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Water pump? Loose belt? Battery draining? Help?

Terrible Squeeking from serpentine belt area on my '83 Volvo GL. The high pitched sound comes and goes when driving. Lubricating the belt did nothing. Went to Schucks. They heard a “metal on metal” sound from the belt area where the water pump is and suggested replacing the water pump.

In addition to this sound the car won’t start after a long period of not running. I have to jump start it and it will work for awhile. Schucks guy said this may be due to the short trips I take (~5min.) and the alternator doesn’t have time to charge the battery. He checked the voltage of the battery and alternator which were normal, except the charge on the battery was very low. I believe something is draining the battery.

They said these two problems are unrelated, ones electrical and I need to see a mechanic about it, the other is something I could do, replace the water pump. I bought a new water pump. Should I replace the old one? Opinions please.

Well, if your water pump is really making mechanical noises, it should be replaced. Are you sure the sound is coming from the water pump? If your belt is squeaking, it should be replaced (does a '83 volvo really have a serpentine belt, not v-belts?). It seems possible that the slipping belt is related to your electrical problem, it’s also possible that you just need a new battery. How old is the battery?

The guy at Schucks thought the sound was coming from the water pump. Its hard to tell for me. The battery is a few years old and I think its OK, but you may be right in replacing it. I’m going to go listen to it right now . Be back soon.

Sometimes it’s hard to tell, I once replaced a water pump on a BMW and found out the noise was actually coming from a belt tensioner. A mechanic’s stethoscope is usually the best way to locate the sound. I often use a long screwdriver against my ear and touch the various components, try not to lose any fingers or ears while doing this.

The alternator may actually be the culprit. If the bearing are worn the metal on metal sound may be coming from the alternator. Take off the drive belt and turn the water pump and the alternator by hand and see which make the noise. If both turn freely then try putting some force on the pullys of them (maybe use the handle of a screw driver) and turn again.