Squeal at Cold Startup

Discussion in 'General Motoring' started by Caroline, Jun 18, 2004.

  1. Caroline

    Caroline Guest

    When starting my 1991 Civic LX (1.5 liter, manual transmission, no air
    conditioning) for the first time each day, I hear a loud screech. It lasts about
    two seconds. I then drive as usual with no funny noises. Driving for 20 minutes,
    then stopping (car off) for 20 minutes, and then starting again does not give me
    the screech.

    The screech began after I did some maintenance on the car the other day. This
    maintenance was:

    -- Replaced the alternator belt, setting tension correctly (I think) for a new
    belt (7-9 mm).

    -- Partly drained the power steering system, removed the power steering belt and
    pump, and then re-installed all. The old power steering belt looked fine, so I
    did not replace it. Again, I think I set the tension correctly. (I removed the
    belt last week and then re-installed it and did not have this screech.) I
    followed the procedure at http://timingbelt.soben.com/ to purge (I hope) air
    from the power steering system.

    -- Removed the timing belt, installed a new front crank seal and a new camshaft
    seal, then re-installed the old timing belt.

    My first guess was that I have somehow messed up either the power steering
    belt's tension or the alternator belt's tension. I have checked both, and they
    seem fine, albeit I'm not using a belt gage. Just pushing in the middle of the
    belt with a finger to the tune of I hope 22 lbs. and then measuring the

    Except for this screech at cold startup, the car drives great (so far, after
    some 35 miles).

    Any suggestions to diagnose this?
    Caroline, Jun 18, 2004
  2. Caroline

    Jason Guest

    I would guess that it is a slipping belt. I don't know which belt is
    slipping. However, you may be able to figure it out by raising the hood
    and watching the belts as a friend starts your car. You may get lucky and
    actually see or hear which belt is slipping. You should visit a auto parts
    store and see if they can sell you a spray that may be called something
    like "Belt Spray" or something like that. I know that they sold it several
    years ago when I was having a problem with a slipping belt. I don't think
    that it is the timing belt. If it was slipping, your car would not be
    running so great.
    Jason, Jun 19, 2004
  3. Caroline

    motsco_ _ Guest


    Same happened to me after I did my timing belt. I just had to tighten
    one of them tighter. Try starting up with the heater fan, headlights,
    cigarette lighter, rear defrost, radio, wipers ON. If it's any worse,
    you'll know it's the alternator one. Simple.

    Those belts have to be pretty tight. :)

    You can also squirt a fine mist of water at the suspect belt and see
    which slips. Harder trick than other. Gets face wet.

    motsco_ _, Jun 19, 2004
  4. Caroline

    Caroline Guest

    Thanks Jason and Curly for sharing your experiences. You all were pretty much
    right on. It was the new alternator belt.

    For the archives: I had "Sharpie ink" marked the alternator adjusting bolt slide
    before removing the old alternator belt, indicating where on the slide the bolt
    lined up. But I did not adjust the new alternator belt to the same point. My
    "guesstimate" of the belt deflection seemed to support this. Wrong.

    This morning I increased the tension to just a tad shy of the old belt's mark.
    No more morning squeal.
    Caroline, Jun 19, 2004
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