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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 05-31-2011, 07:01 AM
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SlimKlim SlimKlim is offline
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Phantom "pulley" squeak (Also, long time no see)

Hey boys and girls, first of all long time no see I haven't been on Bimmerfest much in the past year because I've been busy with school and my crappy motorcycles. Some of you might recall my GS500 that forced me to more or less rebuild it, I sold that bike and lost my ass on it. Then I got an FZR600R for free in a general state of chaos, I cleaned it up and rode it all spring but sold it right after school ended.

In other news, I graduated with my college edjumucation and got as a platform manager at AOL. So I moved outside of D.C. and got an apartment with another car nerd, and here I am!

Anyway, The car has had an intermittent squeak at idle that sounds just like pulley squeal. Last summer it got bad and i narrowed it down to the idler pulley, It just so happened to blow up when I had the new one in the car, so a quick roadside repair and i was in business. It got noticeable again a few weeks ago so I figured tensioner pulley, but replacing that did nothing for me. I also thought alternator pulley but it felt nice and smooth with the belt off and its a pain in the ass to replace.

My only lead is the tensioner itself. The top bushing is really beat up, causing some side to side play in the tensioner. I didnt think it would be a big deal because with the belt on, well, its tensioned, but the metal on metal could be the source of the squeak. You can see the bushings here.



I need to use the hose or stethoscope method to pinpoint the sound, I did the tensioner pulley Saturday, and it was squeaking pretty damn loud in the parking garage this morning. Figures. Any ideas?
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  #2  
Old 05-31-2011, 10:34 AM
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Killjoy Killjoy is offline
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Did you check the AC compressor pulley? Could be that too.
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  #3  
Old 05-31-2011, 10:49 AM
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Originally Posted by Killjoy View Post
Did you check the AC compressor pulley? Could be that too.
Good Idea, It didn't whine when i left for lunch, but was chirpin' away when we came back. So i stuck my ear in it. It's definitely coming from "down there" and "on that side" of the front of the motor, so it very well could be. Maybe I'll just pop the A/C belt off and cowboy it tomorrow to see if it's that or rule it out.
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Old 05-31-2011, 10:52 AM
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  #5  
Old 05-31-2011, 11:36 AM
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Pichurs. Then help.
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  #6  
Old 05-31-2011, 12:07 PM
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SlimKlim SlimKlim is offline
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There's nothing to take a picture of really. I can show you the sorta dinged up tensioner after work but that's all that's visible.

If it was the AC pulley wouldn't it only happen when the AC is on? This is an all the time thing, except when you first start it up. I could take a quick vid clip of it after work, maybe someone will recognize the sound.
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Old 05-31-2011, 12:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SlimKlim View Post
There's nothing to take a picture of really. I can show you the sorta dinged up tensioner after work but that's all that's visible.

If it was the AC pulley wouldn't it only happen when the AC is on? This is an all the time thing, except when you first start it up. I could take a quick vid clip of it after work, maybe someone will recognize the sound.
I was talking about the bike/car.



Pick a pulley, spray it with WD-40.


If the squeak goes away, you found the bad one.
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Last edited by Moeman10; 05-31-2011 at 12:11 PM.
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  #8  
Old 05-31-2011, 01:16 PM
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fun2drive fun2drive is offline
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If you do have the hydraulic tensioner this will not apply. I found the source of my squeak being the spring in the mechanical tensioner. I removed it and dunked it in oil, squeak gone but again only valid for the mechanical tensioner using the spring...
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Old 05-31-2011, 01:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Moeman10 View Post
I was talking about the bike/car.



Pick a pulley, spray it with WD-40.


If the squeak goes away, you found the bad one.
Oh, well I can do that, nothing recent of the car though.

Here is the bike, I sold her to some guy who seemed like he was gonna keep fixing her up and do some cool stuff with 'er.









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Originally Posted by fun2drive View Post
If you do have the hydraulic tensioner this will not apply. I found the source of my squeak being the spring in the mechanical tensioner. I removed it and dunked it in oil, squeak gone but again only valid for the mechanical tensioner using the spring...
I think you might be onto something, the tensioner does look a little battered like I said, even though its hydraulic maybe the play/busted bushing is causing the squeak.

I'm gonna look into that and take Moeman's advice and grease her up to see if I can't pinpoint it. If i have to take this frickin tensioner off I might convert to an electric fan as well, I'm sick of wrestling the stupid mechanical one on and off all the time.

I'll still post a quick video clip tonight.

