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Annoying "whine" noise in 2002 A4

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Old 02-23-2009, 07:47 AM   #1
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Default Annoying "whine" noise in 2002 A4

About a year ago, my '02 A4 3.0Q developed an annoying whining noise that is noticeable when decelerating, like approaching a stop light or stop sign. The sound is not particularly loud, but can usually be heard over the radio and A/C blower. It changes pitch along with the speed of the car, and also happens when coasting to a stop in neutral. The car still drives well, except for some looseness/drifting in the steering (car does not track well over uneven or bumpy road surfaces).

I've had it to an independent shop and the dealer 4 times with no fix and am at my wit's end. The latest diagnosis from the dealer is that part of the transmission needs to be replaced, for the hefty cost of $5000. I can't believe this would be the case for a car with only 53,000 miles on it.

I think it is something to do with the servotronic steering or the pump, as one post suggested on here. The PS fluid looks to me to be brown, and has an unpleasant smell compared to new fluid.

Anyone have any experience with this problem?

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Old 02-23-2009, 07:57 AM   #2
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Default Some things to check on the '02s...

53k miles is pretty low for a trans. I'd look other places before thinking of ways to scratch up $5k.

Your control arms are probably shot- from what you explain of the bumper roads. Probably a clunk or 2. But that's not where the whine is coming from.

Check the engine and trans mounts. If they are crapped, then you'll get more engine/trans noise. Since it's speed dependent, then look at the trans.

If all else fails and you need a trans, you can get one rebuilt or a used replacement. BTDT.
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Old 02-23-2009, 10:16 AM   #3
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Default Does the noise follow the accelerator, or only the car speed?

When anyone says "whining" I automatically think of the accessory belt tensioner.
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Old 02-23-2009, 11:18 AM   #4
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Default Re: Does the noise follow the accelerator, or only the car speed?

I usually hear it when slowing to a stop -- foot off the accelerator and coasting/braking. Even when slowing from speeds of ~45 mph. It gets much more pronounced after the car is fully warmed up.

Sometimes can hear it faintly on the highway, too, but it is probably masked by road and wind noise. I don't usually hear it when accelerating, but then again, maybe the engine noise is just covering it up?
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Old 02-23-2009, 11:48 AM   #5
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Default If it happens in neutral, it's probably not the transmission, since you are removing the load

from the engine.

Have you tried another set of wheels/tires if they are available to you? My old Kumhos got louder to the point of sounding like a helicopter.

I think the looseness of the steering is separate from any drivetrain whining, unless the whining changes when you go from lock to lock.
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Old 02-23-2009, 01:39 PM   #6
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Default Mine makes the same noise

The noise was really pronounced when I turned the steering wheel at low speeds. So I checked the power steering fluid and it was low, so I added some. It didn't fix the problem.

Well, one day last winter I had to bring the car to the dealership for an unrelated repair, and I mentioned the noise from what I thought was from the power-steering pump to the service tech. He said they would check it out. When I got the car back, the noise was gone. They never told me what the noise was from, and they didn't charge me for fixing anything related to it, so I just took my car and went home.

Now, this winter, my car is doing the same thing. When the car is cold it doesn't make any whining noise, but when it warms up (especially on cold days) the whining returns.

The noise seems to be related to my steering, because I can hear the noise most when I am turning the wheel.
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Old 02-23-2009, 02:04 PM   #7
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Default did the check the center bearing on the driveshaft?

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Old 02-23-2009, 05:19 PM   #8
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Default Re-read your question; yes, it only follows the car speed

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Old 04-01-2009, 07:08 AM   #9
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Default Bunky did you ever find the culprit? Same problem here..

The car will run great for 5-10 minutes into the commute then will start making the noise from the passenger front most noteably between 20-40mph (and above, but masked mostly by road noise) once it is warm. I think I have ruled out the wheel bearing since when I turn side to side quickly I don't hear any difference in the sound. The only recent work I have had done in the area, was had the control arms changed out about 1,000 miles ago and had the tires rotated a couple hundred miles ago. Any other ideas?

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Old 04-03-2009, 12:02 PM   #10
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Default No...

I'm not sure what to do with it. Noise is still there, and dealer claims its the center differential which needs to be replaced.

