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Uh oh. A noise...
MarcW - 2 weeks ago
My 2002 Boxster is not quite to 310K miles and heard a noise the other day. Kind of a faint and periodic/rhythmic whooshing sound. Really not the best description but I really kind of forgot about it. Forgot to my mental note to give a listen before using the car again, too.

So when Monday commute time rolled around as is my routine I loaded up the Boxster (with my laptop and jacket) and hit the road. Car ran just fine all the way to almost work. Lighter than usual traffic too and was able to make good time. 'course the memory of the noise didn't come up once on the drive in.

Just a few blocks from the office stopped for a breakfast and when I got back in the car I heard not a whooshing sound but a rhythmic growl growl growl. Not loud -- I had to turn off the cabin vent fan for a better listen -- but it is real.

The timing of the growls suggest it is from the accessory drive system. The other day when I heard the whooshing noise at first I thought "water pump" but the replacement has only (only) 138K miles. (The original one lasted 172K miles.)

But now I'm leaning towards a bad idler/tensioner bearing (they are original) or even a bad belt.

I'm torn between driving the car back to home -- 30 miles -- and dropping it off a the local dealer (and getting a quick ride to my house to pick up my other car) or playing it super safe and calling a tow truck and having it towed back to the local dealer.

I'm leaning towards waiting until maybe 1pm -- after the lunch hour traffic dies down -- and then starting the engine and seeing how it sounds and if it sounds ok proceeding -- on pins and needles of course -- driving the car home and to the dealer.

I know I'd save some words with a video/audio recording but I really don't want to run the engine any more than I have to.

More when I know more.
Whatever it is it sounds like it will not be helped by another 30 miles of engine running.

So better safe than sorry.
and remember, nothing on that drive belt will cause motor detonation (except a water pump if you let it go toooooo long...

5 bolts and flip the seats forward

Grant

Grant gee-lenahan-at-vee-eff-email-dot-net
Re: Uh oh. A noise...
SRG - 2 weeks ago
It's not very hard to pull the access cover behind the seats and have a look.

If it's the WP check for drips under.

The AOS can make interesting noises.

Unless it sounded bad and or loud, I'd drive it the 30mi.
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SRG
It's not very hard to pull the access cover behind the seats and have a look.

If it's the WP check for drips under.

The AOS can make interesting noises.

Unless it sounded bad and or loud, I'd drive it the 30mi.

I don't have any tools here anyway. No drips.

Noise was not that scary -- I've heard Boxsters -- fortunately not mine -- on the lift with what has proved to be a bad IMSB and it didn't sound anything like that but the noise didn't sound like it would get any better in 30 miles and it could get worse. Last thing I want to do is shred a water pump impeller and deal with all that brings with it. Or lose a belt on the freeway and be stuck.

The tow truck operator arrived on time and in just a few minutes had the car secure and we were on our way. Traffic was kind of with us -- is today a holiday? -- and we made good time to the dealer.

Anyhow the car is at the dealer. And wouldn't you know the noise was not present when I started the engine. 'course, the Boxster had a nice 30 mile ride on a flat bed and was cold when we arrived a the dealer.

Picked up my other car and made good time back to the office. It must be some kind of holiday.

As for the source of the noise, if I had to guess -- and hope -- my guess is either the belt's bad or there is an accessory drive idler/tensioner bearing bad.

Sure it could be a water pump too. This one has 138K miles on it and they have been known to fail at the mileage (or less). But the 1st one lasted 172K miles so am kind of expecting the 2nd one to last at least closer to that number than 138K miles.

Bonus I guess: Just a few hundred miles away from 310K miles so I'll have the oil/filter service done too while the car there to have the noise id'd and addressed.
for long running Boxsters, we are all hoping for the best for you.
or tensioner roller bearing or possibly a bad water pump bearing. The idlers and tensioner are all original equipment so it would not surprise me one has gone bad. (If so I'll just have the tech replace all 3 idlers and the tensioner.)

The water pump is a replacement water pump and has "just" 138K miles but a water pump can fail at any time.

Went by the dealer at 8am to road test the car and get it warmed up and reproduce the noise but the car was already on the lift, put there the night before, and the oil allowed to drain overnight. The tech told me as soon as the oil arrived mid-morning he'd complete the oil change then road test the car and reproduce the noise.

While the car was on a lift the panels were all in place so I couldn't see the water pump or the accessory drive area at all.
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MarcW

Went by the dealer at 8am to road test the car and get it warmed up and reproduce the noise but the car was already on the lift, put there the night before, and the oil allowed to drain overnight. The tech told me as soon as the oil arrived mid-morning he'd complete the oil change then road test the car and reproduce the noise.

