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Melissa_M 12-20-2020 10:11 PM

pulley noise, maybe
 
I've just started having noise from the belt area. Got a both high and low pitched sound, not at the same time. So far they are intermittent and not affected by load/RPM.

Everything is original equip except for the water pump. Belt is tight and I see no significant pulley wobble. Previous belt looked fine but made slight noise that resolved with a fresh belt, so that may be a possibility here.

My [I]guess[/I] is that this is the tensioner or idler pulley.
Since the noises are intermittent I figured I'd wait until they consistently occur to pull the belt and spin the pulleys. This of course makes me nervous.
Do they generally make an obvious/significant noise when they are bad?
How obvious is a bad pulley, sound wise, when you spin by hand?


If it is the tensioner I suppose I should put a whole new tensioner on, but what about the idler? Do I get whatever crap the FLAPS has or try to install a new sealed bearing in my existing idler pulley? Seems pretty straightforward, and I'm assuming I can get a loaner tool to press in the bearing.

The alternator bearing would be another possibility, and again, I suppose I'd replace the whole unit.

C52 12-21-2020 10:21 AM

Re: pulley noise, maybe
 
If you should end up needing a new belt tensioner it is always a good idea to replace the idler pulley and belt at the same time as well while you have it apart.

Rock auto currently has Gates belt tensioner's and idler pulley's as well as the serpentine belt on closeout, much cheaper than buying them at your local flaps. I recently replaced
these parts on my 97 SW2 with the Gates brand, however I didn't find out about the closeout at Rock Auto until after I had paid a much higher price at my local flaps.

Below listing is for DOHC 99 SL

[url]https://www.rockauto.com/RSS/vehiclefeeds.php?carcode=1357264&m=wc&l=en&html=true[/url]

Melissa_M 12-21-2020 06:06 PM

Re: pulley noise, maybe
 
great reminder about replacing the extra parts, thanks!

Highmile 12-22-2020 08:56 AM

Re: pulley noise, maybe
 
I've replace the tensioner a number of time but the idler will outlast a tensioner by a factor of 2 or 3.

If you do replace the idler pulley be VERY careful removing it. It's very easy to break the boss off the timing cover.

If you have the belt off check everything that is belt driven. I've had water pumps make the same sort of noises.

The idler and tensioner are easy to tell, if they sound dry or make noise when you spin them by hand they are done. They will have some movement in them however. Also if they feel crunchy. Water pump, if there is any movement up/down or in/out its due to be replaced. Alternator should spin easily but may make a bit of noise due to the brushes on the armature. It should not feel crunchy though.

Highmile
'95 SL1 721k and counting

billr 12-22-2020 01:51 PM

Re: pulley noise, maybe
 
I agree with most of the post above, but want to caution that a belt squeak caused by the tensioner may not be from its [I]bearing[/I].

I had one (OEM) fail at the pivot of the tensioner "arm" such that it felt fine pulling the arm [I]away[/I] from the belt (or pressing with your thumb in on a span of the belt), but could not travel [I]inward[/I] against the belt enough to properly tension it. I never did actually "find" the problem, I eliminated everything else until a tensioner replacement seemed like the best option to try retain my sanity. Once the tensioner was off and I saw it had little-to-no inward travel it was obvious. On disassembly, I found the the plastic hub/bushing at the pivot had cracked and was limiting travel.

Lots of blather there, probably meaningless to many, but point is: Don't throw a lot of extra parts at this, little labor (and no money) is lost if you have to go back and replace the idler or belt later. And, don't focus on just the [I]pulley bearing[/I] of the tensioner.

craftsman70 12-23-2020 10:36 AM

Re: pulley noise, maybe
 
Its only a few bolts, but its a pain replacing the both pulleys, but definitely worth doing while you are in there. There are various size pulleys depending on whether you have AC or not and some sources list the wrong sizes. I ran into that when I ordered online and had to grab one of the pulleys locally. I also was disappointed that most brands used a plastic pulley versus a metal one. So keep an eye out for that when shopping around too.

Melissa_M 12-23-2020 01:00 PM

Re: pulley noise, maybe
 
[QUOTE=craftsman70;2355065] I also was disappointed that most brands used a plastic pulley versus a metal one. So keep an eye out for that when shopping around too.[/QUOTE]
This is why I am considering trying to press a new bearing into the existing pulley (if needed)... Again, not that I've ever pressed in a bearing!

Never would have guessed that I"d be wrenching on my own car in the first place, but here I am, and largely thru the generosity of forum members, I have learned [B]so[/B] much!

billr 12-23-2020 01:06 PM

Re: pulley noise, maybe
 
The Gates #38112 has a steel pulley of the correct (OEM) diameter.

edlee 12-23-2020 10:09 PM

Re: pulley noise, maybe
 
The main danger in damaging your car by removing your idler pulley bolt comes from using the wrong tool and trying to unscrew the idler pulley bolt at something other than a 90 degree angle. You can search eBay for a small wrench which can get into tight spots, such as to remove the 13mm idler pulley bolt. The keywords to search for are:

vim HBR5 wrench

This small ratchet wrench uses a 1/4" square drive for which you will need to buy a 13mm deep socket. You can use a screw adjustable Crescent wrench to add extra length to the smaller VIM HBR5 wrench for more leverage.

