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Intermittent Belt Squeal

Discussion in 'Ram Trucks' started by DeereFarmer, Mar 15, 2011.

  1. DeereFarmer

    DeereFarmer PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,296

    On my Ram 2500 I have an intermittent belt squeal that is driving me nuts. I bought the truck a few weeks ago and have put about 700 miles on it. The belt looks good, but every once in a while I'll get a belt squeal for about 3 minutes or less and then it'll go away. It has happened three times. Where do I start to look. Is the tensioner or idler pulley? I'm going on an 800 mile trip this weekend and just don't want the belt to come flying off. I also noticed that the power steering fluid is a little low. Would that have anything to do with it? I plan on filling it up tomorrow when the truck is cold.
  2. JDiepstra

    JDiepstra PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,780

    I am not a master mechanic or anything but I imagine of of your accessories is not turning freely so the belt rubbing over is causes squealing. When the belt is turning CAREFULLY look down in there and see if any of the pulleys are not.
  3. RacingZR

    RacingZR Senior Member
    from Maine
    Messages: 400

    I had to replace my tensioner pulley earlier this winter. No belt squeal though, a small grinding noise indicating the bearing was gone. Take the belt off and check all the accessories. See if there is any play indicating a possible worn bearing. Take a closer look at the belt too. IMO, I'd replace the belt first, only $30.
  4. sweetk30

    sweetk30 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,588

    on dodge v6 and v8 i have changed a LOT of tensioners as thay freeze up and dont keep the belt tight.
  5. DeereFarmer

    DeereFarmer PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,296

    I'll check the tensioner today when it stops raining. I drove about 200 miles last night with no squeal at all.
  6. DeereFarmer

    DeereFarmer PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,296

    Gave everything a good look over this afternoon. The belt looks fine, no cracks or frays in it. All the pulleys move freely and don't have any issues. The only thing I did notice was the tensioner pulley moves a bit when the engine is running (in goes up and down). I would assume that is supposed to happen? Sorry, I have very little belt/tensioner knowledge.

    NICHOLS LANDSCA PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 4,362

    It could be anything with a pulley on it. Did you take the belt off and spin/wiggle all the pulleys?
  8. 2robinhood

    2robinhood Senior Member
    Messages: 203

    Take a very small wire brush ( like a round battery terminal brush ) and be very, very careful.
    With the engine running, gently rub the brush on the edge of the belt. ( both edges )
    Some times belts get dirty and/or rust build up on the edge of them.
    When the belt goes through the alternator, crank, and other grooved pulley the belt will make noise because of crude on the edge.
  9. DeereFarmer

    DeereFarmer PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,296

    Yes, took the belt off and checked every pulley.
  10. DeereFarmer

    DeereFarmer PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,296

    Good idea! I'll try that next.

    DAFFMOBILEWASH PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,602

    Does it do it on defrost??? If so then I put some money on the AC compressor going out. The compressor cycles on defrost and if there are any internal issues you can only tell if the clutch is activated.

    Try turning on the air conditioning for a while. Listen for any strange noise. Is the noise getting more frequent or less. Sometimes if a vehile sits on the lot for extended time rust can form on the internal clutch and make / cause some weird sounds. Seeing that you just bought the truck sitting might be a factor. Some vehicle sit more than a year in between new owners.
  12. DeereFarmer

    DeereFarmer PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,296

    The two times it happened the defrost was not on. I ran the AC for a while last night just to make sure it was working and it seemed to be fine, but with this new information that you gave me I'll try it again and really listen to it. The place where I bought it from only had it for about a week before I bought it and the owner was driving it around as his personal vehicle. Who know before that. I do know it was a new truck trade in at a Dodge dealer before the used car dealer picked it up at auction, but I don't know how long inbetween that was.
  13. 2robinhood

    2robinhood Senior Member
    Messages: 203

    Try the wire brush trick yet ?
  14. kevlars

    kevlars Senior Member
    Messages: 407

    If you can't find the problem, try a Goodyear Gatorback belt. I have one on my Cummins, and a buddy put one on his Tundra after the new Gates was squealing. It took care of his problem.


    DAFFMOBILEWASH PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,602

    Next time it happens jump out of the truck and run to the front. Try to isolate which side the noise is comming from. Normally a squeel like you are experiencing is a definite failure waiting to happen. The trick is to find it before something seizes up.

    Next time the clutch activates for the defrost on the AC try to compare the time it runs to the time of the squeel of the belt. You can also look at the pullies for wear or slop in the bearings.

    If the noise is becoming more frequent you can isolate the issue too by removing the AC fuse or unplugging the compressor. This will make the clutch not operate and the squeel will not return if the AC pmp was the issue. Are you sure it is not the rear tires ???? Those Hemis can be fun to drive:) !!!
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2011
  16. DeereFarmer

    DeereFarmer PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,296

    I did try the wire brush trick. I drove a 900 mile trip over yesterday and today. Ran the AC, defrost, even the heat last night. Not one belt squeal. I'm going to clal it fixed for the time being :) kevlars: I'll be putting a Gatorback belt on at some point. DAFF: again, thanks for all the help. You have helped me with a ton of Dodge related things in the past, and I appreciate it. I'll try some of your trucks if it happens again, but hopefully it just fixed itself hahaha. I'm almost positive it isn't the rear tires breaking loose. I had to go out and double check though. So far I really like this Hemi. I'm surprised aty how much power it has. Drove to Maryland yesterday and got 14.5 MPG on the trip down. Picked up a 4,000 lb enclosed car trailer and dragged it back home. Averaged 10.2 MPG towing home including being stuck in about 4 hours of stop and go traffic between southern NJ and the Goerge Washington Bridge. I will never go that way again.
  17. bill7101

    bill7101 Member
    Messages: 34

    Just remeber, the newer belts dont crack like they used to, they can be woren out and still look good, check the depth between the ribs on the belt with a gauge, most places give these away, they are cheap plastic, if the gauge sticks above the ribs the belt is bad, find that quite a bit, the gates belt rep came to our shop and handed out these gauges by the handfull, so I would check at an autoparts place and see if they have one you can use to check
  18. DeereFarmer

    DeereFarmer PlowSite Veteran
    Messages: 3,296

    Good to know. I'm going to be tossing a new belt on it soon just to be safe anyway. I was more concerned about a quick fix to get me on my trip and back, but everything worked out well.