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Incessant belt squeal at idle #5222596 09/25/19 09:19 PM
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Ihatetochangeoil Offline OP
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My daughter's car, 2004 Buick Lesabre 148K, runs like a top; I've changed serpentine belts numerous times, GM OEM #12569591, Goodyear Gatorback, Dayco, Bando, the old OEM belt back on....I have 5 belts, 4 of them less than 10K each. No matter which belt I use, it runs for awhile after being thoroughly warmed, then when you're idling like at a stoplight or in a drive thru, the belt starts howling like a banshee. It gets quiet upon slight acceleration, never a peep out of it on highway, etc.,A/C Compressor is good (per A/C only shop), water pump OEM new, belt tensioner new OEM, power steering pump smooth as butter....It's just aggravating. Tried belt dressing about 20K ago, no real help. Suggestions (other than dynamite) welcome.

Re: Incessant belt squeal at idle [Re: Ihatetochangeoil] #5222604 09/25/19 09:30 PM
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Gebo Offline
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Try soaking a new one overnight in 303. Not promising anything.

I use a big ziplock gallon bag and pour about a cup of 303 in with the belt. I flip it every now and then.


'98 LEX LS400 300K
'02 4Runner 245K
'05 Lex LS430 85K
'07 Lex GX470 65K

Shell Gas and Truck & Pennzoil Full Syn HM
Toyota ATF's and Coolant
Amsoil Gear Oil and Grease
Re: Incessant belt squeal at idle [Re: Ihatetochangeoil] #5222615 09/25/19 09:42 PM
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mightymousetech Offline
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Infind the best thing to quiet a squeaky belt is a bit of talcum powder. Often belts are noisy due to a bit of oil or grease on the belt. The talc will absorb that oil.


Mighty Mouse Tech
BMW Diagnostic and Alignment Tech
2013 BMW 135i M Sport Edition Motul 0W40, MTL/MT-LV
2010 BMW 328i X-Drive, BMW 0W30, MT-LV
Re: Incessant belt squeal at idle [Re: mightymousetech] #5222630 09/25/19 10:28 PM
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Ihatetochangeoil Offline OP
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Originally Posted by mightymousetech
Infind the best thing to quiet a squeaky belt is a bit of talcum powder. Often belts are noisy due to a bit of oil or grease on the belt. The talc will absorb that oil.


This sounds logical. Have you actually done it/worked?

Re: Incessant belt squeal at idle [Re: Ihatetochangeoil] #5222640 09/25/19 10:50 PM
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CatCam2 Offline
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are you sure it isn't an idler pully??

Re: Incessant belt squeal at idle [Re: CatCam2] #5222641 09/25/19 10:59 PM
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Ihatetochangeoil Offline OP
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Originally Posted by CatCam2
are you sure it isn't an idler pully??


I changed out the OEM belt tensioner with a new OEM belt tensioner. No difference....

Re: Incessant belt squeal at idle [Re: Ihatetochangeoil] #5222643 09/25/19 11:13 PM
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2strokeNorthstar Offline
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A rusty pulley somewhere. I had an alternator pulley that was rusty/pitted and made me crazy. Swapping for new is the only thing that solved it.


2001 F150 5.4L
2013 Nissan Juke Nismo
2000 Honda S2000
1998 BMW 328i
Re: Incessant belt squeal at idle [Re: 2strokeNorthstar] #5222647 09/25/19 11:19 PM
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Ihatetochangeoil Offline OP
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Originally Posted by 2strokeNorthstar
A rusty pulley somewhere. I had an alternator pulley that was rusty/pitted and made me crazy. Swapping for new is the only thing that solved it.


I very much appreciate your thoughts; my pulleys are NOT rusty. Car has been garaged since new...

Re: Incessant belt squeal at idle [Re: Ihatetochangeoil] #5222651 09/25/19 11:23 PM
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clinebarger Offline
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Pulley misalignment? The power steering pulley is the biggest offender on GM cars & trucks especially if the pump has been changed.