The actual tool that I used to remove my idler pulley was:

Platinum 99663 XL Ratcheting Wrench, 13mm x 15mm, 16.07 Long

but the problem with this Platinum wrench is it comes with a cancer/reproductive harm warning. Afterwards, I realized I could have used the smaller VIM HBR5 wrench which comes with no such warning.

C52 12-24-2020 12:33 PM

Re: pulley noise, maybe
 
When I did the job I removed the upper motor mount on my 97 SW2, put a piece of wood on my floor jack, and jacked up the engine as far as it would go with the piece of wood under the oil pan. This provided far more clearance and made it much easier to get at. Not sure how the clearance is on a 99SL.

Also whatever socket you use, make sure that it is a 6 point. At least on my 97, the bolts tend to round off rather easily otherwise.

fetchitfido 12-24-2020 01:00 PM

Re: pulley noise, maybe
 
On pretty much anything torqued over 15ft/lbs you want to use 6pt sockets on hex bolt heads. Often times the 6pt socket set is priced higher than the 12pt set which can be a deal breaker for some people but if you can swing it is well worth the cost; I know the wrench sets with 6pt boxed ends I've found are stupid expensive compared to the 12pt ones.

If doing the idler pulley I'd get some JB Weld and a wire brush on hand before starting the job, you might have to use the brush to clean the boss halfs off and the JB Weld to glue it back together. Nearly always it comes off without snapping the boss off, but with "Saturn's Law"* it's best to be prepared.

*If you don't have a spare on hand...the thing you require to work will be broken.

Signmaster 12-26-2020 02:42 PM

Re: pulley noise, maybe
 
Sometimes those sounds are a PITA to pin down. I got lucky and had an idler bolt back off just enough to let the pulley move some. I noticed it when tracking down the noise by the new line on the painted surface. I just had to tighten it up.

I pulled it off assuming that maybe the bearing went and had something to do with it being loose, but the bearing was fine.

Total cost of repair.... nothing.

In my case I got a slight rattle and/or squeal, but only now and then, and it seemed like only when the car was coming up to temp, but at idle mostly.

RobertGary1 01-03-2021 10:42 PM

Re: pulley noise, maybe
 
Stick a long screwdriver on the center bolt of each bearing. The long screw driver will amplify and vibrate with the bad bearing.

RobertGary1 01-03-2021 10:45 PM

Re: pulley noise, maybe
 
[url]https://youtu.be/fHtLH_m9gN4[/url]

hholbein 01-04-2021 07:09 PM

Re: pulley noise, maybe
 
I wouldn't rule out the OEM water pump pulley as the source of the noise. In my case @100K miles, I could tell the mixed noises was coming from the front portion of the engine and I originally thought it was the AC Clutch bearing.

I put a shorter belt and bypassed the AC and the noise was still there, and it did turn out to be the water pump. No leaking or weeping, so that surprised me.

I replaced it with a $25 Gates pump and it was quiet again.

Goggles Pisano 01-06-2021 01:11 AM

Re: pulley noise, maybe
 
You want to be super lazy? Try spraying the belt with some [url=https://www.amazon.com/303-30306-Aerospace-Protectant-Furniture/dp/B000XBCURW/ref=mp_s_a_1_4?dchild=1&keywords=303+aerospace+protectant&qid=1609909767&sprefix=303+aer&sr=8-4]303 Aerospace Protectant[/url] and see if the noise goes away.

billr 01-06-2021 01:49 AM

Re: pulley noise, maybe
 
Even just water will work. That is a useful trick to tell if it is a bearing squeaking or a loose (slipping) belt that quiets from the water (or whatever).

RobertGary1 01-06-2021 02:15 AM

Re: pulley noise, maybe
 
[QUOTE=hholbein;2355500]I wouldn't rule out the OEM water pump pulley as the source of the noise. In my case @100K miles, I could tell the mixed noises was coming from the front portion of the engine and I originally thought it was the AC Clutch bearing.

I put a shorter belt and bypassed the AC and the noise was still there, and it did turn out to be the water pump. No leaking or weeping, so that surprised me.

I replaced it with a $25 Gates pump and it was quiet again.[/QUOTE]

At 100k any water pump is beyond its time. I do them at 100k as preventative because you know its going to die.

Waiex191 01-06-2021 10:52 AM

Re: pulley noise, maybe
 
Mine died at 204,062 or so.

Goggles Pisano 01-06-2021 02:42 PM

Re: pulley noise, maybe
 
[QUOTE=Waiex191;2355556]Mine died at 204,062 or so.[/QUOTE] Mine died at approximately 205,000 km (127,000 miles).


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