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post #1 of 20 (permalink) Old 07-02-2019, 07:02 PM Thread Starter
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Loud SQUEALING from AC belt

Hi guys, been awhile....

Anyway this has been going on for a few years and it seems to be getting worse. When I first start my car and click on the AC I get a LOUD squealing from the belt and then after maybe 15-20 sec it goes away. It does NOT do it w/o the AC on.

Yesterday I popped the hood and noticed the belt smoking by the AC pulley. I always figured it was the belt being loose but I just checked and it does not seem to be. Maybe 1/2 in.
Also noticed it is a ribbed belt so I would think that would prevent it from slipping.

I talked to a local repair shop (who has never done work for me but for a friend) and he said it could be low on Freon and to bring it in for an estimate.

I do have those cheezy AC gauges from O reilly after I was having issues with my van and ended up taking it the local Auto AC Expert business (that is all they do in AZ) and I remember him telling me a lot of people make the mistake of adding freon when it is not needed and cause more problems.
So I am puzzled on what to do.

Has anyone experienced this and what was the fix?

I'm more of a Dirt Bike motorcycle guy and my mechanical skills on a scale of 10 would be about a 5 on cars.

Thanks,

Gary
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post #2 of 20 (permalink) Old 07-02-2019, 07:06 PM
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Well first things first..

Is the belt tight and new? The ac belt needs to be pretty tight or it will squeal especially on hot days.

2nd... has any refrigerant been added ever to it?
Cars have a weigh in charge amount. Nothing more nothing less. It states it on the hood label.
When people buy those stupid cans they have no clue how much they're putting in Nor do they know if the high side portion of the system is working correctly.

If the belt checks out ok, I would have the charge pulled out and verified and the proper amount weighed in.
Most shops have the recovery/recycling unit that does all this for them

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post #3 of 20 (permalink) Old 07-02-2019, 07:11 PM Thread Starter
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Well first things first..

Is the belt tight and new? The ac belt needs to be pretty tight or it will squeal especially on hot days.

2nd... has any refrigerant been added ever to it?
Cars have a weigh in charge amount. Nothing more nothing less. It states it on the hood label.
When people buy those stupid cans they have no clue how much they're putting in Nor do they know if the high side portion of the system is working correctly.

If the belt checks out ok, I would have the charge pulled out and verified and the proper amount weighed in.
Most shops have the recovery/recycling unit that does all this for them

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Thanks for the reply.
My ES is bone stock and has the original belt and never added freon. It has 71,000 miles.
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post #4 of 20 (permalink) Old 07-02-2019, 07:12 PM
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Yep....^x2. How old is the belt? What's the tension on it?

When was the last time the A/C was serviced? What's the current charge?

Possible Compressor ready to crap out!
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post #5 of 20 (permalink) Old 07-02-2019, 07:13 PM
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Replace the belt first and make sure it's properly tensioned. Do the Alternator belt also. They're over 16 years old if original !!

Last edited by Ronbo; 07-02-2019 at 07:16 PM.
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post #6 of 20 (permalink) Old 07-02-2019, 08:09 PM Thread Starter
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Ok I just checked some service notes from the local Firestone Dealer receipt
2011
Mileage 57.405

Replaced 530k6 Poly -Rib belt $34 Parts
15550 V-Belt $20 This looks like it is the AC belt
Hoses were replaced and I had them flush out the orange crappy collant and put in the green stuff--less corrosive.

Keep in mind I don't usually commute in this car in the BRUTAL SUMMERS of AZ (about 5 months) to BAKE in the work parking lot. Hence the low mileage at 71,000.

So the belt and hoses are 8 yrs old and have 13,595 miles on them.
The original belt never made this noise, could it just be a crappy AC belt?

Do you think I still need to replace the OTHER belts and hoses not counting the AC belt WHICH PROBABLY needs replacing.

Thanks
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post #7 of 20 (permalink) Old 07-02-2019, 08:29 PM
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It's 8 years old. Belts crap out just from age and not just use/mileage. Have both replaced....the cost isn't prohibitive!
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post #8 of 20 (permalink) Old 07-02-2019, 08:44 PM Thread Starter
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Ok Thanks!
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post #9 of 20 (permalink) Old 07-05-2019, 05:10 PM Thread Starter
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Okay I had both belts changed a couple days ago, drove it home a few miles and it did not squeal.

This morning went to drive it and started up in the garage and it squealed loudly.

Turned off the AC and it is fine drove it for a few miles and then turned it on and it did not squeal.

I called the place Big O Tire, and made an appointment for tomorrow he thinks it might need an adjustment or something or maybe there's oil somewhere.

