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Doug
Doug, ASE Certified Technician
Category: Mitsubishi
Satisfied Customers: 8538
Experience:  Mitsubishi employed and Factory trained ASE certified technician
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Have a 2004 Outlander AWD 140,000 miles, has a gh pitch

Customer Question

have a 2004 Outlander AWD 140,000 miles , has a high pitch whining sound similar to a tea kettle. But you take you foot of the gas it stops.
JA: Thanks. Can you give me any more details about your issue?
Customer: It is really obvious when you are at a constant speed . I do not hear it when the car is parked and you hit the gas
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Submitted: 10 months ago.
Category: Mitsubishi
Expert:  Doug replied 10 months ago.

Hi,

Can you identify if the sound seems to be more coming from the front or from the rear of the vehicle?

Customer: replied 10 months ago.
front of the car more left side engine
Expert:  Doug replied 10 months ago.

Thanks.
Is there any change in pitch when you turn left or right, particularly at upper speeds?

Customer: replied 10 months ago.
no tried that , the sound only stops if you take your foot off the gas , slight touch off the gas pedal the whine comes right back
Expert:  Doug replied 10 months ago.

Thanks.

If you place the vehicle in gear and apply the brake pedal and parking brake firmly, then give it a little gas do you still not hear it unless the vehicle is moving?

Customer: replied 10 months ago.
Correct , I only hear it when the car is not accelerating hard , I think the engine noise covers it up .
I just tried the brake and a little gas and did not hear it
Expert:  Doug replied 10 months ago.

Thanks.

Given the sound you describe and when it is occurring, it almost sounds like it could be the transfer case whining, a somewhat common complaint. When they do that it is a high pitch tone and only heard on throttle. The second you let off the gas the load comes off the unit and it quiets down.

Are you able to elevate the car (like on four jack stands, or a hoist etc) and run the vehicle so it can be listened to with a stethoscope in action?

Customer: replied 10 months ago.
no , but I am bringing this car back to where I bought it , I have had the mechanic drive the car an he no solid idea what it is . I am not a car guy , will this sound if it is the transfer case lead to more serous problems in the future ?
Expert:  Doug replied 10 months ago.

I understand.

Have them elevate the vehicle and "drive" it up to speed so it can be heard, then they can listen underneath with a stethoscope and listen specifically at:
Transfer case
Transmission (Around differential area and bottom/center)
Drive shaft carrier bearings
Back side of front knuckles (where axle goes through the brakes etc)

From the sound of it with it relieving when you let off the gas that is very strongly leaning toward the transfer case.
There are two ways this can occur... either from gear lash wear between the ring and pinion and from viscous coupler damage (if the vehicle was ever towed with any tires on the ground it will damage the coupler).
In either scenario it isn't common to get to a point to leave you stranded, however it will usually worsen over time and will definitely not go away.

If the vehicle was recently purchased and you are under any sort of agreement on condition of the vehicle etc... you definitely want to get this addressed by them ASAP. Of course that would go the same even if it were something else (wheel bearing, carrier bearing, etc), but all the more true if it is the transfer case since they are pretty expensive.
Regardless.... the stethoscope inspection is required to figure out exactly what it is... then decisions can be made.

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