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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I started noticing squeaking/squealing noise coming from the left side of the engine (facing engine bay), in the area where serpentine belt and pulley are. This symptom started about a few days ago and only acts up upon cold start in the morning for a few seconds and then stops. If I let the car park during the day, it doesn't do it, only on the first crank in the morning. Is this something I need to worry about?

I had my timing belt job done about 4 years ago (124K miles at the time), items replaced includes timing belt, water pump, serpentine belt, thermostat, crankshaft/camshaft seals, pulleys, and tensioner. And now the car has 164K miles on it, I figure I have roughly another 20K before timing belt job.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks.
 

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Sounds like it may be a OAP that is seized?

Watch the timing belt tensioner pulley when the engine is idling and warm. If you see the idler "walking" back and forth about 1/4" then the OAP is likely seized.

If the OAP is still working properly then the idler pulley will almost be steady during idle.

I wish I would have videoed what my car was doing when I had a seized OAP on my car.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thank you guys for the informative inputs. I'll make sure to check the mentioned components to narrow down the culprit. As for electric air pump, I'm pretty sure it's not from there and it was replaced last year.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I have checked all mentioned parts and all appeared to be fine, and the belt did not skip or move. The symptom only acts up on the first crank in the morning when it's cold, like 50 degrees or less, otherwise, the symptom is not noticeable and sometimes not even acting up when the temperature is up to 60 degrees. At this point, I'm stuck. Should I just have the shop replace the OAP and serpentine belt? (The alternator was replaced 3 years ago, I'm not sure if the OAP pulley came with the part or it's something sold separate.)

Thanks.
 

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Your symptoms; sound like a classic case of a failured clutch pulley but everything on the belt path should be checked. I would remove the serpentine belt: then, you can inspect each component in the belt path for problems. Removing the belt and starting the engine; would also isolate the belt/tensioner and clutch pulley from the equation, see if the sound is coming from other components in the belt path that are still spinning without the belt (e.g. alternator, harmonic balancer, etc.)

1. oap/clutch pulley: alternator

Gates link; showing how to check the oap for correct operation:

Diagnosing and resolving overrunning alternator pulley problems | Gates Europe

INA/SCHAEFFLER: video showing how the clutch pulley works, testing and replacement: recommended to replace the pulley or whole assembly with oem parts.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rXehCcNzq_A

auto alternator rebuilder: oap check and replacement:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fyosuYbPxr4

2. serpentine belt pulley/tensioner:

a. check for wear of the tensioner and check the bearing for wear, play, free spinning ability etc. (make sure the bracket is installed on the correct side) NOTE: The hose bracket (clip) goes on the outside of the tensioner.

Common problem; is the lack of grease in the bearing when worn, makes noise.

VW tech; adds grease to pulley: shows removal and common problem with bearing:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oj0UpnPfINA

3. components:

a: alternator: bad bearings, incorrect belt alignment, clutch pulley operation failure, etc.

b. harmonic balancer/damper: check for the insulating rubber in good shape, not falling apart or out portion spinning, coming off of the inner section, (no play, solid).

c. belt: wear, cracked, odd wear on either edges (potentially indicate belt alignment problem), glazing, etc. Shiny/glazed belt; typically, indicates that the belt has been slipping.

d. a/c compressor; sound changes when belt is removed or a/c is turned on/off?

this guy who had problem with belt squeal: ended up being both the alternator and pulley tensioner: cheap parts and bad tensioner, possibly clutch pulley failure:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7lmrx3MqUfs

All these possible parts that need replaced; should be replaced with high quality OEM parts, not aftermarket junk that is sold at most auto parts stores.

clutch pulley: oem INA/SCHAEFFLER
alternator: oem Bosch, Hitachi or Valeo (brand depends alternator model).
serpentine belt tensioner: oem Ruville, Litens, INA/Schaeffler, 06A903315E

BEWARE: of junk parts, masquerading as oem: DO NOT BUY OR INSTALL: URO, Hamburg Technic, with european sounding names or other asian offshore "house" brands. Bottom line: if the price is LOW; in most cases, the quality is as well. YOU GET WHAT YOU PAY FOR.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I took my car to the shop and it turned out to be the labeling on the timing belt that's making the noise when it goes through tensioner. The mechanic sprayed some soapy water and the noise immediately went away. I was told that this happens a lot when temperature is cold, since this is the first time it's ever happened to me, I'm still kind of skeptical about the reasoning and yes, it is still making loud squeaky sound on first crank in the morning. I'll try to upload a video clip to see if I can get more insights since the mechanic didn't take any parts to inspect it.

