2003 Ranger 3.0L Mystery Squeal


jichi

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2003 Ranger Edge 3.0L w/AC
Replaced serp belt, tensioner pulley, idler pulley, and syncro. Still have this annoying squeal that is mostly constant but sometimes stops when at higher load (rpms). Running a Napa 25060882 micro-v belt, 88.7" length, and notice that the tensioner, when the belt is on, is almost all way to the tight end of the play "indicator". Does this mean I have the wrong belt? Everywhere I look up, I find a belt length about what mine is. I also notice the belt rides toward the front side of the tensioner pulley by about 1/8". Could this be just the wrong tensioner I got, or do I have to shim the tensioner pulley to put the belt at the middle of the pulley? Getting tired of this squeal, I have replaced the belt twice and noticed the squeal will disappear for a while but comes back in a few days or so. Help please.
Inkedbelt _LI.jpg
 


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97Ranger3.0

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In my experience, the only serpentine belt I've ever had for my truck that didn't squeal is a Gatorback belt. They're made by Goodyear (or used to be, I don't exactly remember), and I haven't found them in parts stores but I found one for my truck on eBay. You can probably find one for your truck as well. Any other brand of belt, at least in my experience, squealed on my 3.0 Ranger.

Have you done a simple test of spraying water onto the belt with it running? If the noise goes away and then slowly comes back then it is the belt squealing, if it doesn't go away at all then it is most likely a bearing in one of the accessories driven by the belt.
 

jichi

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So just watched the Chris Fix YouTube video from another thread and he had almost exact scenario as mine. Anyone have a source for this Gatorback belt, or an equivalent? Looks like the design is what is important, as the ribs are segmented but can't find this belt.
 

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I would remove the belt and inspect the drive accessories. Ac compressor, water pump, ps pump and alternator. If one of those is misaligned or have a bearing failure you'll never get the belt to stop squeeking.
 

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Just dealt with that on a GM 3500 V6. Mostly quiet at idle, but if you revved it at all it would squeal. Listening with a tube said it was the water pump, and it was. The thing actually didn’t feel bad at all, just a slight bit of radial play.
 

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Also along the lines of what Dirtman mentioned with the belt off start the engine, if the squeek is gone it is a belt driven item squeeking. If the noise is still there it is not the belt system.

This is a good step to narrow down where it is coming from.
 

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Just to add to @Bgunner & @Dirtman 's advice:

I would lean towards bearing failure. New belts rarely squeal. It's the dry rotted ones, with microscopic cracks in them that squeal. If your new belt doesn't line up where the old belt did, but it is the same width, something isn't right. I think the squeal goes away when you replace the belt, because you put it back where the old one was, after a few miles, the belt adjusts itself to wherever it wants to be, putting stress back onto a worn out bearing inside a pully.
 

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What leads me to believe it's not a bearing issue, is I sprayed the inner side of belt with water as it was running and the squeal disappears for a few seconds then comes back. I am going to install an ACDelco belt, but I will have to see if the tensioner is still all the way to the end of its travel, which would worry me that the belt is not being tensioned enough. Only remedy would be to get a new tensioner in hopes that the adjustment is correct, but I really don't wanna waste anymore money on this squeal. Do they sell different diameter pulleys (tensioner or idler) maybe I have the wrong diameter, smaller diameter would make belt loose.
 

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What leads me to believe it's not a bearing issue, is I sprayed the inner side of belt with water as it was running and the squeal disappears for a few seconds then comes back. I
That's weird

Try the "Belt off" test first.
 

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Yes. For some trucks there are different size idler pulleys. With a new belt, the tensioner should be toward the tighter side of it's travel. That way, as the belt stretches, there is room for the tensioner to travel and keep the belt tight.
 

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Try some baby powder on the belt. Mine would occasionally squeal and a little puff of baby powder would fix it until it rained again. Them 3.0's have issues with the camshaft synchronizer and they will chirp/squeak when they start to fail. This is located toward the passenger rear of the engine but the sound may sound like its coming from the belt. If your pulleys aren't aligned then whatever pully is off center is going to be pulling at the belt causing the squeal. If you can eyeball a pulley out of alignment then it is pretty far out. I would baby powder the belt and if it still squeaks then double check the work you just did. Like they said above, a new belt shouldn't squeak.... This is barely a 150hp truck, not a nascar truck.
 

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What leads me to believe it's not a bearing issue, is I sprayed the inner side of belt with water as it was running and the squeal disappears for a few seconds then comes back. I am going to install an ACDelco belt, but I will have to see if the tensioner is still all the way to the end of its travel, which would worry me that the belt is not being tensioned enough. Only remedy would be to get a new tensioner in hopes that the adjustment is correct, but I really don't wanna waste anymore money on this squeal. Do they sell different diameter pulleys (tensioner or idler) maybe I have the wrong diameter, smaller diameter would make belt loose.
Just like the water pump failure on that GM. The pump was making the belt squeal.
 

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on my 2000 3.0 it's the back side of the belt that squeaks.
specifically the noise is a rhythmic chirp at idle. the chirps occur when the label/imprinted part goes over a pulley.
less tension can make it go away, but then you have to worry about slippage.
 

97Ranger3.0

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If you do end up needing a new belt and want to try the "Gatorback" belt, it looks like you can still find them. I did a quick ebay search and it looks like now Continental makes those belts instead of Goodyear. But anyway, the part number for my truck (97 with 3.0 and A/C) was 4060882. I did a quick check on a part's stores website and it looks like a 97 3.0 w/ A/C and a 2003 3.0 w/ A/C take the same belt so that same part number should work in your case.

 

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I'm not trying to advise against buying a good belt, gatorbacks are good belts. But even the cheapest autozone belt should not squeek. You're covering up a problem at best, not fixing it by using a different belt. Same with applying anything to the belt like belt dressing, its not a solution it's a bandaid. Figure out why it squeels/squeeks, fix that problem, then buy a good belt.
 


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