Did you ever have a combination of new and used tires on the car? I was wondering if new tires in front and worn in back could have caused the problem somehow.

Also, anyone know if the fluid in the center diff is separate from the fluid in the automatic trans? I've never had the trans fluid changed in this car.
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Old 10-21-2009, 09:37 AM   #11
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Default Noise off throttle same as yours yes but no help yet!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bunky View Post
About a year ago, my '02 A4 3.0Q developed an annoying whining noise that is noticeable when decelerating, like approaching a stop light or stop sign. The sound is not particularly loud, but can usually be heard over the radio and A/C blower. It changes pitch along with the speed of the car, and also happens when coasting to a stop in neutral. The car still drives well, except for some looseness/drifting in the steering (car does not track well over uneven or bumpy road surfaces).

I've had it to an independent shop and the dealer 4 times with no fix and am at my wit's end. The latest diagnosis from the dealer is that part of the transmission needs to be replaced, for the hefty cost of $5000. I can't believe this would be the case for a car with only 53,000 miles on it.

I think it is something to do with the servotronic steering or the pump, as one post suggested on here. The PS fluid looks to me to be brown, and has an unpleasant smell compared to new fluid.

Anyone have any experience with this problem?

Thanks
Hi Bunky my 05 a4 avant 1.8T at 35,000 miles started same problem and i let the warranty expire like a dummy figuring it was gona take a fluid change noise was not so bad at 35k but now at 44 k its worse and i did not buy a warranty. So far i have posted this same problem on hear and nobody responds yet so ..oh well.
i bought it used from a guy who had the diff worked on at the dealer so maybe its the same problem reocuring?? BTW it also happens the whine when put into nuetral off load so im hoping its drivetrain related outside of the trans ..its a quattro also. So if you ever found out what it was is your car please reply if you see see thanks take care.Don
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Old 10-23-2009, 06:59 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by indydrt View Post
Hi Bunky my 05 a4 avant 1.8T at 35,000 miles started same problem and i let the warranty expire like a dummy figuring it was gona take a fluid change noise was not so bad at 35k but now at 44 k its worse and i did not buy a warranty. So far i have posted this same problem on hear and nobody responds yet so ..oh well.
i bought it used from a guy who had the diff worked on at the dealer so maybe its the same problem reocuring?? BTW it also happens the whine when put into nuetral off load so im hoping its drivetrain related outside of the trans ..its a quattro also. So if you ever found out what it was is your car please reply if you see see thanks take care.Don
I have the same issue with my '03 A4 3.0 Quattro (~100k miles). The whine is a low hum at idle and is very pronounced between 1000 and 1900 RPM, but goes away above that range. The noise definitely seems to be based in the engine somewhere...it appears with and without load. There is no change with the clutch in or out, car in neutral or in gear.

I originally thought power steering also since my car screams at me when I turn the wheel. The power steering fluid level is good, although it does have some air in (which I bleed regularly as a temporary fix).

The accessory belt tensioner seems like a possibility. I'm looking for anything I can do to sort this issue out.

Thanks!
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Old 10-27-2009, 08:28 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wingsp4n View Post
I have the same issue with my '03 A4 3.0 Quattro (~100k miles). The whine is a low hum at idle and is very pronounced between 1000 and 1900 RPM, but goes away above that range. The noise definitely seems to be based in the engine somewhere...it appears with and without load. There is no change with the clutch in or out, car in neutral or in gear.

I originally thought power steering also since my car screams at me when I turn the wheel. The power steering fluid level is good, although it does have some air in (which I bleed regularly as a temporary fix).

The accessory belt tensioner seems like a possibility. I'm looking for anything I can do to sort this issue out.

Thanks!
Ditto here - 2002 quattro tip 1.8T.

The whine sounds "metallic" - definitely some unhealthy friction occurring.

Incidentally, I have what appears to be a tranny fluid leak that occurred at the same time as the whining. The leak drips more severely when I put it in reverse. When the car is in D / or tip, the leak slows down to almost nothing. The leaking fluid (dark grayish) appears to come from the place where 'geared' wheel is (where the engine meets the tranny). You can see the 'geared wheel' from above (move the coolant reservoir out of the way), or below (almost directly above the rear clips for the belly pan).

