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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey Guys,

I have an intermittent chirp that comes from my car on the passenger side when the car is cold and just started (I live in MN and it's been in negative temperatures pretty consistently as of late).

Initially I was certain it was the Serpentine Belt, but I wanted to ask "the brethren" before I go and replace it right away.

After reading a few other posts it sounds like the chirp could also be the bearings of the various components that are driven by the belt.

Does anyone have any suggestions as to what I should do to properly diagnose this?

And also, does anyone have a proper diagram of the replacement of the belt? I have one from O'Reilly's, but the diagram has no descriptions for what the components are - it's just a blank sheet with circles and a line going around them.

Thanks in advance.
 

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Problems can be hard at times to track down. One way to do it may not be the same or right way for another....

The way in most cases that I was able to tell if a belt is bad. Don't help when TEMP is really low... But I take a squirt bottle and only very little water is needed. If it is the belt once you Squirt it once or twice the belt goes back to normal or lower in sound in some extreme cases.

However if you get it to get louder then the Tension on the belt is to little. Could be a bad Belt or tension pully both should be replaced.

There is also the ability that your Belt isn't aligned right. This could be by a bad pully set screw, changed out pump for one that wasn't set with the pulley push back on to the right area.

When doing the spray test. At times if you are not close enough to the problem area. It could be there is no change. Look for a belt area with the shortest run. Spray that area to see if sound goes away. IF it does then you have found the area that needs to be addressed.

James
 

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I had this happen on my Silverado, and it turned out that the alternator bearings were dry and worn. As soon as I slipped the belt off and tried to turn the pulley by hand it was obvious.

It could be the belt is old or the tensioner is wore causing a misalignment, or the idler pulley of the tensioner. One went bad on a vehicle I had, and I don't even remember which one is was, it was decades ago.

Either the idler pulley or the tensioner are cheap easy fixes; the alt is gonna cost, but they aren't too bad to change if you are patient.

There should be a graphic on the bulkhead over the radiator for belt mounting/routing, or maybe in your manual. If not, Google is your friend.
 

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^+1 on the belt routing sticker underhood. May grab a mechanic's stethoscope at Harbor Freight Tools for <$5 and carefully listen to each belt driven component at idle. The culprit will be easy to hear. May also remove the belt and turn ea. pulley by hand feeling/listening for bearing roughness. With the belt off, may start the car for a few seconds to see if the noise is gone or still present. If you swap out the serp. belt, I'd recommend the Continental Elite (Goodyear Gatorback) from Rockauto online. You can also order any needed components cheaper there. ^ James's water spray test is a good test to see if the belt only is the cause of the chirp. If after spraying/spritzing the underside/gripping side of belt, the noise subsides momentarily but resumes, it's a good chance it's just the belt. Good luck.
 

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Sorry at time I try and explain the best that I can and at times what I do for testing isn't best explained by me.. So I thought I would share a video that can explain what i was talking about... Looking over my post, All was there in a degree lol But in a Scattered brain way of trying to explain my thoughts. So Gates also uses the Spray test and maybe with them showing how it is done and better explain what I was trying to relay in my first post...

Hope you find this helpful

James
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Hey guys,

Thanks again for all of the thoughts. The belt replacement was even easier than I thought.

When I had the belt off I spun and wiggled each of the components driven by the belt and none of them were loose, showed any sign of abnormal wear, or made any additional noises.

We'll see how it goes, but I think for now it's good to go.

This video helped a lot, and it also has a diagram half way through that is actually labeled.


Thanks
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
So, I'm still getting a chirp periodically and I think it's coming from the top idler pulley. Sounds like I'll need to replace that too.

If anyone has some direction to give on that I'd take it.
 

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You can spray a little shot of WD40 or some other spray lube at the idler/tensioner pulleys while the engine is running g and see if the chirp stops. You have to be careful not to spray too much or get your hand caught anywhere. A quick shot is all you need to quiet the pulley. Of course you will have to stand there with the engine running and waiting.

For curiosity, what did the old belt look like when you removed it? Did it look glazed or worn more in one spot than anywhere else on it?
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thanks, I'll give that a try - that make a lot of sense.

The old belt looked fine actually. I was a little confused when I took it off.
 
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