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Discussion Starter #1
I have been chasing a little intermittent noise after start up. I am reluctant to throw more money at it, but I also don't want to concede defeat. The noise is like a weird screech/ moan after start up. One cannot hear it when standing over the engine. It seems to be coming from inside the dash or below the engine. I have replaced the following with OEM parts: belt (twice), starter, power steering pump, alternator (was rebuilt not replaced), water pump, AC compressor, crank pulley, idle tensioner.

It was in my friends garage over the last week and he had trouble replicating the noise. It seems to be worse when parked outside as I don't have a garage. The noise only happens once in the morning after start up, or if sitting for 8-10 hours. The noise lasts for about a second. You only seem to be able to hear the noise when sitting inside the car. It is hard to pinpoint because it is fleeting and not loud. Yes I know I am OCD and have wasted money replacing parts, so please don't judge me or tell me how I should just ignore it as that would not be helpful.

Please view the video link (my first youtube video!) and tell me what you think. Listening to it with earphones might help you hear the noise better:


 

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I had trouble discerning the noise. Do you leave your HVAC system setting "on" and the fan "on"? Try starting with as much of the system turned off as possible. Try starting with the relay or fuses that power the HVAC system removed; if the noise goes away, it is probably something in the HVAC system repositioning after the start as Mike suggests.
 

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I had trouble discerning the noise. Do you leave your HVAC system setting "on" and the fan "on"? Try starting with as much of the system turned off as possible. Try starting with the relay or fuses that power the HVAC system removed; if the noise goes away, it is probably something in the HVAC system repositioning after the start as Mike suggests.
No, I start the engine without anything in the HVAC system turned on. I even opened up the glove box and put a stethoscope on the A/C blower where the cabin air filters are and heard nothing on start up. Worth mentioning, this noise seems to be a little worse in wet weather.
 

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I listened a few more time (too much ambient noise in my house) - I heard it. Since the blower and blend doors are all electrical (I'm pretty sure), if any of them are repositioning, it should do it if you just turn the key to "on" and leave it there for a few seconds before starting. If you want to eliminate all the belt driven accessories, you could temporarily remove the belt, then start it.

Just thinking out loud. Automatic transmission? Fluid level correct? When was fluid last changed? I don't know that there is any difference in what's spinning in the transmission, but try starting in neutral instead of park? Use the stethoscope on the transmission?
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Yeah, I would really like to get underneath the car when it starts, but I am scared to do that without a lift. The one time I did try it on the lift it did not make the noise. This seems to be affected by weather. If it is wet or humid and has been sitting outside all night then you will definitely hear it (we don't have a garage). But once the engine has ran, or if it has only been sitting 8-10 hours it will barely make the noise. I used to have a bad alternator with a bad bearing that would act like this but I put the stethoscope on the alternator when the wife started the car and did not hear anything.
 

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Anyone know what this is? I was really hoping for a solution from you all! This morning noise is really putting a hamper on my day. :(
 

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Discussion Starter #8
So the latest opinion from one mechanic is that it may be coming from the fuel tank, specifically the evap canister. He suggested I might have a bad solenoid. Does that make any sense to y'all?
 

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Did he do any troubleshooting, or is he just shooting from the hip? Should be pretty easy to listen back there if someone else starts the car.
 

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Makes no sense...
 

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Makes no sense...
Did he do any troubleshooting, or is he just shooting from the hip? Should be pretty easy to listen back there if someone else starts the car.
This noise is intermittent and only on the cold start. This noise cannot be heard when leaning over the engine. It seems to be coming from under the dash or under the car in the front. We have started using a stethoscope but we since it is so brief and intermittent it has been hard to pinpoint. Perhaps I misunderstand the mechanic. Maybe he meant fuel tank and not the EVAP cannister? Is there a solenoid in the fuel tank that burps fuel?
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Makes no sense...
Three questions:

Is the evap attached to the fuel tank?

Is there any way the fuel pump/ fuel tank/ fuel tank related part that could cause this noise?

I thought there was an evap that was connected to the A/C and drained water through a hose, is that different?
 