Last edited by SlimKlim; 05-31-2011 at 01:53 PM.
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  #10  
Old 05-31-2011, 02:12 PM
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No pics of my car lately but here is a picture of my ballin ass cubicle wall at work, complete with a genuine M3 brochure from 95.

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  #11  
Old 05-31-2011, 02:27 PM
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How are the seats finish holding up?
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  #12  
Old 05-31-2011, 02:29 PM
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How are the seats finish holding up?
Like a snowball in hell. Replacing them with a nice clean pair is somewhere down the road. I'd also consider well priced (and still comfy) aftermarket folding backs, or having mine professionally redone with guaranteed results. I still need to shop around and get some quotes and stuff, but its a few months away.
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Old 05-31-2011, 02:31 PM
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So you dont recommend doing it?
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  #14  
Old 05-31-2011, 06:34 PM
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welcome back!!

wd-40 would work in identification of the noise source, but can be messy if the fan kicks on... (not that *that's* ever happened to me before...)

a long wooden dowel would also work as a stethescope. and i have also used sandpaper to scuff the backside of belts to see if the noise was belt related and not pulley related.

good luck with it.


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Old 05-31-2011, 06:58 PM
john kaminski john kaminski is offline
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Just a slight misalinement of the belt on the tensioner pulley can cause a chirp. If it's the AC belt makes little difference if AC is on or off. Try taking some tension off the belts and move them a bit on the tensioner pulleys and see if that changes anything. However I would sure check out the bad tensioner bushing and fix it reguardless as if isn't now it will be trouble later.

Good Luck, Cheap Trick
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Old 05-31-2011, 07:51 PM
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How old is the alternator? Any intermittent CEL's or battery lights?
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  #17  
Old 06-01-2011, 07:35 AM
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So you dont recommend doing it?
Well personally, I bought the best product I could find, and took a whole weekend to do it, and had poor results. The product laid down a fine finish but the repair stuff wasn't good enough to cover the cracks and scratches, so it all came back through.

That being said, Niel1138 changed the frickin color of his seats and it looks OEM, so I'm not saying it can't be done.

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Just a slight misalinement of the belt on the tensioner pulley can cause a chirp. If it's the AC belt makes little difference if AC is on or off. Try taking some tension off the belts and move them a bit on the tensioner pulleys and see if that changes anything. However I would sure check out the bad tensioner bushing and fix it reguardless as if isn't now it will be trouble later.

Good Luck, Cheap Trick
Thanks for the advice, I'll try that out.

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How old is the alternator? Any intermittent CEL's or battery lights?
No idea how old the thing is, but no lights and it doesnt sound like the sound is coming from there, more in the direction of the tensioner or A/C pulley. Lemme see if i can get this video off my phone and uploaded.
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  #18  
Old 06-03-2011, 07:39 AM
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That's the sound at it's finest. Isn't noticeable when the motor is cold, only after driving. I still haven't had time to do any more diagnostics, I've been busy with work and doing my brakes.
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  #19  
Old 06-03-2011, 03:56 PM
Eight Thirty Eight Thirty is offline
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sounds like its loud enough to be able to find it with more seaching... get under the car while its running and pinpoint it that way..



Any play in your clutch fan?

Does the chirps get closer together when the rpms go up?
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Old 06-03-2011, 11:41 PM
chopsim323 chopsim323 is offline
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I have the identical sound on my 323. Been told it might be the belt tensioner. Haven't had the money to have it checked or replaced yet. So i'm interested to see if you manage to fix it and let us know what it was.
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  #21  
Old 06-04-2011, 01:18 AM
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Sounds like my car... I keep throwing pulley's at it... Trying the belt now even though it seems to be okay.
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  #22  
Old 04-05-2012, 07:07 PM
Landshark 328 Landshark 328 is offline
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I have something similar, I just changed out my water pump and belt and when I put everything back together I had a similar noise. It goes away after I drive for awhile but its pretty loud when I accelerate but goes away after a few minutes. I'm not sure which pulley/tensioner I will need to replace to get rid of it.
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  #23  
Old 04-05-2012, 07:14 PM
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Try carefully (because there`s a fan there) to hold either a mechanic`s stethoscope or a long screwdriver near to each pulley to find which is going on you.
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Old 04-05-2012, 07:22 PM
Landshark 328 Landshark 328 is offline
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the thought of this makes me nervous becasue I don't feel like bustin up my fan
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Old 04-05-2012, 07:41 PM
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Alternatively, you could remove your fan for the ~five minutes it would take you to diagnose this...
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