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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Dealt with this starting during the winter on my 3.5L Impala. Now that it is nicer out I spent some time trying to find where the noise was coming from. The belt is fine and not the issue. It is the pulley that is off the left side of the cam shaft (center basically of the belt path). I did get a look at it and there was some rust around the shaft area. Spraying with lubricating (WD40 type) helped for a bit, but then back to the dried out rust look as seen in the photo after a few more days. So either taking it off and getting some lube in it better than just some spray?? Or just go and get a new replacement pulley mounted up as the best long term solution. (I can drown it out with the radio on, notice it much more with the window(s) down and or outside the car with it running of course.)
 

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Or just go and get a new replacement pulley mounted up as the best long term solution?
That gets my vote.

FWIW, I don't think these are really designed to be lubed.

Is this one mounted on a spring loaded arm? In some cases, you can replace only the wheel, if you can find it, rather than replacing the whole wheel/arm assembly.

HTH.

Doug

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The GM V-6 and V-8 engines have tensioner pulleys (to maintain constant, consistent pressure on the serpentine belt) and also idler pulleys (to provide a glide path).

It is very common for the idler pulleys to fail. There is a bearing race seal on back side which fails, and the grease slowly migrates out. It is not repairable, and must be replaced.

Remove the serpentine belt, then remove the idler pulley (most have a 15 mm nut). I have replaced many on GM cars - do not “cheap out” and buy a China-made, aftermarket part. The ACDelco parts are very reasonably priced, are high quality, and last a long time.

When you remove the idler pulley, look at the back side. You may see streaks of dry, black grease - which indicate a failed seal.

If the tensioner or idler pulley gets real bad, they can cause the pulley to seize, locking up the serpentine belt and ruining it (and stranding you).

The tensioner pulleys are replaced in the same way, but usually have several bolts holding them. If you watch them while the engine is idling, you will see them shake and vibrate slightly. That wears out the bearing. If you remove the belt, you can use your hand to push on the tensioner, to hear if it is squeaking. This is not a fail-safe method to check it. The tensioner pulley can be bad, or the spring-loaded tensioner (or both).
 
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