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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
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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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
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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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
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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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
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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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
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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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
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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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
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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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
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.
So if the fins were damaged, would the sound continue? Or would the water pump cease to properly cool then engine? Would I notice the temperature gauge go up past operating temps?
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
The sound would no keep going on. It would make it then free spin. Again at first that came to mind. I however not sure that it is that unless as stated by worthirt it could be that the damage was done but didn't break it down all the way and the grinding you hear is the broken fins in the pump area. However without the Belt and turning the Water pump will clear that up... IF you are able to turn the water pump without a grind or without problem. Meaning it spins well by hand then it isn't the issue....

James
That kinda sucks... As I did free spin the water pump several times in both directions. I heard no grinding noise. I will trying again by spinning it faster... I'd hate to say it, but I'm hoping that is the problem. Or else I'm pretty much back to square one.
 

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Discussion Starter · #24 ·
The altinator noise does sound like it actuallly.

I decided to leave the car running for 40 min while monitors all gauges. As the vehicle was left at operating temps the noise became extremely faint. And then something really weird happened. The temp gauge went DOWN a single tick. As if it just got a burst of coolant.
 

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Discussion Starter · #28 ·
Thanks. I also noticed my front engine fans no longer engage at operating temp... most likely a faulty sensor. Just another thing that needs fixing. Im takig it to a trusted mechanics shop today after work. If he cant help ill have the alt tested at and auto parts store, as you suggested
 
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