Not your typical M1 0-40 I take it; was this oil a special order to get?
carries the oil: Mobil 1 5w-50 (not a typo for 15w-50!).

5w-50 is an approved oil and given where I live and drive it doesn't get that cold it is ok to use year 'round.

Not sure if the 5w-50 is any better than 0w-40 in any significant way. (There is a new/improved Mobil 0w-40 making an appearance that at least one source reported the oil tested pretty darn good compared to other similar oils.) Never had any problems using 0w-40 even when the coolant temperature reached 226F (and God only knows what the oil temperature was) upon more than one occasion with the Boxster. The Turbo coolant never gets that hot (cooling system/aerodynamics much better than the Boxster) but I don't see any difference in the hot idle oil pressure between the two oils.

But like I said it doesn't get that cold here while OTOH 100F+ days are more frequent here that one might imagine so a few years ago I switched to 5w-50 all the time.

Oh yeah, costs about the same as 0w-40. I know this from when I swing by the auto parts store to pick up a couple of quarts to use to top up the oil when it gets low.
No.

What's a high mileage oil anyhow? Just some marketing slogan/phrase. "High Mileage Oil" is on par with "New and Improved <insert detergent name here>".
... is not just a marketing ploy.
High mileage oil actually contains almost double the ZDDP allowed in "normal" oil.
They found a loop hole where by labelling it for cars over 75,000 miles they were grandfathered into the old standard.
That came directly fro 'the horse's mouth" as I had the opportunity to chat for over an hour with 2 Mobil1 engineers at SEMA.
That's what I put into my and my customers' cars. Mobil1 High Mileage also comes in just about every viscosity as regular M1.
Haqpy Boxstering,
Pedro

Pedro Bonilla 1998 Boxster 986 - 276,000+ miles: http://www.PedrosGarage.com
PCA National Club Racing Scrutineer - PCA National HPDE Instructor - PCA Technical Committee (Boxster/Cayman)

Racecar spelled backwards is Racecar
"Racing is life. Anything before or after is just waiting" ... Steve McQueen as Michael Delaney in "LeMans"
"If you wait, all that happens is that you get older"... Mario Andretti
"Being second is to be the first of the ones who lose" ... Ayrton Senna
A colleague of a club member spoke at NNJR's monthly meeting. So, we got one of the lead researchers from their labs, which happen to be close by in Clinton NJ. Hi is a PhD mechanical engineer and materials scientist and works with their chemEs. He pretty much confirmed what an associate of mine (who formulates Castrol/BP products) says:

High mileage, while an undefined and thus "marketing" term, generally means two and 1/2 things:

1. designed to swell and possibly soften older seals
2. designed with added barrier lubrication elements (of various types, mostly ZDDP)
3. this is the 1/2: typically slightly thicker to compensate for wear - but as Pedro says, not always

He also emphasized that while approvals are important, specialty uses and special circumstances call for some deviation.

Finally he noted what i have written here: track use appears to be, in some ways, easy on the oil, if hard on the car itself: because it remains at a stable temperature above boiling, it has very, very little water and other dilutive and acidic components.

He had no practical way to measure pH at home either :-)

Grant

Grant gee-lenahan-at-vee-eff-email-dot-net
Quote
Pedro (Weston, FL)
... is not just a marketing ploy.
High mileage oil actually contains almost double the ZDDP allowed in "normal" oil.
They found a loop hole where by labelling it for cars over 75,000 miles they were grandfathered into the old standard.
That came directly fro 'the horse's mouth" as I had the opportunity to chat for over an hour with 2 Mobil1 engineers at SEMA.
That's what I put into my and my customers' cars. Mobil1 High Mileage also comes in just about every viscosity as regular M1.
Haqpy Boxstering,
Pedro

Double the ZDDP? Oh well that's different.

Not!

ZDDP is itself just a marketing feature.

ZDDP only works, becomes "active" under high pressure high temperature conditions when it forms a glass like layer which prevents metal to metal contact. If this happens this suggests the oil is unsuitable for the job it is being asked to do and the presence of ZDDP is being asked to stand in for a better oil one that under these conditions doesn't break down to the point the ZDDP has to get involved.

