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E36 (1991 - 1999)
The E36 chassis 3-Series BMW was a huge hit among driving enthusiasts from the first moment the car hit the pavement. The E36 won numerous awards over the years it was produced and is still a favorite of many BMW enthusiasts to this day! -- View the E36 Wiki

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  #1  
Old 07-14-2008, 10:38 AM
alexe34 alexe34 is offline
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Question E36 325 Annoying squealing engine noise

Hi, my 1992 E36 325 manual has an extremely annoying squealing noise coming from the belt area. It is a constant sound at all revs.

I posted this problem before and tried many solutions but none have worked as of yet. The squealing noise is definately coming from the belt/engine area. I've had a new belt, new tensioner, alternator has been tested by my mechanic but neither of us can find the cause of this annoying noise.

Does anyone have any ideas??
Thanks very much
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  #2  
Old 07-14-2008, 11:14 AM
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That type of noise is (as you say) usually associated with the belts and pulleys. In order to find which pulleys are causing the noise you can use a stethescope.

Failing that you can try pressing the pointy end of a large screwdriver on the (non moving) nut that holds each pulley. Put the handle of the screwdriver to your ear and you should be able to hear any bearing grinding noises over the general engine noise.

Using this technique you should be able to pinpoint which pulleys are giving you the problem.

You obviously need to be careful not to get the screwdriver caught up in the belts and getting access can be tricky. It may well be safer and easier to buy a cheap engineers stethescope. (Engineers stethescope has a pointy tip rather than flat plate like a doctors one).
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  #3  
Old 07-14-2008, 11:37 AM
alexe34 alexe34 is offline
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Ok, my mechanic couldn't find anything wrong with the belt or the tensioners (which are new)
Is there anything else I can try?
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  #4  
Old 07-14-2008, 12:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by -Matt- View Post
It may well be safer and easier to buy a cheap engineers stethescope. (Engineers stethescope has a pointy tip rather than flat plate like a doctors one).
I'd say so, if you value your hearing! Touch a medical stethoscope onto any mechanical moving parts and you'll probably burst your ear drum.
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  #5  
Old 07-14-2008, 02:08 PM
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I meant safer than the screwdriver method but

Quote:
Originally Posted by alexe34 View Post
Ok, my mechanic couldn't find anything wrong with the belt or the tensioners (which are new)
Is there anything else I can try?
Well you said the noise was coming from that area - there must be something causing the noise. If you can locate which part is causing the noise then you are half way there to solving the problem. Don't just test the tensioning pulleys - check the ac compressor, water pump, etc.

Last edited by -Matt-; 07-14-2008 at 02:12 PM.
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  #6  
Old 07-14-2008, 02:19 PM
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Dave 330i Dave 330i is offline
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I would spray WD40 all over the place. Get it by the case.
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  #7  
Old 07-14-2008, 07:54 PM
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Originally Posted by Dave 330i View Post
I would spray WD40 all over the place. Get it by the case.
woaaaaa!!! what if a fire breaks out!
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  #8  
Old 07-14-2008, 08:58 PM
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ha. i have the same thing going on for mine. except it only happens in reverse..and in 1st gear..but then goes away in about 10 seconds or less. its really odd..i dont understand it. basically everything under the hood is brand new. i was told that one of the belts (alternator) is a tad bit too long. but also i should spray this stuff (not sure what its called) on the belts and components while the engine is on..just so it can get through the whole thing
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  #9  
Old 07-18-2008, 10:46 AM
alexe34 alexe34 is offline
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Hi, ok I used a mechanic stethoscope and the squealing noise is at its loudest on the alternator. Is it certainly the alternator then?
Thanks
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  #10  
Old 07-19-2008, 05:22 PM
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You could try disconnecting the belt over the alternator if you have the separate ones. If you have a serpentine you can't really tell easily.

Also, if your belt isn't OEM, it could be a little oversized and slipping on the pulleys.
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  #11  
Old 07-21-2008, 11:40 AM
Flea7 Flea7 is offline
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I have this problem ...only when the car is cold and is not warmed up. The belt is loose somewhere?
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  #12  
Old 07-21-2008, 12:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by E36 Phantom View Post
Also, if your belt isn't OEM, it could be a little oversized and slipping on the pulleys.


yup. thats what my mechanic said. the belt on my alternator is a tad too long..even with the adjusters all the way out. someone mentioned wd40? or some other type of spray to make the squealing go away?
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  #13  
Old 07-22-2008, 12:34 PM
alexe34 alexe34 is offline
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This would be an option for me, however I have had a new belt put on and the squeaking noise is still there and exactly the same...
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  #14  
Old 07-28-2008, 01:10 AM
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so does anyone know if there is some sort of spray that is available that will make the squealing go away?
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  #15  
Old 07-28-2008, 01:34 AM
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Just to chime it, I'm purddy sure WD-40 isn't flameable, just the propellant, so buy the gallon container and pour it on, there's also belt conditioners that might help, but nothing beats a tight belt. If y'alls problem isnt with a loose tensioner or bearing, I would go with the wd-40 idea. I think Gunk is the brand of belt conditioner I saw somewhere, but ask at any napa, autozone, ect. and they'll point you the right direction.
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  #16  
Old 07-28-2008, 07:17 AM
toddstaples toddstaples is offline
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I had the same issue pretty much and it turned out to be two things. The tensioner pulley for my AC belt was bad so i replaced that and that noise went away. I found out it was that by taking the AC belt off and the noise went away.

So i fixed that and then started to hear a different squeal. That one turned out to be an old Serp. belt, replaced that one and the noise went away again. The way i found that was I sprayed WD40 on the belt and the noise would go away, then come back after 5 minutes. That told me that the WD dried up and the belt started squealing again.

Now if you have a serpentine belt that's not the right one, why dont you replace it with the right one with the right tension? Sounds like that's the solution right there? If you take the WD approach you'll just continuously be squirting that on your belts and it will just get annoying. The right belt for me cost 30 bucks at napa and i never have to worry about it again.
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  #17  
Old 08-19-2009, 12:38 PM
sillycar sillycar is offline
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sounds like you need a new mechanic. the spray you're looking for is silicone spray, it lasts a bit longer than wd40 but won't make the squeal go away permanently.

i have the same squealing noise, and my mechanic incorrectly diagnosed the alternator as he probably didn't want to fix the idler pulley and just told me he inspected the belts and probably did nothing

i checked with a piece of wood or long screwdriver and it's not hte alternator. i am going to take it back to him and watch while he works, he didn't charge me anything last time
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