I am getting a sound from my serpentine belt area that sounds like small rocks in a coffe can. I was told I need to replace the belt pully. Is there just one pully wheel? Is it hard to replace?
I would definitely get another opinion.
Don’t start throwing parts at the vehicle in hope of getting lucky.
Have a proper diagnosis done first.
Remove the serpentine belt and rotate all the components the belt drives by hand. If there’s a rough bearing in any of the components you’ll feel it.
If it is an idler or tensioner pulley, the part will probably cost less than $15.
There are several pulleys. The tensioner pulley is a suspect and can be replaced for about $25. Another suspect would be the water pump that can make a similar noise. Also alternator, power steering pump, or even air conditioner. Its often hard to determine just where the noise is coming from so as was said, pull the belt off and turn each one trying to duplicate the noise, or get some help.
The tensioner pulley will fix it if it is bad bearing in the pulley, but the tensioner assembly is needed if the tensioner isn’t putting enough tension on the belt. For my minivan it is a little over $50.
Indy, you bought this car from Salvation Army for $450. You want it to last 6 mos. to 1 year. Why all the fuss over this car? If the ball joints are worn but not unsafe, just drive it. If the pully makes noise, just drive it. If the motor has a bad cylinder but the other 5 work ok, just drive it. Forget heat, just wear a heavy coat and gloves. Either you want to drive it into the ground, or you want to spend money on it and resurrect it and drive it for 5 to 10 years. So, what is it, drive into the ground or fix it up?
I surmise you don’t have much money so make sure the brakes work and the tires aren’t bald and just drive it.