Opinions On A Whirring Noise
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This is a discussion on Opinions On A Whirring Noise within the Transmission & AWD forums, part of the Tech & Modifying & General Repairs category; Hey guys. I've had my 02 WRX for 4 years now (a little over). Recently I began observing a noise ...

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    Question Opinions On A Whirring Noise

    Hey guys. I've had my 02 WRX for 4 years now (a little over). Recently I began observing a noise that occurs noticably at about 35 mph plus. It is a whirring noise, almost like a cheap fan with bad bearings, or a toy top metal top spinning on a metal table. It seems to be coming from the center of the car in front of the driver, but its a little difficult to tell. I was hoping you guys might have some ideas before I take it in to be looked at. Here are some facts about the noise:

    1. Brakes don't effect it. The noise remains steady whether the brakes are applied or not.
    2. The noise is continuous and seems to vary in pitch with speed, though its not noticable at lower speeds.
    3. The noise continues when the car is out of gear and coasting in neutral.
    4. Its a stick shift, not automatic (of course!).
    5. It doesn't seem to be affecting anything, performance or otherwise. I've noticed no difference in gas milage or anything else. It seems to run fine other than that baffling noise.

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    i know the mass airflow sensor sounds like a helicopter when it gets clogged or comes loose. however, your comment #3 would rule that out. still, i would check the MAF.
    embattled, we prevail...only victory exhaled.

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    Registered User wrxboy2003's Avatar
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    possibly a wheel bearing... does it change pitch when turning one way or another??
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    Quote Originally Posted by wrxboy2003
    possibly a wheel bearing... does it change pitch when turning one way or another??
    i was thinking that, but those things click. click click click click.....
    embattled, we prevail...only victory exhaled.

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    Registered User blarg's Avatar
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    could be a transmission bearing.

    I had a similar noise, but only when the clutch was near the point of engagement, it was my release bearing. there are other bearings in there, maybe you're losing one.
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    Perhaps the tires?

    Thanks for the input fellas. I'm still boggled. It seems to me if it were the MAF sensor, throttle would affect the pitch of the noise but it doesn't. Not sure I mentioned that in the original post. A wheel bearing makes sense, but I don't hear any clicking. Clutch doesn't affect the noise at all either. It seems to be related to rolling speed only. The faster I go, the louder it gets.

    I was under my car on Sunday changing my oil and poking around when I noticed something peculiar. My tires (all 4) are almost worn out on the inside only. They look fine on the outside which is why I hadn't thought of this before. Each tire, especially the front 2 have little white thread-looking things that are beginning to poke through the black rubber. Could it be that the whining noise is a security mechanism in the tires and the noise is a kind of warning? Have you guys ever heard of anything like that?
    Last edited by SaleniumSubaru; 05-23-2006 at 01:54 PM.

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    Registered User wrxboy2003's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AngelBoy
    i was thinking that, but those things click. click click click click.....

    not the ones I have heard.... wheels bearings rotate so they will be a constant whirring noise... changes with speed... louder when going left or right.. whichever way you turn the opposite side will be louder... thats the side the bearing is bad..

    I own a Meineke Car Care and NOT 1 wheel bearing that has been bad so far has clicked!?!? not saying they dont though...
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    Registered User wrxboy2003's Avatar
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    also get an alignment then if your tires are that bad.. check your ball joints.. they would clunk though
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    Quote Originally Posted by wrxboy2003
    not the ones I have heard.... wheels bearings rotate so they will be a constant whirring noise... changes with speed... louder when going left or right.. whichever way you turn the opposite side will be louder... thats the side the bearing is bad..

    I own a Meineke Car Care and NOT 1 wheel bearing that has been bad so far has clicked!?!? not saying they dont though...

    Direction does not affect the noise at all. It's related to speed only, and not direction. I try not to take too many sharp turns at 35+ MPH...though I do admit its fun.

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    Quote Originally Posted by AngelBoy
    i was thinking that, but those things click. click click click click.....
    CV joints click, wheel bearings whine.

    How many miles on it? Could be that the turbo is going bad. Of course, that's on the passenger side, but it's a thought.
    My water heater has a blow off valve.

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    Quote Originally Posted by e-merlin
    CV joints click, wheel bearings whine.

    How many miles on it? Could be that the turbo is going bad. Of course, that's on the passenger side, but it's a thought.
    Starting to sound more and more like a wheel bearing problem I guess. I listened again this afternoon and the sound is too metalic to be coming from hollow tires. It was a reach anyway, or wishful thinking.

    I don't think its the turbo. If it were, the sound wouldn't change in pitch exactly with the speed of car/wheels. Guess its time to go to a mechanic.

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    i'm still sticking to my clicking.
    embattled, we prevail...only victory exhaled.

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    It could be a cv joint, but could also be a bearing.

    I developped a popping noise on my right passenger sidea few weeks back, I'm pretty sure its a bad cv joint. Coincidentally mine has just developed a whirring noise like you described.

    I'm just going to order a whole new axle assembly from a junkyard and replace it.


    If it is a wheel bearing it shouldn't be to big of a deal, you can probably fix it yourself in an hour. The bearing itself is cheap, too.
    Last edited by Chunks; 05-24-2006 at 02:29 PM.

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    Pinion bearings could be going out...

    I just got my wife's '02 Legacy GT back from Cottman Transmission. The car has 75,000 miles on it, and over the last month or so, it was making the same noise as you are describing. A grinding-whirring noise coming from the front-center (right behind and under the dashboard). It progressively got louder and louder over time, and could be heard as slow as 10 mph - forward or reverse. The noise was independent of the transmission shifting, but got louder under acceleration. At highway speeds, it was high-pitched and unbearably loud.
    Winds up that it was the pinion bearings wearing out on the driveshaft running through the transmission (the Legacy's an automatic, but should be the same situation for a manual). The pinion bearings are housed in the transmission casing, and therefore lubricated with ATF.
    The car's never been driven hard (that's what my '04 WRX is for - hehe) and has never been abused or in a wreck, and it's well-maintained.
    Once a bearing gets even the slightest bit on uneven wear, it's only a matter of time before it goes. Apparently, this is a rare occurrence with Subies, so hopefully your noise isn't an indication that someone's going to have to open up your tranny ($$$). But based on the fact that the sound is coming from the front-center of your car, it's a possibility.

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    Did you ever figure out what this noise was?? mine is doing the EXACT same thing.

    No difference in turning. I can turn the car off @ 80mph and REALLY hear it.

    Sounds similar to a poorly-shielded cd-player providing feedback through speakers. Right under/behind the dash.

    HELP!!!
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