Squeaking Engine? Here Are Some Suggestions

Dear readers,

Tonight I would like to explain how you can get rid of the engine squeak that usually gets even worse in wet and humid weather. If the engine of your car is squeaking annoyingly, especially when idling and running up to 2000 RPM, then you probably have some similar issue that I had. First of all, there are generally three most common things that may cause the squeak:

  • Alternator (generator) bearings
  • A/C Compressor Clutch bearing
  • Serpentine belt

I don’t like when my car makes unusual noises and I do get really pissed off about those things. Therefore, I had to try everything possible to get rid of the noise. First of all I had the generator looked at – one of the bearings was in really bad shape and could have caused noise when running. That was replaced by a mechanic. That didn’t get rid of the squeak and we found another noise source which was the A/C compressor clutch. Keep in mind that you can replace the bearing yourself but you need some special tools for that. In USA those tools can be ordered from most of the auto parts stores.

AC Compressor Bearing Service Tools

Since I couldn’t get those tools quick enough anywhere, I had a mechanic do this as well. When I almost thought that my squeaks were over, the humid weather came and there I was again sitting in my squealing piece of truck wondering what else to try. I didn’t suspect the belt in my case since I had that replaced like 2 years ago and this shouldn’t finish up a belt yet. They are supposed to last 5-10 years just fine. However, here comes a tip for you! When you have a squeak in the belt line and want to diagnose where it is, DO NOT spray WD-40 or any other oil onto the belt. That will kill the belt and it will never stop squeaking anymore. If you want to spray something, use a silicone spray or water. Those will also tell you what you need.

I bought a PRO 1 belt yesterday and today we replaced the belt. If you were as stupid as I was and sprayed oil onto the belt before, make sure you clean all the rollers before putting the new belt on. Otherwise the new belt could get “fried” too. You can use brake cleaner for this process but if you have any plastic rollers, do not spray brake cleaner directly onto those since it could melt the roller. Clean it with a tissue instead where you spray brake cleaner beforehand. In my case one plastic roller was present and that was the automatic belt tensioner:

DO NOT SPRAY BRAKE CLEANER DIRECTLY ONTO A PLASTIC ROLLER!
DO NOT SPRAY BRAKE CLEANER DIRECTLY ONTO A PLASTIC ROLLER!

So we replaced the belt and now it seems to be OK. You should also pay attention which belt you buy – PRO 1, Gates, Dayco and some others are known as fine belts. Do not buy anything too cheap or you will get your squeaks back in no time.

1997 Chevrolet Suburban Engine

1997 Chevrolet Suburban Engine

1997 Chevrolet Suburban Alternator

1997 Chevrolet Suburban AC Compressor

My Audi is now officially sold!

So I decided to sell the Audi. The contract became effective officially on Friday. Me and my girlfriend loved the A6, so why did we sell it? Well, it was indeed a very good car. Saying good, I mean good to drive and with great performance. It wasn’t as reliable as I expected, though. I had never owned a German car before and didn’t really know what to expect. I probably spent around 1500 EUR on its repairs over the one and a half years I drove it. Even before selling it to the new owner, I fixed all the important things that had come up and he got a nicely running car without remarkable flaws. I wanted to make the deal so that I knew I was selling a working car and that I could sleep well after giving the car over to the new owner. We had a 14 day return period which ended on Friday and if I had left some issues unfixed, they certainly would have come up sooner or later.

