Request: Make my AC belt shut up
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This is a discussion on Request: Make my AC belt shut up within the Request a Tutorial/DIY forums, part of the Tutorials & DIY category; I have read through a lot of threads on this. I have an 02 and in the cold weather, started ...

  1. #1
    Registered User grizzle's Avatar
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    Request: Make my AC belt shut up

    I have read through a lot of threads on this. I have an 02 and in the cold weather, started hearing a squeal. Sounds like a baby cat is stuck in the engine bay MEEEEOOWWWWING.

    Using only ears, the sound seems to be loudest a the AC pulley/belt.

    I need to know in simple terms how to tighten/quiet the belt. I don't use the AC and it's 15 degrees right now anyway, so AC function isn't paramount. I just don't want the cats in neighborhood chasing my car anymore.
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    He simply abides. SD_GR's Avatar
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    Tightening it is usually only temporary, if that. The real solution is to exclude a pulley as a source of the noise, and if it is the belt, change it with an authentic part. Do both external belts while everything's apart.

    Incidentally, the A/C is used in cold weather since it is engaged when the windscreen defroster is selected for de-humidifying, regardless of whether the A/C button is depressed or what temperature settings are selected.
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    Registered User grizzle's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SD_GR View Post
    Tightening it is usually only temporary, if that. The real solution is to exclude a pulley as a source of the noise, and if it is the belt, change it with an authentic part. Do both external belts while everything's apart.

    Incidentally, the A/C is used in cold weather since it is engaged when the windscreen defroster is selected for de-humidifying, regardless of whether the A/C button is depressed or what temperature settings are selected.
    thanks. any idea on cost for a belt and pulley replace? i saw your name frequently in these AC threads.
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    He simply abides. SD_GR's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by grizzle View Post
    thanks. any idea on cost for a belt and pulley replace? i saw your name frequently in these AC threads.
    I did mine myself. Cost for two belts from a Subaru dealer was less than $50 I believe. The plastic cover needs to come off; mind the clip holding the throttle cables. There are two tensioners that work with a captive bolt setup. These need to be loosened. Once the belts are off, check the pulleys -- are they noisy? Do they spin freely? To get the new belt on the alternator you may have to negotiate with a soft mallet once you've loosened the central pivot bolt (I'm going from memory). Do not overtighten the tension bolts; note where they were from the factory and shoot for that as a starting point, it may be all you need. Make sure the pulleys are not "crooked" or "sideways" too.

    A shop might charge $100-$150 all said I suppose. 20 minute job. Use Subaru belts though.
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    Registered User grizzle's Avatar
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    thanks, i think i will try the belts (alt and AC) myself, if i still have the noise, i might take it in.
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    He simply abides. SD_GR's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by grizzle View Post
    thanks, i think i will try the belts (alt and AC) myself, if i still have the noise, i might take it in.
    On the tensioner there is a pulley that could also be the source of noise. It's held on with a single bolt, and it's not expensive to replace if need be. Once the belt is off you can check that too (spin, listen, repeat).
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    Registered User Truckster27's Avatar
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    Another cheap diagnostic approach is to get a belt-quieting lubricant and coat the belt. They have specific sprays, but for the sake of testing wd-40 will do (not a soaking coat-Read directions on the spray cans for application ideas). If when you spray the contact side of the belt the sound goes away, then its your belts, plain and simple. It typically only lasts for a little bit anyway before the squealing returns. Just something I've used in the past on other vehicles, don't see how it would be any different on a subby...
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    Although most are less likely to have a can of "belt dressing" then WD-40, it's better for your belts. It will normally eliminate the noise temporarily until you get it fixed. Any auto part store would have it and maybe some places like Walgreens or Ace. Should be less then $4-5
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    Registered User Truckster27's Avatar
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    Agreed. Just, seeing as he was looking to go the cheapest route, was looking for the cheap fix / diagnostic
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  11. #10
    Registered User grizzle's Avatar
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    thanks all. ordered an AC belt and alternator belt, should be in soon. the belts look pretty old, and slapping new ones on for 30 bucks won't hurt. I sprayed a little armor-all on the contact side of the belt (mechanic suggested armor-all to diagnose). it made the squeal quieter, but the sound changes daily with the crazy temperatures here (~45 in the garage in the morning, <20 sometimes when leaving work, etc), so not sure if the belts are the #1 issue. all i can say is the AC belt/pulley is definately where the noise is coming from. I will spin the pulleys i suppose during the change and see if it affects the noise. it's been hard to nail down the source with, as I said, cold weather, moisture, varying levels of highway/city driving for work in the course of a day, etc.
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