2004 impala base model belt grinding noise - Chevy Impala Forums
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post #1 of (permalink) Old 01-07-2017, 08:27 PM Thread Starter
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2004 impala base model belt grinding noise

I was sadly unable to make a video for this issue.

But basically, I was driving my car just fine last night in about 28 weather with no issues on startup or cold starts. And that's normally the temperature I start my car in the mornings for work. Today was the coldest day in Alabama, dropped to around 10 to 15... now upon startup the engine would make a grinding noise. My first thought was just low oil pressure. Upon checking I found I had low oil but not bad enough to cause the noise, I filled it up to spec. Noise persisted. I let the car run to operating temperature, noise became quite but was still noticeable especially when I opened the hood.

Upon inspection during noise, I localized the sound to the belt system. Someone suggested that my belt is bad and the cold weather just made the sound more noticeable. I wanted everyone's opinion on this. P.S. I have not tried a cold start in warm weather as the problem was noticed this morning during the 15 weather.


2004 Chevy Impala, base model.

Purchased with 144,000 miles, noise accrued at around 148k miles
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post #2 of (permalink) Old 01-07-2017, 08:46 PM
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Check the individual pulleys, bet there is a bearing starting to go on one of them. Most likely is the tensioner pulley or the idler pulley. My guess it that the cold is the "trigger" for it. Check all the others while you are at it. Belts usually make a "squealing" noise as they become loose, so I'm leaning away from the belt. Check it too though.

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post #3 of (permalink) Old 01-07-2017, 08:54 PM Thread Starter
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Could you guess on how long I have before on of the pulleys locks and snaps the belt? (This is my daily driver)

Also, where would be the easiest place to just buy it right away? I'd rather not have to order an entire pulley assembly off the Internet and have to wait for delivery. Would autozone maybe have them in fairly constant stock?
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post #4 of (permalink) Old 01-07-2017, 09:01 PM
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Most of your big box stores (Autozone and the like) will have that stuff in stock. As to how long, I couldn't really say. Before you throw any money at it, check to see what the problem is. If there wasn't an issue until it got really cold, you most likely have a little bit.

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We have a full tank of gas, half a pack of cigarettes, it's dark and we're wearing sunglasses.
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post #5 of (permalink) Old 01-08-2017, 12:37 PM Thread Starter
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Update: pulled the belt off and tested each pulley. All the pulleys acted as the should, except for the Power Steering pulley. I wasnt familiar with how stiff it should be. It doesnt free spin like the other pulleys, when given a hard spin it slows down real quick and stops.

I was curious as to if this was a natural stiffness of the P/S pulley?
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post #6 of (permalink) Old 01-08-2017, 01:35 PM Thread Starter
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2nd update: I decided to put some pressure on the system. Obviously when revving the noise in the belt system becomes louder. But upon turning the car while idle the sound becomes REALLY loud. I wasn't sure if it was just more tension being applied to the belt when the Power Steering engaged. Or if it's the Power Steering itself, going bad.
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post #7 of (permalink) Old 01-08-2017, 01:52 PM
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Most times your PS is under high pressure and would be hard to turn with the cap on. Maybe even hard with it off... However if you think it is a PS issue when your car is running and it is making that noise does it get worse when you turn your steering wheel? Any time I have ever tested the pumps I always used a PS inline tester.. Goes inline with your High Pressure line and with the car jacked up you turn the wheel lock to lock while testing the line. Should be within specs of the pump. If when locked it don't go to max or even much higher then it was while running I would replace the pump...

Other then that, It would be hard to know what the issue is... In rare cases it could be a spun main bearing. Without knowing what the turning of the steering does it is hard to guess...

All the pulleys were ok? None had back and forth movement? The water pump moved free without noise? the Alt moved free without any play in the pully?

Sorry hard to guess without it being in front it...

James

It isn't what you Drive that matters, It is how you drive it.

James
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post #8 of (permalink) Old 01-08-2017, 02:15 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks, James.

Right now like i said the noise become louder upon steering idle. But i dont have an inline tester handy. As of testing again about an hour ago, the water pump pulley almost acted as it was wobbling while the engine was idle. However upon spinning it and attempting to move it, it had no play and it spun fine with no odd noises... considering i have only basic mechanical knowledge. I decided to break down and have a mechanic look at it in a couple days. I have had thoughts of just replacing all the pulleys and the belt, but would that be over doing it?
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post #9 of (permalink) Old 01-08-2017, 02:26 PM
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Yeah I don't do the Replace everything Method... Sadly if there is a problem with a Pump or something other then the pulley or belt your just wasting money...

If you don't know when the car had the last belt or it looks bad (Underside of belt has cracks in the ridges all over not just one here and there. I would for sure replace belt...

IT could even be a pully out of alignment. Hard to say..

James

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James
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post #10 of (permalink) Old 01-08-2017, 02:49 PM Thread Starter
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So there would be a chance its the belt itself?
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post #11 of (permalink) Old 01-08-2017, 03:59 PM
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Problem with the Belts is they can be an issue. It is rare not to have signs of being bad. But they can over time have a problem that makes them make noise. However a problem with Grinding, That sounds like more of an issue then a belt.

One you said that the weather was very low. What does your coolant level look like? was it done with Good 50/50 mix or was it only filled with Water? I ask this because I have done some repairs on friends cars that do to not having right mix for the weather froze the line and destroyed the water pump fins. That was my first thought when you said grinding...

If your system is 50/50 or better and your water pump moves the water while running then it is a good chance that isn't the issue.

BELT sounds isn't grinding. If it is ongoing to me sounds like a different issue then a belt. Squeal or squeak is good belt being bad sound.

If you look at the underside of the belt. Where the grooves are and there is cracks on all rows and all over change out the belt. (Or I would anyway) However if it isn't a belt issue, Won't really help much with the Grinding problem...

James

It isn't what you Drive that matters, It is how you drive it.

James
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post #12 of (permalink) Old 01-08-2017, 05:08 PM Thread Starter
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I'm not positive on the coolant before the problem arose. I know when the problem started I had noticed the coolant recovery res was almost empty so I filled it to the cold line with a 50/50 mixture. Not sure what was in before.
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post #13 of (permalink) Old 01-08-2017, 05:45 PM
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what kind of coolant did you put in? I know you said 50/50, but there are different kinds and most of them don't mix well. Your car came stock with Dexcool (orange in color), if you put the "green" stuff into it, your coolant will turn into a sludge and the only way to get it out is flush it all.

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post #14 of (permalink) Old 01-08-2017, 07:22 PM Thread Starter
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what kind of coolant did you put in? I know you said 50/50, but there are different kinds and most of them don't mix well. Your car came stock with Dexcool (orange in color), if you put the "green" stuff into it, your coolant will turn into a sludge and the only way to get it out is flush it all.
Before I added anything I noticed the coolant color was kinda pinkish. I added Dexcool into it, but I added a version of dexcool that was already at a 50/50 mixture, also a pink color. So I'm assuming that may have been similar to what was in it before.

We are supposed to have warmer weather this week, up in the 50 to 70 range. Should I let the car sit in the heat and if there is ice in the system from an improper mixture, would I thaw it enough?
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post #15 of (permalink) Old 01-08-2017, 07:29 PM
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It would thaw when the car warmed up actually, as coolant usually gets to 190+ degrees. If the water pump fins were damaged as James pointed out, If the coolant was to thaw now, it doesn't matter as the damage has been done.

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