Might point out to more ZDDP means less actual oil in each bottle of oil. MSDS list additives as a precentage of weight so increasing the ZDDP from say 1% to 2% means one is running the engine with more additive and less oil. From a Castrol GTX High Mileage 10w-40 oil MSDS:

Base oil - highly refined: 85 - 90 %
Zinc alkyl dithiophosphate: 1 - 5 %
Base oil - highly refined: 1 - 5 %

So every bottle of a "high mileage" oil actually contains less "oil" and more addtive.

I'm sorry but High Mileage oil is just marketing. It is just a variation of the "New and Improved" with an added kicker: "Now with More ZDDP!"

I see no reason to if an engine has managed to cover some big miles with an oil to suddenly decide to in order it cover more miles the engine needs to run a diffierent oil. Both my Boxster and my Turbo engines were quite happy running 0w-40 even with "big" mles. I switched to 5w-50 (not a typo for 15w-50!) only in recognition of the fact I live and drive where while it doesn't get that cold -- seldom even to freezing and then just a few nights a year -- it gets plenty hot up in the triple digits more often than it gets to even freezing. And many many days while it might not hit triple digits it can get quite warm here.

Going by the Turbo's oil gage I can't tell which oil is in the engine. Hot idle oil pressure is the same, behaves the same. On cooler days it is 2 bar. On hotter days a bit under 2 bar, same as it was with 0W-40 oil. Oil consumption didn't get change. Engine sounds the same (but of course after an oiil change is quieter, but both engines quiet down even after a 0W-40 oil change.

So for my "high mileage" oil I have elected to continue to use the oil that helped the engines obtain their high miles with no problems, at least none even remotely attributable to the oil.
Agree, don't fix what's not broke. If M1 0w-40 got you to 300k+ Miles, why change your routine?
... I'll keep putting as much ZDDP as I can in my oils.
You may have 300K highway miles in your Boxster which is commendable.
I only have 278K on mine, but 82,000 of those are track miles.
Happy Boxstering,
Pedro

Pedro Bonilla 1998 Boxster 986 - 276,000+ miles: http://www.PedrosGarage.com
PCA National Club Racing Scrutineer - PCA National HPDE Instructor - PCA Technical Committee (Boxster/Cayman)

Racecar spelled backwards is Racecar
"Racing is life. Anything before or after is just waiting" ... Steve McQueen as Michael Delaney in "LeMans"
"If you wait, all that happens is that you get older"... Mario Andretti
"Being second is to be the first of the ones who lose" ... Ayrton Senna
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Pedro (Weston, FL)
... I'll keep putting as much ZDDP as I can in my oils.
You may have 300K highway miles in your Boxster which is commendable.
I only have 278K on mine, but 82,000 of those are track miles.
Happy Boxstering,
Pedro

But he has 300k+ miles on an original IMS without any aftermarket "upgrades". That not too shabby. smiling smiley
But its many things.

Now, to the oil - a long lasting IMS is a red herring re: ZDDP. OPil has two major ( actually 3, btu it gets arcane) lubrication modes:

1. hydrodynamic, in whcih the parts are "floated" without contact
2. barrier, in which they rub

ZDDP works only when hydrodynamic lubrication fails and parts rub. The classic case is an old style lifter, but today's cams qualify, and certainly do main bearings and pistons - but only under duress.

The IMS, being a ball bearing with two races, should rarely qualify. We might guess that as the oil leaves there is some ball scuffing ( in fact, we can see it), but this is not a problem that ZDDP is intended to combat. It wont fix a design fault.

BTW, I agree with Marc's position: for a street driven car i totally agree that ZDDP is not necessary, and that 0W30/40 (yes i wrote 30) oils are ideal - thinner gives better, quicker lubrication and who gives a damn what happens at high temperatures and pressures if they never occur? I'd further argue that for most low mileage, long-change interval street cars the #1 criteria should be a good buffer (acid neutralizing) additive package - e.g.: a TBN that is retained for a long time.

G
and yes,m the skiing was great :-)

Grant gee-lenahan-at-vee-eff-email-dot-net
Or that there is a randomness in the universe.

(Not that I didn't overmaintain my Boxsters too. I think it helps. But can it overcome randomness, build tolerance variations, etc? Nah.)
It's all in me head.

The tech was unable to reproduce the noise.

The tech tried with the engine accessory loads maxed out with the A/C on, lights on. He checked the power steering fluid level and it was fine.

He removed the belt and checked the belt. Belt's fine. He checked the idler and tensioner rollers and bearings. They're fine. With the belt off he checked the accessory drives. The pulleys looked fine. No signs of belt rubbing. (The belt didn't have any sharp edges either.) The tech went on to report there was no discernible play with any of the accessory drives. Everyone nice and tight. The water pump showed no leak sign.

