turbo whine/whistle - Volvo XC40 Forum
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Old 01-23-2019, 06:37 PM Thread Starter
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turbo whine/whistle

I just purchased a 2019 T5 R-Design and am in need of other drivers' experiences with what appears to be a whistling noise associated with the turbo engine. I brought the vehicle back to the dealer and, despite them hearing the noise as well, they claim it's normal. As many of us know, there's a plethora of info online relating to turbo engines and almost all whistling/whining/siren noises are as a result of broken parts, seals, etc. My primary concern is that there's something wrong with the engine and I'll inevitably have to deal with a much larger problem.

But I'm also bothered by the noise - frankly, it's annoying, especially in a new, luxury vehicle. I test drove two (2) other XC40 and did not hear the noise.

It would be very helpful if others could tell me if they hear any whistling/whining from their engines while accelerating.

I have an audio recording of the whistling but the file type is not compatible with this website - I can send it directly if anyone wants to hear it.

Thanks for the help.
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Old 01-24-2019, 08:23 AM
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Is it whistling just under acceleration or all the time? I doubt on a new car that its a turbo related issue but you could have an exhaust leak somewhere. What happens if you rev in neutral?
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Old 01-24-2019, 12:23 PM Thread Starter
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It whistles just under acceleration. In most cases, the RPM needs to approach 2,000 for the whistling to start. I cannot hear any whistle while revving in neutral.
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Old 01-24-2019, 12:42 PM Thread Starter
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Perhaps I should have them look at the exhaust. I found the following video and the sound is similar to what I'm hearing from my vehicle:


If there's no problem at all, could it simply be the vehicle's normal "turbo spool?"
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Old 01-24-2019, 05:34 PM
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Sometimes independent shops are better at giving advice or some idea of what it could be.

They are more hands on and more technical than dealership techs so if you're looking for a second opinion that might be one possible route.
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Old 01-25-2019, 08:11 AM
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If this is similar to the noise that you are hearing it does sound like a leak somewhere in the piping. You may hear the intake pulling in air, but I don't think there should be any whining.
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Old 01-25-2019, 05:01 PM
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Ultimately at the end of the day its our best guess and even if you hear some of it from the cabin, its only part of the story. Hopefully its not a sign of Geely cutting back.
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Old 01-31-2019, 02:27 PM
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The high pitched whine in the video is mostly the sound of the turbo compressor as it spins which is natural but not typically heard from inside the car. The intake normally muffles the majority of the noise. When you let off the gas after hard acceleration there is also normally a whooshing noise when a bypass/blow off valve opens to let excess boost recirculate and this is typically often heard.

Turbos typically will only spool up under load so if it's the turbo you shouldn't hear it while the car is in park no matter much you rev it. Gentle acceleration will also not spool up a turbo so you shouldn't hear it then also.

An intake air leak between the turbo and engine is usually not audible and typically results in a check engine light or black smoke from the tailpipe due to the engine running rich from air being lost. Leaks in the exhaust are also not typically audible over regular engine noise but it's something you might be able to smell. Intake air leaks before the turbo are also not typically audible.

When I test drove the XC40 I didn't really notice the turbo whine but I wasn't really listening for it. I have a 27 year old Mitsubishi and the turbo whine is noticeable but you have to be listening for it. I also have a 13 year old MINI and the supercharger whine is definitely noticeable and normal.
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Old 02-04-2019, 03:38 AM
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This is one of the reasons I can't wait for an all electric Volvo that IMO will help it be a Volvo to a greater extent.
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Old 02-06-2019, 07:09 PM
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From the description, I'm 99% sure that it's just normal turbo spooling sounds, which is otherwise known as turbo whistle. I've owned many turbo cars in my life and most of the newer ones don't have much in the way of turbo whistle because manufacturers tend to go to great lengths to insulate the passengers from those sounds. However, I love hearing a turbo spooling up. My turbo Audi basically has zero turbo spooling sounds and that saddens me. I actually removed the turbo Miller to get a bit of the spooling sounds. As for the XC40, the prominent turbo whistle had been mentioned in many, many reviews.
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