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Irritating Noise -2001 Park Avenue


Dynaflash8
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My current 2001 Park Avenue has a whirring, whistling, warbling noise in the engine that has grated on my nerves for 25K miles. No Buick dealer from Virginia to Florida can fix it. Part of that problem is that it comes and goes. At first I thought it was the heater motor. In the first 1,000 miles they replaced the alternator and guaranteed it was fixed, but it was only fixed for a couple of miles. I think it is the alternator, but only when it is doing something it doesn't always do. At stop lights or cruising thru a parking lot it drives me absolutely nuts. Anybody got any ideas? <P>[ 03-27-2002: Message edited by: Dynaflash8 ]<p>[ 03-27-2002: Message edited by: Dynaflash8 ]

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Thank you so much 70 Electra. You must be in disguise and sneaking an email out of Buick Motor Division Headquarters <haha>. Seriously, the service manager in Sebring, FL said he couldn't hear it, but had heard other complaints similar to it, and he hadn't heard them either, but still he told me something along those same lines, only to say, "but the problem is there's nothing that can be done about it." His description wasn't as detailed as yours. Thank you so much. As it turns out my daughter has worked many years for a Buick dealer in Baltimore, MD where I bought the car and although that's 125 miles from here and I didn't go back there for service (maybe I should have as they sure know nothing down here in Virginia), but I will copy your description and email it to her and ask her to talk to their service manager.....and maybe if the the "improvement" comes in I can take it up there and get it more or less fixed. The irritation reminds me of scratching fingernails on a blackboard.<P>Now, do you know how I can make the leather seats softer? smile.gif" border="0 I guy hit my '95 LeSabre Limited and totaled it. Man, I should have taken the seats out. They were soft as easy chairs.<p>[ 03-27-2002: Message edited by: Dynaflash8 ]

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My Park Ave. has the same noise at idle.It,s common with the high output alt.I just hear it at 1000 RPM or less.I just live with it.

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Guest 70 Electra

There have been some complaints on LeSabres and Regals (with 3800) where alternator noise is transmitted into the passenger compartment via the heater pipes. The noise path is from the alternator through the (wet) bracket & coolant, through the heater nipple fitting, through the pipe/hose, into the heater core. <P>This noise occurs at low engine speeds and could be described in a similar manner to what you described. Increased electrical load makes it more noticeable. It can be made to occur during the following maneuver: 1300rpm reverse brake torque, and with headlamps, rear defog, back up lamps on to increase electrical load. Keep radio and fan off to allow listening.<P>If this is your problem, there is a service "improvement" (not FIX) on its way. It may be several months before parts are in the field.<P>If this isn't your problem, and the dealer can't fix it, you need to have him call the technical assistance center and establish a case on the car. This will get the "experts" involved, and if they cannot figure out the problem, they will enlist the support of the engineering dept. A good dealer should not be reluctant to take this step and get the assistance.<P>Good luck.

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Guest Teamsterdug

TO: 70 ELECTRA Wow! I gotta tell you...these senior members never cease to amaze me with their knowledge. I'm impressed! What a wonderful site this is. Hat's off to you sir. Even if it turns out that your recomendation doesn't apply in this situation we are lucky to have you guys on the DF. wink.gif" border="0

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Whether a particular dealership service manager or technician is aware of any information on your complaint, they can go into their GM internet-based service information system and check for bulletins and such on your complaint. This information system is completely current instead of waiting for bulletins to be printed and distributed (as in prior times). Plus, it will have information that is not covered in the regular bulletins in some cases.<P>Getting the dealership service people to contact GM Tech Assistance in the first place might meet with mixed orientations. Sometimes, it takes a good bit of "hold time" to get a human on the other end of the line to talk to. Basically a time priority issue at the dealership level--one that is sometimes understandable too. In any event, getting a case opened for your complaint is a start. Sometimes, Tech Assistance can expedite repair parts to the service dept that are not yet avaiable (or even admitted to) from the normal GM Parts sources.<P>As the 3800s used in the Camaro/Firebirds use the same front cover/tensioner configuration as the LeSabres and Regals, not to mention Bonnevilles and Grand Prixs, there could be information for those vehicles too with regards to this same complaint.<P>If the noise transmission path is the heater lines, it would seem to be easy to just cut a section from them and substitute some rubber hose in them--even just for test purposes. Might even need to put a loop of hose in there instead of just a short section to help kill any harmonics, possibly.<P>It's possible that you could have the tech use a stethoscope to check for alternator noise that would be similar to what you're hearing. Or use the "time honored" method of using a solid rod or similar to put your ear to to do the same thing. Always do that safely to prevent injury from moving parts!<P>I'll check to see what I can find out when I go into work Thursday.<P>Enjoy!<BR>NTX5467

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What you have may be called "transient load" on the alternator which means when the alternator is working/under load it makes noise! Have talked to several people in the service organization, and that was their reply. My thoughts being an electric engineer, not on products for GM, but buildings and assembly, but been around electronics all my life is that the transient load is probably the correct id on the problem, and the engineers designing this stuff are not thinking of everything the customer hears or may have concerns about, since many of them are not "car people". Hopefully, some one else has complained and there is a fix, capacitors, or other noise limiting techno-gizmo for lack of a better term! And Willis has the access at his dealership to find that out, until then, but your favorite radio station on, or favorite CD or cassette in the radio and enjoy the ride!

