1999 E34 2.5L I-6 (323i) ~3,000rpm engine whine - normal?

As the subject says, I have a '99 323i that makes a distinctive whine at approximately 3,000 rpm (changes with load) sounding like a whistle/whine coming from around the intake area of the engine.
As this car is new to me, the previous owner said it's normal and the local dealer also said this is not uncommon.
What is the group's opinion on this audible nuance?
Any tips on reducing or eliminating this distraction would be helpful.
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Don't wish to be pedantic but that's not an E34.
--

jeremy

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Agree, but you have have told him that a 1999 3 series is an E46! Good car. If you hear a whistling or whining from teh intake area, you should first look for a vacuum leak.
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says...

Would have done if I had known... I have spent the last year as a Mercedes owner and consequently have lost touch with all the BMW E numbers.
Now it's all W210 this, W211 that...
--

jeremy

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bfd wrote:

Okay, sorry I was working from <a failed> memory on the "E" number.
However, I am familiar with vacuum leaks and this does not sound like any I've ever heard before. Rather than try to describe exactly the noise, if anyone can just confirm what I believe in that the BMW engineers would never design a car and allow a loud whistle-like noise at appprox. 3,000 rpm - not noticed at any other rpm range or with transmission (manual) disengaged.
I've had two independent people say it's "not abnormal" but I would think they are full of it. Are they?
Thanks.
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KJ wrote:

While I have an E36 (1997) I would assume this noise is NOT normal on your car either. Does it have an after-market air cleaner on it? If not, then look for a vacuum leak, or perhaps one of the idler pulleys for the fan belts is bad. Though by saying you don't hear the noise when reving in neutral, it appears that engine needs to be under load (torqued over, and really sucking wind) to produce the noise - really suggests a vacuum leak on the intake. Would think it would throw a code though and 'possibly' set your check engine light. Maybe a crack somewhere ahead of the MAF sensor? This would not throw a code.
Good luck
Frank
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Raybender wrote:

that this shouldn't be normal. I have no engine error codes, perhaps, oddly enough.
Stock intake and OEM air filter...very few aftermarket parts on the car.
I'll look for some cracks or maybe do some smoke, soapy water, or garden hose tests later now that I know my sanity is fine.
Thanks all.
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I have a 97 M3 that had a periodic whistling/whining noise that drove me crazy. It was not RPM specific as you state, but it turned out to be the idler pully that is mounted to the alternator. Hope that helps
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