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Old 02-11-2009, 07:10 PM   #1
bronzestarvue
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Default Squealing noise when driving


Just picked up a '97 SC2 with 111K miles. Other than a horn issue I'm having with it (separate thread), it's making this squealing sound that's giving me a headache.

At first I thought it was the s-belt, but when I popped the hood and listened, it's not the s-belt making the noise. It seems to only make the noise when the car is in gear and in motion. While I was driving today, it was making the noise, so I pushed in the clutch to see what would happen, and it was still making the noise. The only time it doesn't make the noise is when I'm slowing down and almost stopped, and when I'm sitting still idling. When I put the car in gear and start moving, the squealing noise starts up again.

Anyone have any guesses as to what's making the noise?

...
Robert (Norfolk, VA)
97 SC2, Fiamm horns, STB, Uni filter, Springtech springs, drilled rotors
07 Sky, Fiamms, muffler, drilled rotors, Fujita intake, reBar, tunnel brace, front chassis brace

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Old 02-11-2009, 07:19 PM   #2
1995sl1sohc
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Default Re: Squealing noise when driving

Take a peak at the front brakes.
It's probably the squealers rubbing up against the rotors telling you it's getting to be that time again. If it stops it means the squealer broke off and you are good and quiet until the pad is completely gone and you start getting metal on metal grinding .

Last edited by 1995sl1sohc; 02-11-2009 at 07:24 PM..

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Old 02-11-2009, 07:21 PM   #3
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Happy Re: Squealing noise when driving

Does sound like it could be brake related....

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Old 02-11-2009, 07:44 PM   #4
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Default Re: Squealing noise when driving

Could be brakes or it could be idler pulley or Belt Tensioner that is whining...

Sounds like Brakes though...

Since you just picked it up...may be a good idea to change them out. $60 from autozone and you are set...

($20 pads, $20/each rotor...I've used Valucraft Rotors with no problems for over 5 years now.)

...
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94 SL2 225K Miles
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Old 02-11-2009, 08:27 PM   #5
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Default Re: Squealing noise when driving

I thought they checked the brakes today for the inspection, and that was one of the few things they didn't recommend getting serviced. Since the squealing isn't coming from under the hood, even when I rev the motor, that's making me think it's not the s-belt, or anything related to it (pulleys, tensioner, etc). Because it seems to only happen while in motion, and goes away when the car is almost stopped, I'm thinking it just might be the brakes.

If I get my horn issue resolved tomorrow, when I take it back to the Saturn dealer for them to re-inspect it (and hopefully pass it this time), I'll ask them to take another look at the front brakes, just to be sure. But that incessant squealing is driving me *******' nuts...

...
Robert (Norfolk, VA)
97 SC2, Fiamm horns, STB, Uni filter, Springtech springs, drilled rotors
07 Sky, Fiamms, muffler, drilled rotors, Fujita intake, reBar, tunnel brace, front chassis brace

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Old 02-11-2009, 08:39 PM   #6
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Default Re: Squealing noise when driving

It has to be something related to the wheels, and 10 to 1 it's the brakes. Even if the brakes are still good and working the previous owner (or his fly-by-night mechanic) could have put low quality pads and/or rotors on it that'll resonate, sing, and squeal. Often the pads will squeal louder in one direction, reverse or forward, than the other.

Wheel bearings, CV joints, transmissions, and other things that rotate when the car is rolling tend not to squeak but go growl, thunk, click, etc.

You could always jack up the front of the car, stick it in neutral, and spin the tires by hand to see if you can make the wheels squeak. If you can, dropping the wheel off should make it acoustically obvious if the sound is coming from either brake.

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Old 02-12-2009, 05:47 AM   #7
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Default Re: Squealing noise when driving

Did you check to see if you hit a pig at one time or another. They squeal terribly, especially when their being chased.

Just ignore me!! Why do I give into these voices inside my head... Hey, don't blame us, you're the one that's typing... Oh just shut up.

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Old 02-12-2009, 06:54 AM   #8
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Default Re: Squealing noise when driving


I looked at the paperwork again from the "courtesy" inspection they did, and according to them, the front brakes were at 7/32", and they passed. On the writeup they did on my complaint about the squealing, their recommendation was to replace the idler pulley and belt. However, even though in my complaint I mentioned that it squeals only when the car is in motion, I'm almost certain they didn't test drive it anywhere. Their estimate for replacing the pulley and belt was over $200.