Thanks.
 

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The TIMING belt or the SERPENTINE belt? I have NEVER heard of this explanation; the printed label making the noise? That really sounds like a lame excuse of an explanation! IF the timing belt is making a noise, I would figure out WHY! The timing belt is crucial and if something happens to it over time; that would cost potentially thousands of dollars in repairs! :mad:

If it is the serpentine belt; I'm thinking it is the tensioner/pulley or the alternator clutch pulley. If it is indeed the timing belt; I would want further investigation into why, it is making that noise! The failure of a timing belt would be much more costly; than, just the serpentine belt!

I would not be happy with that explanation and frankly, it sounds like a poor excuse for a diagnosis. I mean; after 4 YEARS; the "label" has been "wearing" in by contact with the pulleys of 40K plus miles... right? What kind of shop; did the timing belt work and is inspecting the car now?

Their "diagnosis"; doesn't inspire much confidence, does it? Lame?!?

:runnethov

PS: you might remove the serpentine belt and see if the sound goes away, if it does than you have it narrowed down to the timing belt.
 

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water pump?

The white letters on the back of the timing belt is a nonsense diagnosis.

If spraying the back of timing belt with soapy water makes the noise change/go away I'd look very carefully at the water pump and listen to the bearings. I've changed one out because of a high pitched squeak. I don't remember it being temperature dependent, but I could see how it could be.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Thank you for the helpful input. I agree that it's nonsense to say the labeling on the timing belt is what causes the squeaky sound. I actually managed to record it this morning and hopefully you can help me identify the part(s) that's making the squeaking sound. If it's indeed the timing (even thought I still got 20K left on it), I would just bit the bullet and have it changed. This shop quoted me $950 to get the job done, I'm thinking about switching to a different shop.

Note: Upon first crank in the morning, the first 2-3 seconds I could hear this horrible loud squeachy noise and then it went away. Unfortunately I wasn't able to record that part so it's not in the video.

Here's the link to the video clip, I apologize if the quality is not good.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=27mJjw6FDys


Thank you.
 

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Sounds to me; like it is related to the serpentine belt path, not the timing belt. If you remove the serpentine belt and start the engine and there is no sound, that would eliminate the timing belt. As noted before; I would check the components, on the serpentine belt path with particular emphasis on the alternator clutch pulley, alternator bearings and the belt tensioner/pulley for bearing wear.

Sometimes, a worn water pump; can make a noise, when the bearing is going out but coolant would usually be coming out of the "weep hole"

Any component; could cause this problem, you just need to do a process of elimination and inspect each component. .
 

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Agree, it's along the serpentine belt. Quick test is to get a small packet of silicone lube, not spray (they sell it on the check-out counter of any auto-parts store), and put a dab on both sides of the serpentine belt.

If the noise goes away, time to replace the belt. If it doesn't, then keep going with the diag. To me, in the video, just sounds like a squeaky belt.

Also, what the other folks have said is all true, in that the Water Pumps, idler pulleys, Alternator Pulleys and A/C clutches all seem to crap-out more regularly with this set-up.

But, I would start simple and work your way towards the more pricey stuff ;)
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Took serpentine belt off and inspected pulleys, all worked fine and the sound went away with the belt off, so I went ahead and replaced the belt. Hopefully it will stop making the noise in the morning. We'll see!
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 · (Edited)
Thanks for checking back. The clutch pulley rotated freely like what's shown in the video and the belt tensioner pulley was checked out fine too. The old serpentine belt was pretty hard compared to the new one, so it was replaced. With all the mentioned components inspected and a new serpentine belt, I sure hope the squeaky sound would go away. I'll post an update later.
 
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