2006 Impala 3.9L Belt Squeal

3.9L V6 Chevrolet Impala driver here. The vehicle has about 83000 miles on it. I’ve been driving it since 2006 and was purchased used. The belt is starting squeal. Which isn’t that big of a deal since all belts do need to be replaced. However, the squeal only occurs when the temperature is hot outside or has been driven for a while. If I go on a long drive the belt won’t squeal until I get to more stop and go traffic. I have sprayed pulley’s while the belt is squealing and it is the power steering pulley. However, I am not sure if to replace the power steering pump or just replace the pulley. Sounds like a bad bearing in my opinion.

4/1/2013 I replaced my belt with the recommended Gates belt. Upon inspection of the pulleys I had one that looked questionable. Here is an image of the pulley that was pulled imgur.com/a/vU8DG#0. This is the lower Idler pulley. emissionguy.hubpages.com/hub/Serpentine-belt-routing-diagram-2006-Chevrolet-Impala-LTZ-39

I just noticed today of 4/1/2013 that there is a slight squeal coming from the engine bay. I notice it more when accelerating then if I am just idling. This sounds like it may be the lower idler pulley.

If you do replace the pump, make sure the replacement comes with a pulley already installed.

Otherwise, you’ll need to remove and transfer it to the new pump with a tool.

I’m a little confused. A little noise from the power steering pump is normal-kind of a knocking sound. If its a bearing, it would be more of a grating sound. Those pumps usually go several hundred thousand miles. If you have a belt squeal though, that would either be a worn belt, a weak tensioner, or possibly the pulley is worn or filled with belt debris. Before changing the pump, I think I’d change the belt and make sure the pulleys were clean. If you had a stretched or worn belt, it could make noise at the power steering pulley since that requires a little more effort to turn.

The belt sound is more of a squeal than a normal knocking sound. I’ll probably switch the belt this weekend. Any good recommendation on brand?


You sprayed the PS pulley, and it quit squealing. The pulley is not your issue. The belt is. When you spray something on WHATEVER pulley, it is immediately transferred to the belt which transferrs it to the other pulleys. Almost any liquid will work for this test. Cleaning solutions in spray bottles are my favorite.

Some cars need the belt changed every two to three years with 7,000 miles a year on average. Some last a lot longer. Gates should be OK.

Updated post^

Looking at the pulley, you can see where the belt is slipping because there’s bare metal exposed in some areas and there’s still paint on the pulley in other areas.

Remove the belt and grab the power steering pump pulley and see if there’s any slop in the power steering pump.


Will try this next. However, can I ask what makes you think it is the power steering pump pulley? I have been leaning towards this answer for a while. I’ll add this link as well. This is a comparison of the old belt I pulled and the new one. imgur.com/a/vU8DG#3