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Customs stumped wit a simple issue

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by justinsr, Jul 8, 2014.

  1. justinsr
    Joined: May 16, 2009
    Posts: 88

    from Salem MI

    So a few weeks back the alternator on my Buick started making a strange racket. I popped the hood only to find that the alternator housing had cracked. Purchased and installed a new alternator and while I was at it a new belt.

    Here is where I'm Stumped.

    No matter what I do I can't stop the belt from squealing. It was fine for about the first ten miles then it started making a squeal. I have tried tightening the belt, loosening the belt, applying a dose of belt dressing, and swapping back the old belt (which I thought fixed it until I got about five miles down the road). On the return trip from town once the old belt started squealing I hit a bump and the squeal stopped until I let off the gas and then it started up again.

    I believe it may be an issue with the pulley on the alternator but I am not sure. Any ideas would be greatly appreciated!
  2. Look at your old pulley and see if it is different. Also check your belt alignment, it could be an issue of a minor difference in your new alt putting your belt out of alignment.
  3. squirrel
    Joined: Sep 23, 2004
    Posts: 48,319


    Years ago I got a belt tension gauge, it's surprising how tight belts need to be.
  4. Do you have power steering?,,if so try adjusting the tension on it. HRP

  5. txturbo
    Joined: Oct 23, 2009
    Posts: 1,771


    Did you use the old pulley or did the new alternator come with a new pulley?
  6. check belt alignment and proper pulley. if the new alt came with a pulley installed, make sure it lines up with the rest of the engine and belt fits in it properly
  7. 69fury
    Joined: Feb 24, 2009
    Posts: 1,419


    Could be that the mount got skewed a bit when the old alt cracked. Check pulley alignment.- rick
  8. Hnstray
    Joined: Aug 23, 2009
    Posts: 11,962

    from Quincy, IL

    Also check for idler bearing.....either noisy or 'frozen'...could result in belt slippage.
  9. justinsr
    Joined: May 16, 2009
    Posts: 88

    from Salem MI

    thanks for the advice gentlemen!

    old pulley went with the old alternator at the auto parts store. (I know dumb move!)

    I will check pulley alignment tomorrow.

    I am afraid of putting too much tension on the belt as I think this may be what caused the old one to crack? Also I don't want to wear out the bearings in the water pump prematurely.

    No idler pulley or power steering to check.
  10. squirrel
    Joined: Sep 23, 2004
    Posts: 48,319


    A loose belt will squeal. Set them so they deflect less than 1/2" when you apply about ten pounds force to the belt.

    I've never had an alternator crack because the belt had the correct tension. But I have seen them cracked by guys prying against them where they should not be pried against.
  11. 325w
    Joined: Feb 18, 2008
    Posts: 5,524


    Reckon the pulley is to wide?
  12. saltflats
    Joined: Aug 14, 2007
    Posts: 10,688

    from Missouri

    Check the nut that holds the pulley on.
  13. Ebbsspeed
    Joined: Nov 11, 2005
    Posts: 5,451


    Also check the output voltage of the alternator. One that has a bad regulator and is charging over voltage can make a belt squeal due to the high current it is putting out.
  14. roundvalley
    Joined: Apr 10, 2005
    Posts: 1,777


    Check your new belt and make sure it does not have a spot of antifreeze or oil on it. I have had that happen. 2nd thought is to loose.
  15. flamed34
    Joined: Dec 30, 2009
    Posts: 733


    I chased a belt squeal on an off topic car I owned with an LS1. I replaced the belt. Then I replaced the belt with a better belt. I used the tubing trick to try to isolate the squeal with no luck. I replaced the idler pulley. I replaced the water pump. I applied belt dressing. I did the soap an the belt trick.

    In the end I chased it down to crank walk. In the tight confines, you couldn't see the crank pulley moving.
  16. Damn, from a squeaky belt to a rebuild that quick :(
  17. Stumped -
    First Look at why it cracked. That's probably some misalignment issue that self corrected by cracking.
    Get your old one back if you can.
  18. keyster
    Joined: Dec 27, 2011
    Posts: 26


    I would take a close look at the pulleys.
    Make sure there is no step worn into the pulley.
    The belt needs to get pinched and not bottom out on a step.

    There is quite a load on the belt when the alt. is working hard.
    Is the battery OK?
    Heavy electrical system load?

    You might try a larger diameter alt. pulley.
    It wont charge as well at idle, but less chance of slipping.
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2014
  19. Ole don
    Joined: Dec 16, 2005
    Posts: 2,915

    Ole don

    Is the battery fully charged? Maybe the alternator is just working hard trying to charge it. Mine belt always squeals on a rainy night, the lights are on and the belt gets wet.
    34toddster likes this.
  20. Bigchuck
    Joined: Oct 23, 2007
    Posts: 1,141

    from Austin, TX

    Alternator trying to seize? Where did you get the"new' alternator? Check the width of the alternator pulley compared to the width of the water pump and crank pulley. Be sure the belt is not bottoming out in the groove.
  21. lucas doolin
    Joined: Feb 7, 2013
    Posts: 426

    lucas doolin

    Check the crank pulley/harmonic balancer and confirm the rubber has not deteriorated, allowing the pulley to "walk" on the hub. Ask the parts store to look at a replacement harmonic balancer to compare your original with what is correct alignment of the components. Seen this happen fairly often on newer engines.
  22. Yep, the bigger hammer theory applies here doesn't it. :D

    Nothing new to ad, I'll just about bet it is an alignment issue.
  23. 5window
    Joined: Jan 29, 2005
    Posts: 8,052


  24. return the alternator for different one!
  25. I once met a guy whos belt had come off at a gas station. It was a 63 rivi with a buick 305 in it. He had his brother bring him a belt from the parts store as he waited. I looked at his car and told him that his power steering pump was misaligned, and it was obvious, and that is why his belt came apart and squealed.
    He replied, "No, its these shitty belts from the parts store. This is the 3rd one i replaced in the last year!" :eek:
    I kept pointing out his pump and showing him even when he got the new belt on, that it was totally off. He didn't agree... :rolleyes:

    Double check alignment just for the 'Halibut' ><D :D
  26. Atwater Mike
    Joined: May 31, 2002
    Posts: 10,524

    Atwater Mike

    There are dense foggers all over. Just read all the posts in all the threads. Do the math.
    (not the new math)
  27. txturbo
    Joined: Oct 23, 2009
    Posts: 1,771


    Also, if a belt has been run loose for a long time the groove will wear and the sides won't be flat anymore. Then when you do put a new belt and get it tight it will throw it off. I found this out on an Oldsmobile. I bought a used pump and pulley for it and no matter what I did the belt would squeal and eventually toss it off or it would break. For about 2 months I fought it replacing the belt about once a week. Finally I swapped the pulley to the one on the old pump and never had another problem. I've also replaced pulleys where the owners had driven it so long with a loose belt that half or more of the groove part of the pulley finally broke off.
  28. +1 What he said ^ Belt dressing is the worst thing you could use...... Soap and rinse thoroughly
  29. fordflambe
    Joined: Apr 9, 2007
    Posts: 545


    These guys are most likely on to something.........V-belt is supposed to ride on the side of the pulley, not the bottom of the v-belt groove. Some high performance and industrial applications used wider or deeper pulleys. You need to make sure the pulley groove on the new alternator matches the groove on the other pulleys on your engine. If not, you will need to find a match and swap em out. Also, around here, some parts houses keep cores around until they collect a load, then send em all in at once. you may try them to see if they happen to have your old alternator laying around.

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