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Squeeling truck after battery died.


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So I accidently let the battery drain this last week since I wasn't driving anywhere I didn't notice until it completely drained.Got it started with jumper cables, and started driving it around to hopefully charge the battery up a bit atleast well enough to visit family tomorrow. I made a stop at the gas station to top off my tank and when I started driving again it was making this high pitch squeel it seems to come and go a little bit but always returns after driving a little bit and stays constant. It seems like it gets quiter when I engage the clutch but doesn't go away, it also seems to occasionally get quiter and go away temporarily when I engage the throttle. I am completely clueless as to what it could be. I also recently cleaned out the grease and grime in the engine bay.


Any ideas?

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Check belt tension.


Squealing after teh battery died, probably means the battery isn't fully charged yet and your alternator is struggling to re-charge it. At least give it a check, hood up, to see if it's squealing. Alternators aren't designed to charge dead batteries. That's why there are battery chargers. A sure fire way to destroy an alternator, is to attempt charging a dead battery. They are designed to keep a charge up, but not from dead nothing to full. It'll do it, no doubt, if it doesn't die - but, it'll wear the crap out of it, you'll probably get that belt squeal, funny smells from the amount of heat it'll generate, etc.


I bet 3 internets that it's your belt squealing, or it became so hot that it stretched a little and is now loose. Give her a check.


Only other thing that could squeal, engine-tranny wise, would be a throwout bearing. But that would be completely unrelated to your dead battery situation.

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Belt tension. Check with finger & thumb, you should be able to pull it/push it only 1/2 inch total (1/4" pull, 1/4" push). If any looser, tighten it up. Make sure you have 1/2 play because if tighter it will wear out the water pump & alternator bearings.


There is also a chance that is is your alternator bearing going out. So loosen the belt, and spin the alternator by hand. It should spin free without any noise.

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Does the noise go away after running the truck for a little bit?

When you first start the truck, does turning the headlights on make the noise worse, or last longer?


Sometimes when the belt is loose, it gets worn, and even if you tighten to to correct tension again, it will still squeak. Here ia another trick you can try. Get a small dab of "orange" hand cleaner, with pumice in it, and smear it on the inside of the belt it the belts quits squeaking for a while, you need a new belt.


Here is how a "V" belt works. The two sides of the "V" are straight, when the belt is going in a straight line from pulley to pulley. When the belt is bent around the pulley, the sides of the belt actually "swell" to a convex shape, and the swelled sides grip the pulley. When the belt wears, the sides get worn down, and lose the ability to grip the sides of the pulley. The belt slips, and squeaks.

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If the noise went away with a fully charged battery, but came back afterwards, that narrows it down a bit.

I'd grab a new battery if yours is old, just to be safe. Nobody likes a dead battery.

Belts are cheap, so that shouldn't need any further explanation.

If the alternator is that old, depending on use and how much draw you have, you may just end up replacing it anyways. I hate old worn out stuff!


Does the squealing happen at idle?

I am willing to bet if you go out to the battery with a volt meter, when it starts squealing you'll find a voltage drop. Doesn't necesarily mean you have a bad alternator, but I have seen (and had) a lot of issues like that on my L-motor. Simply because the alternator doesn't have much wrap on the pulley, and as soon as the belt gets glazed it's all over with. And to compensate, I always just tightened it up more and more and ended up wearing alternator bearings out.


I eventually did the Saturn alternator conversion (3-wire CS-130), and used a slightly larger pulley courtesy of the rebuilder. Once alignment was tits on perfect, never had an issue again. FWIW I ended up using a KA single cam lower alternator mount on my L20B - not sure if it'll fit L16's/18's with the smaller mounting bolt diameters, though. Just a thought for the future, perhaps?


