Had the alternator replaced last week, “mechanic” at Big Auto Repair Chain store said car was now in good shape. Drove away and immediately noticed horrid squealy sound. Drove back, mentioned problem, “mechanic” (without even looking at car) said bearings were shot, quoted $2000 to fix. Please help, leaving on a trip in three days.
Most likly it is the serpentine belt slipping. On a 1996 T&C with the 3.3 liter V6 and with 105K on the odometer, you should have had a new serpentine belt installed recently. Make sure that the tensioner arm is not resting on its stop, i.e. it is moving slightly up and down as the engine turns. Make sure the new serpentine belt is the correct length for your engine and accessory combination. Finally it is possible that the pulley of the replacement alternator was not the same diameter as the original causing the tensioner to be off position. If the belt has been squealing for a while, consider replacing it again as it may have gotten glazed.
If this is not a belt squeal, remove the belt and run the engine for a short time. If the squeal is no longer present, one of the idler pulley’s or the tensioner pulley may be seizing. Give each a spin to hear noise or feel roughness. Also spin each accessory pulley to feel roughness or resistance.
Finally, if all else fails run this by another mechanic for a second opinion.
Hope this helps.
Did the mechanic say the wheel bearings were shot or what bearings?
Can you make the squeal happen just revving the engine in park? If so, that eliminates the wheel bearings and follow what Researcher says.
Perhaps his new alternator isn’t quite in the correct plane with the other pulleys run by the serpentine belt or he goofed up the tension of the belt. Sounds like it must be related to his replacing the alternator, maybe the alternator has a bad bearing.