It was one of the last jobs of the day and I picked it up after the shop had closed I did notice a bunch of oil and grease hand marks all around the engine compartment area the kid did even bother to clean it up not a good sign.

So my question is I need to drive it today and in this brutal hundred Ten Degrees heat with the AC on if it's the air conditioner that goes out does it lock up and prevent my car from continuing on if I turn off the AC?

I know if my van that has just one serpentine belt when the AC goes out I am dead in the water.

So if it squeals again today do you guys have any idea what it might be next compressor going out I sure hope not.

Thanks
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post #10 of 20 (permalink) Old 07-05-2019, 05:24 PM
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A lot of places don't know the proper tension on the belts for our cars. There are tensioner adjustments for both belts that lock into place. Sounds like they need to put some more tension on the A/C belt. Big Oh No Tires! LOL!
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post #11 of 20 (permalink) Old 07-05-2019, 06:36 PM
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Any deflection more than 3/8” with moderate thumb pressure mid-span on the belts on these cars is too loose. That’s tighter than most people think is necessary or good but it is what is needed and is not too hard on the bearings. On the 3.2/3.5 engines, if the a.c belt is only slightly loose (not enough to slip or squeal), it will make a vibrating noise as the engine is accelerating thru about 2000 rpm.

But as already said, if still squealing with a.c. on and with proper tensioning, your compressor may be failing. The compressor may be low in oil, but if it has never needed charging and still has a charge, it would probably not have lost any oil either, but still could be failing.
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Last edited by peva; 07-05-2019 at 06:52 PM.
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post #12 of 20 (permalink) Old 07-06-2019, 03:30 PM Thread Starter
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A lot of places don't know the proper tension on the belts for our cars. There are tensioner adjustments for both belts that lock into place. Sounds like they need to put some more tension on the A/C belt. Big Oh No Tires! LOL!
Yea I know Big O....

They gave me a good price 160 out the door with parts.

I should probably try to do it myself but in Arizona right now it's like a hundred sixty degrees it seems like in the garage and I looked at it and it seems like it's pretty tight squeeze do you have to remove the radiator or something to get in there how hard is a job is it to do both belts you're not an ace mechanic.

How do you adjust the tensioner?

Thanks

Last edited by G-man; 07-06-2019 at 03:39 PM.
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post #13 of 20 (permalink) Old 07-06-2019, 03:32 PM Thread Starter
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Any deflection more than 3/8Ē with moderate thumb pressure mid-span on the belts on these cars is too loose. Thatís tighter than most people think is necessary or good but it is what is needed and is not too hard on the bearings. On the 3.2/3.5 engines, if the a.c belt is only slightly loose (not enough to slip or squeal), it will make a vibrating noise as the engine is accelerating thru about 2000 rpm.

But as already said, if still squealing with a.c. on and with proper tensioning, your compressor may be failing. The compressor may be low in oil, but if it has never needed charging and still has a charge, it would probably not have lost any oil either, but still could be failing.
Thanks I am taking it back there in an hour to adjust.
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post #14 of 20 (permalink) Old 07-06-2019, 04:52 PM
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Youíre welcome.

On adjusting the belts, no need to remove the radiator or fans. See the sketch, below, from the FSM on the 3.2/3.5 belt tension locking and tightening.

You will need to slip a wrench down to the locking nuts and loosen them (one per idler/tensioner pulley) to allow loosening the belts and re-tensioning new belt with the adjusting bolts. Wearing mechanicís gloves can help avoid scraping your hands, but isnít necessary if you work slow and carefully. The adjusting bolts are long jack screws that move the pulley away from and into the belt to loosen/tighten.

Once you have the locking nut loose, you just need to reach the head of the adjusting bolt with a socket on a ratchet with extension(s) to move pulley in or out as needed. On one or both adjusting bolts you would lie on the ground and stick the socket upward to engage the adjusting bolt head - I forget - one you may access from above - itís been a while since I did it on my 3.2 (RIP). Shine a light upward to see where the adjusting bolt heads are.

Make sure the pulley is free to move as you turn the adjusting bolt - make sure the locking nut is loose enough for it to move as you adjust - but you donít want it so loose that the pulley flops around. The reason you need to make sure the pulley is free to slide as you loosen the belt is that you donít want to keep turning the adjusting bolt until it comes out of its nut - it might be difficult to get it all back together.

The locking nuts and adjusting bolts take either 14 or 15mm wrench and socket, I forget which.

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post #15 of 20 (permalink) Old 07-06-2019, 07:03 PM Thread Starter
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WoW thanks Pecan!

As far as removing the radiator out of the way I was talking about installing the belts not adjusting them.

Does anything need to be moved to replace the belts down the road in a few years?

Thanks
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