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Discussion Starter #1
Backed out of parking lot last night with AC on and SCREEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE from the old girl. Can't decide if it's the PS pump or AC compressor or else. Check under hood and all is good. Didn't do again on the drive home. All I can do is wait til it happens again and try to diagnose. Sounded like an old heap of junk :bawl: I was so embarrassed :hide:
 

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Discussion Starter #2

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tensioner going bad. or fluid spill on the belt. could try running a smaller belt. cheaper yet buy some belt dressing and spray it. makes it sticky.
a bad belt will have small breaks in the ribbing when you give it a back bend. a few splits are ok, just not too many 1" apart. belts last a long time. and i have run them down to nothing. if the belt is littered with splits then replace it.
 

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I believe it to be both the belt and tensioner. My research taught me that belts are different nowadays and no longer show signs of cracking. Old belts were made with Neoprene, new ones are EPDM and will wear down like a tire. New belts have grooves like = vvvvvvv and as they wear, they look like = VVVVVVV thus the pulleys don't have as much grip and can slip. The belts also will stretch and glaze over. According to Gates Belts, the inner structure of the belt will wear out before the outer surface will show signs of wear. The old method of looking for cracks is not always effective. The grooves are supposed to be measured for proper depth. My belt was a few years old and went through hell moving me to TX and back, towing hard and driving hard for several years. It was time.

There are also two kinds of tensioners. The flat spring and coil spring types. OEM are coil spring while most aftermarket 'cheapos' are flat. You can tell what kind you have by looking at the bottom for the lip of the flat spring sticking out where it starts. Coil springs are completely housed and do not wear internally like flat.

I had replaced my stock tensioner years ago because it was chirping. I even had a thread here and a member sent me a new one free! I threw it on and it has been quiet ever since. But I also read that the old one can be cleaned and reinstalled. I'm not sure the best method for this, but I also believe the OEM part was not "shot" just dirty. I still have it so maybe I'll try throwing it on. I do know the one that is on there now is a flat spring so it is time to go. It appears to function normally but if it has any 'catch' in it that could very well cause it to slip under harsh conditions like running the AC while backing out of a parking spot. The housing is also important to check as cheapos will start separating or cracking.

I also learned that now it is recommended to replace the idler and tensioner when replacing the belt. Gates sells a complete kit and rockauto.com has it listed for $85 which is a steal! But I wanted a belt yesterday so I picked up a new Gates at Oreilly's for $50 and will order the new Gates idler and tensioner soon, unless I get the old tensioner cleaned. The kit is such a deal I may just order that and have another belt for someone here to claim if you want. Or I'll just keep it as a 'new' spare.
 

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let me add. a typical symptom of a failing tensioner/ belt. the tensioner will hop and jerk around. it might be clicking and stretching the belt! the belt should have steady pressure on it. the tensioners arm should only do slow and gradual smooth motions. the circulating belt should travel smooth and silent without too much vibration.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Right, spun. When I yank on the belt from the power steering side, there is a slight "catch" in the movement. When it is running, it looks smooth. Also, sometimes when driving at a steady light throttle like around 40, I will feel a hiccup in power, as if I hit a wall of wind.
 
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