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93 Seville STS
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110 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I'm not having any charging issues, but I have a NEW! & EXCITING! noise coming from the passenger side front of the car. Or I think that's where it’s coming from...

I don't do well describing noises, but it kinda sounds like a pinging. Multiple pingings. Or very very fine gravel being tossed around in a metal can.

It doesn't happen all the time. It’s random. It goes away. It comes back. No other symptoms. I'm not sure what leads me to believe it’s the alternator.

On a good note, the new serpentine belt I had installed almost 2 weeks ago is still silent.
 

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1999 STS - diamond white
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5,229 Posts
Hold a dowel rod or long screwdriver to your ear and then to the various accessories, pulleys, etc and try to locate the noise. Be careful not to get it caught in the belt or moving items. make sure your tool is long enough (no, not that tool) to keep hair, clothing etc clear.
 

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1992 STS / 2005 MB G500 / 2003 STS / 2006 XLR-V
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11,694 Posts
When Ive had alternators fail with a "noise" (they usually dont make any noise), it was a loud whining noise.

That does not sound like an alt problem to me.
 

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93 Seville STS
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110 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
I'm bringing up this noise issue again....still happens intermittently. Comes & goes. It sounds like a metal on metal rattle/ping, or like fine gravel in a metal can being shaken. I'm sure its coming from the right hand side of the engine compartment. While it was happening yesterday I popped the hood & took a look. I can't see anything out of the ordinary. But I'm sure its coming from near the power steering pump.

Would a power steering pump makes this noise? I know it would make a whine if it was bad, but what about this sort of noise? The pump is loud to begin with - I can hear it whenever I turn the wheel, not just when I crank it.
 

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White Diamond '03 DHS (with DTS floor shift)
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86,982 Posts
Might be one of the bearings on the serpentine belt (alternator, P/S pump, A/C clutch, idler or tensioner). A stethoscope would help narrow it down.
 

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Sedan de Ville, CTS
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4,764 Posts
When you use that home made stethoscope on the alternator, the bearings will rumble slightly. That is normal because the brushes inside are riding on the equivalent of an armateur.

Water pump should be very smooth. P S pump--I can't remember, but probably fairly smooth. You can also check the noises from various parts on a second car.

Watch your fingers and that dowel or stethoscope. Easy to get injured.

Good luck.
 

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94 Eldorado, and a 99 ETC
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3,887 Posts
Turn OFF the a/c... I bet it will start to sound continuously. That's the noise a failing a/c clutch bearing will make. The pulley will tilt a little and touch the clutch plate when it's not engaged.
 

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93 Seville STS
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110 Posts
Discussion Starter #11
Turn OFF the a/c... I bet it will start to sound continuously. That's the noise a failing a/c clutch bearing will make. The pulley will tilt a little and touch the clutch plate when it's not engaged.
My a/c is always off. "Low refrigerant" message. Even though I had it fixed. Whatever. Could this a/c clutch bearing still be the possible cause even though my a/c doesn't work?

Its tough to use a stethescope to listen when the noise happens randomly. And it never seems to happen at a convenient time. Somedays, I don't hear it at all. Other days I hear it often.
 

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Super Moderator
White Diamond '03 DHS (with DTS floor shift)
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86,982 Posts
The A/C clutch spins whether the A/C is on or not. An electromagnetic clutch engages when it is turned on and then spins the compressor as well.
 

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1997 SLS
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550 Posts
Lesley, I replaced my alternator last year as the bearings really did go bad. It made a continuous "whine" and was not intermittent as you describe. Mine also did not have a charging issue - I was able to change it out myself...not the easiest thing on my 97 SLS. I also thought it was the power steering, but found out that a low rattle (intermittent) was actually something called a "Y" tube underneath for the exhaust. The dealer raped me on that one, and I'm betting I could have gotten it done cheaper at muffler shop.
If you need to replace the alternator, give yourself a Saturday to get it all done - it's easier if you have small hands too.
 

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94 Eldorado, and a 99 ETC
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3,887 Posts
My a/c is always off. "Low refrigerant" message. Even though I had it fixed. Whatever. Could this a/c clutch bearing still be the possible cause even though my a/c doesn't work?

Its tough to use a stethescope to listen when the noise happens randomly. And it never seems to happen at a convenient time. Somedays, I don't hear it at all. Other days I hear it often.
That's interesting.... Yes it could be it, but I would expect it to be constant with the a/c off, not intermittent. Try turning the a/c on for a few seconds and then back off again to see if that triggers the sound. Maybe you still have defog on or something.
 
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