belt squeal; need help in narrowing down the problem (vid included) [Archive] - GrandAmGT.com Forum

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optional toast
07-10-2012, 01:34 PM
long time lurker here thanks to liberal use of the "search" button, but in this case it's time to post :wave:

i'm the original owner of my 2003 grand am GT. i've had belt squeal for about 6 months now. it was barely noticeable when it started and had gotten much worse. i had my alternator replaced about 5 months ago and immediately after that the squeal got worse. i took my car right back to the shop and they said the belt was bad (it was) so they changed it out. after that the squeal was gone but only for a few days (i didnt bother going back to the shop again for reasons i wont go into here).

the squeal came back and has only gotten worse over time. since then i've become much more comfortable working on my car. my water pump just went out so this past weekend i replaced the water pump and while the belt was off i also replaced the tensioner as it was stock and the pulley did make some noise when moved by hand, so i thought that might be the issue. unfortunately this didnt solve the problem and now i'm not sure where to go next.



all of the free spinning pulleys seem to move smoothly and i noticed no deformations on the water pump pulley when it was off. the one i'm focusing on now is (i believe) the power steering pulley, or in laymans terms "the one on top with three holes that looks like a movie reel". it does not make excessive noise when spun by hand but since this one does not spin freely its difficult to assess anything from that. one thing i did notice is when the belt is off there is very slight movement if you move it sideways (we're talking a few mm, not much) but i'm not sure if that is normal.

anyone have any idea if that could be the cause or should i start elsewhere? i'm aware the wrong belt size can also cause issues but i dont think thats it, as when i release the tension to put it back on i can just get it over the pulleys, but who knows i could be wrong. any input would be appreciated

(please note i am aware there is a little coolant spill below the overflow, just replaced a faulty tank and some hoses as precaution and hadn't cleaned up yet)

www.youtube.com/watch?v=r1SkwGzKVJ4

EJ01GAGT
07-10-2012, 02:34 PM
check your altenator mine made tht same noise in the mornings changed it and it went away. also u can take the belt off and spin all the pulley to see if u can replicate the sound hope this helps

optional toast
07-10-2012, 04:10 PM
check your altenator mine made tht same noise in the mornings changed it and it went away. also u can take the belt off and spin all the pulley to see if u can replicate the sound hope this helps

thanks for responding. i doubt it's the alternator as it was making this noise both before and after i had it replaced 5 months ago. i just now double checked it again and it is firmly attached, has no discernible abnormalities when spun by hand, and the pulley is rock solid. also when the car is running the sound does not seem to be coming from this area

again i've checked all pulleys that can be spun by hand and none of them seem to make the sound, but again im not hand spinning it at 1000 RPM so i'm not sure that tells me much if its a very "minor" issue causing the noise

i think i'm going to run out and pick up a mechanics stethoscope to see if i can better isolate where the sound is coming from. i will update at that point.

Malaclypse
07-10-2012, 08:38 PM
One thing you should check on the belt is to see if the backside is glazed. Also look for any exposed cords on the edge of the belt that may be contacting the sides of a pulley to cause the noise. If the back of the belt is glazed, use some sandpaper to rough it up when the engine is running and see if it changes.

BTW be VERY careful when you're doing that. Getting a finger caught between a serpentine belt and a pulley on a running motor can cut the head off of a rat (seen it happen).

Other than that you can use a laser pointer to check pulley alignment. Just make sure to rest it in the ribs of a pulley and point it at another pulley to see if the ribs line up. The power steering pulley may need to be moved inward or outward on the shaft a bit.

jrsgt3
07-17-2012, 10:01 PM
just bought my second GAGT...a 99... it is making the same sound and it sounds like its coming from the power steering pump as well... got a new tensioner, 2 new idler pulleys and a new belt to see if it would fix the noise but from ur experience, it sounds like it wont. next on the list was a new steering pump

jrsgt3
07-20-2012, 10:04 PM
some good news! I changed both idler pulleys, the tensioner, added a new belt and went to the junk yard and was lucky enough to find an AC Delco re-man power steering pump on an Alero. a pump from the auto parts store was only $60 but then I found out that my pump has some kind of electrical sensor. cant exactly remember what it does but the pump with sensor was $200. got everything back together and started her up and no more noise!! hope this helps