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Nobili spiritus embiggens pequeño sparus tyre.
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Just throwing it out there until someone more qualified comes around...
  • Tensioner or water pump?
  • Are you firing on all cylinders? Are all your spark plugs properly torqued?
  • Codes?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
No codes. Seems to drive totally fine. I replaced the water pump, timing belt, etc. about 30k ago. Spark plugs all seemed to be torqued correctly. It's weird.
 

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Try to find out just where the sound is coming from. Time to get a mechanics stethoscope and narrow down the source location. About $10 on Amazon. Touch the probe to the parts you suspect, if it's bad, you will hear it.
 

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Nobili spiritus embiggens pequeño sparus tyre.
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Called it. ?

Except for the timing belt itself which is OK, the other components of a Gates kit have been reported to fail early. It's preferable to go with the Aisin kit.

Hey, look at it this way, changing out your tensioner (and water pump while you're at it, if not the whole kit) is easier and cheaper than an engine job.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Can you explain a little bit more about why the sound I am hearing is the tensioner? I'd like to do some more tests prior to replacing it, so that day don't start just replacing parts without hard proof. If you could provide a little more info about what additional tests might indicate a tensioner failure, I'd appreciate it. Thanks!
 

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Nobili spiritus embiggens pequeño sparus tyre.
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I'd be remiss to affirm any hard proof from little more than an internet connection, and I could very well be just plain wrong, but based on the helpful video you posted, that's where I'd suggest you look, or to be more precise, listen, especially if you have a mechanic's stethoscope or even using the old trick of a long screwdriver against your ear. (Of course safety first, so be very careful near a running engine.)

Actually, the video posted by @delta_p is quite helpful and worth watching. At least one comment on the YouTube site speaks of the same problem after putting in a Gates kit, and then there's this, mostly for the water pump, but the same applies to the tensioner if from the same manufacturer:

 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I'll take another video this evening with the engine at different speeds to see if the sound matches the engine speed. What's odd is that sometimes the noise goes away completely after I drive it a little bit. It seems to come and go, but if I just start the engine cold and don't move, the sound will stay the entire time. A bit of a mystery.
 

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I'll take another video this evening with the engine at different speeds to see if the sound matches the engine speed. What's odd is that sometimes the noise goes away completely after I drive it a little bit. It seems to come and go, but if I just start the engine cold and don't move, the sound will stay the entire time. A bit of a mystery.
I will repeat: try to determine just where the sound is coming from. It's impossible for us to tell from a video. If you don't want to use a stethoscope, then take a 3ft. wood dowel or broomstick. Carefully put one end on the PS pump, and the other pressed near your ear. Repeat at the alternator. And at the A.C. compressor. And at the serpentine tensioner. And at the timing belt tensioner. Do a little investigation. You should be able to find the source. BTW, I don't think that it's a rod bearing or valve train issue. Do a little work, you may just figure it out.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Ok. I don't have a stethoscope, so I used an aluminum ski pole. It actually worked amazingly well. I couldn't believe how well I could hear the engine internals, so thank you all for the suggestions.

I'll preface my findings with a somewhat expected observation that after hearing the noise from driving for the last 5-6 days, the noise went away tonight once I was ready to dig deeper. Go figure. I tried starting multiple times and revving the engine, but couldn't get my symptoms to show up.

I'm confident the noise will come back, but in the meantime I did check some things:
PS pump, alternator, compressor, serpentine tensioner: pretty much quiet. I mostly hear the whirring as you'd expect with a spinning bearing. Nothing unexpected.
front and rear valve covers: could definitely hear the valve train and clicking, but it wasn't the same loud noise I heard before. Seemed like normal operation
front intake manifold cover: this had the loudest clicking noises. Is this normal? I've never done diagnostic like this, so not sure what to expect. Definitely way louder than the valve covers.
rear intake manifold cover: about the same as the rear intake manifold cover

If you have any other suggestions, I'm open to trying anything. Once the noise comes back, I'll re-test with my makeshift stethoscope everything above again and will report back findings. Thanks everyone.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Following up on this... I didn't think the noise was coming from the valve train, but I'm at 210,000 miles and I don't think it's ever been adjusted so I did that work last weekend. It was pretty interesting pulling everything apart and going through the steps. The valves were only slightly out of spec.. That said, the noise is still there. It does ramp with engine speed, so I have a strong suspicion it is the timing belt tensioner. I don't want to replace it until I'm absolutely sure, but there is a good Gates youtube video that indicates how to check that (which I'll do tonight). I replaced the timing belt, water pump, etc. about 30k miles ago, so I'll be pretty disappointed if one of those components failed. I bought a DNJ TBK284WP kit. I'll keep you all posted.
 

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Can anyone explain why is there a need for a spring-loaded, hydraulic tensioner?
I had a number of cars with just a screw-tightened tensioner and one of them had near 1 million clicks still going fine back then.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
I took one of the timing covers off to check belt tension and it seems fine. The timing cover inside does have some plastic ground away from the belt. I don't know when it happened because I don't recall looking closely at it before, but it appears to have evidence of a loose belt even if it seems fine by checking tension. Is the worn timing belt cover typical for high mileage pilots?

Video and photos: https://photos.app.goo.gl/4BM2C1yDeYW7UoLi7
 

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Worn on the inside? Mine were like new when I changed the TB at 140k
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Well, after driving it for another couple weeks and the noise not going away, I just had a feeling it was the timing belt tensioner. I pulled the cover off again tonight and yep, the belt is super loose and the tensioner died. I got a cheap timing belt kit and you get what you pay for. Looks like it died after 30k miles. Replacing with OEM from now on.
 
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