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What is causing a whistling noise from the exhaust of my 2007 Subaru Forester?

Asked by Jack

What causes a whistling noise from muffler while accelerating under load in my '07 Subaru Forester? The whistling disappears at normal driving speeds. Performance doesn't seem to be affected. What happens if I ignore this?

Answered by CarsGuide

15 Sep 2020 David Morley

The whistling sound could be coming from some weird combination of acoustics within the muffler as it rots from within and begins to change shape internally. But more likely, what you’re hearing is the sound of a dying turbocharger bearing. Generally, these should be almost silent, but as they wear, they get louder and louder. The turbocharger sits inside the exhaust system, which is why you can hear it through the tailpipe.

Left to its own devices the bearing will eventually collapse, taking the turbocharger impeller/turbine with it. The bigger danger is that some of the small fragments of metal from the bearing will be free to enter the intake side of the turbocharger where they will be travel through the engine causing all kinds of destruction. That’s possibly what will happen if you ignore it.

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