2007 Chrysler Town & Country squeals at startup

I have a 2007 T&C mini van 3.3 v6.

When it is cold it squeals at start up for a few seconds. After that it is fine. If it sits for 3 or 4 hours in the cold (less than 40 deg.) then I get the noise at startup.

Has about 103,000 miles and I just put a new alternator in it. It was making the noise before I replaced the alternator.

Did a new belt go on with the new alternator? If so, then the belt tensioner should be checked as well as the other pulleys. In other words this is most probably belt noise either from a loose or worn belt, weak tensioner, and/or pulley bearing on its way out.

Is it a high-pitch squeal, or is more of a lower pitch groaning? A common problem with these is the power steering reservoir. Over time the strainer on the bottom of the reservoir becomes plugged with junk, which starves the pump for oil and causes it to cavitate creating a low pitch groaning sound. This is usually worse when the fluid is cold. The fix is to replace the reservoir

I would bet it is the belt squeeling. Either the belt is old and stretchd or slick or there is a problem with the belt tensioner. I have never had a steering pump to sludge up and cause a problem. Why did you replace the alternator?? Was it NOT CHARGING?

We drive from sioux falls to Winnipeg CA quite often. With 100,000 mi I would rather change it before there is a problem than be in the middle of nowhere and have it go out in sub-zero weather. On our last vehicle the alternator failed on my wife and kids in crappy weather a couple hours from home so I’m a bit paranoid about it.

It does sound like a belt noise but it could also be a pulley. I will look at the belt more closely.

I did not replace the belt. I must admit I didn’t check it very closely. I will take another look at it.

If you are changing the belt then change the tensioner too. Also if you take long trips in this car have a spare belt. Some of them loose the belt if water splashes around the passenger side. There is a special gate brand kit for the belt falling off problem, but probably not worth it since yours hasn’t fallen off.

I looked at the belt, there are no cracks or voids and it doesn’t look glazed to me. Why replace the tensioner? I had a 97 plymouth van with the 3.3 that had the problem with the belt coming off. I put the kit you are talking about on that on but I thought the newer ones had that problem solved. Is this still a problem on an '07?

The tensioner is just a spring loaded pulley whose job it is to keep proper belt tension. It won’t last forever and as it weakens might not be keeping the correct tension on the belt. On an '07 it shouldn’t be a problem so soon - but you also never know.

When was the belt last replaced? I wouldn’t assume that it isn’t stretched just based on visual inspection. They don’t cost very much and take all of a few minutes to replace.

Have you tried to listen with the hood up and assistant starting the van? Squeals are very often a slipping belt, but it also might be one of the pulleys.