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1997 Ford Taurus 3.0L Wagon 226,362 miles
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Discussion Starter #1
'97 Taurus GL 3.0L 163k: Pinpointing Pulley/Belt Squeal/Chirp

Almost a year to the day I replaced the bearing on my idler pulley (along with the serpentine belt because it had gotten burned up when the bearing seized), I've got a squeal/chirp noise again. It's most audible at idle up to about 40-something mph. Above that you can't hear it. I tried listening at idle to see if I could pinpoint the source, but I couldn't. Is there a way to do this? Should I try spraying each pulley with lubricant one by one until the noise subsides? It'd be nice if I could systematically re-arrange the Serpentine Belt to take one pulley out of the loop at a time. That would certainly work.

The concern I have right now is if it's a bearing again (idler pulley or alternator, etc.), it could seize up and destroy my newish belt again (and I'd be stranded somewhere, right?). Of course, the other question is if it IS the idler bearing again, why did it fail after only one year???
 

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Could be your tensioner, alternator and PS pump. I replaced my tensioner (which is a PAIN IN THE NECK.) and it stopped, but I also noticed my alt and ps pump are still making noise.
 

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Camshaft synchronizer?
 

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1997 Ford Taurus 3.0L Wagon 226,362 miles
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Discussion Starter #5
Could be your tensioner, alternator and PS pump. I replaced my tensioner (which is a PAIN IN THE NECK.) and it stopped, but I also noticed my alt and ps pump are still making noise.
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Bull Geek:

Good suggestion with the synchro, but that's on the other side and the sound is definitely coming from the serpentine belt area.

Mediarocker:

I'm hoping you're not right (ha ha)! Of course, this car is 10 years old and has 163k miles, so I guess anything is possible. I really think it's going to be the idler pulley again. I never greased the replacement one last year because it looked like a sealed ring to me. But maybe I should have tried??? Also, when the guy in the machine shop pressed it in he worried me a bit because he applied all the force at the center of the bearing instead of around the outer ring (using an oversized socket or piece of pipe). Do you think it's possible he distorted the bearing from day 1 - and this is why the pulley never spun freely after bolting it on?

goathead:

I didn't think much of the water idea at first, but that write-up makes it sound like it's worth trying. Thanks.
 

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<div class='quotemain'>
Could be your tensioner, alternator and PS pump. I replaced my tensioner (which is a PAIN IN THE NECK.) and it stopped, but I also noticed my alt and ps pump are still making noise.
[/b]
Bull Geek:

Good suggestion with the synchro, but that's on the other side and the sound is definitely coming from the serpentine belt area.

Mediarocker:

I'm hoping you're not right (ha ha)! Of course, this car is 10 years old and has 163k miles, so I guess anything is possible. I really think it's going to be the idler pulley again. I never greased the replacement one last year because it looked like a sealed ring to me. But maybe I should have tried??? Also, when the guy in the machine shop pressed it in he worried me a bit because he applied all the force at the center of the bearing instead of around the outer ring (using an oversized socket or piece of pipe). Do you think it's possible he distorted the bearing from day 1 - and this is why the pulley never spun freely after bolting it on?

goathead:

I didn't think much of the water idea at first, but that write-up makes it sound like it's worth trying. Thanks.
[/b][/quote]

The idler pulley is non-greasable. Have you tried a stethoscope on each accessory? They're just a long metal rod with rubber tubes and earplugs, a couple bucks at a parts store.
 

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You could try taking the belt off and then turn each pulley by hand to see if you can hear the noise or feel a bad bearing. Do that all the time in the shop, if a stethoscope can't narrow it down enough.
 

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1997 Ford Taurus 3.0L Wagon 226,362 miles
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Discussion Starter #8
You could try taking the belt off and then turn each pulley by hand to see if you can hear the noise or feel a bad bearing. Do that all the time in the shop, if a stethoscope can't narrow it down enough.
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Think I'm going to buy the stethoscope. I've seen a Craftsman at Sears for less than $20 that I hear works pretty well. After that, the belt will come off I guess and I'll try the manual spin test...
 

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Colt Hero,

I chased such a gremlin on my car recently... scrutinized it several evenings before I found it.

I was hearing a random chirp that seemed to come from the idler pulley area. I removed/inspected it... and found no fault with it.

It turned out to be an A/C hard line that had gradually migrated toward the compressor pulley. The belt was nicking the rubber insulation covering the pipe. I scootched the line forward a little and the chirp disappeared.

This may not help you but... you never know.

Regards... Mike
 

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1997 Ford Taurus 3.0L Wagon 226,362 miles
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Discussion Starter #10
Colt Hero,

I chased such a gremlin on my car recently... scrutinized it several evenings before I found it.

I was hearing a random chirp that seemed to come from the idler pulley area. I removed/inspected it... and found no fault with it.

It turned out to be an A/C hard line that had gradually migrated toward the compressor pulley. The belt was nicking the rubber insulation covering the pipe. I scootched the line forward a little and the chirp disappeared.

This may not help you but... you never know.

Regards... Mike
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Thanks. I'll look out for that possibility. Trying to make it to the weekend without a failure. Too dark during the week to do anything...
 

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Mediarocker:

I'm hoping you're not right (ha ha)! Of course, this car is 10 years old and has 163k miles, so I guess anything is possible. I really think it's going to be the idler pulley again. I never greased the replacement one last year because it looked like a sealed ring to me. But maybe I should have tried??? Also, when the guy in the machine shop pressed it in he worried me a bit because he applied all the force at the center of the bearing instead of around the outer ring (using an oversized socket or piece of pipe). Do you think it's possible he distorted the bearing from day 1 - and this is why the pulley never spun freely after bolting it on?
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Wow, thats crazy, I use an oversized socket and a rubber mallet. I doubt it could have ruined the bearing. Maybe :dunno: But its not supposed to spin super freely, its supposed to roll smooth then stop after you let go. (least thats how I was taught) And WD-40 doesnt help much.

Btw, word of warning. BEWARE THE A/C CLUTCH. I used a Big screwdriver with my thumb over the end and pressed it to my ear to see where the sounds were coming from, and I stopped on the AC clutch, 5 seconds later.. BAM! My ear is bleeding. (i'm better now)

Its most likely the tensioner, that thing is under so much pressure the bearings probably wore out and cracked. Thats the case with mine.

Also, Make sure you get a serpentine belt tool (rent it or something) when replacing the tensioner. I found out the hard way using a 1" wrench, a 3ft 1/2" drive extension and 100 pounds of force. The 1/2" drive extension is now a reach around extension :rolleyes2:
 
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