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Old 11-07-2008, 08:16 AM   #1
spivey3
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Replaced tensioner pulley ... awful noise

So I recently began hearing a noise from the engine bay during cold starts. The noise could be described as a whining/sqeaking sound. Anyway, I diagnosed the problem as the upper tensioner pulley. I am 99% sure that my diagnosis was correct. What led me to believe this was after removing the belts, it was very obvious that this pulley had a problem. The pulley spun too freely and was very rough (sounded/felt like sand in the bearing).

Fast forward 3 days. I got the pulley in from Pelican Parts (excellent price by the way) and installed it. Everthing is put back together and I crank the car for the first time. Immediately I hear a noise very similar to the one I had been hearing, but even worse. The noise lasted approximately 10 seconds, then it got quiet. My question is: Has anybody had a brand new pulley make a horrible noise the first time it was installed? Was I hearing some kind of "break-in" period for the pulley? The reason I think this is after that first 10 seconds of horror, it has been quiet as a mouse. Please tell me this is normal...

Thanks!
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Old 11-07-2008, 08:53 AM   #2
snowie007
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i have replaced all belts, water pump/pulley, idler pulley, both tensioners and got a squeak after the first/second start of the engine. Now it is all quiet @ startup.
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Old 11-07-2008, 09:01 AM   #3
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If the belt is old, I suppose it may still be slipping and causing the squeak.

Any chance you got oil/grease on the belts as you were changing the pulley?
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Old 11-07-2008, 09:28 AM   #4
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You still have another tensioner pulley that could be bad.
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Old 11-07-2008, 10:14 AM   #5
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Or the idler pulley that's bolted to the front of the alternator. For me, that was worse than the tensioner pulley.
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Old 11-07-2008, 10:32 AM   #6
spivey3
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First off, thanks for all the replies!

Quote:
Originally Posted by snowie007 View Post
i have replaced all belts, water pump/pulley, idler pulley, both tensioners and got a squeak after the first/second start of the engine. Now it is all quiet @ startup.
Thats good, this sounds very similar to my situation.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ddombrowski View Post
If the belt is old, I suppose it may still be slipping and causing the squeak.

Any chance you got oil/grease on the belts as you were changing the pulley?
I did a very thorough inspection of the belt, because usually when I do something like replace a pulley, I go ahead and replace the belt. However, the belt looked in like-new condition, so much that that I didn't want to spend even $15 to get a new one.

I don't think I got any oil or grease on the belt, however, there was a significant amount of dirt that came out of the old pulley, and I'm sure plenty of it got on the belt. Not sure if that could cause this noise, but its an idea.

I should add that I've heard a lot of belts slip over the years on a lot of different cars, and to me this did not sound like a belt slipping. A belt slip is a screeching/painful sound, and this was more of a metal on metal sound (imagine a squeeky hinge).

Quote:
Originally Posted by smolck View Post
You still have another tensioner pulley that could be bad.
I did check the other tensioner pulley, but it appeared to be fine. The movement of this pulley was very similar to the movement of the replacement part and VERY different from the movement of the bad pulley. I might give this a shot though if the noise persists.

Quote:
Originally Posted by nathancarter View Post
Or the idler pulley that's bolted to the front of the alternator. For me, that was worse than the tensioner pulley.

I also checked the idler pulley for damage and signs of wear, but like the other tensioner pulley it appeared to be just fine. However, if the problem persists, this will also be on the list of parts to replace. I was very suprised at how affordable these pulleys are. So much so that I could go on replacing pulleys for quite a while before even coming close to the diagnosis fee from a shop.



Thanks for the ideas/suggestions guys! I'm gonna keep at this and I'll let you know how it turns out. Hopefully the noise stays away like poster #1 suggested.
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Old 11-07-2008, 10:59 AM   #7
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Ah, but did you check the waterpump and alternator? Maybe the tensioners need to be replaced also. Did all mine at 114K. Absolute silence!
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Old 11-07-2008, 02:12 PM   #8
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Ah, but did you check the waterpump and alternator? Maybe the tensioners need to be replaced also. Did all mine at 114K. Absolute silence!
Did you replaced the waterpump, alternator AND both belt tensioners?
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Old 11-11-2008, 03:39 PM   #9
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Ok, just wanted to follow up on this thread. The noise has disappeared. My only explanation is a short "break-in" period for the new tensioner pulley. I've waited and listened for even a hint of the noise to still be there ... but nothing. Thanks for all the advice and suggestions!
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Old 11-27-2008, 04:19 PM   #10
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how much are the idler pulleys? bcuz the same thing is happening to me. when i start it up i hear the noise comin from the idler pulley/alternator area. and when i accelerate i can hear the noise turn into a squeaking but it'll be fine after 10mph. so ima fix it tomorrow. sadly i cant take it tonight
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Old 11-07-2010, 01:52 AM   #11
e46rage
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had the same problem happend to me every morning till today when i went on a cruise up in the bay area with a couple of buddies and BAM ! steering wheel locked up and i was going into a turn and i slammed on the breaks HARD ! ended up like a inch from the barrier witch on the other side was a cliff... A VERRRY STEEP CLIFF . so i pushed my car to a turn out ,and i checked it out and it was my belt that went out , a pully shattered a well. got so lucky wish i could have checked it sooner. this actually happend today, had to get my car towed from a really bad road we were driving as group in witch took 5 hours !! well not shes home safe and sound waiting on monday to get her fixed
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Old 11-07-2010, 02:08 AM   #12
-Jay-
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Quote:
Originally Posted by spivey3 View Post
Ok, just wanted to follow up on this thread. The noise has disappeared. My only explanation is a short "break-in" period for the new tensioner pulley. I've waited and listened for even a hint of the noise to still be there ... but nothing. Thanks for all the advice and suggestions!
Had the same issue as you. Except mine was the idler pulley. After replacing it, I heard the noise one more time the. It's been quiet ever since.
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Old 11-07-2010, 09:32 AM   #13
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Same here. Replaced all pulleys, at startup I heard one more squeak. Then all was well. That was 20k miles ago.

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Old 11-07-2010, 09:33 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by spivey3 View Post
Immediately I hear a noise very similar to the one I had been hearing, but even worse. The noise lasted approximately 10 seconds, then it got quiet. My question is: Has anybody had a brand new pulley make a horrible noise the first time it was installed? Was I hearing some kind of "break-in" period for the pulley? The reason I think this is after that first 10 seconds of horror, it has been quiet as a mouse. Please tell me this is normal..
The grease that was packed into the bearing probably hardened and settled at the warehouse. The grease pack sounds like it took 10 sec to remix and recoat all the bearings.
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