/C for another 7 months and B. I prefer windows > A/C. I'm just happy the noise is gone and I can hear my engine again, because let me tell you, before all I could hear was this whiny noise form the engine and it was SO annoying lol.

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    He simply abides. SD_GR's Avatar
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    That's good news. Source the part at any dealer or:
    https://ssl.autocenter.net/subaruparts/cart/

    The A/C is used by the defrost system too and it is actually useful in winter, so if I could I would do it sooner rather than later but that's just me. In any case this is a much better scenario than replacing a timing belt pulley.

    The rad fans are not difficult to remove but from memory you may not have to do so. If you do end up removing the rad fans, disconnect their harnesses, remove the top bolts on the rad, see if there are any other bolts holding the fans (I don't remember) and pull the fans upwards -- they sit on little bumps to hold them in place.
    WRX Info Links, Courtesy TheJ
    The world breaks everyone and afterward many are strong in the broken places. Ernest Hemingway
    I lied. I cheated. I bribed men to cover the crimes of other men. I am an accessory to murder. But the most damning thing of all... I think I can live with it. And if I had to do it all over again - I would. Benjamin Sisko
    DISCLAIMER: Opinions expressed are the author's alone and are inherently worthless.

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    Registered User MisterNBG's Avatar
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    Thanks for your help!

    I'll be sure to post back once it's all done & hopefully I can do it without messing with the the rad fans lol
    Last edited by MisterNBG; 12-02-2013 at 01:28 PM. Reason: I can't spell sometimes -_-

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    He simply abides. SD_GR's Avatar
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    Incidentally, I just replaced mine and I didn't remove anything except the tensioner itself, bracket and all. You can remove the top belt cover if you like. I replaced my roller and my noise is gone too. Remembered this thread, thought I'd post. When these go they sound like a turbine, leaf blower, air raid siren etc. no need to mess with fans or anything on my 02.
    WRX Info Links, Courtesy TheJ
    The world breaks everyone and afterward many are strong in the broken places. Ernest Hemingway
    I lied. I cheated. I bribed men to cover the crimes of other men. I am an accessory to murder. But the most damning thing of all... I think I can live with it. And if I had to do it all over again - I would. Benjamin Sisko
    DISCLAIMER: Opinions expressed are the author's alone and are inherently worthless.

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