Chasing the elusive squeak - GM Forum - Buick, Cadillac, Chev, Olds, GMC & Pontiac chat


1992-1999 Series I L27 (1992-1994 SE,SLE, SSE) & Series II L36 (1995-1999 SE, SSE, SLE) and common problems for the Series I and II L67 (all supercharged models 92-99) Including Olds 88's, Olds LSS's and Buick Lesabres Please use General Chat for non-mechanical issues, and Performance and Brainstorming for improvements.

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Old 04-11-2011, 06:28 PM   #1
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Default Chasing the elusive squeak

Yesterday, I noticed a little, intermittent "chirp chirp chirp" at idle, but nice and quiet when I give it a little gas (>1000 RPM).

Now today, after my engine warmed up, the full-blown squealing came back at any speed under about 1200 RPM. Above that, nice and quiet. Except for the noise, she'* running better than ever.

The belt is a Gates, installed three weeks ago, and replaced a five-month-old no-name belt. The tensioner (with new idler) was installed two months ago. Every bolt holding on the tensioner and alternator is torqued to the recommended 22 ft-lbs. Changing the belt makes the noise disappear for a couple weeks, but it comes back despite no visible wear on the belt.

I can't pin down the source of the noise with my ear or stethoscope, like I could when the tensioner went, but it seems to be coming from the top rear of the engine (alternator, tensioner, etc. area).

Any ideas?
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Old 04-12-2011, 08:04 AM   #2
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Get a spray bottle with water. Drip a few drops on the belt while it'* squeaking. Does it go away? it'* either belt or tensioner

Spray some water right at the bearins one pulley, noise go away? Replace that pulley.
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Old 04-14-2011, 07:25 PM   #3
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Well, now that the rain'* out of the equation, I got around to spraying things. With some water on the belt, it quieted down for a couple seconds

I took a close look at the belt, and noticed a fair amount of cracks in the ribs, plus a lot of white-colored deposits in the valleys. This belt is not only a name-brand (Gates), but it'* only been running for about 1,500 miles!

I've noticed that the belt always rides on the outside of the tensioner pulley, as you can see in the picture. Even if I put the belt on the inside, it'll eventually drift to the outside. Could that mean anything? Misalignment?
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Old 04-21-2011, 12:33 AM   #4
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I love it when these problems resolve themselves.

While driving home today, I heard the most awful, gut-wrenching sound, so I pulled off the highway, shut off the car, popped the hood, and saw that the innermost rib of my belt was shredded.

The seller either lied about this belt being new, or it sat unused on a shelf for years before I installed it. Also, while spinning pulleys to make sure nothing seized, I noticed the alternator chirped when spun. A belt now and an alternator soon, and I should be quietly roaring my engine again.

I had a free tow and didn't have my sockets on me, so tomorrow I find out if I get to teach another repair shop about the motor mount spacer trick.
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Old 04-21-2011, 09:09 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SignOfZeta View Post
...so tomorrow I find out if I get to teach another repair shop about the motor mount spacer trick.
What is this motor mount spacer trick you speak of?
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Old 04-21-2011, 09:20 AM   #6
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What is this motor mount spacer trick you speak of?
The bottom leg of the side motor mount can be removed. Remove the 18mm nut and the threaded stud (8mm head); once you do that, the spacer can be wrestled out and the belt will just fall out.

Better than supporting the engine and tearing out the mount.

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Old 04-21-2011, 01:12 PM   #7
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I just got the car back from a bunch of crooks.

Firstly, I got charged $180 for a belt replacement. $60.47 for the belt and $100.15 for labor. Guess they didn't know the trick, but I didn't feel like teaching them.

Secondly, he suggested that my tensioner arm was bad and that I should pay them $450 to replace it, which I repeatedly declined every time he asked. He said they replaced the pulley, but I wasn't billed for it. I asked for the old one back, since I knew it was good, but he said they already threw it away and it couldn't be done.

On my way out, I casually mentioned that I replaced the tensioner assembly four months ago, and how it could go bad that fast. He had no answer. I just grabbed my keys and left.
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accessory belt, alternator, arm, idler, noise, pulley, serpentine belt, sound, squeak, squeal, tensioner

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