2002 Buick Century loud squealing problem

Tiny
DE211957
  • MEMBER
  • 2002 BUICK CENTURY
  • 3.1L
  • 6 CYL
  • FWD
  • AUTOMATIC
  • 210,000 MILES
I was told this was the result of needing a new alternator which I have changed or needing a new belt changed that also then I was told the water pump was the problem I changed that then I was told it was the tensioner assembly had changed that all new parts and yet still having a loud squealing problem it only occurs when the car is accelerating it does not do it while it idles or when the a\c is on.I am lost I can't afford to keep putting on new parts, so any help would be appreciated.
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Monday, December 9th, 2013 AT 5:58 PM

10 Replies

Tiny
SATURNTECH9
  • EXPERT
I know this will sound funny but pop the belt off and spin the ac pulley by hand and see what it sounds like?
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Monday, December 9th, 2013 AT 6:12 PM
Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
If you were told to replace these things, how were they diagnosed? I suspect someone just guessed based on your description of the symptoms. That's hardly a diagnosis, and you're seeing the results in your wallet.

If you paid a mechanic to diagnose the noise, he should have done the work too. Very often we are really sure we know what's wrong, but the definitive test is when we replace the part we diagnosed. When it doesn't solve the problem, we have to remove that part and start over. We hate that as much as you do, but it saves you from buying unneeded parts.

All of the parts you replaced could cause a belt squeal, but it's usually fairly easy to diagnose which one is doing it. First, sight along all of the pulleys and look for one where the belt is peeking out on the side and is not in line with the rest, even by 1/16". That pulley or the one right before it is turned or tipped due to a worn bearing. That forces the belt to slide sideways across it as it goes around it, and that sets up the squeal.

You can also dribble a little water on the smooth backside of the belt. If that belt is causing the noise, it will change when water is on it. Water tends to quiet a belt squealing on a tipped pulley, and it makes it louder if it's due to a tight pulley.
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Monday, December 9th, 2013 AT 6:39 PM
Tiny
DE211957
  • MEMBER
I took the belt off and it is still squealing. Is there any thing else I can try, or that you recommend.
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Wednesday, December 11th, 2013 AT 10:29 AM
Tiny
SATURNTECH9
  • EXPERT
So you hear squealing without the belt on the car?
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Wednesday, December 11th, 2013 AT 11:44 AM
Tiny
DE211957
  • MEMBER
Yes I still hear the squeal. What noise should I hear when the belt is off. You said take the belt off and turn by hand. Its still making the noise without the belt on.
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Wednesday, December 11th, 2013 AT 1:02 PM
Tiny
SATURNTECH9
  • EXPERT
So when you spin the ac pulley by hand without the belt off you hear the same noise?
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Wednesday, December 11th, 2013 AT 1:48 PM
Tiny
JIMMY DEWAYNE
  • MEMBER
Hopefully you have figured out what is wrong with your Buick. If not, mine was doing the same. Come to find out it was an exhaust leak on the manifold. Due to of the bolts breaking off
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Thursday, September 8th, 2016 AT 2:40 AM
Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
Thank you for that suggestion. Was the leak the source of the noise or was the hot exhaust gas making something else make the noise?
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Thursday, September 8th, 2016 AT 9:08 PM
Tiny
JIMMY DEWAYNE
  • MEMBER
It was the leak because there is an aluminum gasket between the manifold and head. So as the exhaust leaked out the pressure behind it used the gasket as a reed. Kinda like a clarinet would. But I fixed that along with the catalic converter. Now the car has its power back plus it's quite. But a quick way to check if its a leak is by taking off the belt and starting the car and revving it up. If it squeals without the belt you got a leak.
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Friday, September 9th, 2016 AT 10:14 AM
Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
Dandy. Logic dictates an exhaust leak is after the engine so there shouldn't be any effect on power, but what happens is between the pulses of power, the momentum of the exhaust gas flow creates little puffs of vacuum, and that can draw in outside air. The oxygen in that air gets detected by the oxygen sensor as a lean condition, then the Engine Computer tries to make the mixture more rich. No matter how much fuel it adds, that oxygen keeps making the O2 sensor readings say "lean". You're burning excessive fuel with no oxygen to go with it.
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Friday, September 9th, 2016 AT 8:50 PM

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