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That intermittent noise sounds more like a rubbing or scraping, rather than tapping, but it could be the way it was picked up and recorded.

With 135k miles on the car, has the serpentine belt tensioner ever been replaced? There are reports here of the bearing in the pulley failing.
 

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2001 VDC/SC One of a Kind
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I don't think it is internal engine parts. It's inconsistent like something is out of balance. Does the sound come more from the front or rear of the engine? Any repair perceived recently?
 

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2003, obs, h6, 85k on motor, 160k on trans
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52 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
i had the serp belt replaced 500 miles ago it did nothing to lessen or worsen the scrapping, he said it was a little lose. my mechanic said that its not coming from the motor. I believe the sound is orginating from the top just under the plastic engine cover when just listening with the hood up. the sound on you tube actually nails the sounds, im surprised at how well my iphone recorded the sound. i placed the phone where the sound seemed to be the most prominant
 

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03 H6 OBW & 06 WRX Sportwagon
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yeah, as said, most likely external; serpentine belt PULLEY bearings , wobbling crank pulley, fan ....
 

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06 OBW 2.5, 05 Forester, had 03 H6 OBW
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My crank pulley started hitting the timing cover because the rubber deteriorated, it didn't make any noise but if it were to I imagine it'd sound a lot like that.

Just look closely everywhere the belt goes. Look at it while running and see if it 'flaps' a bit between 2 pulleys when making the noise.
 

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2003, obs, h6, 85k on motor, 160k on trans
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Discussion Starter #8
raining today so next chance I can get under the car and check those bolts I will. the sound does sound more prominate to the front of the engine. if it were to be an issue with the flex plate or torque converter i assume the sound would be the most prominant their? ill record my findings and post back later. thanks for everyones help so far with this.
 

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2001 VDC/SC One of a Kind
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If you are sure it is coming from the front, pay more attention to the front cover. It could be the chain guide or tensioner. Slim chance.

Also take the engine cover off. 10mm hex head screws and look at the serpentine belt tensioner to see if its vibrating.

It is inconsistent and irregular so it's something vibrating out of balance.
 

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2003, obs, h6, 85k on motor, 160k on trans
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Discussion Starter #10
I had the chance to get under the car with it running and the noise sounds further from me when at the rear of the engine, under the car. I couldnt even pick it up on my phone when trying to record the sound, though i could faintly hear it in person. it is deffinatly most prominate to the front. because the cost of the pulleys arnt that much im gonna replace the all the pulleys except the power steering and ac. i cant find the power steering pulley sold without the pump and the ac pulley is def not making noise. i plan to keep this car until it dies so a couple hundred bucks on new pulleys isnt a big deal. I will have the mechanic replace the pulleys same time as my plugs. ill report back when I have the work done. pulleys should ship monday, i purchased all oem equipment from subarupartsdepot.com they had the pulley's for the cheapest by 20 bucks for oem equipment.
 

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06 OBW 2.5, 05 Forester, had 03 H6 OBW
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I would say do not randomly replace stuff, it will hurt your chances of figuring out what it is when you replace everything and then the noise come back in a month.

I would get a bright light and look, look, look. Look for scuffing on the belt, front, back, and edges. Look for marks on the converter bolts, visible from the bottom behind the oil pan.

Run the engine and look at the belt as the noise comes and goes, check each section between pulleys for vibrations that occur when the noise occurs.

Check brackets for signs of rust dust, allowing for the eternal rust off the ac clutch.
Com,e to think of it, does the noise change with the ac on/off? when turning the wheel all the way left/right and putting some strain on the power steering pump?
 

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2003, obs, h6, 85k on motor, 160k on trans
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Discussion Starter #12
the noise doesnt change with the a/c on or off, or with the steering wheel turned left or right.
 

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2005 Legacy 2.5i Wagon 4EAT; 2005 Forester XS 4EAT
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Did you take the engine cover off? I think it could be pretty easy to hear the noise if the problem is a pulley. Look for any signs of a pulley rubbing the engine cover. That's almost what it sounds like.
 

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03 H6 OBW & 06 WRX Sportwagon
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Did you take the engine cover off? I think it could be pretty easy to hear the noise if the problem is a pulley. Look for any signs of a pulley rubbing the engine cover. That's almost what it sounds like.
4 10mm bolts near the back/sides, then lift slightly and pull forwards.

to install, make sure the 'tabs' line up with the ramps/slots/pockets on the underside of the cover, then, with the back slightly lifted, push rearwards, install bolts - or, if nothing was done, just leave it off for the mechanic.
 

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2003, obs, h6, 85k on motor, 160k on trans
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Discussion Starter #15
i finally got the engine cover off last week. with a bright led light during the day i tried to record the action of the serp belt through the pulleys. what i was seeing couldnt be picked up by my phones video camera, couldnt get it close enough to the pulleys to pick up in detail what i was seeing. what i saw when the sound would come and go is this, the cam pulley would vibrate or wobble slightly with the noise at idle. their isnt much room between the cam pulley and timing chain cover but their is deffinatly a wobble in that pulley consistant with when i hear the noise. when i would rev the engine by the throttle cable the wobble would go away and so would the noise. once the car dropps down to around 1000-1100 rpms the wobble starts to comes back and so does the noise. im having new NGK plugs put in monday and having the cam pulley replaced. also having the tensioner, idler, and alternator pulleys repalced with a new serp belt for good measure, all oem. to give a little history on the car, i own the car and this is the first time ive put money into this car besides gas, oil, tires, regular matainance/fluid changes, brake pads and 1 new set of rotors. owned it since 80k miles and my parents where the orginal owners. i got my car from my parents for 1k, the woulda gave me it for free but i had 5k for a used car and they saved me a few thousand by selling me their extra commuter vehicle for next to nothing. 60 percent of the miles on this car are from my father (hes a pilot) on the highway. the other 40 percent are local short distance driving done by me since i purchased the car. since i paid so little for the car im more then willing to replace what may fail, but right now im just being proactive to prevent a failure. on a side note, im also having the headers/cats, resonator, and muffler replaced. the orignial equpiment is rusted out and patched up in several places. 6 or 7 u-bolts holding the heat sheilds back to stop them from rattling also the passangers side cat is discolored like a purple blue color and not reaching operating temp. i plan on this car taking me to 300k+. thanks for everyones help trying to isolate this problem. cant wait to get my car back this week, i will report back after the work is done.
 

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03 H6 OBW & 06 WRX Sportwagon
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wow, so strange

what does the mechanic say about it? is the pulley cracked or ????
 

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2003, obs, h6, 85k on motor, 160k on trans
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52 Posts
Discussion Starter #18
pulley doesnt appear to have a crack. when i dropped the car off i popped the hood and had him take a look at it with me, their is just the slightest wobble at idle, its incosistant like the noise you hear on the video i posted. when the pulley wobbles u hear the scrapping noise. i dropped the car off to him yesterday, he is a friend of my brothers so he does the work at a leisurly pace and charges us 1/3rd of his normal hourly rate. 30 instead of 90. 34 years in the trade and ASE certified owns his own shop.
 

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2003, obs, h6, 85k on motor, 160k on trans
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Discussion Starter #19
yes, when i said cam i ment to say crank, the crank pulley has a slight wobble.
 

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The rubber around my rubbing crank pulley looked OK when it was in place, looked like crap once I got it off.
 
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