Engine whirring noise

Tiny
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I just recently bought (as in a few days ago) a '98 Chevrolet Cavalier LS, and it has about 112k miles on it. Its engine specs are 115-hp, 2.2-liter I-4.

I just put new tires on it last night, and noticed after driving away that there was a new sound in the engine. It was a kind of whirring noise, kind of like a baseball card in the spokes of a bicycle. It's really noticeable when idling or at low speeds, but I believe is always present, just not audible at higher speeds.

Any idea what this is coming from? I'm not sure getting new tires had anything to do with it, but that's when I noticed it.

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Wednesday, January 24th, 2007 AT 1:51 PM

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Tiny
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IF it happens at idle, can you open the hood and get a closer listen and maybe narrow it down to a general area?

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Wednesday, January 24th, 2007 AT 6:39 PM
Tiny
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I've done so, and I really can't. I have about zero experience with cars.

As far as I can tell, it's coming from the passenger side of the engine, so I thought it might be a belt issue (it looks a little worn, but not cracked), but then I also heard that if my car needs an oil change (which it does and is on my to do list for this week), it can make a similar noise.

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Wednesday, January 24th, 2007 AT 8:17 PM
Tiny
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Can you get hold of the previous owner and ask them about any possible issue?

What is the oil level at?

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Wednesday, January 24th, 2007 AT 8:25 PM
Tiny
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Don't know the previous owner, got it from a dealership.

The oil level. Damn, knew I'd meant to check something when I got back from the grocery store. Well, two handfuls of grocery bags and new snow will make you forget stuff like staying outside in freezing temperatures to check your oil.

I'll get back to you soon about that, prolly tomorrow morning. In the meantime, any thoughts on what it might be?

To clarify the noise, it almost sounds like rolling your R's with your tongue (my boyfriend calls it a very fast ticking, but I disagree). So I guess a metallic vibration of sorts. Dunno.

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Wednesday, January 24th, 2007 AT 9:38 PM
Tiny
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At this point it sounds like low oil making a lifter noise or maybe a belt tensioner sticking.

As a note, ticking does not mean it is due for an oil change, it means the level has not been checked and adjusted. Kinda like saying my teeth are rotting, it's time to brush them.

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Thursday, January 25th, 2007 AT 5:25 AM
Tiny
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Okay, update.

I got an oil change, they checked the oil level and all, and it's still there, persistent as ever. In fact, I'd say it's worse, since it's been a little warmer recently. It's more audible.

It's definitely coming from the vicinity of the (what I believe is) serpentine belt, the lower left hand side of the engine. The belt looks a little worn, and has a discoloration that you can see as it zips by.

The mechanic did a visual inspection when he changed my oil (although I'd trust that about as far as I could throw him), and said that all my belts were in good order. But. Yeah.

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Saturday, January 27th, 2007 AT 1:00 PM
Tiny
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Oh, and the mechanic called it a "ticking" noise. So, I guess the men overrule me.

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Saturday, January 27th, 2007 AT 1:01 PM
Tiny
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HAH take that you supervixen! :Lol:

At this point let's focus on tht serp belt wera spot. See if you can bump the starter without starting it to get it to the "bad" spot. Take a pic and post it.

The BF should know the "bumping starter jargon"
So after you set the groceries down and put on the tangerine lipstick and aswer the door, we'll see what you found :lol:

You know I'm not serious I hope! But if you put on the tangerine lipstick, what the hell, post that too!

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Saturday, January 27th, 2007 AT 1:49 PM
Tiny
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Hey, I only use Burt's Bees chapstick. And only because it's winter and my face is dry.

But I shall try that indeed.

Do you know about how much it would cost to fix a serpentine belt, if that is the problem? My finances are looking pretty bleak right now, so I'm hoping it's not too much.

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Saturday, January 27th, 2007 AT 7:14 PM
Tiny
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I don't know if that's the problem. What do you think the odds of coercing the BF into doing it?

I don't know thats the problem yet.
Need to check the belt like I said. Take a pic and post it.

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Saturday, January 27th, 2007 AT 7:18 PM
Tiny
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And sorry to ruin your faith in my boyfriend, but he says, in his own words, "I have no idea what that really means."

How does one go about bumping the starter?

Thanks for the patience, btw.

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Saturday, January 27th, 2007 AT 7:24 PM
Tiny
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I tell that to my wife all the time to get outta things :lol:

No sweat. See, I don't know you or him or what your capabilities are or aren't. So I ask.

Bumping the starter means, Turning the ignition on to the "crank position" for a breif moment. This will rotate the engine and move the belt a little bit. While on of you does this, the other watches for the bad spot on the belt. Need to communicate with each other at all times while doing this so one person isn't sticking their fingers in there while the other one bumps it, etc.

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Saturday, January 27th, 2007 AT 7:42 PM
Tiny
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Well, he told me to say in his defense that the minute he read your actual post instead of me just asking, "Do you know how to bump a starter?", He knew what you meant.

And for all intents and purposes, it seems that he did, as we did eventually get the belt queued up to the discolored area. Which turned out to be the manufacturer's mark or serial number, stamped in white on the black belt. Good job, chief.

Anyhow, it's hard to tell at night how worn the belt is, so we'll try it again in the daytime, and see if we can get you a picture.

Do you think it could have to do with belt tension? Because I've noticed that when the car's colder, as in, ice cold, you don't hear it until the engine warms up, but if it's warm and the car's been sitting in the sun, then you hear it almost immediately. Just a thought, since I know that things tighten up or expand when the weather changes.

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Saturday, January 27th, 2007 AT 8:29 PM
Tiny
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Before you go crazy with this, you should have a 30 day warranty on it.

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Saturday, January 27th, 2007 AT 8:55 PM
Tiny
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And I don't believe I do. I'm pretty sure the deal was "as is, " with no warranty.

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Saturday, January 27th, 2007 AT 9:35 PM
Tiny
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What state are you in? This was a car dealer? There are state laws in NY that prohibit that.

Gettin late for me.

Any way of recording the noise you hear?

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Saturday, January 27th, 2007 AT 9:38 PM
Tiny
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I'm in delaware. No idea what the laws are like. I can try to make a recording.

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Sunday, January 28th, 2007 AT 9:16 AM
Tiny
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The bill of sale stating "as is", is the key on this.

Tegardless, I'll bet if you stopped by there and nicley asked them to take a listen, even if there is no warranty, they probably will.

I'll be here.

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Sunday, January 28th, 2007 AT 10:58 AM

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