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E46 (1999 - 2006)
The fourth generation 3 Series (E46 chassis) was introduced in 1999 and set the standard for engineering and performance during it's years of production including being named to Car & Driver's 10 best list every one of those years! ! -- View the E46 Wiki

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  #1  
Old 11-29-2010, 03:44 PM
sannouni sannouni is offline
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Engine noise at Cold Startup (Video)

Can anyone help me identify this sound? (see link attached),

the noise is very pronounced right at a cold startup (the RPM goes up to 1, then dips slightly down, the noise becomes apparent as the rpm dips down), it stays for a good minute or so, then starts to disappear, then completely goes away when the engine is warmer

it's been getting louder as the weather gets colder, at first i thought it had something to do with the secondary air pump, but when i started the car (cold startup) today, i waited for the noise to dampen a bit, then i slightly pressed the accelerator (just enought to bring the RPM up by 100 or 200 RPM) the sound came back.... but the sound does go away after the engine becomes warmer (at operating temperature, there is no noise)

I would appreciate your advice and comments, thank you for your time

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  #2  
Old 11-29-2010, 03:53 PM
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mrblorry mrblorry is offline
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Sounds like the idler or belt tensioner needs to be replaced.
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  #3  
Old 11-29-2010, 04:25 PM
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CarlsonTheFlyer CarlsonTheFlyer is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mrblorry View Post
Sounds like the idler or belt tensioner needs to be replaced.
+1, or could be the water pump.
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  #4  
Old 11-29-2010, 04:32 PM
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jburns jburns is offline
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Mine was doing the same, though higher pitched. In my case it was the idler pulley. Listen and see if it's coming from the driver side close to the alternator.
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  #5  
Old 11-30-2010, 05:45 AM
sannouni sannouni is offline
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thank you all for your replies, I checked it this morning as i started her to go to work, and yes, it's coming exactly from there (it sounds like it's coming from the alternator surroundings on the driver side of the engine)...

should i change only the idler pulley or the whole tensioner assy. (in other words, what is the failure rate or Mean Mileage Between Failures of the tensioner)? i got 161000Km (around 100k miles)...

thank you again
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  #6  
Old 11-30-2010, 05:57 AM
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jburns jburns is offline
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On mine they just replaced the pulley. Then they gave me the old pulley and showed me how it would barely turn! I am lucky I didn't shred a belt! ....and that is exactly my mileage by the way.
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  #7  
Old 11-30-2010, 06:02 AM
Nando779 Nando779 is offline
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The idler pulley is only a pulley and not a whole assembly, what you might be talking about is the mechanical or hydraulic tensioner assembly.
If you have a mechanical tensioner you will have to change the whole assembly. At this point you can choose to updgrade to the hydraulic tensioner so in the future you would only have to change the pulley. Here is what I suggest:

If you can, change the main tensioner (updgrading to a hydraulic is optional), the idler pulley, both belts and since your in there the AC tensioner (mechanical only). Pretty straight foward DIY and should cost you around $200+ or so for parts.
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Last edited by Nando779; 11-30-2010 at 06:03 AM.
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  #8  
Old 11-30-2010, 08:08 AM
sannouni sannouni is offline
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it seems like i misunderstood.... so from what i understand now is that what i need to replace is the idler pulley (Deflection Pulley) and NOT the pulley that is part of the tensioner assembly (i just checked, and i have a hydraulic tensioner)... i ordered both pulleys from the dealership just to be on the safe side.

i'm planning to do a coolant overhaul in mid to end January (i'm still collecting the parts), i guess i'll add the the drive belts, AC tensioner and idler to the list.

thank you for your replies, i'll update on the status of the sound once i change the pulleys (over the weekend)
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  #9  
Old 11-30-2010, 09:39 AM
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mrblorry mrblorry is offline
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That sounds like a good plan. I have the hydraulic tensioner as well, and "everyone" told me that my squeak was coming from the idler pulley, when in fact, I had a bad tensioner pulley.

No matter; I replaced them both, along with both belts, and problem solved. What I didn't replace was the air conditioner rig, as it's not just the tensioner pulley, but the entire tensioner assembly, and a bit pricey for me ($96 US at Tischer) at the time.
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  #10  
Old 11-30-2010, 09:49 AM
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mrblorry mrblorry is offline
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Oh, I forgot to add that since you have a manual transmission, this job is a piece of pie; you'll just need a T-25 and a T-50 torx wrench, and preferably a decent sized ratchet or breaker bar so that you can apply the necessary torque to relax the tension on the fan belts. Once they're free, they come right off.

One bit of advice--either take a photo, or scribble a drawing of the belt configuration. It may save you time trying to remember how the belt goes back on.
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Last edited by mrblorry; 11-30-2010 at 09:50 AM.
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  #11  
Old 11-30-2010, 11:41 PM
mujjuman mujjuman is offline
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i have the same sound... sooo annoying
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  #12  
Old 12-01-2010, 07:41 PM
sannouni sannouni is offline
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picked up both pulleys from the dealer today, replacing the pulleys seems easy enough to do during a weekday evening (tomorrow ), i'll look up the DIY and see if it's really that easy... also, i'll update accordingly...
thanks for quick responses guys, this forum is awsome
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  #13  
Old 12-01-2010, 11:17 PM
TopazBlu02 TopazBlu02 is offline
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I have the exact same squeaking noise on cold morning start ups. So the consensus is the tensioner pulley?
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  #14  
Old 12-02-2010, 10:43 AM
mujjuman mujjuman is offline
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do you have a mechanical tensioner or a hydraulic tensioner?
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  #15  
Old 12-02-2010, 11:43 AM
TopazBlu02 TopazBlu02 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mujjuman View Post
do you have a mechanical tensioner or a hydraulic tensioner?
Not sure. I have a stock '02 330ci MT so maybe you can tell me if I have mechanical or hydraulic? Thanks!
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  #16  
Old 12-02-2010, 07:08 PM
sannouni sannouni is offline
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Just finished replacing both the Deflection and the Tensioner pulleys.... it's a manual transmission, so it was somewhat easy, it took about 45 mins for the whole process including taking the video below (i followed a DIY for the belt drives in this forum and it was very precise, this forums is great !!!), started her up (was still warm) and drove for a bit at various RPM levels, and i dont know if it's in my head, or it could be that the engine is running a little quiter than before... but again, that could be just me...

all i have to do now is wait for the next cold startup and pay attention to any noises from the drive belt area... i will update again with the findings

as for knowing if you have a hydraulic or mechanical tensioner, just look it up on this forum (it's been discussed here before with pictures), but none the less, take a look at the video below, if your tensioner looks the same as this one, then you have a hydraulic one, if not, then it's a mechanical (search the forum for a picture, it would be much clearer)



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  #17  
Old 12-03-2010, 02:52 PM
sannouni sannouni is offline
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no noise, all is good, tried it a couple of times today without any strange noises...

next up, the cooling system overhaul....

thank you so much, this forum really does rock.....
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  #18  
Old 12-03-2010, 03:24 PM
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av98 av98 is offline
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Glad you resolved your issue, a little late but adding an old thread which should be stickied....hint hint admins

http://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/sho...light=squirrel
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