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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 02-15-2010, 11:46 AM
chrisgarney chrisgarney is offline
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Location: state college, PA
 
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Mein Auto: 1996 BMW 328is
High-pitched whine: throw-out bearing or starter?

Hi guys/gals,

I'm new to this forum but would really appreciate any thoughts regarding a new problem with my E36 (328is). The other day, my car began making a whining or grinding sound when I restarted it after driving it a few miles. The sound is very similar to this Youtube clip:



My sound also gets worse when I press the clutch (but is also evident when the clutch is out). It seems to be coming from the rear of the engine, which leads me to think it's either a stuck starter or bad throw-out bearing. There are various bits of evidence that support each theory:

STUCK STARTER: The problem appears after restart, but not when it's cold. So perhaps there is a temperature-dependent problem with the starting solenoid that would prevent proper starter gear retraction when warm. It really sounds like a DC motor whine, just like in the Youtube video. Additionally, I thought I heard a weird whirring sound during starting for the few days prior to this latest whine (although this could have been my imagination). I have no explanation for why the clutch position would affect starter operation.

THROW-OUT BEARING: The sound is worse when I press the clutch, which immediately makes me think that it's the throw-out bearing. The car had a clutch job last summer by the PO, and I believe the throw-out bearing was replaced, but improper clutch linkage adjustment or a cheap bearing could have led to premature wear. The service was not performed by BMW or a reputable indy, as far as I can tell.

If anyone else has ever heard of similar symptoms, please chime in. The dealer quoted $425 to replace the starter, but I don't want to throw money at it if that's not the problem and I'm way off base. Thanks all!

Last edited by chrisgarney; 02-15-2010 at 03:02 PM.
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  #2  
Old 02-15-2010, 11:48 AM
Eight Thirty Eight Thirty is offline
nothing.
Location: Rochester, Ny
 
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the starter would make this noise. they have a one way clucth in them.


where abouts from the engine bay is the noise coming from?
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  #3  
Old 02-15-2010, 11:49 AM
chrisgarney chrisgarney is offline
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Definitely from the rear. In the area of the starter and bellhousing.
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Old 02-15-2010, 12:05 PM
Eight Thirty Eight Thirty is offline
nothing.
Location: Rochester, Ny
 
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oh crappy. hmmm i have never had this problem. im sure someone has though. stay around for a reply.
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  #5  
Old 02-15-2010, 04:34 PM
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drivinfaster drivinfaster is offline
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i say starter as throw out bearings will change when the clutch is depressed. that, and the fact that it comes and goes due to temp.

of course if you were to be able to check the teeth of the ring gear for wear or metal shavings that would be a good indication of starter sticking. you could use a mechanics stethescope to verify the noise is farther away from the flywheel or more toward the bell housing. or if you could reach from the top you could verify the noise is coming from the starter. a bad throw out bearing would not be as loud toward the starter.


df
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  #6  
Old 02-15-2010, 06:09 PM
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PhilipWOT PhilipWOT is offline
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I'm not reading all that sh*t, but I will help you.

1. Turn on the engine
2. Push the clutch pedal in

Sounds stops; It's clutch-related
Sounds continues; It's not clutch-related, and likely the starter.

Good day sir.
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  #7  
Old 02-16-2010, 09:51 AM
chrisgarney chrisgarney is offline
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Location: state college, PA
 
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Mein Auto: 1996 BMW 328is
Quote:
Originally Posted by PhilipWOT View Post
I'm not reading all that sh*t, but I will help you.

1. Turn on the engine
2. Push the clutch pedal in

Sounds stops; It's clutch-related
Sounds continues; It's not clutch-related, and likely the starter.

Good day sir.
Thanks for your input, but no need to be rude. It's not quite that simple, but I'm going with starter. I think it makes more sense on the whole.
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