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I've heard it only about half a dozen times in the past two weeks, which is when I first noticed it. It almost sounds like a drive belt slip or squealing water pump or something, but it only seems to happen with the engine cold and is very faint. When I replaced my air conditioning compressor I spun all the pulleys and everything seemed normal - nothing binding or making any noises. When I replaced the shocks I checked all the wheel bearings, and they seemed to be okay. The drive belt was replaced about 6 months ago when the clutch assembly on the old air compressor was replaced and is in good condition.

Any ideas? I'm not worried about it so much yet because I'm not seeing any mechanical symptoms. Just the noise.
 

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I've heard it only about half a dozen times in the past two weeks, which is when I first noticed it. It almost sounds like a drive belt slip or squealing water pump or something, but it only seems to happen with the engine cold and is very faint. When I replaced my air conditioning compressor I spun all the pulleys and everything seemed normal - nothing binding or making any noises. When I replaced the shocks I checked all the wheel bearings, and they seemed to be okay. The drive belt was replaced about 6 months ago when the clutch assembly on the old air compressor was replaced and is in good condition.

Any ideas? I'm not worried about it so much yet because I'm not seeing any mechanical symptoms. Just the noise.
If the idler pulleys on the front of the engine have never been replaced, that could be it; they squeal when they go bad. One is bolted to the engine, the other is the tensioner pulley. They both have the same part number; don't buy the whole tensioner arm. Search for threads on this...

To check the pulleys, take the belt off, and spin the idlers, looking for play and rough turning. If it feels 'loose' in any direction, its probably bad.

Other possible problems are the water pump, the alternator, the steering pump, and the air conditioning clutch bearing. The clutch bearing will quit screeching when the ac is on, btw.

Good luck
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Righty. I'll take the belt off and double check those pulleys in the morning.
 

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Keep this in mind--a pulley might not squeal when rotated by hand but might when the engine is driving it. This is because some may only make noise when spun fast enough. But do follow the above advice and check for play, especially in the idler and tensioner pulleys.
 

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After I replaced the plug wires this morning and started up the engine I heard a slight chirp from under the hood, so I poked around and you were right, it was one of the idler pulleys. For the time being I just lubed them up and that seems to have stopped the squealing. How important do you think it is to get them replaced soon?
 

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I got stuck one night on my way home from work, when a pulley let go on my Explorer. I wouldn't wait too long.

Joe
 

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... Point well taken. I'll order a pair right now.
 

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BTW, A squeal while driving that also pulls (slightly) to one side or the other, is a bad wheelbearing.

Either front or rear can do it; mine was on the rear, it turned out.

Passenger side rear seems to be the #1 failure, from searching.

Just thought I'd throw that it there, since the sound is similar; at least from the drivers' seat.

:)
 

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Good to know my mom's is an '02!
 

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BTW, A squeal while driving that also pulls (slightly) to one side or the other, is a bad wheelbearing.

Either front or rear can do it; mine was on the rear, it turned out.

Passenger side rear seems to be the #1 failure, from searching.

Just thought I'd throw that it there, since the sound is similar; at least from the drivers' seat.

:)
My 97 bird pulls ever so slightly to the right. It pulls more at highway speeds. There's no squeak at driving speed, but under about 10 or 15 mph there's a "squeak squeak...." and there's always a nasty rattling coming from the back rear. wheel bearing?
 

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My 97 bird pulls ever so slightly to the right. It pulls more at highway speeds. There's no squeak at driving speed, but under about 10 or 15 mph there's a "squeak squeak...." and there's always a nasty rattling coming from the back rear. wheel bearing?
Take the wheel off, and wiggle the hub; if you can see that it moves any way other than rotating, it's bad. :)
 

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The good news is that the pulleys don't cost a whole lot, and they are really easy to replace. You won't regret just doing the maintainence.
 

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I'm having a similar noise as theterminator93 described...a squeal mainly when the engine is cold. My belt is brand new as i replaced it right after my radiator blew. So, its definitely not the belt, and the alternator only has about 13k miles on. So, I was thinking it was probably either the idler or the tensioner pulley. The idler pulley seems as though it would be a sinch to replace, however I'm not too sure about the tensioner. Should I (only having very basic mechanical knowledge) try to tackle the tensioner pulley? I'm asking cuz i dont know what kind of springs and whatnot may or may not be involved.

Also, can i get those pulleys from any local parts store (Advance, Autozone, etc.) or is that something I would need to go to Ford for?

Thanks
Chad
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Removing the tensioner is a piece of cake; you have to unbolt the coil pack before you can get the bolts for it out, but it's pretty simple. I think it took me an hour from start to finish, tops. I bought my pulleys off rockauto, with shipping it came to about $35 for the pair. Since I've replaced them I haven't heard any squealing in the least.
 

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Basically, yeah. IIRC, the tensioner is held on by three bolts. Both pulleys are identical, held on by one bolt. You can buy a whole new tensioner but it's kind of overkill IMHO. Look up idler pulleys and grab a pair. 's what I did.
 

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Oh okay sweet. I guess i hadnt realized that they were identical pulleys. I'll swing by the parts store tomorrow to see if i can get them there as I am anxious to get it done. But if i cant get them there ill check out rockauto. Thanks for your help terminator!
 

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If you get a chance..go to Napa and you can buy just the bearings for the pulleys..just take a big socket.and a hammer.knock out the old pulley bearing..and then use the old pulley bearing on top of the new one when you go to reinstall..save a few bucks..I did..

Rayo..
Yeah thats what I did with my idler, but now I think the tensioner pulley is going bad now too.
 
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