Belt Squeal

hyundai
belts
accent

#1

2001 Accent 1.6, A/T. Just replaced alternator myself. Checked and adjusted all three belts; all seem tight. Now I have a belt squeal. P/S fluid is full. When car starts there is no squeal. 15 seconds later chirp starts. A few seconds later squeal is constant and remains throughout entire ride - except when I make a turn. During any turn squeal goes away, then comes right back.
Can anyone help me fix this squeal?

  • bruskewicz

#2

I take it you put on new belts. It could be a belt not properly tensioned or the new alternator is bad. Also, the tensioner could be bad. A mechanics stethoscope or a piece of hose could isolate it for you.


#3

I did not replace belts. But, they still look good.
Could new alternator be bad?
I will try re-adjusting one belt at a time.
Thank you.
-bruskewicz


#4

Cheap rebuilt units can always be bad. Do the belts have a polished shiny look to them? If so they are bad. You can pour water on the belts and if they quiet down, then it’s a belt.


#5

Like “Knfenimore” said, but I use a spray bottle and adjust it so it sends out a stream of water, not a mist. You want to try your best to spray only one belt at a time. When you get to the bad belt, the water should lube the belt just enough to get rid of the squeal for a moment. That will pinpoint which belt is causing the problem.


#6

To knfenimore and Yosemite,
Thank you for your comments. Sometimes it is helpful just knowing other folks are interested!
I was able to identify the squeal as coming from the alternator belt. I called the alternator tech support 800 number, borrowed a volt meter from AutoZone, and the tech walked me through the alternator tests. He concluded the “new” alternator was bad. AutoZone ordered a replacement, tested it on their machine, found it to be good, and I installed this second “new” alternator.
(So, knfenimore, your comment “cheap rebuilt units can always be bad” was true. For the record, I have been using rebuilt parts for years. This is the first time one was bad.)
Ok, that was a few days ago. For two days, the alternator was charging the battery as it is supposed to. Except I was also smelling a burnt smell, like burnt rubber. And, the second day, the belt squeal came back.
This morning, after a local errand, the smell was back. The squeal was intermittent. Then, on the way home, the battery light came on on the dashboard. I got the car home before it died, lifted the hood, and found the alternator belt had broken.
So, I will replace the belt. Hopefully, that will do the trick.
(But, I wonder if how I installed the alternator could have caused the belt to heat up and break. The belt was not new, at least a few years old. And, by eye, the alternator seemed straight, not crooked. I hadn’t tried the water-on-the-belt test, as you both suggested.)

Thanks again for your interest in my problem.

  • bruskewicz

#7

Did you try to spin the alternator pulley by hand?
It should turn smoothly, with mild resistance.


#8

Alternator pulley is out of line, my guess. You should probably also check the tensioner is fully operational.


#9

“Checked and adjusted all three belts”

OP’s car doesn’t have a serpentine belt or an automatic tensioner

It also sounds like the belt tension may have been set too high . . .