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Old 02-11-2018
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2003 Ranger 3.0V6 Squealing when cold

Hi everyone,

I'm having a heck of a time trying to trace down a chirping/squealing noise that's coming from the front of the engine (not near the firewall - so I highly doubt it's the CPS). It's an intermittent high pitched squeal. When the truck is warm (after it's been worked on in a heated garage or been running at operating temperature for 30+mins), it doesn't make any noise whatsoever.When it's -20 to -30 celsius it gets pretty bad. My truck only has 65,000km on it. I recently replaced the timing chain cover gasket because it was leaking from one of the usual places. The slight squealing noise was there before I did that though. It's been about 1500km since I replaced the cover gasket and no leaks - success!! But still chirping/squealing...

At first, it really sounded like it was coming from the tensioner pulley, so I replaced that. No change. I then replaced the idler pulley. No change. I replaced the serpentine belt. No change. I noticed that my alternator bearings sounded rough and didn't spin that well (more of a dry/rough spin), so I thought that must be it. The truck is a bit quieter now (and the charge gauge seems to be reading a bit higher) but the squealing is still there. I'm sort of thinking it might be the water pump bearings, but I can't be sure. The belt has real good tension on it, so I doubt it's slipping. The fact that the new belt didn't seem to make a change (nor the tensioner or idler pulley) makes me think it's not that. No fluid coming out of the weep hole - fyi.

TL-DR: Intermittent squeal/chirp at the front of the engine when cold.The colder - the louder. Replaced serpentine belt, tensioner pulley, idler pulley and alternator - no change.

Any tips, ideas or suggestions?

It sounds like this, but less consistent and no knocking noises - especially at the 1:47-on mark:

Thanks everyone.
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Old 02-11-2018
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Sure sounds like a belt chirp to me. (if indeed it does sound like the same in the video)
Take a plant mister and fill it with water.
Spray it on the inside of the belt while it's running, if it goes away, then it is the belt.

What brand of belt are you using ?
I had a Dayco belt that always made noise, then a Gates, but then started making noise too, so now I have a Gator belt and it's quiet now.
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Old 02-11-2018
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The belt brand is Continental - brand new. The original belt made the exact same noise. The belt starts squealing louder if I spray the back side of it (the part that contacts the pulleys).

Thanks!
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Old 02-11-2018
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Have you tried on the grooved side ? Or is that what you meant ?
It may stop it temporarily and then it will probably get worse until the water works its way out.
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Old 02-11-2018
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Yes, that's what I meant. When I spray it on the grooved part it makes a new squeal which soon goes away. Then back to the erratic chirping/squealing.
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Old 02-11-2018
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my 02 did that when i first got it. Turned out to be the black pulley at top the belt goes around. You can try sanding the paint off first, that helps a lot or replace that's what the dealer did when i was under warranty, bit they also sanded it too.
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Old 02-11-2018
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That water trick is a pretty good test, if the squeak still remains, then it's something else.
Spraying water also makes misaligned pulleys quiet too, not that they are adjustable on the Vulcan.
Check for play on the clutch fan, move it front to back, there should be no sideways play.

You can also unscrew it and run the tuck with out the fan for a few seconds to determine if it's the clutch fan.
It's a left hand thread and sometimes it can be a real "BEAR" to get off.

With my truck a had a horrible time with mine, I even washed the pulleys off with Simple Green (got some anti freeze contamination on them).
It solved the problem for a while and then it came back.

Went to a Gates belt and that worked, then when it rained it made noise.
Took it off and used baby powder on it _ that worked for a while...

Now I have a Gator/Continental and it's quiet once more, so I know what you're going through.

EDIT:
If it's quiet when warm (heated garage), it still may the belt.
I would remove the belt and sprinkle baby powder on the groove side _ the whole thing and then wipe of the excess with a rag.
See of that doesn't work.

Last edited by Jeff R 1; 02-11-2018 at 05:38 PM.
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Old 02-11-2018
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I think you're referring to the idler pulley BigEdge and, like I said, I replaced that and it made no difference at all. I'll keep that in mind though.

Thanks!
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Old 02-11-2018
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Thanks Jeff! Yes, I have the same Continental Gator belt as you.
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Old 02-11-2018
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I will try the baby powder trick. I've never heard of that before, but it is a good idea... Thank-you everyone. I'll revive this thread later if that doesn't work.
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Old 02-11-2018
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Quote:
Originally Posted by seans View Post
I think you're referring to the idler pulley BigEdge and, like I said, I replaced that and it made no difference at all. I'll keep that in mind though.

Thanks!
No, I'm not referring to the idler pulley, I'm referring to the fan clutch, it front of the water pump.
It's something that can make noise, but I would try the baby powder first.
In those cold temps, I'm thinking that the belt is making noise because of the cold.

EDIT:
Didn't see the other guys post.

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Old 02-11-2018
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That sounds just like the alternator bearing I replaced in my truck back in November. It started off like that and a few months latter in November it started a high pitch screech when the engine was cold. Once it warmed up it was fine.

You can take a long screwdriver and hold the handle against your ear. Touch the other end to the alternator near the pulley and then do the same for the water pump. You might also be able to touch it to the center bolt of your idler pulley as well.
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Old 02-12-2018
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How's your power steering? When it's making the noise, does it go away or get worse or no change if you turn the steering wheel back and forth?
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Old 02-13-2018
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Grumpa - forgot to mention that I tried that. It doesn't seem to make any difference in the chirping/squealing. Neither does turning the a/c on.

Thanks.
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Old 02-13-2018
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ok, Like mentioned before, remove your fan clutch and start the engine and see if sound is still there. You should remove your new belt and clean any and all old rubber out of the grooved pulleys and take a scratch pad to the smooth ones. Make sure they are free of any solvents, oils etc. Brake cleaner works on them pretty good. Be sure they are completely dry before you put belt back on. Make sure your belt is clean of any solvents, soaps, oils etc... Best not to use any type solvent on a serpentine belt. It can break down the material and make things worse. Soapy water and thorough rinse and dry. Have you ran the engine for a bit without the belt at all to confirm it's a belt or peripheral accessory item?
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Old 02-14-2018
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white hand soap is cheap at dollar general, just start the engine and place it on a grooved area on the belt that you can reach safely, then remove, results are instant, wait, for the most part if the cherp goes away , its your belt or if it comes back slowly you have crap on the pulleys. if it dont change then use the screwdriver to the ear trick to pin point what thing is going bad
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