I have been having the same problem with both my 1997 Protege and my sister-in-law's 1997 Protege. Both are 1.5 liter automatics with A/C and P/S. I replaced the water pump on my car when I did the timing belt at 135,000 miles, and I replaced both the belts at that time. About a month after doing the water pump, the problem manifested itself. I noticed that the problem was much worse with any electrical accessories on. I took the belt off, noticed there was a bit of play in the alternator shaft, and thought that maybe I had a bearing problem with the alternator. I replaced it, and all seemed OK for about two months. It started making noise again. I replaced the alternator again, under warranty. The car was OK for a while, then noise again. I bought another water pump (from a different manufacturer), but found the grooves in the crank pulley and water pump pulley full of melted rubber and debris. Instead of replacing the water pump, I cleaned out all the pulleys and put it back together. That lasted three days. Now, my sister-in-law's car is doing the same thing, after a water pump replacement. Both cars have aftermarket Duralast water pumps in them, and I am starting to think there may be a trend. I have tried different makes of belts (including the OE), alternators, setting a straight edge against the edges of the pulleys to make sure they are lined up properly, physically cleaning out the pulley grooves, and adjusting the belt tension. The only thing I have not changed is the water pump itself, and I hate to do it, as the pump is pretty expensive ($100 for the part), and I think I would push the car over a cliff if that didn't fix the problem. If anybody has any other ideas, I'd gladly listen to them.
Monday, January 23rd, 2006 AT 7:29 PM