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As i'm on my second 166 i've noticed that the engine note when idling and when you use the accelerator seems a bit whinny when compared to the first car. The first car was a manual and this is an auto and this one has 50% more mileage. I'm not getting any knocks or tappet sounds but just wondered was the sound difference due to it being an auto or is the drive belt and the pulleys perhaps the cause of the problem? The cam belt was done 20,000 miles ago so i'm hoping it's not that.

Would appreciate thoughts on this.
 

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Almost certainly belts & pulleys - either cambelt or accessory could be doing it. I noticed a significant and pretty persistent change in tone on mine after I did the cam & accessory belts & idlers. It was much more whiny afterwards and still is 17k later. Initially I was a bit concerned, but concluded it was just 'like that' and left it alone. I convinced myself it was due to the belt having a better defined (less worn) tooth form and that made more noise.

If it really bothers you, you could pop off the accessory belt and see if/how much it changes and maybe go from there.

Probably smart to have a bit of a dig if it's excessive - a failing tensioner or idler isn't unknown and can lead to more serious issues if left.
 

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My cam belt tensioner whines if the belt tension is too high. (it's an old 12V though). Try squirting a bit of water on the ancillary belt while it's idling and see if the note changes briefly.
 
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