So no noise and no signs of any trouble anywhere.

At the suggestion of the service advisor (SA) I picked up the car around 8am today and drove it 30 minutes around town and then stopped to get some gas which in a way mimics what I did the other day when the noise appeared. A brief recap: After a 30 miles and 30+ minute drive to the office I stopped for a few minutes to get some breakfast to take to the office and when I got back in the car and started the engine immediately there was a noise -- a low frequency regular periodic growl like sound was present. The noise wasn't a fast or rapid noise that would arise from say a lifter or a something spinning at engine RPM speed like something internal to the engine. Really it sounded like something from the accessory drive. I suspected a bad spot in the belt.

Anyhow, even after the 30 minute drive this AM and stopping for gas and then even letting the engine idle on the dealer service entrance drive -- the engine was idling so quiet (fresh oil!) that when I went back to it after 5 minutes of idling I thought the engine had died then when I got to the back of the car I could hear the exhaust -- there was nothing from the engine but the normal level of healthy engine noise.

The SA and the tech both said that it was probably something that got caught in the belt. Probably a piece of paper or plastic wrap or maybe a leaf.They say they get cars in with this 5 or 6 times a year. It is more common than one might think.

If this is what happened with my Boxster and I'm leaning towards this as an explanation this is a first for me. While I have had something get caught between a brake rotor and splash shield twice now this is the first time the belt has even got something caught in it.

SA said to leave the car there at the dealer and drive my other car to work. After work I could then road test the car again and if the noise didn't make an appearance then pick up the car Friday AM. That is what I intend to do. I'll probably not use the car to commute to work Friday but use it plenty Saturday and Sunday and if the noise stays away I'll resume using it like before.
being forced to drive a Turbo to work. Much sympathy.
I dunno Marc, I doubt your crazy...... something is up. I am hyper-aware of my car's ticks and farts...... I suspect you are too.

Good luck and keep us posted.

Peace
Bruce in Philly
On second thought,

Could it be your air conditioning? I would get a random wooshing sound that the Tech said was my AC..... really odd sound. He replaced some sort of valve... I think it was located in the front of the Boxster...... my memory is not what it was dang it......

Have you checked the pressure in the system lately?

Peace
Bruce in Philly
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Bruce In Philly (2000 S Boxster, now '09 C2S)
On second thought,

Could it be your air conditioning? I would get a random wooshing sound that the Tech said was my AC..... really odd sound. He replaced some sort of valve... I think it was located in the front of the Boxster...... my memory is not what it was dang it......

Have you checked the pressure in the system lately?

Peace
Bruce in Philly

Good idea regarding the A/C but in this case the A/C wasn't on.

The noise really had me thinking a bad belt, bad spot on the belt, because the noise wasn't a fast tempo growl growl growl, the growls had some time, some time between them. It was like growl . growl . growl . growl.

But as I posted the tech tore into the accessory drive and found nothing amiss. Belt was fine. Idler/tensioner rollers and bearings were fine. No accessory drive with discernable bearing/shaft play. Water pump free of any leak sign. I would have been willing to bet money the tech would find something amiss in this area but I would have lost the bet.

I'm not complaining. Just my first time for this at least at the accessory drive. Two times now the Boxster has had something get caught in its brakes, something drops down on the rotor and gets caught between the rotor and the splash shield but this is the first time something's got caught in or affected the accessory drive. And I've driven in some pretty heavy rain, on very wet roads, even drove the car through some pretty deep standing water a couple of times with no problems. And I can't tell you how many leaves and twigs on the road I've driven over, the number of times I've encountered dust or small sand storms out in the desert southwest. Then there was the night in eastern CO and western KS I drove in a howling windstorm and smashed into a number of large tumbleweeds that afterwards had the radiator ducts filled with tumbleweed debris. Not one time though did anything affect the accessory drive.

Actually this is a good thing for it suggests the accessory drive in spite of its location in the middle of the car downstream of whatever the front tires kick up is well protected from road debris and water splash. But something the other day made its way into the accessory drive area and ended up either caught in the belt or caught where it was rubbing the belt or a pulley perhaps until it blew out probably while on the back of the tow truck.

Been driving the car now over the weekend and it has been just fine. No noises. No odd behavior. Going to drive it to work this AM. Supposed to rain here to day. Want to get my money's worth out of the new tires on the car. New tires and new windshield wipers.
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