Water Pump Pulley Squeal - intermittent - Toyota Nation Forum : Toyota Car and Truck Forums
9th Gen Corolla/1st Gen Matrix (2003-2008) 9th generation Corolla and 1st generation Matrix discussion.

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#1 Old 01-24-2012, 02:09 PM
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Water Pump Pulley Squeal - intermittent

2005 with 60K. Around 50K started to hear squealing noise from pulley/belt area. Got this car with a bit over 30K on it. There was some slight squealing but never happened when the dealer looked at it before the warranty ran out. The belt looks like it was already changed once because it's very new looking still at 60K. No cracks, etc. and rubber looks new still.

I've used a flex tube to listen to all the pulleys for the exact location of the squeal and it comes from the water pump's pulley bearing area. The squeal is not from where the belt contacts the pulley. It was getting bad so I sprayed some WD40 on it and it quieted down. Squealing came back intermittently so mechanics couldn't observe/hear it when I brought it in (of course). It could be squealing at start up but by the time I drive maybe 4 miles the sound may go away. (I know it sounds like belt problem) Once the squealing was bad so I used a lithium spray, instead of WD40, on the bearing area of the pulley and it's worked pretty well to keep it quite for a long time but now that seems to have played out and the squealing is coming back again and can persist for the whole time I'm driving but it still could just go away the next time I start the engine to go to the shop, which seems like always.

No overheating so water pump seems to be working fine. I thought I could find a pulley to change out but no one sells just the pulley. You need to replace the whole water pump.

Some keep saying it's the belt, it's the idler, but the noise comes right from the bearing of the water pump pulley.

Any suggestions as to what to do. I don't want to change the pump, belt, or idler for nothing.
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#2 Old 01-24-2012, 02:32 PM
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It's probably the tensioner. These are known for going bad in a way the keeps them from keeping proper tension on the belt. Since the smooth side of the belt tends to glaze and it rides on the smooth pulley of the water pump it would make sense that it would squeak there.
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#3 Old 01-24-2012, 03:01 PM
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The belt tensioner on 9th gen corollas is such a frequent problem that you really want to make sure its not a tensioner problem first, even though you have appeared to narrow it down to the water pump. You can determine this by increasing the tension on your belt while its squealing. Do this by having someone else start the car and put it in drive, while firmly applying the brake. This creates the low rpm state that most often results in belt noise on the corolla. Since its an intermittent issue, you may have to try this a couple times over a period of days, but hopefully at some point you will hear the squeal. Then press down on the serpentine belt with the side of a wood dowel or a piece of pipe (and hold on tight to the pipe or dowel) for a couple seconds, enough to increase your belt's tension somewhat. If the squeal goes away, then your belt tensioner is the problem.

But based purely on what you posted, that wd40 sprayed directly onto the bearing (and not on anything else) makes the squeal go away, that does sound like a bad water pump.
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#4 Old 01-24-2012, 03:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MasterTecInSTL View Post
It's probably the tensioner. These are known for going bad in a way the keeps them from keeping proper tension on the belt. Since the smooth side of the belt tends to glaze and it rides on the smooth pulley of the water pump it would make sense that it would squeak there.
that was my first thought aswell.
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#5 Old 01-24-2012, 04:08 PM
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OK Thanks for that advice. I'll try to put some tension on the belt and see if that helps, just to be sure about the tensioner.

I am afraid that it will be the bearings on the water pump pulley. So no getting around changing the whole pump if the tensioning doesn't work, eh?

OK Thanks I'll try it and report back.
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#6 Old 01-24-2012, 04:16 PM
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Usually when water pump bearings fail it produces a grinding noise, not a squeal.
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#7 Old 01-24-2012, 04:29 PM
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OK guys. I tried using a dowel/handle to push on the belt. At first there was no noise when I started the car. "Oh Great" I thought but after about a minute it started to squeak. So I pushed down between the alternator and the water pump. The squeal didn't go away but then the dowel slipped and the belt jumped a bit and the sound was gone!

I started the engine again and it started to squeal again. I pushed down very hard and it didn't stop squealing until the belt jumped again when the dowel slipped. When I turned off the engine I heard a small squeal. I started the engine and turned it off again and there was again a small squeal when the engine was turned off. The third time I did it there was no squeal. Just that that might mean something to you.

OK now I looked at the belt and saw the dull marks where the dowel touched so I thought maybe the belt is TOO shiny so I used the dowel to "rough" up the shiny part of the belt (while the engine was running). I don't think it did much but at least it's less prone to slip.

