Whirring, grinding noise in Santa fe

Can anyone shed some light?? For about a year and a half I have had an “undiagnosable” noise that started as an intermittent metallic buzzing and has evolved into a constant whirring/grinding noise. The tempo of the noise increases when accelerating; occurs at all speeds and at idle. People say they know when I am approaching they can hear my car from about two blocks away. My regular 20 year mechanic checked transmission, replaced timing belt (at 65K; now have about 74K); all idler pulleys; checked alternator; He thinks is is the AC drive pulley on the compressor; Hyundai dealership did not know what it is; laymen have suggested is is a power steering pump, reservoir issue. Power steering fluid level is fine. Otherwise, the performance of the car is fine.

All suggested repairs are in the $1200 range–however, I do not want to spend that kind of money on what someone “thinks” it might be

Engine is 3.5L V6; 2004, about 74+K

Thanks for any insights - See more at: http://community.cartalk.com/discussion/2290901/buzzingwhirringgrinding-2004-hyundai-santa-fe#latest

Did you every get an answer to your p/s problem? I have same issue and one mechanic said the pressure hose was leaking…another said i needed new p/s pump, reservoir and pressure line. I’ve come to understand that whining noise occurs if there is air in the line…in which case it seems if pressure hose is leaking, air is getting in and pressure hose is only thing that may need to be replaced. Any thoughts…answers?

slowly the consensus seems to be a power steering issue–whether it be the reservoir (clogged); now the lines, or the pump itself. Thanks for the insight–I am going to zero in on that area and see what I can come up with.

Pick up a mechanic’s stethescope (less than $20), touch its probe to different suspect components while the engine is running, and see if that helps. My guess is that as soon as you hit the right spot you’ll know. If people can hear you coming from a distance, it should be easy to find the source. Be careful under there…don’t let the probe get caught in anything spinning.

Your power steering pump should become noisier when you turn, as that’s when it’s under load, so I’d be inclined to suspect something else. But listen to it anyway.

Thanks for the tip!