whineing punto - Jeremy
I own a 1997 Punto 60S which has done 75000 miles and has been trouble free until recently. This month it has had to have a new head gasket, water pump, thermostat and a pair of rear wishbone suspension bushes.

It has just developed a loud whineing sound when first driven from cold. The noise comes only when accelerating & stops after about five minutes. After this the car is fine.

The comments about the whistling volvo (backroom 07-09-01) sounded like a similar problem. I took the car to the local fiat garage. They checked the car out and charged me sixty quid to say they couldn't find anything wrong - and that the air idle by pass mechanism was fine. I think the noise seems to be coming from the engine??

Any ideas??
Whining punto - David Lacey
Could be an alternator bearing on its way?

Or a cambelt tensioner wheel?

A mate had a VW Golf which would whine loudly from cold for 4 or 5 miles or so.

I pointed my finger at the alternator - took the belt off and asked him to try it for a couple of days. He was only doing local runs so battery power wasn't a problem.

Result? Noise still there. Further investigation revealed the cambelt tensioner screaming away. New tensioner & cambelt, all was well for evermore.
The old tensioner was so tight you could hardly turn it by hand.

Get this checked out ASAP or you could be in for some big bills.


Re: Whining punto - David Woollard

If engine sourced noise the timing belt tensioner my long shot too. I'm sure you know/find a new or re-tensioned belt will soon find out an old tensioner on its last legs.

Could also be the new water pump has a duff bearing affecyted by heat.

But we do need to know if the noise comes from the car with just the engine runnning, if it happens only when going along the road does it still happen if you take it out of gear and kill the engine?

Re: Whining punto - honest john
David Lacey illustrated the difference between solid steel timing belt tensioners and plastic tensioners surrounding a steel bearing. The solid ones give you plenty of warning that the bearing is on the way out. But what happens with the plastic ones is that as soon as the bearing starts to wear and heat up, it shatters the plastic outer wheel and off comes the timing belt with no warning.

Re: Whining punto - Jeremy
Thanks for all these ideas.

When the head gasket was replaced a month ago, at our local Fiat Main Dealer in Cheltenham, they changed the cambelt & I would be surprised if they hadn't spotted the worn tensioner. Incidently the whining had started about a month before the head gasket went, so happened with both old & new water pumps.

There is no noise when the engine is cut - noise is only apparent on quite harsh acceleration.
Re: Whining punto - Richard Hall
I had an Astra which made a whining noise. I never managed to work out what it was. A friend of mine listened to it for a few seconds, sprayed some WD40 on the alternator drive belt and the whining noise stopped. Worn alternator belt - I was almost too embarrassed to thank him. Worth checking - the belt is under most load from a cold start while the battery is being recharged.
Re: Whining punto - Bill Doodson
Worn alternator belt will squeal, if the pulleys worn as well it tends to sit at the bottom on the vee belt pulley and slip on the side walls rather than grip. New belt, and then advertise as good runner, make sure its warm before the prospective purchaser arrives. Immoral but then its the clutch or gearbox next!

Re: Whining punto - honest john
Apparently there is a new Punto recall for rusting brake pipes and an airbag problem. See car by car breakdown.

Re: whineing punto - tim
Cannot comment on the whingeing but the rear suspension bushes also failed on my (identical) Punto recently, The entire suspension arms had to be replaced at a cost of nearly £500 including labour because apparently the bushes themselves cannot be renewed. Did you manage to get just the bushes replaced?
Re: whineing punto - Jeremy
Yes Tim, I think you're right. My costs for two rear-suspension bushes was 450 quid, but that included four and a half hours labour (part were under 150 pounds)

I have to say that the car by car Breakdown section is scarily accurate on the Punto. Let's hope your head-gasket doesn't go. They charged me 670 pounds to replace that.

A month ago I was a big punto fan, I'm beginning to have my doubts now.
Re: whineing punto - Richard Hall
£670 for a head gasket change? Unbelievable. If this is the engine I think it is (1.1 FIRE, as first appeared in the Fiat Uno 60) it is designed to be assembled by robots. That means it has very few bolts holding it together and they are all easy to get to. My mother could change a FIRE head gasket in 30 minutes using a bicycle spanner.

It seems that an unusually high number of queries on this forum relate to Citroens and Fiats. What does this say about the reliability of (a) the cars and (b) the dealership networks?

Value my car