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1992 Paseo belt squeal hard to track down - much details inside

Hello all - not my first post here, but I am pretty new.
Got a 1992 Paseo with 109,xxx on the clock [supposed junk yard motor
swap with cluster, car supposedly has about 30k more on it]

I’m at 117,xxx now - the cam/crank seals and timing belt were
supposedly changed before I got it, I just swapped both axles [for
busted boots] and did a clutch job because the rear main was leaking oil
in to the clutch area. The actual clutch, flywheel, p.plate were in
good shape, just very very oily.

So when I got the car, it had an AC/PS squeal - new belts were
installed with the timing belt, a little tension on the AC/PS belt and
the squeal was gone [belt WAS tooooo loose]

Recently [slighty before the clutch, and more after] I’ve been having a
very intermittent squeal at startup[of course getting more… mittent?
as time passes]. And then sometimes another as I pull off, car warmed
up to where the needle at least touches the bottom line on the temp
gauge, another squeal. I was thinking PS pump/pulley from the get-go.

Anyway - after the clutch swap, it’s gotten somewhat worse. I am
thinking because of the temp outside getting much colder, and the clutch
was just coincidental timing.

So - I was thinking PS pump or AC clutch needs replaced / bearing. The
other day, went to leave out for work, and it squealed on startup, and
then had the bearing “eeek-a eeek-a eeek-a” sound, very quietly [only
discernible from outside the car]

Figured for the AC clutch. Popped the hood - 100% not the AC/PS belt.
Squeal is from the back - I am almost ALMOST certian it’s the
alternator [which was an oil…block before I cleaned it, from the
previous cam/crank seal leak]

Drove my Integra for a few days, then decided to take the paseo out yesterday. Silent. It was a warm day here.

Got in the Paseo today. Squeal on startup. Quiet eeek-a eeek-a until
I’d driven 3-5 miles and fully warmed up, and a good squeal on any
acceleration from 0mph in first gear. Squeal got less noticeable as I
warmed up. Squeal in neutral with a throttle blip, hood up, ears open.

Gave her the old stick in the ear [breaker bar on the engine bit] -
even with the car actually making the noise at idle, I couldn’t
determine via the phoney mechanics stethoscope I rigged if it was the
alternator or the water pump. Sure sounds like, just standing over the
engine, that it’s the alternator.

Also, I personally have never had a water pump make the typical belt
squeal sound. I’ve had Honda’s with the WP run by the timing belt, Geo
Metro’s where it’s outside, old trucks where it’s a 20 minute job to
change etc. They usually weep first. Or just seize and snap the belt.
Never heard the typical squeal sounds on a WP before - but maybe that’s
just me.

I THINK the paseo isn’t a hard WP job, except for the motor mount,
it’s external, and it looks like the timing cover may be able to stay
where it’s at. It’s not leaking [I’ve had em seize up with no leaks before - but no typical belt squeal either]

Anyway - it’s cold, I’ve got lots of titanium-steel body parts, I’m not
trying to pull the WP/Alternator belt and diddle the pulleys to see
which seems worse if I can help it [although I may have to]

Any suggestions as to diagnosis as simply as possible, and is anyone
aware re: water pump replacement - if it’s as easy as I am hoping.

Also - there are literally zero Paseo’s in decent shape at the yards
east of the Mississippi. Will a tercel alternator work in the paseo?

Thanks all - Mark

PS - sorry about the weird quote display of my post… I even cut it out, pasted in to a text only editor, pasted it back, removed extra line breaks… The preview looks fine, but it posts… not normal…

The first step is to make sure your accessory belt tension is correct. Find the longest span between two pulleys. Grab it halfway between them and twist. Can you twist it more than 90 degrees? Then it’s too loose, and that’s likely what’s making the noise.

A Tercel alternator should work - be sure it’s from a 1990-1999 car, and be sure the car ran the 5EFE engine (some of the 1990-94 cars ran a 3EFE, and it gets confusing because the 3 and the 5 are both 1.5L 4 cylinders).

Also, Rockauto is your friend if you have an old car. Check there for the parts you need first - you can often get brand new ones cheaper than the junk yard will sell them to you, and you can often find parts there when no one else has them.

