squeaking belts

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prairie

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Jul 4, 2005
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Being a newbie now for a whole month, heres another question for the group at large.  I have a 460 Ford Engine, with 30k miles on it.......Motor home is a 90 Georgie Boy  32ft. The belts only seem to squeak when starting up, and then at times when I use my hydraulic levelers to set home. Any ideas, and is this easy to fix. I tried lub but didnt seem to help much.  thanks....prairie dan
 

John From Detroit

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There are many things that can cause belts to squeal, normally this happens only under acceleration (Such as when starting)

1: Belt tension, Make sure it is proper

2: Dirt/oil on the belt or pullies  They make belt cleaner,Never used it so can not recommend either way

3: Wrong size belts (don't laugh.. I had one like that)

4: Belts worn out (replace)

5: Pully out of alingment (Eyeball, if it looks out of alingment, it is)

Defective "load" (Power stearing, power jack pump, water pump, alternator, and so on) causing excess load

I gave those more or less in the order of testing... Start with a good visual inspection look for alingment and dirt/contamanation

(Do this first because it costs nothing to look at it)  Then throw money at it
 

prairie

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Jul 4, 2005
Posts
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thanks for the response, as I did find out my motorhome has auto adjust tensioner and after checking belts, probably due to little use prior to my purchasing it...also mechanic said low batteries will do that too.  Prairie Dan
 

DougJ

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Mar 7, 2005
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also mechanic said low batteries will do that too.  ???

Hi Dan,

I'm a long way from being a techie, but that assertion by your mechanic boggles my imagination.  Can you explain?

Ciao,

Doug


 

John From Detroit

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DougJ said:
also mechanic said low batteries will do that too.  ???

Hi Dan,

I'm a long way from being a techie, but that assertion by your mechanic boggles my imagination.  Can you explain?

I don't know if Dan can but I can... Low batteries place additional load on the Alternator, If the load is greater than the design load of the belts it will cause squealing.

Here is an expierment you can run  (I particapated in it,others provided the hardware)

Take a bicycle,and mount it on an exercise stand,  Run a belt around the back wheel (First remove the tire and tube,this belt (Fan belt) also runs around an alternator pulley.

Hook up a partially charged battery and run a wire to a handlebar mounted switch to activate the field

Start pedaling.. You will notice (if the belt tension is set right) that it is not too hard

now.. Flip that switch to "ON" and .... I't is like you just hit a VERY STEEP HILL

That is what the low batteries are like... A very steep hill.. Draw more power that the fan belt may be able to transfer

Serpentine belts really are better at this
 

Karl

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Doug, If your alternator is putting out 70-100 amps, that could very well be PART of your problem. The additional load could cause belt slippage. Question: Why are the bats so low to begin with? Bad batteries not holding charge? Converter or voltage regulator bad? Second part: Autotensioners are great devices, but even they have their limits. If it's at the end of its' travel, it can't take up the slack as it should. Time for a new belt, and make sure you follow the replacement instructions or the tensioner won't work properly.
 

DougJ

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OK, I got the explanation--and it does make sense to my non-techie mind.  Mind you, if the amperage is up as high as a 100 amps I'd suspect new batteries are in your future :)

Doug
 

fredethomas

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SIERRA VISTA, AZ or on the road.
Dan;  I did not see that YOU said the batteries were low or the alternator was putting out 100 amps???  Just tighten up the belt and see if the squeal goes away.  Don't over torque it but snug it up good.  Also there is belt dressing sold by NAPA for rubber.

 

quapaw

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Jun 11, 2005
Posts
33
This may date me but so what?  Lots of explanations about what can cause belts to squeal or slip but with serpantine belts and auto torque adjusters, the problem isn't as common as it used to be.  Commercial belt dressing has been around almost as long as there has been belts and that goes back to steam engines at least.  A very inexpensive belt dressing is common bar soap. Try it and it the squeal goes away, it is likely poor adjustment or worn belts.  If the squeal doesn't stop, it may be a bearing in one of the units such as the alternator, water pump, air pump or any other belt driven device.  All of you undoubtedly have heard a squeal coming from the power steering assembly on a tight turn.  I have some reservations about the alternator causing it by overcharging.  I have "boosted" dead batteries and do not recall any squeal from the alternator or generator when the engine started and the battery was still very low. 
 

John From Detroit

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quapaw said:
This may date me but so what?  Lots of explanations about what can cause belts to squeal or slip but with serpantine belts and auto torque adjusters, the problem isn't as common as it used to be.

Thanks for the confirmation.. (I said Serpantine belts were better for eliminating squeals way up the page)  Nice to know I got it right

I do agree with the majority here though,,, Tension adjustment or belt wear are the likely culprits

Here is one that was ask of Click and Clack, the car talk guys.... They got it wrong, sort of (I do admit thier fix would cure it)

Drive car all day, stop and go, no problems... Drive it after dark and it won't re-start in the morning

They suggested a new alternator

My cure: Re-tension the fan belts (the car I had that did this (2 of them) and the 3 others (Belonging to others I met, 2 on the road, on e in a store) all had "V" belts, not serp belts, and in each case belt tension was off

In one case the car had the WRONG SIZE belt,  I had to get a wider belt (the size it had was the size specified in the manual,  the pullies were not the ones specified in the manual though) that was a FORD
 

srburkard

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Joined
Sep 20, 2005
Posts
2
I have a Ford 6.8L V10 engine and the belt makes a slight squeaking noise when going up hill for an extened time at 4000 plus RPM.  Is there a way to tighten the belt's auto tension?
 

Karl

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Mar 3, 2005
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Location
Elkhart Lake, WI for the summer. Work at Road Amer
A little late... an automatic belt tensioner is just that - automatic. You can't normally adjust them manually except when they have siezed up from corrosion; then with a small hammer and drift you can nudge it a little. Temporary solution only, and make sure you loosen the bolt slightly first. Plan on replacing it. 
 

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