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Thank you Roberta. I posted a "thank you" to "Willis" this morning, along with some additional information but I see for some reason it "didn't take". So again NTX (Willis?) thank you very much and I'll look forward to hearing what you find out. Maybe I was so sleepy I failed to hit the post spot. I think I said the original mechanic in VA used a stethoscope to determine the noise was the alternator and they replaced it (with a rebuilt, not new generator at 1,000 miles). The "new" one did the same thing. The mechanic in FL said somethinig about the heater lines, but also said he didn't know how to fix it. I may call Buick with the information I've learned and see if they have found a fix. I did write my daughter who has worked at the largest dealership in Baltimore where I bought the car and asked her to talk these things over with their service manager. If they can fix it, I will drive the 120 miles up there and try them. Buying at a distant dealer because of family connections gets a good buy, but makes for poor service since the locals down here really didn't want to work on the car. The Florida guys were used to working on "out of town" cars.

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I found the GM Service Bulletin in the regular Bulletin listing in our parts database. I didn't remember the exact year, so I just browsed several years until I found it.<P>File Section 6 -- Engine/Propulsion System<BR>Bulletin Nbr ---- 99-06-09-005A<BR> (Replaces previous bulletin<BR> 99-09-99-005)<BR>Date ------------ December, 2000<P>Subject: Generator Noise (with descriptions which match your operational complaint as to what the noise is, when it occurs, and where it's heard)<P>The parts replacements for this repair are pretty easy and quick, with the longest labor time being about an hour on 1999 Ultras. The main parts are the adapters which slide into the alternator bracket, the hold-down bolts, and possibly the hose assembly on 1999 Ultras. It's all spelled out in the bulletin.<P>The key difference in the upgraded adapters is 2 O-rings on each adapter instead of one.<P>The bulletin specifies which models are affected: 1999 Riviera<BR> 1999-2001 Park Avenue and <BR> Ultra (with specified VIN breaks)<BR> 2000-2001 LeSabre and Bonneviles<BR> (with specified VIN breaks)<P>I also double checked in the parts database to see if the parts list in there also reflected the upgraded parts (which they typically do). I suspect that GMSPO is working through their existing stock of one of the adapters as one is still the "old" style and the other one is of the "new" style. Therefore, the Service Bulletin parts list is what should be used to repair this operational complaint.<P>I also checked with ParTech to check stock and availability. The two part number of adapters are in stock in the Fort Worth parts warehouse, the bolts are "source shipped" and in stock at the vendor, and the hose set for the 1999 Park Avenue/Ultra vehicles is in the Lansing, MI warehouse. If the adapters are in the FW regional warehouse, they should be similarly nationwide too, as a general rule.<P>As I found this bulletin in our Bell+Howell parts database (in the Parts/Service/Action bulletins section), which are the same bulletins that used to be sent out in print, any Buick dealer's service people should be able to find it in their similar database by the bulletin number I listed above. From there, they can order the necessary parts to repair the vehicle. It might take a week to get them, but they can get them.<P>I also printed a copy of the bulletin from our parts computer.<P>With the particular production breaks in the VIN, all vehicles are not affected as the ones built after the VIN break should have the double O-ring adapter already.<P>I hope this information helps to get your Buick a little quieter. <P>Thanks for the kind words, Dynaflash8. With respect to where the vehicle was purchased, that really should not even enter into the repair situation as it might have in the past. Granted, the dealer should want to take care of their own customers (who they have sold cars to), naturally, but there is an equal or greater need to take care of people who did not buy their cars there as they might want to next time if they're treated "right". Plus, with the pressures from GM to have higher Customer Satisfaction Index scores, where the car was originally bought should not matter one bit. Afterall, there is more money to be made on service work after the vehicle is sold than in any one new car sales transaction. So it's in their best interest to have you return regardless of where the car was bought.<P>When a vehicle that we haven't seen before comes in for the first time, we always do a VISS inquiry to look for outstanding campaigns and such which have not been performed. This printout also lists the selling dealer and all warranty coverage information (including GMPP extended warranties) plus warranty work that was done by which dealer. Why the vehicle was purchased at the other dealer is of no concern.<P>Enjoy!<P>Willis<BR>NTX5467<P>[ 03-29-2002: Message edited by: NTX5467 ]<p>[ 03-29-2002: Message edited by: NTX5467 ]