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The evaporative emissions canister is item 9 in the diagram below. It is mounted near the fuel tank under the vehicle ahead of the rear axle.

I don't know if it can cause the noise.

The AC system has an evaporator. This is a small heat exchanger into which liquid refrigerant is introduced where it evaporates, absorbing heat in the process. Air from outside or inside the vehicle is passed through it to cool the air off. Condensation and even ice can form on the surfaces of the evaporator, if there is enough condensation, it will drain off into a pan below the evaporator where it is collected and drained through a tube out of the vehicle.

206180
 

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The EVAP system is supposed to open the EVAP purge valve when engine temperature is above 131 deg F to pull fuel vapors out of the EVAP canister to be burned in the engine. There is at least one vent valve in the canister that I suppose could burp, but the purge valve shouldn't be open on a cold start. I suppose you could clamp off the vacuum line to the purge valve and see if that stops the noise from happening.

Purge valve is item 4 (left rear corner of the cylinder head). The vacuum line to the valve (item 5) comes off the throttle body.

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The EVAP system is supposed to open the EVAP purge valve when engine temperature is above 131 deg F to pull fuel vapors out of the EVAP canister to be burned in the engine. There is at least one vent valve in the canister that I suppose could burp, but the purge valve shouldn't be open on a cold start. I suppose you could clamp off the vacuum line to the purge valve and see if that stops the noise from happening.

Purge valve is item 4 (left rear corner of the cylinder head). The vacuum line to the valve (item 5) comes off the throttle body.

View attachment 206181
Agree with clamping off the hose, as a test. Highly doubt this would be the noise source.
If you can find someone or a repair shop that has a chassis ear it would help track the noise source. I've had this for over 25 yrs, works great for those problem jobs.

 
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Discussion Starter #17
Thanks to both 07lmnt and Fleetw00d for the detailed responses and consideration. I already bought the steelman 2. The trick is narrowing down the noise then we can clip microphones to isolate the noise. It is such as an intermittent and quick and fleeting noise it is hard to diagnose. Both times I have has someone under there with the steelman 2 on the cold start it of course did not make the noise. Am curious about this Evap cannister. Would the cannister and evap solenoid be a lot of labor to replace?
 

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I'd continue troubleshooting before throwing parts at it. The solenoid is at the left rear corner of the cylinder head kinda buried under tubes and hoses. The canister itself if mounted on the underside of the vehicle behind the fuel tank and ahead of the left rear axle (if AWD).
 

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I listened again, this time with headphones. From here 1000 miles away, it sounds like a dry bearing or belt slipping. Have you removed belt, and spun all of the pulleys? If so you can set up a booby trap with the steelman. Put clamps on suspect areas, and switch around for the loudest. I can imagine how frustrating this is. Welcome to my world, life in a dealership chasing squeaks and rattles. I think your going down a rabbit hole with the cannister theory. Simply blocking off the tube would eliminate that.
 
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Discussion Starter #20 (Edited)
I listened again, this time with headphones. From here 1000 miles away, it sounds like a dry bearing or belt slipping. Have you removed belt, and spun all of the pulleys? If so you can set up a booby trap with the steelman. Put clamps on suspect areas, and switch around for the loudest. I can imagine how frustrating this is. Welcome to my world, life in a dealership chasing squeaks and rattles. I think your going down a rabbit hole with the cannister theory. Simply blocking off the tube would eliminate that.
I appreciate both of you listening to the noise. I have switched belts. I suppose I could try spinning pulleys again. The problem is this noise is not able to be heard when one stands directly over the engine on a cold start. I even put the steelman microphone on the alternator and had my wife start the car and nothing. Also if you listen to the noise closely it seems to happen a second or two AFTER turning the key. This noise certainly reminds me of a bad bearing (a while back) I had in an alternator but that chirping would last a while before it quieted down. While chasing this noise I have replaced the water pump and pulley, compressor and pulley, power steering pump and pulley, water pump and pulley, tensioner and pulley, all with OEM parts. Noise remains like some demon haunting me in the morning... laughing at me... okay maybe that's a little over the top... ;)
 
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