Reliability wasn’t the main selling reason. I’ve had the Chevy Suburban for several years and altough I have tried selling it once, I finished that process before it really went to a deal. I’ve decided that this Suburban is a car I want to own for years to come since it’s a car with good history and it sure is remarkably reliable. However, when I had the Audi I was always missing the driving experience of the Chevy which I do love. It just has its own specialities which attach me to this car so strong. It doesn’t have full time 4×4, it doesn’t have all the electronics, it doesn’t have the same fuel economy FOR SURE, but it’s still awesome. It is one of those cars which has a soul and it felt like the Audi didn’t. The Audi messed with my nerves a lot of times in situations where you just didn’t want any trouble. I don’t even want to get to the details cause I’m not sure how many of you are interested in them, but well, I hadn’t had any other car behaving like this. The Chevy has had its problems which have always been fixed but none of its issues have been so urgent to fix that I couldn’t even drive the truck and most of the things have always been an easy repair. The engine was messing up last winter by not starting up properly and consuming too much fuel with Check Engine light on also. I remember I thought that it might be something serious with the electronics. However, it ended up being the water temp. sensor located on the thermostat housing. Disconnect the single cable, take the wheel wrench, screw the old sensor off, install the new one and that’s it. 13 EUR well spent. The truck ran a bit rough right after and then stabilized shortly. The check engine light later went off and haven’t seen it ever since. I think the only very serious issue with the truck was this Summer when the intake manifold started to leak coolant quite rapidly and I had to drive it to the service shop where it was fixed for 200 EUR.

Don’t get me wrong – I loved the Audi and it served us well during the period we had it. Basically, I decided that since I already owned the Suburban, the Audi didn’t really have a proper status in our fleet of cars anymore as we are now living in town again and the distances driven are not so long. Good luck for the new owner and happy new kilometres!

Things going on with my cars these days:

The Suburban is working nicely and we serviced it a couple of days ago which included oil change and replacement of air, oil and fuel filters. The usual stuff.

Today I bought new tires for the Suburban. Since the winter is coming, it was about time to find a good replacement for the current Cooper Discoverer M+S tires which don’t have much tread left. So I was able to acquire four little used BF Goodrich All Terrains! They are basically like new and I got them for like half the price of new ones. What a nice deal, really. Will be installed next week and I will then post pictures, too.

The Suburban is still lacking some fine audio equipment. Tomorrow I will be testing an Alpine subwoofer with a friend and I will probably buy it to improve the bass effect in the car. It will certainly improve it a lot, that’s for sure.

The Corvette is in its garage and the yearly inspection has expired. I won’t inspect it this year anymore, it’s put away for Winter and waiting for next Spring. Meanwhile I am planning some engine work during winter since the engine is sometimes puffing out some blue smoke and I will check other items as well. I will work on the interior and try to fix some paint issues. I will be updating you fellas here on my blog.

So, that’s it for now. Enjoy a memorable picture of the Audi taken last winter. It looked nice:

Winter in Estonia - Audi A6 C6 3.0 TDI Quattro

USA Car Season End Event in Southern Estonia – Suburban Made It!

A week ago a nice event took place in Southern part of Estonia which is more than 200 kilometres away from the capital where we live. Ofcourse we wanted to go. However, the weather was not good enough to take the Corvette because I never drive it intentionally into rainy weather. And since it’s Autumn, you can NEVER know where some rain might show up and ruin your day. So, since we have only one more American car left in our “fleet”, the other option was the Suburban.

It wasn’t too easy to make it, though! The Suburban had been messing up the whole Summer and since we didn’t drive it very much and had a busy Summer by all means, we didn’t take it to repair. One of the big issues was starter and everything related – it often made terrible noise when cranking and the bendix didn’t want to retract automatically when engine started so that caused an even worse noise. I had the whole starting system fail on me several times during Summer and I fixed it by re-aligning the starter myself and retightening the bolts. I knew it was just a very temporary solution anyway.

The other thing was rear differential – I knew there was something wrong because it made gear noise when coming to a halt and especially in right turns. We first thought that a bearing could be worn, but that wasn’t it.

1997 Chevrolet Suburban in Repair ShopA week before the event I finally took the Suburban to repair. Pretty soon the problem with the starter was diagnosed – the flywheel was out of alignment and was therefore floating up and down by about 2 millimetres. That’s quite a lot. So, the transmission had to be removed and then they could figure out whether the flywheel itself was bad or perhaps the crankshaft out of center instead…

Once everything was apart, the fault was found to be in the flywheel. Since I already replaced that about one and a half years ago, it must have been simply a faulty part from the beginning and finally messed up the starter and ate its teeth so it couldn’t start properly anymore. The flywheel was sent to Finland for warranty and a new one was installed on the Suburban. That was fine, thank god. The bendix on the starter was also destroyed so a new one had to be installed as well. That pretty much concluded the starting system repairs. Everything was put back together and worked flawlessly.

