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loud squealing on start up - 2001 pt cruiser

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  • 4 Post By CREWZIN
  • 1 Post By quicksilverdon
  • 1 Post By Lorie
  • 2 Post By chuzz

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  #1 (permalink)  
Old 19 Dec 2014, 07:16 am
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Join Date: Dec 2014
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Unhappy loud squealing on start up - 2001 pt cruiser

Hello and thanks in advance! I need some advice!

So, I was driving down the road this past summer and my car turned off- it was the timing belt pulley. So - having no experience working on cars, I followed a diagram and replaced the pulley (might be called a tensioner - the thing that had the pin like a grenade - anyway). Also replaced the belt, the water pump and put it back together. Since I was there, I changed the serpentine belts - there are two.
So, its all back together and runs rough - but it runs.

Issue #1: I didnt recharge the ac yet and was told this could be causing it to run rough, but I have no idea.

Issue #2: Also, it runs hot if left to idle for longer then 15 minutes. (unless the heat is on in the car)

MAIN Issue #3: ALSO, the serpentine was squealing on start up...just a little bit. After spending 3 days in the rain doing the timing belt, I was just going to live with it. Well, now it is squealing really loud on start up for around 10 seconds.

Issue #4: Also, the power steering column inside the car is squealing. (it has done this since I have owned it (7 years) and usually resolves when I add more power steering it might just be low and have nothing to do with the serpentine belt squeal..maybe?!

So, any advice on what actions I should take now would be much appreciated. Please keep in mind that I no nothing about cars - but can follow a diagram! My main concern (I could be wrong), is getting the squealing to stop. (any step by step instructions, pictures, etc, would be appreciated)
Thanks in advance again,
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  #2 (permalink)  
Old 19 Dec 2014, 07:52 am
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Join Date: Sep 2001
Posts: 27,756
Default Re: loud squealing on start up - 2001 pt cruiser

Lorie, welcome to the forum.

Issue #1: Being low on R134A for the A/C wouldn't cause squealing. Both the timing belt and the serpentine belt have tensioners that, if working properly, should keep the belts at the right tension so there should be no squealing BUT that second belt that was with the serpentine is your alternator belt and that has NO tensioner and has to adjusted by hand. It's most likely the source of the squealing. The alternator has the two bolts. One is a pivot bolt and holds the alternator securely but lets the alternator pivot back and forth, the other bolt is called the adjusting bolt and is on the black arm with an adjusting slot so the alternator can pivot and make the belt tight or loose. Loosen the adjusting bolt and pull the belt tight/snug but not overly tight and tighten down the bolt.

Issue#2: The most common cause for running hot in the PT is the radiator fan. You need the fan when at idle or around town driving. When running at speed there's enough air coming in from the front to keep everything cool. See if you can locate it behind the radiator when the engine is cold. The easiest way to tell if the fan is burnt out is to see if it's running when the A/C is turned on but your A/C isn't working so that's out. The next way is to hook the car up to a scanner which can turn the fan on to see if both speeds of the fan (your have 2) are working. This checks the PCM, the relays and both speeds. Follow these instructions for the third way to test the fan....

How to test my radiator fan?

Issue#3: Should be covered in Issue#1

Issue#4: Power steering squealing has nothing to do with the belt squealing and if you have to continue to add power steering fluid then you have a leak and it must be found to stop it from leaking. Hard to believe you put up with that for 7 years.

Last but not least is your rough idle. Hate to say it but since it started right after your timing belt change, you or whoever did the timing belt DIDN't GET IT RIGHT. Your probably a half tooth off and it has to be done right to get the idle to smooth out. It's not an easy task and even mechanics get it wrong as we've seen quite a few times on this forum. Lots of great instructions in our Tech & Performance section of this forum under the "HOW TO" section.
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Last edited by CREWZIN; 19 Dec 2014 at 07:54 am.
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  #3 (permalink)  
Old 19 Dec 2014, 10:59 am
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Default Re: loud squealing on start up - 2001 pt cruiser

I just want to add that idling more than 15 minutes is a terrible idea - even after you get your car fixed, don't do it.
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Old 20 Dec 2014, 09:27 am
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Default Re: loud squealing on start up - 2001 pt cruiser

I am sure there are some women that are mechanically inclined, but Im not one of them...well, I wasnt. It seems that being poor is a real motivator

I disassembled the car following a diagram and once I put the new belt, tensioner and water pump on I did start it up and it ran well. (before reassembling the car). Then after I put it back together it ran rough - so I figured it was off a half a tooth or something...but the idea of opening it all back up gives me hives. BUT maybe in the spring Ill open it back up.

Issue 1: Yeah- I remember the alternator - I will do as you recommend and see if that stops the squealing. Thank you
Issue 2: Again, makes sense. I didn't think of putting it on a scanner. Ill try that.

Alright- looks like I have some work ahead! Thank you for the advice and help Crewzin and quicksilverdon!!

Happy Holidays
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Old 11 Apr 2016, 06:40 pm
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Default Re: loud squealing on start up - 2001 pt cruiser

Originally Posted by Lorie View Post
t. It seems that being poor is a real motivator

Just read this, and I wholeheartedly agree, I would like to be doing anything else, but, If i can save money by doing it myself, so I can spend that money on my family, that is a win win. I am here after starting to work on the serpentine belt but that 15mil alternator nut is a real hard reach so I am letting it sit, sifting through the posts here hoping for an easy fix.
2003 PT Cruiser GT Turbo 78k miles
Purchased this summer for my daughter, front end wrecked, but just radiator, ac condenser,
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Old 11 Apr 2016, 06:44 pm
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Default Re: loud squealing on start up - 2001 pt cruiser

If you want easy fixes, you have the wrong vehicle. Nothing's easy on these PT's, but once you get something fixed, it "FEELS SO GOOD".
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power steering, serpentine belt tensioner, timing belt replacement

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