2001 Chevy Camaro L92/4L80E
2006 Chevy 2500HD LBZ/Allison 1000
2010 Toyota Corolla 2ZR-FE/U341E
2000 Toyota Avalon 1MZ-FE/A541E
Re: Incessant belt squeal at idle [Re: clinebarger] #5222659 09/26/19 12:09 AM
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Wolf359 Offline
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Originally Posted by clinebarger
Pulley misalignment? The power steering pulley is the biggest offender on GM cars & trucks especially if the pump has been changed.


Yeah, maybe a washer was missing or a bad part? Belts shouldn't go bad if everything is in alignment. Also did the OP check for play in all the pulleys with the belt off?

Re: Incessant belt squeal at idle [Re: Ihatetochangeoil] #5222697 09/26/19 04:20 AM
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krismoriah72 Online Content
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Originally Posted by Ihatetochangeoil
My daughter's car, 2004 Buick Lesabre 148K, runs like a top; I've changed serpentine belts numerous times, GM OEM #12569591, Goodyear Gatorback, Dayco, Bando, the old OEM belt back on....I have 5 belts, 4 of them less than 10K each. No matter which belt I use, it runs for awhile after being thoroughly warmed, then when you're idling like at a stoplight or in a drive thru, the belt starts howling like a banshee. It gets quiet upon slight acceleration, never a peep out of it on highway, etc.,A/C Compressor is good (per A/C only shop), water pump OEM new, belt tensioner new OEM, power steering pump smooth as butter....It's just aggravating. Tried belt dressing about 20K ago, no real help. Suggestions (other than dynamite) welcome.


You didnt list idler pulley.

Also you could suspect the belt tensioner... even though it is OEM.. every OEM one you buy may have a weak or sticky spring.

Try a different brand tensioner.

You shouldnt have to use any products on a serpentine.. you have a mechanical issue.

Re: Incessant belt squeal at idle [Re: Ihatetochangeoil] #5222746 09/26/19 06:03 AM
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With the belt off, spin each pulley and see if you can feel any roughness or hear any noise. I’ve had a water pump that had some noise, changed it out, and the squeal was gone.

Last edited by Snagglefoot; 09/26/19 06:04 AM.

If you want the job done right......do it yourself.
Re: Incessant belt squeal at idle [Re: Ihatetochangeoil] #5222752 09/26/19 06:17 AM
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Miller88 Offline
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Once the original belt tensioner wears out, I've never had luck with them. Even a brand new OEM one. They never keep tension right.


18 Forester 2.5I 6M
00 Jeep XJ
01 F-350 4x4 5M
Re: Incessant belt squeal at idle [Re: Ihatetochangeoil] #5222808 09/26/19 07:15 AM
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Mine on my Buick wagon turned out to be an issue with the harmonic balancer going bad. We finally have peace and quiet after a few years of squealing that I could not get to go away. The harmonic balancer finally got bad enough it was obvious it needed replacing before it fell apart.


1996 Buick Roadmaster Wagon
2014 Cruze Eco Manual
2003 2500 Suburban, 8.1L
Re: Incessant belt squeal at idle [Re: WishIhadatruck] #5222827 09/26/19 07:29 AM
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kschachn Offline
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Originally Posted by WishIhadatruck
Mine on my Buick wagon turned out to be an issue with the harmonic balancer going bad. We finally have peace and quiet after a few years of squealing that I could not get to go away. The harmonic balancer finally got bad enough it was obvious it needed replacing before it fell apart.

Yes, this happened on my old Accord. The rubber between the two pieces of the balancer debonded and one part would move against the other. It sounded like belt squeal but all belts were new and properly tensioned.


1994 BMW 530i, 251K
1996 Honda Accord, 280K
1999 Toyota Sienna, 428K
2000 Toyota ECHO, 284K
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