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Need more info on my timing belt noise

I just had the timing belt/water pump replaced in my 99 Accord and now the engine whines when accelerated and there is chatter coming from the right side of the engine compartment.

The whine is only noticeable with the car totally silent i.e. radio off.

I have researched this issue outside of C/T and the distribution of information looks like this:

Crowd A - It is normal for these belts to whine for the first few weeks of operation. The techs make them “tight” to start out with because they know the belt will break in and loosen up and tadaa! The whining goes away.

Fine, but what about the chatter coming from the engine compartment at idle ?

Crowd B. No, this is wrong! Have it fixed immediately! Engine failure is imminent!

So I just don’t know which “crowd” to go with. I am going to take it back to the shop on Friday and explain my concern to them, I just want better information beforehand in case they try to b/s me (it is a dealership, afterall). Thanks!

I agree with the post that I saw the other day that stated that the belt was adjusted too tightly. We had this with a timing belt on a new VW; hummed a little. The dealer set it up correctly under warranty and it was quiet after that.

I can’t speak for the chattering; can only guess that it could be a bearing in the process of failing from the belt being too tight or something loose, not properly tightened during the recent work.

I don’t agree that it is normal for the belt to whine for the first few weeks. I have changed several of these on VWs and they are always quiet from the beginning. These belts do not loosen up with use. I have inspected timing belts with 60,000 miles on them and they show no wear visible to my eyes.

Your car has two symptoms that should not be there. I’d have it checked.


I’ve replaced many timing belts on many different vehicles…it is NOT normal for the belt to whine if installed properly. There are short cuts some mechanics take when replacing a timing belt…proper adjustment of the tensioner is one of them.

I agree with Mike. A new timing belt should NOT make noise. I suggest you take this car back to whoever did the job and have them correct whatever is wrong.

did you mean …improper adjustment… ? Thanks for the info.

Here’s number four,whine is not normal.

No. Re-read my sentence. I’m saying that mechanics take short cuts. One of them is properly adjusting the tensioner.

Excellent advice, correct whatever is wrong. Very good indeed!
Everyone should do this! Sorry, I just could not pass up the opening.

sometimes an old tensioner is adjusted correctly and the extra tension makes it fail.

this probably should have a new tensioner (s) and roller (s) installed too.

look over (or discuss) with your mechanic your invoice. ask if he installed new roller (s) and tensioner (s).

I don’t think the whine is normal either . . . I’d take it back and at least document your problem with the mechanic who replaced the belt, in case it fails due to it being too tight/too loose. The chatter YOU can figure out . . . just be patient and listen, feel, touch, look for whatever vibrates at idle. Come back here and describe it (or post a picture of the chattering object) and maybe we can help you out. Hard to see the chattering object from here without more from you. Good luck, post back soon! Rocketman

sometimes an old tensioner is adjusted correctly and the extra tension makes it fail.

When I do timings belts on MY vehicles I replace the tensioner every other time. But I know several mechanics that will replace it every time. They don’t want the hassle of the customer bringing the car back. Far easier for them to replace everything that is serviceable the first time (tensioner, water-pump, thermostate, hoses, belts).

Thanks, I just got back from the Mechanic and sure enough, they found the t-belt too tight and adjusted. Now the Accord purs and growls rather than whines and rattles : )