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Guest 70 Electra

NTX5467 is correct (again!). The "fix" with the 2 O-rings is what is currently recommended for the problem I described. I was hesitant to mention the details of the "fix" for two reasons: <BR>(1) I'm only GUESSING that this is the problem here (remember, I mentioned it is primarily a LeSabre H-body and Regal W-body problem), and...<BR>(2) The "fix" with the 2 O-rings is ineffective. (Sorry to tell you). It was made in production, thinking it would help the problem, and the parts were then made available for service. Turns out it doesn't do much good.<P>The "fix" that I had mentioned was being worked on, is for an isolated fastener for the attachment at the heater fitting (that same fitting with the O-rings). If isolation is the goal, it would seem 2 O-rings might work, but since the part is (presently) RIGIDLY bolted down, there's still a noise path. The isolated fastener helps to reduce the noise transmission path.<P>As I mentioned, don't expect this latest "fix" to completely eliminate the problem. It just reduces it. Only way to completely eliminate it is an alternator design that is inherently free (er) from noise (mechanical noise, not electrical "noise"). Or to redesign the heater pipe attachment and routing. You will notice that GM does NOT mount accessories like alternators to brackets that contain coolant on any of the new engine families. Now you know why!<P>By the way, the reason you got a "rebuilt" generator for a repair was that GM only services generators with factory rebuilt parts. Not saying I agree with this, but many components are treated this way: Automatic transmissions, engine computers, alternators, just to name a few. These tend to be things that are either VERY expensive (like tranny's) or frequently replaced (ECM, generator). <P>Notice that these are ALL items that the dealer does not open up for repair. Therefore even a tiny minor defect (or a part that had NO defect) results in a complete part replacement. To be cost effective, the replaced items are checked out, and upgraded with latest parts. They are then labeled as "rebuilt" replacements. Be aware that if they are used as warranty repairs then the "rebuilt" part is still covered for the remainder of your vehicle warranty, and not just some "token" 90day rebuilder's guarantee.<P>An insider secret: Often these "rebuilt" components are actually brand new. Let me explain. GM doesn't list "new" pieces in the parts book, there is only a listing for a "rebuilt" piece. But what if a "rebuilt" one is ordered by the dealer, and there are none? (This happens especially with new products, or new versions of existing products, or when demand exceeds supply). What happens is that a NEW unit is put into the box that is labeled "rebuilt" and sent to the dealer so he will get the exact P/N he ordered!! Sound far fetched? It happens more often than you may think. Bottom line is these parts are "OK". Don't confuse them with a "rebuilt" item you'd find at the PEP boys.<P>Good Luck,<BR>Greg<p>[ 03-29-2002: Message edited by: 70 Electra ]

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My many thanks to you both. I'm going to print out your comments and when I return from Florida (driving my GMC Suburban with Anti-Lock brakes that go to the floor if the engine isn't running...."oh, it'll stop before it goes to the floor...." they say) on this trip I'll take your comments to the nearest dealer ship here in VA (Tappahannock, VA) who so far has only scratched his head, and see if they can do anything with this car. If thay doesn't work, I'll make an appointment up in Baltimore and take your comments up there. I can't press too much up there because my daughter works there you understand, but maybe in the big city there is more technical know-how. Thank you so much again. Golly, if I could only get them to build a brand new 1939 Buick so I'd have three of them, maybe I wouldn't have all these problems smile.gif" border="0

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When you read that particular service bulletin, it mentioned "magnetic impulses" as the cause of the noise. How magnetism can affect aluminum and pot metal is not really clear to me, but those guys up north have more delicate test equipment for such things.<P>When I saw that 2 o-ring adapter to replace the single o-ring adapter, it made me wonder if it was more of a noise transfer issue if the adapter might get a little cocked in the tube. The 2 o-ring adapter would better stabilize the adapter in the tube to interrupt the metallic noise transfer path--just as putting a section of rubber hose in the middle of the existing pipes (if they are indeed metal pipes). You could also try putting a rubber o-ring under the mounting bolt that secures the adapter in the housing to interrupt that particular metallic transfer path.<P>It could also be that that whole affair sets up a resonance in the system that happens to be "sympathetic" to the way something inside the a/c module is mounted or not mounted securely enough. But that's another theory. The Camaro/Firebird uses the same front engine configuration as the FWD Buicks and such do, but the hose set is different. I haven't heard any complaints of similar problems with those cars or seen any related bulletins.<P>The AC-Delco things which we can get are "Remanufactured" and not "Rebuilt" -- there is a difference in orientation there. About the only alernators and starters that I've seen with a "new" listing are for the "imported" vehicles--and to the tune of about $700+ in many cases. <P>There are cases where they do put new parts in the AC-Delco Reman boxes. The gear reduction starter for the 4.3L V-6 was a notable case, for example. The starter was just introduced and I got one immediately from a vendor, way too early for them to have been any cores to rebuild, for sure. Many times, it seemed they just reused the case and put all new guts inside it.<P>"Reman" typically means that all components are checked to OEM specs whereas "Rebuilt" can mean something much less.<P>Have a great week!<BR>NTX5467

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