My guess, it’s the power steering unit that’s doing the squealing. The bearing is probably starting to fail. It will likely continue to work for a long time if you are able to put up with the squeal. It could be other things like you say of course, the water pump, the alternator, the belt tensioners, etc. Try using a length of old garden hose or even vacuum hose as a stethoscope to narrow down the location of the sound, sometimes that works better than the contact with a rod method.

Stethoscope $4 from Harbor Freight

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Before you start in on major surgery, check the belt tension. New belts do stretch as time goes by. Years ago I would try just touching a candle to the wedge or inner side of a belt, while it was running and chirping. If it stopped chirping for a while, that was a clear indication that the belt was loose. Be careful, lots of moving parts and lots of danger.

I forgot the candle trick. Two problems with that though right now the
squeals so intermittent I’d need to carry a candle with me which I guess
doesn’t matter!

But - fellas, the squeal and eek eek are 100% from the firewall side of the
accessory belts. The alternator & water pump are back there, on the same
AC & PS are at the front, on the other side of a motor mount, & on their
own belt.

I’ve checked the tension by hand - seems ok.

But as I mentioned the car had brand new belts when I purchased it and
pretty quickly the AC and power steering belt stretched out enough to need
some tightening.

Stands to reason that it’s likely that the alternator and water pump belt
stretched a bit as well.

I think I’ll try tightening that up a little bit just a bit and see what

the candle trick won’t work because I know it’s either the alternator or
the water pump so waxing that belt wouldn’t narrow that down any.

My only other option and what I should probably do would be to take the
belt off and rotate the water pump and alternator pulleys by hand.

I guess I’ll see exactly what I get when I start tightening the belt I
haven’t really been on that side of the engine yet I just changed the
clutch and axles and had the whole other side open LOL…
If it’s not too much of a pain I probably will just take the belt off and
see what I get but if it is I’ll probably just tighten it up a little bit.
I haven’t looked close enough to see if there’s an actual adjuster like for
the AC and power steering pump or if it’s a setup where you just have to
loosen the bolts and use a pry bar to tension things up and then tighten
the bolts which is a two-person job to really do it correctly and if I’m
going to go that far I will probably just take the belt off and go from

I will update the thread and also would be appreciative if anybody else has
any shortcuts LOL again, or experience with the Toyota Paseo and it’s dual
overhead cam 1.5 L motor

Yep, I had a '91 Camry 4-cyl and was a little shocked at how tight the belts needed to be.

And, the candle thing will still help, because if it stops the squeak, you know it’s the belt. I can’t imagine adjusting the belt is very easy with the layout you are describing.

what the candle would do, I think - is cause the belt not to squeal if it
it could slip because it’s stretched…
Or because a pully stopped turning @ the right speed aka dragging (or
almost seized) bearings…
It’s one or the other, I’m sure…


If you’re adjusting the belt anyway, that’s a good time to just loosen it all the way and try spinning the alternator and water pump separately, by hand. Very little extra work or time involved & might provide a clue. On my Corolla the water pump and PS are near the firewall on the passenger side & share the same belt. The alternator is the one out in front. But given the layout of your Paseo’s engine compartment, I agree, it sounds like your problem is with the water pump or alternator or the belt, not the power steering pump. If the timing belt is nearby, could be something with that too, most likely the tensioner.

supposed to have a new timing kit… who knows? Pretty sure it was replaced
because there’s massive evidence of previous cam seal leaks that are not
leaking anymore.
dunno why the water pump wasn’t replaced with the timing belt though - but
I was told it wasn’t, and KNOW - the pump can be replaced without doing
more (timing belt wise) than removing the cover…
started pouring here, no luck today.
but, if I can get enough slack without messing with the alt. pivot bolt
(PITA to reach) I’m going to loosen the belt all the way and turn those
pulleys by hand.
I sold a truck to my buddies kid very cheaply recently but I’ve been trying
for 2 months to get a little elbow grease which was part of the deal and
surprise surprise it’s not being forthcoming…
It’s relatively easy enough to tighten the belt a little bit.


fellas here’s the story

I changed out a buddy of mine’s kids clutch fixed his van did an intake
manifold on one of their trucks and then sold at least a $1,500 Mazda B
2300 extended cab to the same buddies kid for half price this is all
relatively recently with the understanding that I was going to get some car
repair help along with the super deal on the truck and the massive amount
of work that I’ve done on their vehicles.
can you guesd how long I’ve been waiting?

