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Old 10-23-2012, 05:14 PM   #1
bronc36
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Squealing serpentine belt

Hey everyone, My serpentine belt all of a sudden started making a very loud squeal that goes up and down with engine speeds. I can spray on belt dressing and it only stops for a couple seconds and comes back.

I took the belt off and it does have lots of small cracks in it. I will change that and see if it helps.

I took the belt off and turned all pulleys by hand and they feels smooth except the power steering, but that may be normal. Anyone know for sure if it would have a "bumpy" type feeling when you turn it by hand? Not bumpy like out of round, just not a smooth feeling when the pulley is turned.

My Bronco has also has a very dry sounding friction sound when it get very cold. Like a dry bearing when it gets below 20 degrees. Doesn't do it when it is warmer out.

I saw a few years back where someone posted the bearing numbers for the idler and tensioner pulleys. I wouldn't mind changing them out myself to save a few bucks. Anyone know the bearing numbers?
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Old 10-23-2012, 05:25 PM   #2
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thats normal im sure. replace rethe belt. it never hurts to. if its not the belt it. its alot easier to prelac ethe whole pully than try and repalce the bearings i would assume. theres a good chance ur smog pump can ause noises also
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Old 10-23-2012, 05:48 PM   #3
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Lot of times if all the pulleys seem fine it's fluid being dripped on the belt. Coolant psteer oil etc
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Old 10-23-2012, 07:52 PM   #4
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A new belt made all the difference in the world.

I do need to change the idler and tensioner pully. At least see if it still makes that dry bearing noise this winter.

The idler pully looks like about a $20 part, easy enough to just get the new part. But the tensioner looks like a $50 part. I may have to see how easily the bearing can be changed out in that one. Anyone know the bearing part # for that one?
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Old 10-23-2012, 08:06 PM   #5
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Defiantly check out the idler pulley. There is a lot of tension on the plastic pulley. The bearing insert might be starting to spin inside the pulley. Mine disintegrated at 60 mph. I carry a spare now as it started squeaking again. Just so you know, I'd bet a paycheck that on that "belt dressing" can, that it says "Not for use on serpentine belts"

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Old 10-23-2012, 10:20 PM   #6
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belt dressing is a temporarly fix. that and the fan makes it spray black crap all over everything.

i think that the idler and tenshioner use the same pully. what you saw for 50$ was probably the whole spring assembly inclueded. i could be wrong tho
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Old 10-23-2012, 10:39 PM   #7
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I replaced my tensioner in a quest to get mine to stop making noise, and it did absolutely nothing. As far as the belt goes, I found that after replacing mine 3 times with cheap parts store belts at the time, it squealed like a pig every time no matter the rpm, and the last one left me stranded. I ended up buying a goodyear gatorback about 2 years ago and that thing wont make a noise unless there is water being sprayed directly on it.
BTW, i work at a parts store and there is a reason there basic belts are usually only warrantied for 1 year
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Old 10-30-2012, 12:48 PM   #8
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I replaced my tensioner in a quest to get mine to stop making noise, and it did absolutely nothing. As far as the belt goes, I found that after replacing mine 3 times with cheap parts store belts at the time, it squealed like a pig every time no matter the rpm, and the last one left me stranded. I ended up buying a goodyear gatorback about 2 years ago and that thing wont make a noise unless there is water being sprayed directly on it.
BTW, i work at a parts store and there is a reason there basic belts are usually only warrantied for 1 year
Who makes the Gatorback/Goodyear I know but who stocks them. I checked online with O'reillys, Napa, Autozone and nothing. Is it a store phone call only? -Kevin-
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Old 10-30-2012, 12:49 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by bronc36 View Post
Hey everyone, My serpentine belt all of a sudden started making a very loud squeal that goes up and down with engine speeds. I can spray on belt dressing and it only stops for a couple seconds and comes back.

I took the belt off and it does have lots of small cracks in it. I will change that and see if it helps.

I took the belt off and turned all pulleys by hand and they feels smooth except the power steering, but that may be normal. Anyone know for sure if it would have a "bumpy" type feeling when you turn it by hand? Not bumpy like out of round, just not a smooth feeling when the pulley is turned.

My Bronco has also has a very dry sounding friction sound when it get very cold. Like a dry bearing when it gets below 20 degrees. Doesn't do it when it is warmer out.

