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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
My 2005 T5 AWD M66 just developed yet another front end/engine bay noise. Based on a review of SS threads and google searches I'm guessing it's my alternator or A/C clutch/compressor but I don't know which and I'm uncertain how to rule out other sources. It's a whining noise that isn't really audible over other engine noise at idle but immediately becomes evident while increasing RPMs while in neutral. Can also hear it while pulling away from a stop but at higher RPMs it seems to disappear--though I suspect it's simply not audible over the other louder noises at that point. Upon opening the hood I believe I smell a burning or hot electric or rubber odor--maybe I'm convincing myself the smell is there but I suspect it's real. Using a cheater pipe as a stethoscope placed directly on top of the alternator the sound increased while my son increased RPMs to 1200. There are 113k miles on the engine and I have not replaced any of the belts, tensioners or water pump. The whining PVC trap issue was addressed under warranty a long time ago (around 35-45K miles?) and the sound did not change when I pulled the dipstick and removed the oil filler cap. Nor did it change when I started the AC. Are there other diagnostic maneuvers y'all would suggest? What seems the likely cause to you? I saw a couple of videos of the exact same noise on volvos but no associated discussion of diagnosis.

BTW, I feel like my car is falling apart all at once! Just replaced rear wheel bearings, R front axle and lower control arm. Now I fear I need to replace the prop shaft (I intend to post on this soon) and today I get this new noise ... ugh! Not to mention that I need to replace the timing belt and the exhaust downpipe. Not sure when to cut my losses, so to speak.
 

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#1 - I agree it sounds like the alternator. Mine lasted about another 30 days and then died one morning out of the blue. Was RPM based - audible at idle and increased with rpm but was relatively inaudible while on the road. Pulling dipstick and oil cap did nothing to help. I would recommend sourcing another and getting it in before it fails on you.

#2 - I was listening to Scotty Kilmer, and for all the good and bad - he hit the nail on the head saying - after 100,000 miles, volvos become money pits. They are - truth is it is. Buying a new car is always a bad investment. Buying a used car is always less of a bad investment. With so much, either do the work yourself or trade it in/sell it and get the cash and get a car you won't have to work much on like a toyota or something. I aint gonna lie, if mine goes, I'm going back to cummins powerplants, wherever they may rest. I want 250,000 with no issues.
 

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I agree it kind of sounds like alternator. I had similar experience as avenger. Heard noise then attempted (unsuccessfully) to locate by removing one aux belt and then the other. A few weeks later, it died. I originally thought a/c clutch but I have never had one of those fail and I think it's pretty rare with these cars.

Don't overlook the tensioners or the belts themselves either. I changed some tensioners that seemed noisy when spun by hand but it ended up being the belts that were the noisiest.

I hear you on the falling apart all at once. I just keep telling myself with these old cars with all these miles that if I can do the work myself and can afford it, at least I won't have to do that particular job again for another 100K. It beats a car payment.
 

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My alternator suddenly developed a whine a few weeks ago. I first figured the alternator bearings, which could continue for a long time and just be noisy. Nope, the alternator was no longer putting out. Fortunately I made it to my work parking lot before the car died and not stuck on the road.

Check your battery and check if the alternator is putting out.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks much for the replies. I'm going to order an alternator today. The whining is intermittent--puzzling?--but I don't want an inconvenient total failure. I plan to replace the belts (not timing belt, though that's on my list for next month) at the same time. I know it cannot hurt to replace the tensioners but I've gathered from a few threads here that in the absence of a clearly bad tensioner I might count on them lasting much longer--I currently have 113K miles on the engine. Opinions?
 

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Thanks much for the replies. I'm going to order an alternator today. The whining is intermittent--puzzling?--but I don't want an inconvenient total failure. I plan to replace the belts (not timing belt, though that's on my list for next month) at the same time. I know it cannot hurt to replace the tensioners but I've gathered from a few threads here that in the absence of a clearly bad tensioner I might count on them lasting much longer--I currently have 113K miles on the engine. Opinions?
VIDA says 10 years or 100,000miles. Up to you there. If you don't have any slippage with the AC on and Alternator on I wouldn't bother IMO, but that's just me, risk what you can afford.
 
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