2002 Mitsubishi Lancer Belts squeal, burning popcorn smell

Tiny
ATLFAN65
  • MEMBER
  • 2002 MITSUBISHI LANCER
  • 2.0L
  • 4 CYL
  • 2WD
  • AUTOMATIC
  • 165,000 MILES
Starting yesterday, either my serpentine or alternator belt has had prolonged squealing accompanied by a burning popcorn smell. The alternator belt was replaced 2 months ago. After the first occurrence, I replaced the serpentine belt thinking that the smell was from the belt burning somehow. After replacement, the smell and squealing has happened again. I cannot detect any burned insulation on any wires around the source of the smell (rear middle of engine bay above the belts.) The burning smell only occurs when the belt is squealing. The few times the smell and squealing occurs, I have pulled over and looked for smoke but have not seen any. I'm guessing that rubber is burning somewhere, but everything I have found online says it is burned electrical insulation or an electrical short, but I don't understand why the smell is always accompanied by the belt squealing. What should I look into further to find the source of and fix the smell/squealing? The belts also are not loose.
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Sunday, October 5th, 2014 AT 6:56 PM

8 Replies

Tiny
CJ MEDEVAC II
  • MEMBER
IT MIGHT BE THAT A BELT DRIVENN "FIXTURE" IS LOCKING UP (MAYBE INTERMITTENTLY)

MAYBE THE ALTERNATOR OR MAYBE EVEN A IDLER OR TENSIONER PULLEY

IF YOU CAN LOOK REALLY FAST WHILE IT'S DOING IT, FOR SOMETHING NOT TURNING, YOU MIGHT FIND IT FAST

ANOTHER OVERLOOKED ITEM IS THE A/C COMPRESSOR/ CLUTCH

THE CLUTCH MAY TURN FINE WHEN IT'S NOT ENGAGED

BUT WHEN YOU TURN ON THE A/C OR ANY SETTING THAT HAS "DEFROST" IN IT'S SETTING, THE CLUTCH ENGAGES THE COMPRESSOR. IF THE COMPRESSOR IS LOCKED UP, THE CLUTCH PULLEY SUDDENLY STOPS TURNING, THE BELT BURNS

WITH THE A/C AND DEFROST(S) OFF OR EVEN COMPLETELY UNPLUGGING THE CLUTCH, ALL IS FINE AGAIN! (DON'T READ ME WRONG HERE, BUT THE A/C CLUTCH PULLEY'S BEARINGS CAN GO BAD AND IT LOCK UP, THE COMPRESSOR ITSELF MIGHT BE OK)

I RECOMMEND SNATCHING THE BELT OFF AS A LAST RESULT (YOU HAVE ALREADY CHECKED MY STUFF ABOVE) THEN TURN/ ROCK EACH ACCESSORY WITH YOUR HAND, LOOKING FOR TIGHTNESS, NON-SMOOTH TURNING, OR ROCKING IN DIRECTIONS THAT IT SHOULDN'T

SENDING YOU A PIC OF AN IGNORED LOCKED UP PULLEY

LET US KNOW WHAT YOU FIND

THE MEDIC
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Sunday, October 5th, 2014 AT 7:49 PM
Tiny
JACOBANDNICKOLAS
  • EXPERT
Does it make the sound all the time or only for a short time after starting the vehicle? As far as the smell, it is most likely the belt. What you should do is remove the belts and check to see if there is a drag on any of the pulleys. I bet one has a bad bearing and is locking up.
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Sunday, October 5th, 2014 AT 8:31 PM
Tiny
ATLFAN65
  • MEMBER
It occurred twice of the 5 times I drove the car. I just went to check the pulleys and the tensioner on the alternator belt had came loose at some point (I could lift up the alternator by hand.) I retightened it and the re was no squealing or smell. Could that have been it? Or should I remove both belts tomorrow on my day off and check the pulleys?
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Monday, October 6th, 2014 AT 9:51 AM
Tiny
CJ MEDEVAC II
  • MEMBER
I'D SORTA CHECK THE TENSION OF THE BELTS BETWEEN TWO PULLEYS (LIKE 2 WITH SOME DISTANCE BETWEEN THEM)

WHILE YOU ARE AT IT, CHECK THE CONDITION OF THE BELTS, IF THEY LOOK BAD REPLACE 'EM, WHILE YOU ARE SORTA "INTO IT"

IF ALL SEEMS GOOD, TRY IT OUT, NO NEED IN MAKING MORE WORK FOR YOURSELF!

THE MEDIC
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Monday, October 6th, 2014 AT 3:26 PM
Tiny
JACOBANDNICKOLAS
  • EXPERT
If you were able to move the alt by hand, that was the cause of the noise and the smell. Like CJ mentioned, check to make sure the belt is still in good shape and replace it if necessary.
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Tuesday, October 7th, 2014 AT 5:17 AM
Tiny
ATLFAN65
  • MEMBER
That fixed the problem with the noise and the smell. I replaced the alternator belt for safe measures, however after replacing it I am now having electrical problems. The automatic lights and headlights now don't work unless the car is running and the dome light does not work at all. The "brights" indicator on the dash also cut off and is no longer working. I had the battery tested and is putting out just over 12v (11.1v) with a load. I know that this normally means that my alternator is getting weak and needs replaced, but could there be another underlying problem that is causing the other electrical problems? I have charged the battery via a plug in 8 amp battery charger and the problems still remain after it is reading full charge.
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Thursday, October 16th, 2014 AT 2:04 PM
Tiny
ATLFAN65
  • MEMBER
Also, the symptoms I normally encounter of a low battery are not occuring. My windows move up and down as fast as they always have and my headlights don't dim when adding load to the system (like when using the power windows with the headlights on.)
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Thursday, October 16th, 2014 AT 2:07 PM
Tiny
JACOBANDNICKOLAS
  • EXPERT
Have you checked fuses? Have you checked for weak or damaged grounds?
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Thursday, October 16th, 2014 AT 6:31 PM

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