I'm not certain on what engine you have as you haven't stated this in any of your posts thus far. But, what has been said in this thread is all generic info for any application. Alternator bearing may be dry, worn out, alternator itself may be worn out. With that much mileage, if things were ever dirty or if you live where a lot of water/salt/even anti-freeze could eventually work it's way into the alternator, I'd say it's a prime candidate for replacement, or rebuild. I personally like OEM stuff, so I'd rebuild it if yours is Nissan OEM.


On my KA24DE, I once in awhile get a slight sqeaking noise - and I couldn't quite pin point where it's coming from but I know it's either the alternator, or the water pump. Belt tension is fine. It's intermittent so finding it is a pain. But, I can go under and hit the side of the belt and hear the bearing in the alternator 'buzzing'. So I know it'll be due for a rebuild here soon. Nothing lasts forever!


With that kind of mileage, it also wouldn't hurt for you to go through and check, clean, or replace your battery cables. You already have a new starter. I'm sure the cables could use some clean-up or maybe they've seen the last of their days. Plus, it's just one less thing to worry about in the future. I make it a habit to clean everything really good any time I run into an electrical problem. If one portion has a failure, the entire system will suffer. Make sure your grounds are in good condition, as well. Takes 10 minutes, and the entire truck will probably be happier.

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Sorry I didn't think to mention the motor, its a z22. The battery is relatively new bought it in december. It has new battery cables also about 3-4 months old, they were replaced around the same time as the starter. The belts definetely need to be replaced they are glazed a bit, however I just drove again with no squeel. I think I'm just gonna go ahead and replace the belts and start setting aside money for a new alternator anyway it can't hurt to replace one this old.

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Dont' fix what aint' broke. Light glazing is no problem usually. Don't bother to have a "spare" as they are cheap and readily available at the stores, about $50 for a rebuilt unit. I got a spare at Pick-n-Pull for $12.50 at the half-price sale.

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Replaced the alternator/fan/crank pulley belt today. It squeeled right away for a few minutes when I started it then stopped. The bearing on the alternator was quiet when I checked it while I had the belt off however, The squeel is for sure coming from the alternator region.

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So, I just drove it around a bunch and made a few stops. It still squeels but only after start up and only for a very short amount of time 10-30 seconds then goes away. Yeah that belt was a good idea to replace anyway it was cracked a bunch and glazed the other one that runs to the ac compressor seems perfectly fine.

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Yes, probably 90% of the fan belts replaced in this country are unnecessary, and the mechanics don't even know it. They think it prevents a future failure, but only guys that continue to run old belts know how long they can last. Replace them if they are bad, but not for light cracking and light glazing. Heavy glazing, cuts, or oil saturated should be replaced.


I loaned my Mazda out and the serpentine belt came off and wrapped around the pulleys. I stripped the loose strands (two ribs) off the belt and put in back on. Four years later it's still working well. I'm running a 30 year old belt on my Datsun. Keeping them properly tensioned is a key to long life.


Yes, I have spares, but so far they remain unused.


10-30 seconds on startup sounds like it is not tight enough. When you pull/push you can't get more than 0.5 inch? Measure it with a ruler.

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I gotta check that tomorrow I don't have a lot of what I should for working on my truck in my personal tools, fortunately my step dad has almost everything else I would need for the basics. I had to guess on the belt tension. I had a hard time getting it tight enough actually about half the time it took for me to replace the belt was spent trying to get it as tight as possible with what i had.


I really appreciate the info btw, trying to learn this stuff without someone around that knows is a pita. I just plain dont know about automobiles other than the basic stuff I learned as a kid.


(yes sadly I don't own a ruler or a straight edge)

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As far as alternator tensioning, I use a large, long flat blade screwdriver to apply force on the alternator in a down/counterclockwise direction while tightening the adjusting bolt. Its the fastest and easiest way I have found to do it...I have replaced the alternator twice in the past month...gotta live lifetime warranty! I have a massive draw, and drained my battery to kill my alternator, so I installed a battery cut off switch until I can locate the source of the draw.

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