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Discussion Starter #1
Today I notice my car was making this strange, hollow/tinny sound. A little investing and it sounds like it's either coming from the alternator or right by it. Definitely upper end, not lower end. The engine still runs smoothly though all gears and at all RPMs, but I'm at a loss to exactly what it is. I know I've heard that alternators can whine, but I didn't think it would sound like the noise I have. And I'd like to get this taken care of since I'm leaving to go back home on Friday/Saturday. And it's a 1200 mile drive. Such perfect timing.

It's a 94 Vision Tsi (3.5 engine) with about 103,000 miles on it. And I use synthetic oil so I highly doubt it's rod knock.
 

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After replacing the transmission on my car, a tiny sound had developed. It turned out to be the shielding over the exhaust manifolds. Also had a high-pitched whine from new belts at one point. I had believed it to be the alternator, but it wasn't. This sound increased in volume with the speed of the engine (revs). Try a little belt dressing on the alt belt. Or, a very small amount of soap (bar type).
 

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Discussion Starter #3
This is driving me nuts. Now I'm going to have to take the car in some place to figure out what is going on to cause the noise. I've searched the site, yet only come up with rod knock. Which makes little sense to me seeing as I use synthetic oil with the over sized filter (have for at least the last 15,000 miles) and I even used some Seafoam in the oil just before the oil change to help clean out any sludge that might be inside. And that was like two oil changes ago.

Anyone know where I can get more info on rod knock (specifically for the 1st gen 3.5 and NOT the 2nd gen 2.7) so I can try and confirm or rule out rod knock? The site searches I've tried give info on 2.7 rod knock. The few talking about the 3.5 don't help much either.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Is it a clicking/tapping sound? If its coming from the front of the engine, it could be the water pump going bad. Mine was making kind of a metallic tapping sound before it siezed.
Yes. It sounds like metal to metal tapping. The noise has slightly changed since I first heard it two days ago. To me, that makes more sense since the car is so close to needing a new timing belt and I was planning on doing that when I got home (along with the water pump and tensioner pulley). Regardless, if I want to get home I'm going to have to get this taken care of now, not later.
 

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HA! i know you havent pulled the timing cover off yet to do yout timing belt, but i did this on the motor that i put in the car just to be safe. well, one of the bolts on the bottom of the timing cover sheared off during disassembly. i figured screw it, theres a LOT of bolts in the timing cover, i dont need the one. during reassembly, i bent the timing cover up a little just wrestling with it. i drove it for a week or so, and then a tapping developed. i was like W T F!?!?!?!??! i just put this motor in and now its making noise? turns out that the timing cover was hitting the backside of the crank pulley FFFFFFFFFF, i had to take it all back apart, bend the timing cover back, put it ALL back together, im getting pissed just thinking about it. i guess what im trying to say is, check the little stuff, the dumb stuff before you spend any money. i wish i would have had the soundness of mind to get some sound clips of the old motor before i took it out. talk about a rod knock WHOA!!!!!!
 

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I doubt its your rockerarms but those make noise like metal to metal contact just like rod nock.

Get a papertowel cardboard cylinder and use it like doctors did before stethascopes. Put it to each of the valve covers and listen. If its a rocker arm you will hear the diffrence. If not keep going to diffrent places. Engines are bisemetrical. You have the same thing on both sides of the engine
 

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double0000000seven said:
This is driving me nuts. Now I'm going to have to take the car in some place to figure out what is going on to cause the noise. I've searched the site, yet only come up with rod knock. Which makes little sense to me seeing as I use synthetic oil with the over sized filter (have for at least the last 15,000 miles) and I even used some Seafoam in the oil just before the oil change to help clean out any sludge that might be inside. And that was like two oil changes ago.

