timing beltAnswerI wouldn't think it would be the timing belt. In fact I thought (although I might be wrong) that most Saturns have steel timing chains.
I would suspect the noise is either the power steering pump or one of the serpentine belt tensioners.
In fact I had a loud whining in my 2000 Saturn and it was the bearing in the serpentine belt tensioner. We replaced it ourselves, it was not too bad of a job.AnswerIf the noise sounds like a jet engine turbine, it's probably the alternator getting ready to self-destruct. Check it by running the car and turning accessories (headlights,radio,wipers,etc.)on in sucession. If the noise gets louder with each accessory you add, think alternator. Answer(Former Saturn Service technician) I would say that if it't a high pitched whine that varies with engine speed, it is most likely the alternator. A lower pitched "whine" or "growling" might be the serp. belt Idler Pulley. In my experience, I never saw or heard of the tensioner pulley bearing faliing so most likely rule that out. A bad tensioner usually makes a "rattling" type sound and is accompanied with belt "squeal" AnswerMy loud whining noise in my 97 Saturn SL2 WAS my Idler Pulley! I replaced it for around $23 at O'Reilly Auto Parts, but the original owner said that it was making that noise when she bought it brand new from Memphis Saturn, so apparently this was a defect from the factory. Anyhow, it is now fixed and I can drive around without going crazy!
I have a 96 sc2 it wined like it was a power steering pump but it was the idler pulley. To find out if that is the issue is to grab all the pulleys one at a time and see if they are tight or not. Good luck it only cost $20 dollars for the idler puolly and that fixed my problem.
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