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I am particularly interested in the following August 2009 post by Phoenix:
"As for the whine, our 2002 Prius makes a whining noise at a specific speed (can't recall, but I think it's about 40-45 mph) that comes out of the hybrid module. It's not noticeable with the air conditioner or heater running, or when not driving at that speed. But, when I've got the windows down, you can hear it pretty good. In this case, it is probably a transformer or large capacitor "singing", because there is so much power going through there. But, it hasn't affected the reliability; we just passed 100,000 miles."

Our 2002 Prius, with 122K miles, now makes this sound. Once we reach 40 mph, it sounds like a crop dusting airplane is overhead. Now that we are accustomed to hearing the noise, we recognize it all the time at that speed. Does Phoenix have an update? Has his car developed any problems? Does anyone else have experience with problem? We notice no differences in how the car drives. All seems fine, but the noise is atypical for the usually quiet Priuses.
 

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It's one of the wheel bearings. Mine was the driver side front . Hub with bearing only 44 bucks. The rear one started the wiring airplane noise. 31 bucks auto zone and easy to replace.
 

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It's one of the wheel bearings. Mine was the driver side front . Hub with bearing only 44 bucks. The rear one started the whirring airplane noise. 31 bucks auto zone and easy to replace.
Quite as a mouse. No road noise at all 280k miles and counting
 
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