I was hoping it was a differential leak of some kind, but I honestly don't know how to tell if it is. Any ideas?

You boys seeing any kind of leak too? (Might be slow, check your belly pan!
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Old 10-29-2009, 04:42 AM   #14
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I have searched and searched for someone having this issue and this is the first I've seen. Mine is doing almost the same thing, whine/hum will start at about 45 mph and under when I let off of the accelerator. However, mine also will only do it when the A/C is on or if it's below about 60 degrees outside. When it's below 60 my powersteering is also very loud as well and the resovoir will be full of bubbles, fluid level is fine. I've had 4 shops look at mine and I've been told anywhere from the rack to the A/C compressor. I just had a full service done, including timing belt, tensioners, drive belt, drive belt tensioner, etc. This did not fix the noise what so ever. Is anyone elses noise relate to the A/C when it's warm out? If I'm giong down a ramp when it's 65+ outside as soon as I hit 45 or so the noise starts but if I immediatley turn the A/C off it goes away. But if it's cold out it does it even if the A/C is off. Also, I have a bit of a rough idle that gets worse when my powersteering is being loud, RPM's will also jump a bit when turning the wheel if I'm at a stop. It's driving me crazy! Mine also doesn't start until after a few minutes of driving, but at the same time, after driving 30-45 minutes it seems to almost go away.
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Old 10-29-2009, 04:46 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bunky View Post
I'm not sure what to do with it. Noise is still there, and dealer claims its the center differential which needs to be replaced.

Did you ever have a combination of new and used tires on the car? I was wondering if new tires in front and worn in back could have caused the problem somehow.

Also, anyone know if the fluid in the center diff is separate from the fluid in the automatic trans? I've never had the trans fluid changed in this car.
Could this cause a problem? When I bought the car it had mismatched tires on it, the tires in the front seem to be a bit newer then the back ones.
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Old 11-02-2009, 01:09 PM   #16
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I have had the same issue in my 02 3.0 quattro. I flushed the p/s fluid and bled the system several times (took 7 days of driving and rechecking the fluid level) before the noise subsided. I find that my p/s system is quietest with a very slightly overfilled resevoir. Also, I found that my fluid was brown and smelly so I kept draining and refilling the resevoir(turn the wheel lock to lock many times after each fill to bleed the system) with fresh fluid until the fluid was the proper greenish colour. I believe that this is related to accessory belt slippage which is causing the fluid to overheat. I plan on replacing the belt tensioner as well as checking the altenater pulley(I believe it has a type of clutch or bearing) as I also noticed that the noise was louder in cold weather but also under electrical load. (eg. headlights, radio and heated seats on)
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Old 11-04-2009, 07:22 AM   #17
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Default Center bearing hmm

Thanks i will check that .. wow now i have something to do..or a place to start
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Old 11-04-2009, 07:46 AM   #18
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Default Same Whine Noise Follows Car Speed!

Well i still have not looked close yet im trying to read more here and get a better idea where to look . So far i will start at fron wheel bearings . then Not sure after that. The noise follows the car speed . IF i put the Tiptronic in Nuetral at anyspeed 30.40. mph i hear it.
Totally goes away under acceleration. So anyone have any ideas where else to look . Iam not going to the dealer Just hope its not a diff or trans.
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Old 11-10-2009, 05:49 PM   #19
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Default This could be a simple fix!!!

As I posted before I had the same whine noise when slowing, and loud power steering when turning the wheel. Also had a crap load of bubbles in the ps resevoir and smelly dark fluid as some others have noted. What I found today was that the clamp holding the hose to the top of the ps pump was not holding so tight, and I could just move the hose back and forth a hair. The pump was also covered in a black oily goo (very dirty) So I replaced the clamp and the noise and bubbles are GONE!!!! Check your pump hose connections, some of you sound like you have the same problem and it does not seem to take much to fill these ps systems with air and drive you nuts!
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Old 11-10-2009, 06:03 PM   #20
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Ok
Thank you,
I will also now check my power steering unit , although i do not have noise from steering when turned at any speed or none. But worth a check thanks .
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Old 11-10-2009, 06:03 PM
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