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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
We're in Yellowstone right now.

There is a clatter under the hood of the Buick. It stops as the car warms up. I can't track it down, but it sounds like it's coming from the area of the AC compressor. There is no change if the AC is engaged or not.

It sounds a little like cavitation, kind of erratic, kind of hollow.

Does anyone have an idea of what's going on? Should I be worried? We'll be putting more than a thousand miles on the car before we get back home.
 

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We're in Yellowstone right now.

There is a clatter under the hood of the Buick. It stops as the car warms up. I can't track it down, but it sounds like it's coming from the area of the AC compressor. There is no change if the AC is engaged or not.

It sounds a little like cavitation, kind of erratic, kind of hollow.

Does anyone have an idea of what's going on? Should I be worried? We'll be putting more than a thousand miles on the car before we get back home.
could be anything from brakes to the home plate is loose you will need more details
 

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Try to obtain a 2-3 foot section of rubber hose to use as a stethoscope. Here's a WAG - the thermostat.........5% probability.
 

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Take the belt off and rotate all the accessories and belt tensioner bby hand and you should be able to tell quickly what is making the noise. A local member recently had an issue and when I took the belt off found the AC compressor bearings were bad. Quick check and only requires a 13mm box or ratchet wrench to take the belt off. If after taking the belt off none of the accessories appear to be making noise, start the engine and see if the noise reappears since the waterpump could have thrown a bearing, but that would usually be preceded by leaking out of the weep hole. - Peter
 

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Sorry Nick - Nothing productive to add right now, but Yellowstone and the Teton's are AWESOME this time of the year! I used to go on a week long fishing trip every year in the first week of October. Enjoy the trip!

I would guess idler pulley too...

Tim
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
It didn't happen much today. Maybe because it was above 40 degrees this morning, maybe because of something else.

I did notice that the clatter gets louder when I depress the accelerator, and even louder when I floor it going up a mountain.

Thanks for everyone's advice so far. The problem with a minor problem while I'm on vacation is that it's dark when I leave the motel, and I'm tired when I get home after dinner. I'll try removing the belt tomorrow.
 

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It didn't happen much today. Maybe because it was above 40 degrees this morning, maybe because of something else.

I did notice that the clatter gets louder when I depress the accelerator, and even louder when I floor it going up a mountain.

Thanks for everyone's advice so far. The problem with a minor problem while I'm on vacation is that it's dark when I leave the motel, and I'm tired when I get home after dinner. I'll try removing the belt tomorrow.
So apparently it is not going away when warmed up?
 

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And, it's also occurring while driving and not just with the hood up as I thought was being described earlier? The plot thickens.

I'm sure everyone knows this about 15 year old cars, but "an engine noise" can be from many things aside from just the engine. From exactly the same symptoms as what's being described I recall in the past phantom noises from a squeaky motormount, eroded rad support, rubbing fender extension, broke antenna bracket, and of course bearings on alts., A/Cs, WPs, and the idler under discussion. In each case the squeak or rattle would change or go away as the temp. normalized.

Again, I'm sure all this is common knowledge to us'es, just throwin out there. And finally FWIW, I have a 3 year old idler that has already taken to a little squeak at start-up. :( HATH
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
This morning there was still a clatter after driving 45 minutes. It was just quieter than when I started in the morning. I took off the accessory belt and rotated all the pulleys by hand. The alternator squeaks a bit, but that's all.

When I had Mrs Danger start the car while I was watching, it clattered until something kicked in, and the tensioner dropped down a bit. Then the clatter stopped.

I have a new Gatorback belt at home (Doh!) and I'll try installing that after we get home, on Tuesday morning.
 

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Ok, so any progress?
 

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Don't leave us hanging.........what was it?
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
I haven't forgotten. I never got to it. The car on jackstands while I install the Tri-Y headers. When I'm done, I'll install the Gatorback as well.
 

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I had QUITE a clamor under the hood while driving on the freeway one evening, very quickly followed by the alternator pulley letting go. Or something on it giving up. Not sure what it was. But the pulley was laying on top of the motor when I limped it home. It was an Autozone and I swapped it out. I've had an ongoing electrical issue. 5th alternator in 2 years, I think...

Good luck.

-KP
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
The clatter seems to be gone. It may have been fixed by putting on the new belt, or from yanking out belt shreds from behind the compressor pulley. The AIR pump and associated plumbing is now gone. I also had to remove and reinstall the alternator while putting on the headers. So I can't really tell what fixed the clatter.

I don't know who shredded the belt and then left all those strands lodged behind the compressor pulley. But I know that the second owners were idjits, and I suspect them.
 
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