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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Got in the car to drive home from Costco, makes a whining sound. I am not sure which all components are on the passenger side getting driven by the belts... but pretty sure from the sound and the smell that one of the pulleys is not turning so the belt is just sliding over it.

Had timing belt job done around 110k, car has been driving fine, just got back from a trip to Utah. I am thinking of all the things could be, alternator, water/power steering/AC compressor... I don't know what's most likely.

Is there a common one that fails? Is there a diagram somewhere? If anyone has a shortcut, I would appreciate it. I will be searching for shop manual or other references in the meantime but if anyone has a quick point in the right direction, I'd appreciate it.
 

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Easiest way to narrow it down is using a mechanics' stethoscope or even a broom handle pressed against each accessory and against your ear. Obviously be super careful.

You can also remove the serpentine accessory belt and spin each accessory pulley by hand. I'll bet you find one of the tensioner pulley bearings is shot. If you are frugal, you can replace the bearings individually by removing the tensioner assembly and then the pulleys and pressing the bearing out in a vise and pressing a new one in (rock auto sells the bearings alone). Or spring for a new tensioner. If it's something else like an alternator or power steering pump then go in that direction. If it's the A/C compressor it will likely make less noise when the A/C is off.
 

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Well, you have the alternator, power steering pump, AC compressor, tensioner etc. Any one of these could have a problem. There is no common spot. Not only should you replace the one that's toasted, but also the accessory belt and tensioner as they are also damaged.
While you are there, please check the power steering fluid as well
 

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I also vote that you remove the serpentine belt and give everything a spin. The crunchy or resistant pulley is your culprit!

Rocky makes a good point, make sure your power steering pump hasn't been run low on fluid, the pump could be damaged if that occurred.
 

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The accesory belt (that drives alternator, water pump, AC pump and power steering pump is very easy to see). Just pop the hood up, have your assistant rev the engine to 2-3K rpm and hold it there, and watch the belt. You will hear everything and you should be able to see just about all pulleys looking at it from the top.
If that's quiet, then, after checking the power steering fluid level, have your assistant turn the steering wheel all the way to full stop left and full stop right. Listen for noise, check the steering wheel for shake or slightly notchy jerking.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Just idling it makes the whining sound and I smelled burning rubber in a brief moment like 30 seconds. Well the drive home when the noise started was bout a mile so it was already warm, but you know.

I will check all this stuff, thanks for the replies. Glad I have another car, and during covid I'll have more time to figure it out and do the repair.

Water pump was changed 30k miles ago. Charging has been fine. AC has been great, but I have been using it a lot (summer in SoCal) turning on and off all the time. If it was the power steering pump I would notice the steering being rough, no? I need to look into it but is the tensioner a standard change with the timing belt job?

Mechanically everything is working fine so I am guessing it's more likely to be the tensioner, but of course it could be any of these things so I'll get in there and figure it out.

Again, thanks for all the input.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I got a belt removal tool from harbor freight and removed the belt. Going to change it, it's cracked and stiff. I suppose I could be really lucky and the belt is so worn it just needs to be changed, all the pulleys turn fine, no obvious sounds or stickiness or rattling. Still looking at it all... we'll see...
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Seems a practical/logical idea to clean the pulleys before installing a new one. Is there a product specifically for that? ... besides just wiping them with a cloth...
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thanks for video.

Humming sound seemed to come from the passenger side and I smelled rubber, so I figured the belt was rubbing instead of rolling over something.

I took it off, all the pulleys seemed clean and rolled fine. Functionally/mechanically the car has no noticeable change in performance. So I put a new belt on, the old one didn't seem about to break but it was stiff and as far as I know it had 148,000 miles on it.

Sound is still there though and it sorta seems louder when I'm under the car than above it. Still trying to diagnose it... gonna post a video, does anyone recognize this sound?

 

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Thanks for video.

Humming sound seemed to come from the passenger side and I smelled rubber, so I figured the belt was rubbing instead of rolling over something.

I took it off, all the pulleys seemed clean and rolled fine. Functionally/mechanically the car has no noticeable change in performance. So I put a new belt on, the old one didn't seem about to break but it was stiff and as far as I know it had 148,000 miles on it.

Sound is still there though and it sorta seems louder when I'm under the car than above it. Still trying to diagnose it... gonna post a video, does anyone recognize this sound?

That for sure does NOT sound right. Also if a pulley turns too freely it's also bad. If you can grab it, spin it, and keeps spinning that's actually bad. It should move smoothly but probably not more than 1 turn on a "spin". I'm betting it's either one of the tensioner pulley bearings (see if they'll spin) OR the power steering pump. You can run the car with the belt off for a short period to confirm you're on the right track (aka you don't have an issue with the t-belt pulleys or water pump).
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Yeah it's quiet with the belt off. The alternator pulley is a little stiffer than the others, but the P/S pump has some grease around it and the fluid level is right at the lower level line. I've tried to listen with a long screwdriver for a stethoscope but didn't really help much to hear it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Found a video, same guy as above, mine sounds like his does. But... I haven't had any issues with steering at all. I don't know, I'll focus on the power steering pump.

 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
So I took the plastic engine cover off and the P/S pump is covered in grime; I'm more sure it's the pump. I loosened the pulley 'cause I'm going to exchange the pump, wasn't too hard and easier with the serpentine belt removal tool I got, and a screwdriver through the pulley as a lever to hold it while I loosened the nut.

It started making the sound so suddenly, just as I parked at Costco, I was curious about what could go bad like that. But now that I think of it (could be my imagination) the steering hasn't been as smooth as it could be and at 148,000m it isn't unlikely to be worn out.

Gonna check to see what is the best value option for a replacement pump, clean the reservoir, put in new fluid, should be running smooth. Whenever I get to it... lol
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Well yah I changed the P/S pump and cleaned the reservoir and refilled with new fluid, ran the car and turned the steering wheel a bunch. When I first started the car it still made the noise and I was pretty annoyed, but after driving it a bit the noise is gone. I don't know a lot how steering systems work so I guess it had to flush the fluid through the entire system. Or maybe I had the bad o-rings on my pump. I don't know but the steering is smoother and the car is quiet again and everything went fine so I'm happy.

I haven't done a job like this before and I went and looked at my other vehicle, my '08 CX-7. I might replace the belt on that car too now that I have tools and experience. It is frayed just a bit and feels pretty stiff, and it has over 140,000 miles on it too.

Youtube, the guy in the videos above and all the people who contribute, and all the people on this forum are so helpful, it's really cool.
 

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If a belt is 'frayed' at all- Probably needs replaced.
 
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Well yah I changed the P/S pump and cleaned the reservoir and refilled with new fluid, ran the car and turned the steering wheel a bunch. When I first started the car it still made the noise and I was pretty annoyed, but after driving it a bit the noise is gone. I don't know a lot how steering systems work so I guess it had to flush the fluid through the entire system. Or maybe I had the bad o-rings on my pump. I don't know but the steering is smoother and the car is quiet again and everything went fine so I'm happy.

I haven't done a job like this before and I went and looked at my other vehicle, my '08 CX-7. I might replace the belt on that car too now that I have tools and experience. It is frayed just a bit and feels pretty stiff, and it has over 140,000 miles on it too.

Youtube, the guy in the videos above and all the people who contribute, and all the people on this forum are so helpful, it's really cool.
Nice job! The noise was probably from air in the pump and it worked it’s way out after you drove it.
 
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