I think I'll get a second opinion after I get the horn issue resolved, and can "legally" drive the car. I paid $2100 for the car, and their list of recommended services/repairs was over $2200!

...
Robert (Norfolk, VA)
97 SC2, Fiamm horns, STB, Uni filter, Springtech springs, drilled rotors
07 Sky, Fiamms, muffler, drilled rotors, Fujita intake, reBar, tunnel brace, front chassis brace

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Old 02-12-2009, 08:12 AM   #9
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Default Re: Squealing noise when driving

Yeesh! $200 for repairs? !!???

For that price you could probably get BOTH the idler and belt tensioner and replace them yourself....if you are mechanically inclined.

The Idler pulley and the Belt Tensioner are held in with 10 MM Bolts.

To get to them all you really have to do is release the Tension on the Belt Tensioner with a 14MM Wrench, remove the Serpentine Belt, and the Idler pulley and Belt Tensioner are located right above the Flywheel.

If you aren't mechanically inclined, then a 2nd opinion by a good reputable garage is in order.

If you didn't live in Virginia, I would offer to fix your car...but since I'm in Cincinnati, and you are in Virginia...well that's a bit of road haul...

...
Bryan

94 SL2 225K Miles
97 SW2 255K Miles

Garaged
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Never Forget
94 SC1 340,501 Miles
Original Engine/Auto Trans
02/97-10/08
Gone 03/12


92 SL1
05 VUE
91 SC

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Old 02-12-2009, 08:20 AM   #10
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Default Re: Squealing noise when driving

well you need to figure out whether its when its in gear or only when its in motion. To me it soulds like you are in need of a wheel bearing. Is it a high pitch noise?

Quote:
Originally Posted by 2NDSOUT View Post
If you aren't mechanically inclined, then a 2nd opinion by a good reputable garage is in order...
you do not need to be mechanically inclined to change the serp belt and tensioner. if you can breathe with out thinking, you can change a serp belt. All you need to do this is a simple $10 dollar wrachet set from pepboys that is 3/8ths drive and you are golden. Hell, I'll even get you a video.

EDIT:: Never seen the videos... I don't know why there are 2? ? but you'll figure it out. Meh its Rich, you're in good hands.

Saturn drivebelt tensioner removal
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=REanRbFco4k

Saturn Tensioner Removal 2
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cU5lDkHsacM

...
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Last edited by OnDaGround; 02-12-2009 at 08:26 AM..

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Old 02-12-2009, 12:10 PM   #11
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Default Re: Squealing noise when driving

I'm pretty sure I have a 14mm wrench, so I should be able to at least change the s-belt. I have a 3/8" socket set, so I might be able to change the idler puller as well. Any idea on what those two parts would cost (s-belt and idler pulley)?

Also, you might be on to something with the wheel bearings. I didn't think about that, but again, to an unexperienced ear like mine, I don't think it's the belt and pulley, despite what the Saturn dealer said. If it was, wouldn't it make that noise all the time, even at idle, so I could pinpoint it? It only gets real loud when the car is moving, and when slowing to a stop the noise pretty much disappears. So I still think it's wheel/brake related, not belt-related. And it's more of a high pitch squeal, vice clunking or grinding noise.

Any flaws in my logic?

...
Robert (Norfolk, VA)
97 SC2, Fiamm horns, STB, Uni filter, Springtech springs, drilled rotors
07 Sky, Fiamms, muffler, drilled rotors, Fujita intake, reBar, tunnel brace, front chassis brace

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Old 02-12-2009, 12:36 PM   #12
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Default Re: Squealing noise when driving

I'm still pretty sure your noise is wheel or brake related. At your mileage it might not be a bad idea to replace the S-belt anyway, but I don't think that's the issue at hand.

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Old 02-12-2009, 01:16 PM   #13
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Default Re: Squealing noise when driving

The belt is probably due, and with the belt removed you can see if there is any play in the idler pulley. If there is play in the pulley replace it as well.

