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Old 05-02-2013, 02:27 PM   #1
PFSquirrel
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Question Whirring noise from trans

2002 WRX EJ20
152k miles
5-speed

So there's a whirring noise coming from the transmission. I've been trying to figure this out for a while now before dumping money into a mechanic to tell me it's super expensive to fix. It's not the clutch, brakes, bearings, or anything like that. The sound starts near 30mph or so, and gets progressively louder and a little higher pitched. Clip below:

https://www.dropbox.com/s/86b617jja3...ns%20whine.m4a

If anyone has any ideas what the hell this could be, I'd love to hear any answer. I'm hopefully going to change the gear oil this weekend, and if I'm lucky maybe that's all it is. If not, then I'm completely lost, as I've never heard this before.
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Old 05-02-2013, 02:44 PM   #2
MRGierut013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PFSquirrel View Post
2002 WRX EJ20
152k miles
5-speed

So there's a whirring noise coming from the transmission. I've been trying to figure this out for a while now before dumping money into a mechanic to tell me it's super expensive to fix. It's not the clutch, brakes, bearings, or anything like that. The sound starts near 30mph or so, and gets progressively louder and a little higher pitched. Clip below:

https://www.dropbox.com/s/86b617jja3...ns%20whine.m4a

If anyone has any ideas what the hell this could be, I'd love to hear any answer. I'm hopefully going to change the gear oil this weekend, and if I'm lucky maybe that's all it is. If not, then I'm completely lost, as I've never heard this before.
Does it happen in multiple gears? I can't really tell from the clip.
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Old 05-02-2013, 03:00 PM   #3
PFSquirrel
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Yep, all across the range. The noise gets prominent about 20 seconds in.

Last edited by PFSquirrel; 05-02-2013 at 03:06 PM.
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Old 05-02-2013, 06:55 PM   #4
Tjlarsen
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I think I'm having the same problem. Does your noise occur even while you're coasting in neutral above 30 mph? I think mine is either my transmission or my differential. Both fluids need to be changed in mine. But it could be an indication that something's on its way out unfortunately.
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Old 05-03-2013, 08:38 AM   #5
PFSquirrel
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Yep it's with or without the clutch engaged
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Old 05-03-2013, 11:02 AM   #6
mneste8718
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Could perhaps be a wheel bearing or maybe a cv axle on its way out if the clutch engagement doesn't matter.
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Old 05-03-2013, 01:36 PM   #7
PFSquirrel
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Nope, already ruled that out.
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Old 05-03-2013, 02:16 PM   #8
CNY_Dave
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If it doesn't vary with gear then at least that narrows it down to the output stage.

Bad diffs almost always are quiet when the load is removed, ditto carrier bearings and trans bearings.

I can't get to the link (blocked at work), but sube wheel bearings can get VERY loud without detectable symptoms on inspection, even with the wheels spun by the engine. Best bet is to spin 'em in the air and use a mechanics stethoscope.
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Old 05-03-2013, 03:56 PM   #9
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The video is kind of hard to hear so correct if I'm wrong... it sounds like the noise is present while accel/decel/coasting. If it happened only when in gear, I'd definitely say it's a bearing. Are you 100% sure that the axles and wheel bearings are good?
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Old 05-06-2013, 01:49 PM   #10
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UPDATE: Changed gearbox oil, noise is a little less prominent. Going to change the rear diff oil today if the weather holds.

@wrex Not 100% sure, more like 99% sure. And yes it's present at all times.
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Old 05-06-2013, 04:46 PM   #11
Mr Wrex
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Well from the way you describe it, it seems that this whirring sound is wheel speed dependant, whether or not the clutch is engaged. I wonder if it's something silly like a caliper lightly rubbing against a rotor...
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Old 05-07-2013, 08:41 AM   #12
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I thought that too at first, but I've already taken it all apart and put it back together.
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Old 05-07-2013, 09:31 AM   #13
Mr Wrex
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I wonder if it's your center diff... does it sound like this?

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Old 05-08-2013, 09:11 AM   #14
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I think you might have nailed it. That's pretty spot on. Wonder how much that is to fix...
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Old 05-08-2013, 09:56 AM   #15
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It depends... it could be the bearing or the diff itself. The good news is that you can easily replace either one with the transmission on the car. Probably $100-250 in parts and it could take anywhere from 1-2 hours if done by a subie pro.
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Old 05-08-2013, 02:01 PM   #16
97ej22e
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My car does this exact same thing and it's the differential's in my transmission... however mine also binds around corners at slow speeds if I get the transmission hot enough (like taking it on the highway).
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Old 07-01-2013, 09:50 PM   #17
Gmcwhirt
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PFSquirrel, Did you figure out this problem yet? Our 2002 Impreza also makes a whirring noise that increases with speed whether in gear or in neutral coasting.
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Old 07-02-2013, 11:35 AM   #18
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I actually should have a solid answer in a few days.
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Old 07-02-2013, 12:22 PM   #19
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Sounds very similar to the noise my trans made before it died. Got progressively louder over time and then got really loud a few days before it let go (accompanied by some other clacking noises). Shop is still working on the teardown, but in the least my output shaft and transfer gears have gone - see my recent thread here for pics of the carnage. No official diagnosis yet as to why, but I'll be interested to compare notes when all is said and done.
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Old 07-03-2013, 01:16 AM   #20
Hellchaser
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I had a nasty sound too & I replaced the transfer case bearings & the bad bearing sound went away. I used opposedforces.com to find part numbers & I used subarupartswebsite.com to order the parts. It took about 2 days for delivery & I installed them myself.
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Old 07-03-2013, 01:29 AM   #21
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Yeah I have this same problem with my 06 sti. When I start in 1st gear and have the wheel turned it chirps the wheels and it sounds like its caused by a bad viscous coupling. I have the whining too and my mechanic said it was the center diff bearings if it happens under load.
So I don't know if the bearings made the coupling go bad, but if its broke you should definetly fix it before something else goes wrong.
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