Now the rear differential was much more painful. The differential case was somehow broken! Don’t ask how – the only heavier job I did with this truck was towing some slightly heavier than normal trailers but that could have only finished up an already messed up differential, not destroy a well working thing.1997 Chevrolet Suburban in Repair Shop Anyway, we had to find a new rear diff. Brand new GM parts are too expensive to order here and therefore we had to find a good used part. In fact, we found a rear end from a K1500 Tahoe which was a 4×4 and wanted to replace the whole rear end to eliminate any possibilities that my Suburban’s rear end could have been faulty somewhere. However, it just didn’t fit properly. Strange that the 4×4 rear end is just a tiny bit wider than the 2WD.  Fortunately, the differential itself was a perfect fit. The diff was found to be in good shape and therefore we replaced just that. The diff is a G80 with Auburn full locking system. Rear end was assembled back together and the oil with special LSD oil additive was poured in.

That repair really made a huge difference to this vehicle. The engine starts up like new, the drive is very smooth and there is no gear noise whatsoever. I’m very happy that it worked out like this.

1997 Chevrolet Suburban driving on Estonian roadSo, we got the car just a day before the Southern Estonia event and were able to drive it there the next day. The event was nice but I wouldn’t consider it anything too special. Just a lot of such cars we don’t see very often in Tallinn and ofcourse a nice long cruise on the hilly roads. The weather was nice, too. We stopped at a barn where one of the Estonian Cadillac Club members keeps his cars collection. It was quite a nice set of cars, really.

So, a nice day all in all and certainly well worth the money spent :)

Spring is HERE!

Hey all,

Winter was a very busy time for me and I didn’t have much time to write in my blog. I’m so sorry about this. It’s still good to see you’ve been visiting me and plenty of e-mails have popped in during this time despite the lack of new posts.

But finally, Spring is here! We are all just SO happy about this since this Winter was extremely painful. There was so much snow, a lot of cold and that means a lot of pain in the a** for just about everyone living here. Cars don’t work too well in such conditions, on newer cars it’s easy to break the bottom frame protection plastic with the snow and so on. Those of you who don’t see Winter very often and are jealous at us – don’t be! Really, it’s not as good as you might think. Yes, there is snow. I think I can still find it from somewhere and I can send it over to Abu Dhabi in a box if you wanna see it so much :) Everyone should experience snow in their life just to see what it’s like and experience the winter “pleasures” like skiing and such. But having all that junk for almost half a year is NO GOOD. Alright, enough of this snow talk.

So, how did our cars live through the Winter? Well, first of all the Vette was ofcourse in the garage so she didn’t really mind. It was cold, yes, but what harm does that really do… However, the Audi and also Suburban were in constant use (especially Audi) and these did experience a few issues.  I can remember that in the beginning of Winter Audi showed its battery light and after some while the systems began messing up and everything died quite suddenly. All the electronic systems inside began to switch off one by one like in a crashing jetliner (yea, it was night in my case, too!) and soon even the transmission and engine began acting real weird. They are completely electronically controlled so what else would you expect… Anyway, I recharged the 110 Amp battery and drove it to service the next day. I first thought that the battery had finally died down in the cold and the systems didn’t want to charge it anymore. However, it wasn’t the case. In fact, the alternator brushes were gone so they had to replace those.

