SERPENTINE BELT SQUEAL CAUSED BY WATER PUMP RUBBING
1999 Dodge Ram
October, 9, 2012 AT 7:32 PM
My serpentine belt is squealing on 99 dodge Ram van the mechanic said I need a new water pump within 30 seconds of looking under the hood. He pointed to something under where it says "FAN" and said it was a loose water pump rubbing on the belt but it didn't look like it could touch the belt at all. I had taken this to them a week ago too for leaking coolant, and I feel all suspicious. Why not just replace the belt?
Leaking coolant and worn bearings causing the belt to track off-center. Two clues you need a water pump and you don't trust your mechanic? What are you hoping we can do?
October, 9, 2012 AT 7:47 PM
Thank you for your reply. He just figured it out so fast and I wanted to make sure, the leaking coolant was attributed to the head gasket last week (not going to fix it) and there is not a puddle ever under where he pointed to the pump so I don't think the pump is what's leaking. The pump making it go off track sounds like what he was talking about. Wishing it was just the belt I guess, can't afford all of this.
October, 9, 2012 AT 8:10 PM
A leaking head gasket on a truck engine is possible but very uncommon. That wouldn't be by first suspicion without doing at least a pressure test. If the leak is so slow that the coolant evaporates before hitting the ground, adding a small bottle of dye can be a useful aid in finding the source of the leak.
Speaking of a leak, what is the symptom indicating the coolant is leaking? Do you see it coming out someplace or is the level just going down in the reservoir?
To check the water pump, grab the fan blade and wiggle it back and forth. If the pulley moves too, the bearings in the pump are worn. That will allow the shaft to move away from the rubber lip seal and coolant will leak out from behind that pulley. That will only get worse. When that pulley tips even a little, the belt actually slides sideways across it as it goes around it. That's what sets up the squeal.
If the fan blade has looseness but the pulley doesn't move at all, that's a sign of a worn bearing in the fan clutch, and it won't cause a belt squeal. You should also be able to turn the fan by hand, (engine not running, of course), but there should be some resistance. It will spin easier when the engine is cold.