Finally said F it - got a decent day here, got off early…

I picked up a tire spoon at HF for about $6. That, a $1 magnet and a coupon
for a free 9 LED light, and I decided to tackle this myself.

I’d noticed a visible RPM drop cold when I hit the headlights, and was all
set for the alternator to be bad.

Just needed to loosen the lockdown bolt, the piviot was OK - the alt/wp
belt was loose.
The alt. Bearings could be better - but plenty smooth when turned the
"right" way. Little drag “backwards”.
Water Pump is smooth as butter.
Tightened the belt, crossed fingers (no squeal today period, of course)

Looks like just a stretched belt.


Bad news about the folks you helped out, but good news about the belt.
Sometimes it really is just maintenance. I always like to try the easy,
cheap fix first.

Glad you got it under control there OP. If you keep asking I’m guessing you’ll eventually get a little help from those kids, but you may need a deal of patience. I can never pass up a $1 magnet either , I love magnets for some reason … lol … You know what I’d really like? One of those magnetic sweepers used to pick up left over construction nails and such laying on the ground so you don’t step on them. Or to find a nail or fastener you’ve dropped .

hahaha… I sorta scammed a new battery out of Walmart ( the same buddy I
just mentioned blew up an extra battery I had that was at the office
playing around with LCDs that he didn’t know how to work and it was still
under warranty and Walmart let me get a reverse terminal battery which fits
the Toyota)

  • I put it in today because why not it was new and of course lost a wing
    nut. It went down inside a splash guard and I actually had to use one of
    those magnetic rakes to pull it to the side of the bottom of the splash
    guard then a 5lb magnet on a stick to get it over by a drain hole and then
    a tiny little p e n size neodymium magnet to get it up and over the edge LOL

Unfortunately my buddy is 60 years Young. His kid is in his twenties somewhere. I’ve done tons of work on their stuff and to be honest the clutch and stuff was a couple years ago when I wasn’t physically as debilitated as I am right now (plus this time of year is bad, & I’m still sore from changing out and I clutch and axles on this car)
What’s got me fuming is I’ve got a couple things that I just need an extra set of hands on literally a couple hours the Blue Book price on the truck I sold to this kid is $1,700 - I sold it for 700 because the kid needed a truck. Anyways blah blah blah part of the sale was some hours of elbow grease and it’s not been forthcoming and I’m a little ticked LOL. I’ll get my time. Hopefully it’s not f o u r degrees out

60 isn’t old! I’m almost 72 and I can still do a lot. Don’t let people use age as an excuse. Plenty of time to be old later.

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I definitely noticed how sore I was the next day after removing/replacing the starter motor from my Corolla. Years ago, doing that job which really isn’t that physically difficult the way I do it, I doubt I would have even noticed any muscle soreness at all. . But you are right @wentwest … it’s more a battle with the mind. Having a positive view on things helps.

it is all about State of Mind.
I guess my point was unfortunately, I’m not dealing with kids. well I
guess my buddies kid is a kid he’s in his twenties. anyways ultimately I’m
just whining. sometimes you just expect people to follow through on a deal
and it doesn’t always happen.
I’m sure I will get my elbow grease eventually… I needed it now
though. just like the kid needed the truck now so he could get to his new
funny though once he was able to get to his job with my truck the rest of
the deal hasn’t seemed to have come through…

Anyways this doesn’t have anything to do with actual car repair so I’m
going to quit my griping.

Here’s a little bit of advice for anybody that stumbles Upon This Thread
though -

Unless it’s green and it Folds - and it’s in your pocket - don’t ever count
on anything after the deal.


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At some point that youngster will ask you for a favor. That’s when to ask for your elbow grease first. Or you could post a bunch of posters of bikini model girls in your garage … lol …