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Engine High Pitch Noise

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Hi Crew,

I recently purchased a used 2015 22VLX. The first time on the water I noticed a very high pitch noise coming from the engine area when I put the boat in gear at idling speeds. When I would speed up the sound went away. At first I thought it was a fluke but it happened every time. Boat in gear at idling speeds, high pitch sound, then went away when I sped up. I brought the boat to the dealer but they are telling me they can’t replicate in their shop. This concerns me as I’m really hoping I don’t have A transmission issue. I owned a 2012 21VLX prior to this boat and never heard it make this type of sound. Has anyone experienced this? Any feedback or recommendations would be greatly appreciated. 



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can you recreate the issue on a fake-a-lake?  only happening while the boat is in gear does make me think you have a bearing going out in either the drive or the transmission.  assuming that you and the dealer checked all fluid levels and there is no oil or fluid collecting in the bilge. 

if you can't recreate on the FAL, next move is to go on the water with a buddy. stick your head in the engine compartment and have your buddy shift into gear and see if you can identify the source of the noise.  

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My first thought would be the serpentine belt.  Idle in gear slows the engine from idle in neutral and also increases the load on the alternator.

Easiest way to check is to just open the hatches and remove the pizza tray.  Have someone drive in idle and see if you can identify the source.  If that isn't it then shut the hatches, remove the rear middle seat and the tray and listen there.

Edited by oldjeep
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 Thank you all for the great feedback. I’ll talk to the dealer about this as well as try some of these things on my own. Really hoping it’s just a simple fix. Thanks again for all your help. I’ll keep you posted.....


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My vote would be prop sing based on your description.  Take a look at the trailing edge of each of your prop blades.  They should be squared off.  If they're knife-edge sharp like the leading edge, it's almost guaranteed to sing at idle.  There are some shops that will fail to square off the trailing edges when they repair a prop, and they'll sing (ask me how I know....).  You can do some light filing yourself to get rid of it (but it's not for the faint of heart).  A good prop shop can fix the prop to not sing (if it's singing).  Like mentioned above, if you have a spare prop to try, it's pretty easy to rule out one way or the other.

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  • 3 weeks later...

@CoryE Late reply here....but if someone ran the boat and put it in gear out of the water (even if hooked up to the hose) the cutlass bearing inside the strut that supports the drive shaft under the boat just before where the prop is mounted is lubricated by water. If run in gear without water lubrication, it can make that "whining" sound at certain lower rpm's after that. 

Prop sing is very likely, just putting this out there in case that does not end up being what is causing the noise.

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