1997 Mitsubishi Montero

Engine Mechanical problem
1997 Mitsubishi Montero 6 cyl Four Wheel Drive Automatic 87000 miles

I have a 1997 Mitsubishi Montero Sport, 87k miles on the engine. The alternator went out three times in the past 2 years. I was told the third time replacing it to put a new battery also, which I did. A few weeks after putting the new battery in, the first start of the day became difficult, and one morning there was no engine sound at all, just a clicking noise when turning the key. So I thought it must be the starter. I had to let the car sit for about 4 months because I couldn't afford a starter. Finally bought a used starter and tried to get it started one last time to take it to a mechanically inclined friend and it started right up. Now it starts every time. However, there is a horrible screech from the engine at start up and sometimes when accelerating. Also, when I press on the accelerator pedal, it doesn't seem to be getting compression- it will struggle, then all of the sudden after about 10-20 seconds it will catch and accelerate fine. Any idea what could be wrong?
April 19, 2010.

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