We also cracked the bottom protection a bit and managed to hit an ice ball so hard that a bit of the front bumper paint came off from one place. Should have it fixed soon I guess…  Although that didn’t break anything, I once drove off the road into the snow on a street simply because it was a curve, suddenly such a huge cloud of snow came at night during snowstorm that it just blocked my view completely and since I saw lights of another car coming towards me, I decided to keep to the right and that’s when I hit the snow wall. And there was no help of the Quattro there! We were so stuck that I asked a plow truck driving by to pull us out and he broke his towing rope. Then soon a Dodge RAM passed by who was gladly willing to help us and pulled us out with no big effort. The next time (well, 20 minutes later) I got stuck while just driving in the middle of the country road. The snow had blowed onto the road so much that it got really tough there. Ofcourse I didn’t push the ESP OFF button soon enough so the traction control didn’t let me push gas anymore which brought the situation to a stuck end. There was absolutely no way to get out of there by ourselves since the Audi was sitting completely on its bottom. Soon enough a tractor drove by and although we didn’t have a rope, he drove to the next fuel station, bought a rope for us and came back to pull us out. There are some nice people left in this world, huh?

We didn’t get stuck much more but it was just a lot of pain all the time trying to live your life normally.

But anyway, the spring!!! It’s here, just like I said. As you see, I can’t be happy enough about this fact. It’s a very important milestone this year, I’d say :)

Corvette C3 Daytime Running Lights LED

The Corvette is out of the garage and just before I took it out, I installed the high quality LED daytime running light bars to the front. They are invisible when they are off and nicely glow under the grilles in the nose during the daytime. Although the law requires them to switch on and off automatically depending on the headlight switch setting, I decided to wire them through a separate switch in the “cockpit” so I can always decide myself when I want them on. Interestingly, there is a feature on these lights which automatically dims the lights by about 50% if you shoot 12 Volts to one of the additional wires. S

 

o, I decided to configure them in an interesting manner somewhat resembling the new Audis. Whenever the turn signal is blinking, the LED light dims to 50% while the turn signal lamp is glowing. It’s a really nice effect and probably also adds a lot to safety. I’ll try

to get a video of that for you in a short while.Corvette C3 Daytime Running Lights LED with Sidemarkers

The Vette passed the technical inspection without issues and we’ve been driving it around for a couple of weeks now. The radiator was leaking from last Autumn so I had that repaired and the driver’s side electrical window had lost the last teeth from the moving mechanism so it wouldn’t move totally up and instead made terrible noises. The teeth were repaired and now everything is OK. Ofcourse I’ve been also configuring the carburetor but seems like I can never get it perfect…

The Suburban decided to fail big time… Driving it a week ago we noticed there was something dripping to the asphalt all the way behind our route and I figured out it was coolant. Firstly I thought that it could be the rear heating system pipes since the leak seemed to be near that area. However, it happened to be the typical Vortec engine issue instead – the intake manifold gasket. G

ot it from the shop yesterday and now it’s OK.

A year ago I had the starter and flywheel replaced on the Chevy. However, where I had that job done the guys apparently didn’t know how to properly install the starter on this car and by now the flywheel looks a bit like an elderly grandma with not much left of her teeth anymore. That was found out yesterday in the shop, as well. I was really mad about this because now I need to replace the flywheel AGAIN. And probably from my own pocket. At least I won’t take any of my cars to that shop from now, that’s a FACT. It was close to my home so it was always comfortable to take the cars there, but their job quality is now beginning to show itself. When fixing the starter a year ago they also managed to mess up the distributor clamps which hold the distributor cap in place. They had fixed that with a pair of cable straints and called it done. Now the distributor housing probably needs replacing, too. How can someone work like this? And how could I be so stupid not to act on these things earlier? Should have complained about their distributor solution at least!

Anyway, a  couple of photos from weeks ago of the Vette with the new lights installed :)

Oh, and a little Winter memory from a couple of months ago…

Estonian Winter Road

My Blog Has a New Look!

Hey everyone,

Woohoo – I finally finished with the new look for my blog. I was just so tired of that white blog and decided that I needed a change. I hope you like what I have now. Yes, it is our Suburban in the background and this photo was taking this morning when we already had a bunch of snow. We really got into the winter overnight and we are having just huge snowfalls from last night and still going on. At the moment it’s so heavy that I’m really scared, but also curious to see what we will have on the ground the  next morning. The local time at this moment is 23:32 in the evening and watching out of the window it’s just a lot of snowflakes playing around behind the window and the visibility is pretty poor thanks to that.

Today’s photos for you to see first hand… Even our horses were having a lot of fun!