Stupid Cars!

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davintosh's picture
Last seen: 10 years 4 months ago
Joined: Dec 20 2003 - 10:38
Posts: 554
Stupid Cars!

I drive a little Suzuki Sidekick, and the thing runs like a champ. But lately, since it started getting cold in late fall, a bearing somewhere under the hood makes quite a lot of noise. At times.

I say "at times" because I've had it to the shop three times so far this winter, and they have yet to figure out what it is I'm talking about. I describe the sound to the mechanic -- a loud distinct squeal (such as would be made by a failing bearing) -- that it occurs at various engine speeds (at about 2600, 3000 & 3400RPM), and most often when it's good & cold outside (sub-zero temps.) But the problem is, once the engine warms up a bit, it won't make a sound. Most of the time. Where I live and where I work is about the same distance to the shop, so when it's been sitting for a while at either place and I start driving it, I'll almost always hear the squeal. But by the time I get to the shop, it won't do it.

Today was plenty cold, and I had a few errands to run over my lunch hour. My trip took me past the shop twice; on the way out, it wasn't making the noise at all, so I didn't stop. But on the way back the thing was singing like a canary, so I stopped by the shop & had the manager go for a ride with me. It ran perfectly; not a peep from my noisy bearing.


I (and my mechanic) am beginning to think that the problem is in my head, and not under my hood.

Thanks for letting me vent. Anybody else have problems like this?

Jon's picture
Last seen: 13 years 1 month ago
Joined: Dec 20 2003 - 10:38
Posts: 2804
Squeaks are common in the mot

Squeaks are common in the motors of Chrysler mini vans (Plymouth/Dodge/Chrysler). We've had at least 4 in our family, and all of them had a squeaky pulley/belt at various times. It was usually related to the humidity or temperature. They also had a problem with water getting in the wiper shafts and freezing them in place at times. We also had that same trouble at time on a couple GMC trucks, so it's not a Chrysler specific problem. We talked to our mechanic and he said it was not an uncommon problem on a lot of makes if the freeze/thaw cycle happens and there is a lot of snow or ice build up on the windshield that can build up water over the shafts.

Last seen: 15 years 4 months ago
Joined: Feb 10 2004 - 21:41
Posts: 208
The serpentine belt tensioner

The serpentine belt tensioner spring is probably loose. I don't have much experience with Suzuki, but I've seen this happen on more than one vehicle, including two of my own.

Let me guess, it happens more freuqnetly when you have your lights, A/C and/or defroster/defogger (front and/or rear) on?

What's happened on other cars is the tensioner isn't giving enough pressure to the belt. As accessories begin to put more resistance on their respective pulleys (specifically electrical load on the alternator and refrigerant load from your air conditioner compressor), the crank pulley can't get enough traction to efficiently move the belt, resulting in metal on rubber skidding noises, which can easily sound kind of like a faint squeak-squeak-squeak or can turn into a full-on SQUEAAAAAAAAAAAAAAL.

To test, turn on your car, idle, turn on the A/C full blast, lights, and rear defroster. See if it makes the noise. If it makes the noise, try using CRC Belt Conditioner on the inner (usually ribbed or V-shaped) part of the belt while it's spinning. This should stop the noise temporarily, because it's sticky and adds traction to the belt and pulleys.

Test the tensioner arm, if it's spring loaded, it should require a wrench or lever to move it. If it can be moved by hand, the tensioner arm might need replacing. If the tensioner is held in place by a bolt, then try tightening it as recommended by the manufacturer.

madmax_2069's picture
Last seen: 13 years 7 months ago
Joined: Sep 24 2005 - 07:28
Posts: 664
yea when belts are net tentio

yea when belts are net tentioned at the proper tightness it can produce a squeal. sometimes it can sound like a bering going out. my cars belt going to the power steering is loose and will only squeel at higher engine RPM's. my car is also behaving oddly when it has got cold. it is still a champ once its warm.

misses when first start when its real cold outside

heater core is plugged. (been like that when i first got the car)

power steering pump prolly needs replaced (even when the belt was tight it hardly worked)

clutch needs replaced ( can hear the throw out berring making the normal going out noises) also catches causing a studder when trying to let out on the pedal and slips during gear change during hard acceloration.

front sway bar broken at where it connects to the bushing.
back bushing broken that connects to the sway bar.

going to do
for the heck of it replacing the water pump and timing belt when my income tax comes in.

want to replace the clutch if i have enuff money left

replacing the drivers side fender and door and marker light caus eit was side swiped before i got it ( one hell of a draft coming threw the door)

Tune up very long overdue (wires fell apart when i changed them bringing more problems to arise) can almost amagine what the plugs and distribitor cap and rotor button will look like

see if the tie rod ends need to be replaced

other than that this car has never failed to start and runs smooth once warm. didnt start to run badly at start till it got cold. i guess the cold brings the problems not known about a car to bloom some times making the car break down. fortunatly my car hasnt yet. the car was free and i was to make it right cause it never failed the other owner before me. but he abused it badly and things are starting to show it.

the motor does not knock even tho it was mistreated. replaced ratiator when i first got it. has a slight cooling problem but dont over heat. replacing the water pump and thermostat will prolly fix that, the new radiator fixed most of it but not all of it. the clutch is one thing im worried about but the cooling is somthing im more worried about.

iantm's picture
Last seen: 3 years 4 months ago
Joined: Apr 2 2005 - 14:01
Posts: 709
My wife's car ...

is doing the exact same thing. It sqeals on initial start up, but once warm it quiets down. Though, this car has had a multitude of issues, so GM will be going over it with a fine toothed comb next week. Fun times. She has an 04 chevy malibu with 33k miles on it. My 89 Volvo 760 turbo, however runs like a champ, and it's only noise is the exhaust leak I never got around to fixing - it sounds like a diesel.

Last seen: 10 years 9 months ago
Joined: Sep 16 2004 - 02:44
Posts: 274
Sounds like a belt or power s

Sounds like a belt or power steering pump. My power steering pump squeals alot when cold if the fluid is low, or at full lock all the time.

davintosh's picture
Last seen: 10 years 4 months ago
Joined: Dec 20 2003 - 10:38
Posts: 554
98% Sure...

... it's not a belt. The belts were changed on the first trip to the shop, and I've checked tension on them. And the squeal isn't what you'd normally hear from a slipping belt; it's more of a metal-on-metal sound than a slipping rubber sound, as I've often heard on other cars I've owned. A long while back I had a Chevy Celebrity with a 2.8L V6 that had a bad water pump bearing/seal; the sound that made is similar to what I'm hearing now. The big difference is that the Celebrity leaked coolant too; nary a drop coming from the Suzuki, so I'm leaning toward the AC compressor or alternator. Hoping against hope that it's not the AC!

I've got an mp3 player that also records... I've decided I need to take it with me whenever I drive so I can record what it sounds like. If nothing else, just having it along might keep it from squealing! Wink

The whole ordeal makes me laugh a little, because at work (I manage the graphics department for a printing company, and do general IT support all over the company) someone will be having computer problems, but when they call me to their desk, everything is fine. Same thing with this squeal; I can almost get it to do it on demand, but get the mechanic anywhere near it and all is fine. Just a taste of what my users go through I guess.

Last seen: 10 years 9 months ago
Joined: Sep 16 2004 - 02:44
Posts: 274
My guess is it might be the A

My guess is it might be the A/C pulley clutch thing, compressor, or PS pump.

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