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loud whining noise (like tires on grated pavement)

Engine

Vehicle Information: Year: 1997; Engine (type, size, modifications): standard everything; Total Mileage: 30,010;

The whining is loudest at 2000 rpm. Going on level ground with accelerator pedal held stead and rpm at 2000 (50 mph) the sound is loud but disappears if either the accelerator is depressed further or let up. Once the speed matches the accelerator's new position (no increase load or load relief, just constant load), the whining appears again. It never happens in neutral gear coasting; only when the car is at constant speed without accelerating or decelerating. It appears to come from the engine. Is this an "air pump", something with loose bearings or idle arm? It's driving me crazy!!

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