Intermittent Ringing/Whining Noise - What is it? - Second Generation Nissan Xterra Forums (2005+)
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post #1 of 34 (permalink) Old 03-09-2010, 11:43 PM Thread Starter
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Intermittent Ringing/Whining Noise - What is it?

[Editing to refine the description of symptoms]

This issue is continuing, so I wanted to refine the description of symptoms, in case it helps root out the cause.....

- Sound is more like a whistling than a ringing, but the pitch is similar to the ear ringing you'd have the day after a loud rock concert.
- Sound does not change in pitch if I give it more or less gas.
- Overall, the issue is intermittent. But it is consistent under some conditions: Sound only happens after the car has been warmed up, and only after a bit of stop-and-go street driving (not after freeway driving).
- When it does occur, application of the brakes makes it stop. Previously, letting off the gas pedal would also make it stop, but now only application of the brakes stops it.
- When it does occur, every now and then the sound persists after the car is completely shut off, from a few seconds to as long as 30+ seconds.

See below for further description.

--------(original post follows)----------

This is a weird one... didn't have any luck searching the forum for anything similar, so here goes.

Vehicle: 2005 Xterra SE 2WD, approx. 68K miles.

History: I recently bought it from the first owner, but from what I know, the miles are mostly highway (he's an older gent of about 60 who mostly drove it between CA and CO, and took good care of it).

Symptom: A high-pitched ringing or whining sound, not particularly loud, when accelerating from a complete stop. Best way I can describe it is similar to the ringing in your ears that you hear the morning after a loud rock concert.

- It stops as soon as I let off the gas, sometimes starts again when I hit the gas again.

- It stops if I hit the brakes, and generally doesn't start again if I keep driving.

- If it stops by the action described above, and then I come to a complete stop, it starts again when I start driving again.

- Occasionally the noise happens out of the blue while I'm driving, in which case it stops if I let off the gas (this is less frequent).

- Even more strange, when the noise happens, it has sometimes continued for about 10-20 seconds after I turn off the vehicle.

- All of the above is intermittent; for example, it happened a few times last week, and then hasn't happened again until tonight. All in all, it's pretty infrequent.

- I haven't been able to pinpoint where it's coming from.

Any ideas?

Last edited by Stricklandia; 05-17-2010 at 07:25 PM. Reason: Refining description of symptoms
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post #2 of 34 (permalink) Old 03-09-2010, 11:58 PM
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it sounds like your belt tensioner......
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post #3 of 34 (permalink) Old 03-10-2010, 12:20 AM
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sounds like you got a woman in there . . .

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post #4 of 34 (permalink) Old 03-10-2010, 02:19 AM
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I know this sound you speak of! GAH! Thought I was going crazy, actually stopped paying attention to it. Exactly as you described it, sounds just like ringing in your ears. Very faint, not like the youtube vids of the timing chain problem. Mine also relates to the accelerator, and as I have a manual, comes and goes as I shift. Does it almost seem like you can hear it out of the passenger air vent. I was thinking something like relating to the air intake, and somehow it creating a faint whistle you can hear as you get on the gas...
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post #5 of 34 (permalink) Old 03-10-2010, 12:17 PM Thread Starter
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Belt tensioner? Does that explain the way it comes and goes? Does this sound like what anyone else with belt tensioner issues experienced?
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post #6 of 34 (permalink) Old 03-10-2010, 12:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stricklandia View Post
Belt tensioner? Does that explain the way it comes and goes? Does this sound like what anyone else with belt tensioner issues experienced?
No, from what I've seen on youtube of the timing chain tensioner, this is very different. The tensioner is pretty loud, this is like if you go shooting all day, then you go home and still have that faint ringing in your ears...

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post #7 of 34 (permalink) Old 03-10-2010, 12:34 PM
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timing chain and belt tensioner are different coati....

it very well could be his BELT tensioner...a serpentine belt tensioner is very easy to replace...a timing chain tensioner...requires you pull apart half the engine...

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post #8 of 34 (permalink) Old 03-10-2010, 12:55 PM
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The belt tensioner is also fairly distinctive, sounds more like a sqealing than a ringing ... almost like the sound of a failing bearing (which could very well be the failure mode for the belt tensioner, but I'm not 100% sure). Neither tensioner issue explains why the noise might continue after the truck is off, though.

Is it possible it could be something setting up a resonance in the brake rotors, and you're getting harmonic ringing in one (or both) of the brake discs?

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post #9 of 34 (permalink) Old 03-10-2010, 02:07 PM
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Originally Posted by Rook View Post
timing chain and belt tensioner are different coati....

it very well could be his BELT tensioner...a serpentine belt tensioner is very easy to replace...a timing chain tensioner...requires you pull apart half the engine...
wow. I knew that. Really! It was early in the morning for me, no caffeine yet!
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post #10 of 34 (permalink) Old 03-10-2010, 07:26 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by skibum315 View Post
Is it possible it could be something setting up a resonance in the brake rotors, and you're getting harmonic ringing in one (or both) of the brake discs?
Is this sound anything like what could happen if the brakes need servicing? I have all the service records from the previous owner, and I am not sure the brakes were ever done.
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