alternator whine - SOURCE determined!!

Brandon Rogers brogers at
Mon Nov 6 11:28:59 EST 2006

We have made progress. A few people mentioned this possibility.  Drum
roll please.....
Alternator fan.  Creating a siren effect.
We had the car on ramps and revved the motor - and with your head right
there - it was obvious.  So we swapped on a different fan.  The
alternator I have to use for this bracket is a 4kq/CGT that has a fan
with a solid front face and fins on the back side.  We swapped on a
different fan, shimmed for identical pulley spacing, from an urq
alternator, which has the open blades and is the same fan as the 200 20V
alternator, and it made a pretty decent difference.  The sound
(whine?siren???) is still there but not as loud or as intrusive.  
I haven't had any time to do further investigation or testing since but
now I wonder if the location of the alternator - _very_ close to the
front valence, and poking out underneath by about 3/4", is creating some
sort of air cavitation or something???? that causes the siren effect.
Any thoughts about what would quiet it down - either blocking direct
airflow or creating more airflow over the fan?  I don't want to cut up
the valence further for nothing.... 
I do have pics of the setup I can send - will hopefully have them
downloaded in not too long.
'84 urq 20V
-----Original Message-----
From: Brandon Rogers [mailto:brogers at] 
Sent: Friday, November 03, 2006 9:44 AM
To: 'urq at'; 'quattro at'; '200q20v at'
Subject: RE: alternator whine puzzle (X post) long

Latest update:
I have driven the car with the voltage regulator removed - so the
electrical charging theory has been eliminated.  A few nights back I
loosened the alternator belt some (it was not ultra tight to begin with
however) and the noise did not seem to change a whole lot - maybe a
_little_ less loud - I would think that loosening the belt would
decrease the sound quite a bit if the noise were caused by abnormal load
on the bearings.  Another theory out there was related to having all 3
accessory belts pulling on the same side of the motor.  My a/c belt was
pretty darn tight - so last night I removed the a/c belt altogether and
took a drive.  No real improvement.  
So the only thing that remains is 1) misaligned alternator due to
bracket being "crooked" or 2) some how the bracket is flexing or
something - but I don't see how this would cause the noise I hear
'84 ur

-----Original Message-----
From: Brandon Rogers [mailto:brogers at] 
Sent: Thursday, October 26, 2006 9:37 AM
To: 'urq at'; 'quattro at'; '200q20v at'
Subject: RE: alternator whine puzzle (X post) long

thanks for all the responses.  Jsut a coupel quick additional comments I
left out - I have used several brand new belts of varying lengths and
the alternator makes the noise regardless.  I probably have only about
10 miles on any particular setup I've tried so maybe the belt will "wear
in" but it really is a mechanical sound.  Sounds to me like I need to
really look at alignment in all planes.  I  have looked at that - but it
sounds like I need to get the car higher higher off the ground than just
ramps so I can get a better perspective.
If I can't get this noise to go away I may have a plug and play 944T
intercooler ( all modified and ready to hook up to factory turbo-IC
(20V) and michelin man from IC to RR pressure pipe) for sale.  The noise
as loud as it is right now ruins the experience of driving an I-5 turbo.

Thanks again -
any other ideas keep 'em coming-

-----Original Message-----
From: Brandon Rogers [mailto:brogers at] 
Sent: Wednesday, October 25, 2006 4:31 PM
To: 'urq at'; 'quattro at'; '200q20v at'
Subject: alternator whine puzzle (X post) long

OK Guys - 
here is a frustrating one - bear with me.  Subject is an '84 urquattro
with 3B 20Vt motor.  The car still has a/c, the stock urq unit which is
a mini-York mounted on the driver side.  I recently installed a larger
intercooler from a 944 turbo.  This necessitated moving the alternator
from the stock location on the urq (on the passenger side) to the driver
side.  Most people who do this ditch a/c, but as noted I did not and
don't want to.  2Bennett makes a bracket (steel I think) that mounts the
alternator to the underside of the urquattro a/c compressor, allowing
for extra room on the passenger side for a big intercooler.
So I got the bracket, got hold of the proper alternator (thanks to
another Lister who had one in his basement collecting dust).  I mounted
it up, it charged fine, but it whined.  As revs would climb the whine
would get louder - loud enough to almost drown out a 20Vt with a test
pipe and no center resonator.  At idle, no noise.  Off the car,
alternator spun like butter.  But I figured a bearing was going bad due
to the noise.  Had new bearings installed - rebuilder did call me, BTW,
to tell me the unit worked fine but I told them to replace the bearings.
Reinstalled alternator.  No real difference - still whined.  Hmmmm.
Checked belt tension but this is clearly a mechanical whine.  Verifed by
another Lister later in this process.  So I drove the car WITHOUT the
alternator. No whine.  Okay good - must be the alternator.  Reinstall
alternator without voltage regulator.  Whines like before - ok gotta be
bearings.  So I went to a local salvage yard and got another used
alternator.  Mounted it - ran the car.  Whined like the other one.  Okay
could this be coincidence - 2 alternators with bad bearings?
So I checked the alignment of the alternator to the pulley - seemed
maybe slightly off so I took a grinder to one of the holes to line it up
best I could tell.  No real difference - still whined.
So I took the car back to the place that rebuilt the alternator - had a
guy ride with me to hear the noise.  He said it didn't necessarily sound
like bad bearings, but I informed him there is no noise with no
alternator.  His rebuilder said she has seen one or two over 20+ years
make noise and need a new body.  Told me to take it off and bring back
and they would rebuild and swap bodies - and since I had two alternators
I could provide another body - problem of course being both of those
units whined - so I was still a little hesitant.
Just to experiment, in case there was some sort of harmonic resonance
occuring or something??? I then installed a rubber sheet gasket between
the contact areas of the 2Bennett alternator bracket (it is a plate with
tabs hanging down) and the stock a/c compressor bracket.  This made
virtually no difference.
As luck would have it - another lister also had an alternator I could
try.  Well it whines too!  So 3 separate alternators whine.  I did take
the car out again prior to instal of alternator #3 to make sure the
whine was gone with no alternator.  This was the case.
ACKKKKKK!!!  How could a bracket or alternator placement make 3 separate
alternators whine!?!?!?  I talked to 2Bennett today and Andrew Bennett
said he's never heard of this.  That said, Andrew Finney had one of
these on his car and he did tell me his alternator was a little louder.
At this point I've asked 2B to send me a new one and I then send this
one back - hopefully they will follow through.
But more important - any idea what the heck could be going on??????  
ANY input appreciated.
Thanks for reading - I'm currently not receiving mail mail from the
"mother List" so if you reply from there please cc me - thanks!
'84 urquattro 20Vt
'01.5 S4
'98 A4 1.8Tq

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