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Old 02-12-2009, 02:11 PM   #14
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Default Re: Squealing noise when driving

The sounds you are describing sound like a wheel bearing. Clunking... no that could be a number of things; control arm bushings, sway bar bushings or strut mounts... But back to the squeal grinding. That does sound like a wheel bearing. If you feel it is belt related and goes with the engine speed. Put the car in nuetral and lightly rev it up. If it does it as the engine speed increases you are looking more to the accessory belt, power steering pump, belt, tensioner etc. blah blah blah.

If it only does it when you are moving I would look towards the suspension.

...
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Old 02-12-2009, 02:29 PM   #15
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Default Re: Squealing noise when driving

it's the seal on the support bearing. for those who don't know what this is look under the car. you have 2 front drive shafts. on the longer one it has a support bearing & the seal gets dry & squeals. shoot it with some penetrating oil or some lube of any sort. it works. mine does this sometimes, & since the bearing is good just a dry seal i shoot it from time to time when i change the oil for example. it's no big deal. it's a lot of work just to replace the stupid seal, so i just lubricate it from time to time. the factory didn'tg use a lot of grease in that bearing so the seal's not really lubed that great from the beginning....

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Old 02-12-2009, 02:38 PM   #16
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Default if more chirp than squeal, try removing hubcaps

I had a weird chirp on my SL2 a couple years ago that I couldn't localize, only happened while moving. It turned out to be the plastic hubcaps squeaking.

So, you could try removing the hubcaps one day just to rule that out, if nothing else seems to be it.

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Old 02-12-2009, 02:43 PM   #17
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Default Re: if more chirp than squeal, try removing hubcaps

Quote:
Originally Posted by linuxdude View Post
I had a weird chirp on my SL2 a couple years ago that I couldn't localize, only happened while moving. It turned out to be the plastic hubcaps squeaking.

So, you could try removing the hubcaps one day just to rule that out, if nothing else seems to be it.
possibly but the annoying squeak he described sounds exactly what my car did & it also gave me a headache. my car has factory wheel covers & they don't make a sound. i'll bet the front wheel off my motorcycle it's that support bearing. nothing that a can of lube can't fix....

p.s. on my wheel covers, i use some silicone grease where they contact the steel wheel surfaces so they keep quiet & the wheel don't rust where they scrape off the paint from moving/vibration...

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Old 02-12-2009, 08:16 PM   #18
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Default Re: Squealing noise when driving

So which wheel has the support bearing, and about where is it located? I turned the right front wheel all the way to the left, and that side looks like it has the longer drive shaft. But if that's the side that has the support bearing, it must be towards the middle, where I can't see it?

...
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07 Sky, Fiamms, muffler, drilled rotors, Fujita intake, reBar, tunnel brace, front chassis brace

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Old 02-12-2009, 08:25 PM   #19
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Default Re: Squealing noise when driving

Quote:
Originally Posted by bronzestarvue View Post
So which wheel has the support bearing, and about where is it located? I turned the right front wheel all the way to the left, and that side looks like it has the longer drive shaft. But if that's the side that has the support bearing, it must be towards the middle, where I can't see it?
the support bearing is on the longer shaft. it's a small bearing housing that the shaft passes through. just squirt some spray grease between the shaft & bearing housing so the seal gets lubricated. should stop the noise right away....

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Old 02-13-2009, 08:51 AM   #20
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Default Re: Squealing noise when driving

I jacked up the right side of the car, just behind the front wheel, and crawled under there with a flashlight. I think I found this support bearing housing that people are referring to, and I sprayed both sides with some CLP, and let it sit overnight.

I took it this morning to a gas station around the corner, and the squealing noise is MUCH less than it was, but it still does it. So I'm not sure if I need to hit it again with some CLP, or look elsewhere. Just wondering, but if this housing needs lube, why didn't they put a grease fitting in it? I might also change the s-belt, provided I can find a long 14mm wrench to work on the tensioner pulley. Upon close inspection, it looks like there is some fraying along the outer edges of the s-belt, so I'll probably replace it anyway and hope for the best.

Any suggestions on where to get a long 14mm wrench for that pulley?

...
Robert (Norfolk, VA)
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07 Sky, Fiamms, muffler, drilled rotors, Fujita intake, reBar, tunnel brace, front chassis brace

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