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Loud squeak/squeal from front wheels after startup

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This started happening yesterday. After car has been sitting for more than say 20 minutes it will squeal for the first few minutes of driving from what sounds like the left front of the car but it may be coming from the front of the car in general. It does not happen in reverse but as soon as the car begins to move forward it will make the noise and if the car has been sitting overnight the noise can be very loud and unpleasant. I don't think it ever goes away but it dies down to a very faint rhythmic squeak that is hard to hear over the engine and wind noise. 

 

I know it is not a belt as the noise is not RPM dependent and only occurs when the car is moving. I also don't think it's bad brakes as the noise happens regardless of the brakes being applied. 

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Have you looked at the front wheel bearings?

 

Brakes?

 

Got a ROUS wedged in there?

 

t

 

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(edited)
55 minutes ago, TobyB said:

Have you looked at the front wheel bearings?

 

Brakes?

 

Got a ROUS wedged in there?

 

t

 

I've examined the brakes and front suspension and everything looks okay. I've done what wheel bearing tests I can without jacking up the car (don't have time today) and they seem alright. I'm thinking it might be center support bearing on the driveshaft. The symptoms are exactly what @mike describes in this thread: 

 

 

If that's the case I need to determine what part to order, as I have the Aardvarc racing five speed swap. Would I get a standard bearing or do I need some special type? 

 

Edited by Sahara

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Center support bearing on the way out?  They usually squeal like a slipping belt until the (remaining) grease warms up after a bit of driving and the noise mostly disappears.  

 

As second possibility if you have A/C with a compressor bracket that uses an idler pulley (the original York compressor bracket as used both by Behr and Frigiking.)  The idler pulley bearing (a 6202 bearing IIRC) has no grease fitting, and will eventually wear out as it spins all the time.

 

Have experienced both, and the noise does sound like it's coming from the front of the car.

 

mike

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Try spraying the center bearing with a light oil. if this quiets it down then the bearing needs to be replaced. it's not a fix but should narrow the field.

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sure it's not your fan belt 🙂

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(edited)
17 hours ago, Sahara said:

I've done what wheel bearing tests I can without jacking up the car (don't have time today) and they seem alright.

there are no wheel bearing tests you can do WITHOUT jacking the car up......

 

jack it up.

 

brake pads changed recently?  or need changing?  pads dragging from clogged old brake line?

 

again...jack it up.

Edited by mlytle
  • Haha 1

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1 hour ago, mlytle said:

there are no wheel bearing tests you can do WITHOUT jacking the car up.

If you kick the tire and the wheel falls off, that's bad. :lol:

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  • Haha 2

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The shop has rendered a verdict. They say loose alternator mounts allowing the belt to slip. In their view this is why the noise happens when first setting off and goes away when the battery is recharged and the load on the alternator decreases. My only issue with this is that the noise never happened in reverse. Does the alternator behave differently in reverse? Or is it just that the car never picks up enough speed? 

 

I’m somewhat dubious. 

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1 minute ago, Sahara said:

Does the alternator behave differently in reverse?

nope

 

Loose mounts due to deteriorating rubber bushings, I'm guessing.

 

It is common practice to replace them with polyurethane, for greater durability.

 

Nice that it is a cheap easy fix... assuming that's all it was.

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Just now, '76mintgrün'02 said:

nope

 

Loose mounts due to deteriorating rubber bushings, I'm guessing.

 

It is common practice to replace them with polyurethane, for greater durability.

 

Nice that it is a cheap easy fix... assuming that's all it was.

Then why does it never make the noise in reverse? Low engine speed? 

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I suppose that could be the reason, but it's hard telling, not knowing.

 

If the belt's slipping due to pulley misalignment, then the bushings were due for replacement anyway.

If the problem persists, you can dig deeper.

 

I liked the suggestion of oiling the support bearing to see if it quiets down.

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(edited)

Resurrecting this thread to report back: mechanic replaced alternator bushings, made noise much quieter but did not eliminate it. They had me pick up the car, assuming my complaint was only about the alternator belt noise, which had apparently been masking squeal from the front brakes. After discovering the other noise I brought it to a shop that was open and could inspect it same day (not a BMW specific shop so I'm dubious about this diagnosis) and they said I need brakes and that the noise when braking and intermittently when driving is from the 'squeal indicator' on the pads/rotors (not sure if it's on one, the other, or both). 

 

My question to you guys: does the '02 have 'squeal indicators'? I'm not very experienced with vintage cars and I have never heard about this before but it would make sense.

 

Also, how do I tell if I have E21 hubs? A lot of parts on this car are from an E21 (engine, trans, seats) but I'm not sure if the hubs also came off that donor car. 

Edited by Sahara

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(edited)
2 hours ago, Sahara said:

: does the '02 have 'squeal indicators'?

No.  I don't think they know enough about 2002s to trust that you would not be taken to the cleaners.

Edited by jimk

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10 minutes ago, jimk said:

No.  I don't think they know enough about 2002s to trust that you would not be taken to the cleaners.

Interesting. I definitely wasn't going to let them work on the car, I just wanted a quick diagnosis that my specialist mechanic was unable to provide late on a friday. I do agree with them that it is the brakes, on the grounds that I can change the pitch and intensity of the sound with the break pedal and was able to stop the sound (for about 30 minutes) by giving the brakes a quick spray with Brakleen. 

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