Anyone know where I can get more info on rod knock (specifically for the 1st gen 3.5 and NOT the 2nd gen 2.7) so I can try and confirm or rule out rod knock? The site searches I've tried give info on 2.7 rod knock. The few talking about the 3.5 don't help much either.
Rod knock will usually be a distinctive quick "double" knock that gets quicker with RPMs. You can hear it more from bottom of engine or with oil fill cap off
 

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could it be a belt and not a major hard part? from just the sound alone or could it be a bad alternator?
 

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lextrep said:
Rod knock will usually be a distinctive quick "double" knock that gets quicker with RPMs. You can hear it more from bottom of engine or with oil fill cap off
You can usually also hear it from down the street also !!!!!
 

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Peppa Boy said:
You can usually also hear it from down the street also !!!!!
Yes I agree. Ive never heard a rod knock described as a hollow/tinny sound like orginally posted. I would look for other causes-simple things like pulleys and loose parts
 

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Discussion Starter #12
I try all your suggestions and look around tomorrow. I just hope I can get off work early so I can do it during the day. It's not that loud cause if I have the windows up, I don't hear it inside the car. It's only when the windows are down or I'm standing by it while running that I hear it.
 

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You can also use a long screwdriver as a stethescope. I think it actually transfers sound better than a hollow tube. Has to be pressed to your ear though (handle end, duh).

I think you'd know if it was a rod knock. Every time I've heard that it was pretty obvious (bang, bang, bang).

I got really good at the timing belt thing, can do it in less than an hour. Be careful to match the size of the pulley on the water pump to the old one. Autozone used to list the wrong pump for my car (that's why I got so good at replacing the timing belt, lunched 3 of them over 2 days).

Good luck!
 

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I am about to do the timing belt, because it hasn't been done in a long time, if at all. Could you describe that a bit for me? I am told that the pulley doesn't have to come off.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Well, I seem to be getting screwed by the holiday weekend. I plan on taking my Vision to Central Florida Chrysler for a diagnosis and repair before the long trek back to Illinois. But when I called the service department, they recommended dropping the car off either Monday night or Tuesday morning since they only have limited staff in on Saturdays and are closed for Sunday and Memorial Day (obviously). So now my poor Vision will have to wait till Tuesday before I can know the exact problem, get it fixed, and rip my hair out at the bill.

Oh well. I'll just stay at my friend's apartment for a few days and relax.
 

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Another possibility is possibly a bad tensioner pulley. If you have old belts the tensioners may be goin as well. They can tend to make a clicking sound. water pump is possible too. have you checked your oil to see if water is mixing in?
 

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Discussion Starter #17
I have checked and topped off the oil since the noise began. Looking at the dip stick and oil cap, it seems fine with no water/sludge formation. And the coolant level has stayed the same and the engine temp (according to the gauge) is normal.

But I am thinking the sound is coming from the time belt compartment. I know it's from the front of the engine. With the little bit of driving I've done, the sound is definitely a scrapping/scratching/ticking/tapping sound. And it only seems to make the noise either at idle or when the RPMs change from acceleration/ deceleration/ gear changes. Half of the time at idle or once I reach speed and the RPMs stay the same, the sound goes away.

I was planning on having the timing belt/water/tensioner pulley changed when I got home since I'd be pretty much right at 105,000 miles when got there. I guess I'll just be getting it done a little sooner.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Just got off the phone with the dealer. At first the car wouldn't make the noise for them, so they performed the floor shifter recall then tried looking for the noise. I could have swore it was coming from the front of the engine and they thought the same thing...till they looked some more. They found the heat shield for the starter was damaged. They repaired it and now the car doesn't make that noise anymore. And it cost me less than a hundred bucks.

They also checked in the timing compartment (where I thought it was coming from) and told me the belt isnt' that old/it's not the original. So when I get home I'll look at it and see if it needs to be replaced or not.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Just picked up my car and the noise is gone. I still would have bet money it was coming from the front of the car and not the starter, but... And at $103.47, the bill was much less then I was expecting.

:icon_mrgr
 
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