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Old 09-01-2003, 04:48 AM   #1
Dave G
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Default high pitched sound at speed; fuel pump??

In my 2002 Outback (2.5L, 4-cyl), I've noticed that there is a very high pitched whine sound, which is throttle position dependent, at around 70mph - 75mph.
Unless I have the radio on, the sound is very annoying.
If I go up to 80mph, the sound is gone, but I risk a speeding ticket. If I drive under 70mph, the sound is gone, but I'm then going too slow for the flow of traffic.
I had the dealer look into this, but they claim they couldn't hear the sound, and they claim there are no technical bulletins on this, and that nobody has ever complained about such an issue.
My wife hears the sound as well, so I'm not imagining it.
I recall that my '87 Mustang had a similar problem, and it was the fuel pump making the sound. My Ford dealer at the time was able to do something about it; I think it was insulation(?), in order to cure most of that sound problem.

Anybody else here have this issue, or know about it ??
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Old 09-01-2003, 10:37 AM   #2
driver60
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i have the same sound on my 2003 outback wagon 2.5l at the the same speeds. it sounds more like a whistle to me. i was thinking it was some kind of intake whistle ,don't know for sure.
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Old 09-01-2003, 10:47 AM   #3
Dave G
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It also could be described as a high pitched whistle, but since its throttle position dependent, and not rpm dependent, I don't think its a intake issue. I'm still thinking fuel pump sound.
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Old 09-01-2003, 10:56 AM   #4
The_Lizard
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1998 Outback

Default intake resonance?

Have you changed anything about your intake schnozz to the throttle body? It is made to cancel sounds at certain frequencies.

If the sound came from the fuel pump, why would it only be at those speeds?
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Old 09-01-2003, 07:36 PM   #5
Paisan
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i doubt it's the fuel pump. I don't think our fuel pumps are variable speed, they are on or off.

-mike
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Old 09-01-2003, 09:31 PM   #6
driver60
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my intake is 100% stock.
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Old 09-02-2003, 09:19 AM   #7
The_Lizard
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>my intake is 100% stock.


Hmmm ... then maybe you took the car to a soccer game, and now there's a referee's whitsle missing ... yeah, that must be it...

I don't know then, my 98 also has a bit of whistle when I run it up through the RPMs but it doesn't have a sustained whistle when steady at any particular speed.

Maybe some small fit & finish problem on the front end that makes it whistle at only those speeds? I mean, can you get the whistle at the same RPMs in another gear, or is it only when the air passes over the body at that rate
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Old 09-02-2003, 07:25 PM   #8
Dave G
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I guess that I haven't been clear enough on this.

I'll try to explain it again.
The whistle/shine sound varies specifically with the throttle position. It is not directly related to the speed of the car. The reason that I mention the speed of the car is that it is most noticeable at those speeds (70-75mph) because of the throttle position necessary to maintain those speeds.
While at 70-75mph, I can make the sound go away by simply pressing on the gas pedal, but that will result in me going faster (and 80+mph will get me a speeding ticket, so its too fast for steady state hwy driving). If I then take my foot off the gas, and slow down from 80+mph, down through the 70-75mph range (foot still off the gas), there is no subject sound because I do not have my foot on the gas pedal. I end up dropping down into the 60mph range. Thats too slow for highway driving. Then, to bring the speed back up to the 70+mph range, I have to press on the gas pedal. But to do that, the gas pedal (throttle) position is usually heavier than the steady-state 70+mph speed, so I do not get the subject sound. But I can bring about the subject sound even while in the 60mph range by depressing the gas pedal to the right position, which will also accelerate me into the 70mph range. And of course, when I get to the 70-75mph range, and I either use the gas pedal to hold that speed, or if I use the cruise control, I get the whistle/whine sound.
I do not know if the sound is audible in other gears at that throttle position range. Even if it were, in lower gears, there is a lot of changing throttle positions due to traffic, etc; plus I'm usually listening to the radio/CD.
For those of you who listen to your radio or CD music loudly, I'm sure you never hear this whistle/whine sound. I sometimes like my music loud too. But for those times when my wife and I are traveling, she often wants the radio off, so she can rest. At those times, the whistle/whine noise is really annoying; enough to make me want to not buy another Subaru; and I'm glad our Outback is a leased vehicle.
I try to follow someone going 80+mph so I can get away from the dreaded whistle/whine sound.

As for my intake, its all stock. There is nothing modified on the car.
There is nothing in the body shape causing this whistle/whine, because the sound is THROTTLE POSITION DEPENDENT.
It is the throttle position that results in the sound. It is not the speed of the vehicle itself.

Does any of the above help to describe it further?
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Old 09-03-2003, 09:52 AM   #9
The_Lizard
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Default ya got me, man

Maybe it's some transition point in the way the valves are timed, or the the way the intake runners operate, between low and high rpm ranges.
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Old 10-28-2004, 03:32 PM   #10
craigz
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Don't forget the sock (pump fuel filter). If it's clogged, it may put a pressure on the pump causing a magnetic whine you hear when you have an electric motor with too much stress on it. Just a thought. Mine has a whine, but only really heard from the outside and all the time. Also, I get a pinging under load. I'm having the timing checked Monday and most likely replacing the fuel pump myself after. I'm lucky, the old service department supervisor from the local dealership opened his own shop, master-tech not limited by liablility!!
Hope this helps.

Craig
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Old 11-22-2004, 05:21 PM   #11
barflyrocks
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My 2001 Outback does this to.

It is not speed related. It does this between 3000-4500RPM.

My mechanic thinks it's the alternators berings.

????
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Old 11-22-2004, 10:18 PM   #12
Glenn W.
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try a test drive without the airfilter and see if it the noise changes at all. Also check your surpintine (sp) belt for wear, spray some belt dressing on it and test drive again.
But only do one or the other at a time so as to know what had the most effect on the noise.
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