I saw a few years back where someone posted the bearing numbers for the idler and tensioner pulleys. I wouldn't mind changing them out myself to save a few bucks. Anyone know the bearing numbers?
Look through (steve) bossind's threads from a few years back. He did the bearings in his '96 IIRC. -Kevin-
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Old 10-30-2012, 12:58 PM   #10
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Be sure to clean all pulleys with degreaser and a brush. Then apply a new clean belt. Never apply belt dressing. The tensioner and idler pulley do wear over time which necessitates replacement. IMHE, I have found Gates to be a better belt than the Goodyear Gatorback as it is much more robust and reduces squealing issues.
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Old 10-30-2012, 01:06 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by KC200787 View Post
Defiantly check out the idler pulley. There is a lot of tension on the plastic pulley. The bearing insert might be starting to spin inside the pulley. Mine disintegrated at 60 mph. I carry a spare now as it started squeaking again. Just so you know, I'd bet a paycheck that on that "belt dressing" can, that it says "Not for use on serpentine belts"

KC
Mine just started to make a really loud squeak as the rpm's increase a few days ago. I replaced the belt tensioner and the stock bracket it attaches to so they are good. I pulled the Motorcraft serp off last night and had my wife rev it, doesn't squeak at idle, and as she rev'd it there was no noise. Which is good because I though it was inside the motor. Now I just have to rule out a/c, p/s, and idler pulley. The pump is a new Sag and the idler has been replaced but not in a while. I pulled it last night too and saw that insert you are talking about but it threaded on okay, went in the bearing snugly, and the bearing felt smooth. Had a little leak from one of my duel return fittings on the Sag that was capped off pending hydro-boost in the future, so I replaced the cap with a piece of trans line and a brass fitting. Then I cleaned off the p/s pulley but maybe a Gatorback will help? Who stocks those?? Anyone know if it harms a new a/c compressor, filled with oil, if you don't have the system charged? The clutch spins without engaging so it seems like it is just "free spinning" and not binding since the power isn't hooked up. Could the Sag possibly having fluid slightly in the groves cause it to "High Pitch Squeal" when the motor is slowly rev'd but not at idle? I sprayed some brake clean on all the pulleys and wiped them off and wiped the belt too with some to remove the residual p/s fluid on it but after installing it the squeak was still there when rev'd. -Kevin-
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Old 10-30-2012, 01:10 PM   #12
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Be sure to clean all pulleys with degreaser and a brush. Then apply a new clean belt. Never apply belt dressing. The tensioner does wear over time which necessitates replacement. IMHE, I have found Gates to be a better belt than the Goodyear Gatorback as it is much more robust and reduces squealing issues.
Just a regular Gates? I have always run a Motorcraft and thought Gates were good aftermarket ones but second to Motorcraft. I just thought the Gatorback was suppose to be something special and good for ending squeaks. I can get emp cost on Ford stuff so if Gates (O'reilly Auto) is your choice is it better for this than Motorcraft Seattle? -Kevin-
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Old 10-30-2012, 06:48 PM   #13
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... The pump is a new Sag and the idler has been replaced but not in a while...Had a little leak from one of my duel return fittings on the Sag that was capped off pending hydro-boost in the future, so I replaced the cap with a piece of trans line and a brass fitting. Then I cleaned off the p/s pulley but maybe a Gatorback will help? Who stocks those?? Anyone know if it harms a new a/c compressor, filled with oil, if you don't have the system charged? The clutch spins without engaging so it seems like it is just "free spinning" and not binding since the power isn't hooked up. Could the Sag possibly having fluid slightly in the groves cause it to "High Pitch Squeal" when the motor is slowly rev'd but not at idle? I sprayed some brake clean on all the pulleys and wiped them off and wiped the belt too with some to remove the residual p/s fluid on it but after installing it the squeak was still there when rev'd. -Kevin-
Did this sound start after the p/s pump swap? How is the alignment of the pulleys afterward (to/from the sag pump).
A little bit of oil can make a helluva lot of noise on a belt.
As for who makes gatorback belts, IDK but the napa (in my area at least) stocks them.
The A/C pump will be fine as long as it isn't engaging and the pulley and spins free.