Then I noticed that i could get the down to push down on the belt between the water pump and the small pulley just to the rear of it. Is that the Idler pulley? Anyway, I noticed then that I could push it quite a bit down and then was able to push the belt until it touched the small pulley (idler?) itself.

So maybe that's more bad news for me? A belt tensioner issue seems to be evident? Plus the noise of the water pump pulley. But again, remember the noise stopped when the belt jumped.

OK that's as best as I can describe my T/S efforts. Any feedback? Thanks.
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#8 Old 01-24-2012, 04:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MasterTecInSTL View Post
Usually when water pump bearings fail it produces a grinding noise, not a squeal.
Yes that's what I was thinking. I've had water pumps go out on my old datsun 240Z.
But is there a difference between the failure of the bearings on the water pump and the bearings on the pump's pulley?

I agree that the side forces on the pulley bearings would create a constant "noise".
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#9 Old 01-24-2012, 04:50 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CACorolla View Post
Yes that's what I was thinking. I've had water pumps go out on my old datsun 240Z.
But is there a difference between the failure of the bearings on the water pump and the bearings on the pump's pulley?

I agree that the side forces on the pulley bearings would create a constant "noise".
one and the same.
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#10 Old 01-24-2012, 05:04 PM
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The reason the smooth side of the belt is shiny is because it is slipping somewhere... the "weakest" point is the water pump pulley.

It's slipping because there isn't enough tension on it due to a worn tensioner.

Remove the belt and spin each pulley by hand and make sure there is no play. If everything is good install a new tensioner. If the noise is still present then install a new belt too.
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#11 Old 01-24-2012, 05:24 PM
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"OK guys. I tried using a dowel/handle to push on the belt. At first there was no noise when I started the car. "Oh Great" I thought but after about a minute it started to squeak. So I pushed down between the alternator and the water pump. The squeal didn't go away but then the dowel slipped and the belt jumped a bit and the sound was gone!

I started the engine again and it started to squeal again. I pushed down very hard and it didn't stop squealing until the belt jumped again when the dowel slipped. When I turned off the engine I heard a small squeal. I started the engine and turned it off again and there was again a small squeal when the engine was turned off. The third time I did it there was no squeal. Just that that might mean something to you."

This is so intermittent is has to be a slipping belt. Bad bearings would be more consistent from minute to minute. And like it says above, turn all the pulleys once the belt is off, as a check to make sure they are okay. A slipping belt can also be caused by a pulley that is not turning as smoothly as it should. No matter what else you do, replace that tensioner.
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#12 Old 01-24-2012, 05:59 PM
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Good Feedback and it makes sense to me about the slipping belt.
I'll need to get my manual to check where the tensioner is and get the belt off and turn it by hand.

Agree that mechanical bearing failure would be consistently noise and grinding.
Is it my understanding that the vibrations from the slipping belt are resonating through the water pump pulley may be resulting in the noise generating from the bearing area?

OK I'll let you know how it goes. I'll source and price a new tensioner. I gather that being able to push the belt until it touches the idler pulley means it's not tensioned enough.

Gotta go do the kids Chauffeur thing for a bit now.
THanks again.
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#13 Old 01-24-2012, 06:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CACorolla View Post
Good Feedback and it makes sense to me about the slipping belt.
I'll need to get my manual to check where the tensioner is and get the belt off and turn it by hand.

Agree that mechanical bearing failure would be consistently noise and grinding.
Is it my understanding that the vibrations from the slipping belt are resonating through the water pump pulley may be resulting in the noise generating from the bearing area?

OK I'll let you know how it goes. I'll source and price a new tensioner. I gather that being able to push the belt until it touches the idler pulley means it's not tensioned enough.

Gotta go do the kids Chauffeur thing for a bit now.
THanks again.
the belt is actually slipping on that pulley. the water pump pulley uses the water pump bearing. they are the same thing.
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#14 Old 01-24-2012, 09:47 PM
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It's the serpentine belt that's squealing, which is very common with Toyota's original belt. They all start squeaking at about your mileage, especially when cold. All you need to do is replace it with a GoodYear Gatorback # 4060740 (with A/C).

http://www.rockauto.com/catalog/x,ca...LA%2B1.8L%2BL4

Last edited by invader; 01-25-2012 at 02:34 AM.
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#15 Old 01-25-2012, 02:08 AM
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So I got your recommendations:
1-Remove Belt and hand turn pulleys. Check there's no binding or wobble when turning.
2-If pulleys good, replace tensioner then reinstall belt
3-If still squealing, replace belt with Gator Belt from Goodyear

I have a full day scheduled on WED so probably won't get back to this until Thursday.
I'll update you guys then.

Thanks a bunch for your help so far.
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