I would check for play on the other accessoys pulley's to make sure they're all in good shape. Bearings can make squeak/squeals too, not just belts

Hope this helps.

bronc36
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Old 10-31-2012, 12:02 AM   #14
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I had same problem with my wifes 1994 E350 Clubwagon, 5.8 after looking up belts at NAPA I noticed 2 belt sizes listed for the 5.8. One belt was 1/2 inch longer, (longer belt listed second, and for H/D) changed to longer belt no more squeal.
The shorter belt also killed the bearings in smog pump in about 3 months. Tensioner has a pointer to let you know if belt is tight enough (Ford tensioner makes a difference).
I've had a lot of Ford trucks/vans with the 5.8 squeals.
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Old 10-31-2012, 12:10 AM   #15
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motorcraft serp belts are the best, then gates in second. Gates makes a quality belt.
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Old 10-31-2012, 02:45 AM   #16
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I had same problem with my wifes 1994 E350 Clubwagon, 5.8 after looking up belts at NAPA I noticed 2 belt sizes listed for the 5.8. One belt was 1/2 inch longer, (longer belt listed second, and for H/D) changed to longer belt no more squeal.
The shorter belt also killed the bearings in smog pump in about 3 months. Tensioner has a pointer to let you know if belt is tight enough (Ford tensioner makes a difference).
I've had a lot of Ford trucks/vans with the 5.8 squeals.
You know it's funny. I've always used Ford tensioners and belts but never have I seen the pointer other than in pictures here. I don't know if they were only on production model parts because in 9 years I've replaced mine about 4 times and it hasn't been on there?
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Old 10-31-2012, 02:47 AM   #17
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motorcraft serp belts are the best, then gates in second. Gates makes a quality belt.
yeah, I've always used Motorcraft but was listening to everyone here rave about Gatorbacks for squealing issues so I thought I'd ask. -Kevin-
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Old 10-31-2012, 03:54 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by KC200787 View Post
Did this sound start after the p/s pump swap? How is the alignment of the pulleys afterward (to/from the sag pump).
A little bit of oil can make a helluva lot of noise on a belt.
As for who makes gatorback belts, IDK but the napa (in my area at least) stocks them.
The A/C pump will be fine as long as it isn't engaging and the pulley and spins free.

I would check for play on the other accessoys pulley's to make sure they're all in good shape. Bearings can make squeak/squeals too, not just belts

Hope this helps.

bronc36
Sorry for helping him in the hijack.
Thanks man.
Yeah, the pump has been on for about 8 months and the pulley alignment looks fine. I sprayed parts wash on all the 6-groove serp belt contact points related to pulleys. I even used a little to clean the belt. I put the belt back on and started her up and the squeak was still there. I took it back off, had my wife start it and rev it and no squeak. It's quiet at idle and increases as you rev it but it seems like you can rev it faster than the noise will keep up and gets quieter as the rpm's decrease. I bought the pump from Damon (plug ugly) and it has two returns so I capped one with a large heavy duty vacuum cap at the time. I'm guessing it may have had a slight pinhole develop under the hose clamp and lightly pissed a little fluid on the backside of the pulley because I wiped some old oil off the belt and p/s pulley. Not a ton but enough to wet the rag, actually more like black wet p/s fluid even though the fluid in the pump is clean, Mercon V.
I think I will spray the pulleys again and buy a new Motorcraft belt tomorrow, actually today! I removed the tensioner and the idler and the bearings look great. Tensioner even has a new mounting bracket behind it that mounts it and the alt and the smog delete pulley so it's completely tight. The pulleys are tight too and so is the stock smog pump delete pulley, alt, crank, h2O pump (just pulley the fan & clutch got replaced with electric), a/c, and even the p/s pulley. I have the van p/s & a/c bracket so the sag sits sideways pointing to the driver's side and the fluid is just coming up the base of the neck which I think is correct. I finally found a cap that fits the sag and the fluid level on the stick looks good but who knows. Anyone have a sag that doesn't sit straight up & down? If so, where is your fluid level? Does it need to be lower than the neck to circulate, kind of like the radiators do, or is it okay to have the main body full as well as just the beginning of the filler neck where the cap goes on? The fluid seems clean and I have a small fin cooler on it and rubber hose replacing most of the metal lines. -Kevin-
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Old 10-31-2012, 09:11 AM   #19
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You know it's funny. I've always used Ford tensioners and belts but never have I seen the pointer other than in pictures here. I don't know if they were only on production model parts because in 9 years I've replaced mine about 4 times and it hasn't been on there?
True.






DNBELOWBRONCO,

I just found the Goodyear Gatorback belt to be more easily contaminated with oil or coolant where the Gates seemed to be resistant minimizing slippage and sqeeks. The key is a clean belt with no dressing or contamination.
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Old 11-12-2012, 09:45 AM   #20
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mine squeals too but it is coming from the deleted pulley for the ac unit...
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