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Belt noise on cold starts


Old 12-26-1999, 06:33 PM
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Join Date: Aug 1999
Location: Peabody MA USA
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Question Belt noise on cold starts

Since the weather has become colder in my area I have noticed a slapping noise coming from the serpentine belt. It sounds similar to the rattle you hear from a failing water pump. I know its not piston slap because its definitely an external noise,I just cant pinpoint where its coming from.The noise lasts for 10-20 minutes and then disappears after full warm up. Mine is a 98 Expedition with the 5.4 and about 15,000 miles on it. Anyone else had a similar problem? And what was the cure for it? Thanks, Tim
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Old 12-27-1999, 10:50 PM
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Join Date: Dec 1999
Location: ozark, al
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I have a 98 F-150 w/5.4L, it has started making noise from the front of the engine also and subsides when the engine gets warmed up. Do you think it is the belt???

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Old 12-27-1999, 11:13 PM
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Join Date: May 1999
Location: Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
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my 99 5.4 is sounding a bit grumpy on start up too.........only when it's cold it was the wurst I've's about -17 outside..........gonna go dump it on the dealership after new years......

Da Kid Wif Da Truck.
'99 XLT SC SB 4x4 5.4 auto 3.55 ls

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Old 12-28-1999, 03:17 PM
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Join Date: Dec 1999
Location: ozark, al
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Good News...I solved your problem... It is just a cold belt... Start your truck, get a long candle (hold it with pliers away from the fan) and let it rub on the inside of your belt near the alternator for 5 minutes or so. It lubricates the belt and the noise/squeek will go away. Promise! Also, you can go buy belt dressing spray but the candle does the trick. CAUTION...that fan can hurt you...use gloves and a pair or long pliers.... Email me if it does the [email protected]
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Old 12-29-1999, 03:44 PM
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Join Date: Nov 1999
Location: Jonnstown, PA 15904
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Mine made similar noises! I changed the belt. The noise disappeared. 2 months later the noise reappeared!

I changed the belt again.

The moral of the story is that the belt I bought at Advance Auto Parts lasted 2 months and the belt I bought from the dealership has lasted much longer! You make the choice!
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Old 12-29-1999, 07:23 PM
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Location: DOT BOMB CITY!
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EXACT problem.... Thought my water pump was going bad... Heard some other sounds too.. Mostly on cold start... Just replaced the belt tonight. Ahhhhhh MUCH better! The research I did told me to buy the Ford belt. It cost more but is built quite a bit better...

Good luck!

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Old 12-29-1999, 07:33 PM
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Location: Jackson, NJ usa
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I used to work as a fleet mechanic for some years. I found that the Motorcraft parts lasted the best. I bought all different brands of parts but had the best life expectancy out of Motorcraft parts.

It sounds like your belts are glazed. You can tell by looking at it in the light. If it has a shiny look to it, it is glazed. This usually isn't a problem, but it can make some noise. Lubricating the belt is temporary, but changing it is semi-permanent. If you find you're going through a lot of belts you'll want to look at your pulleys and maybe your tensioner.

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Old 12-30-1999, 11:54 PM
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I replaced my belt tonite also, Big difference no more noise. The new belt was a motorcraft, It was probadly a good 3/4 in. shorter than the one I just have taken off. It was a bear to get it on , it took all I had to move the belt Ten. enough to get the new one on. But it was worth it to get rid of the noise!!

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Old 09-06-2000, 04:39 PM
Join Date: Aug 2000
Location: MS
Posts: 68

I had the exact same problem with my 99 f150 @ 4500 miles. Belt noise....LOUD belt noise, only when cold. The belt had to be replaced and pulleys were re-aligned by the dealer. No problem since. I hear the problem comes and goes for some, due to the fact that when you wash your engine, the moisture will cause the pulleys to rust a little over night(kinda like your brake rotors) and the next morning...knock,,knock,,knock.....keep that belt clean...
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Old 03-21-2001, 08:48 PM
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Just bringing this back up
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Old 03-23-2001, 12:23 AM
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Location: Edmonton, AB
Posts: 470

Similar noises here, about 70k kms on my 4.6. I posted a topic in the last few months, and there were a few suggestions.

After trying to rule a bunch of stuff out, i think a fair bit of the noise in my cold startups (-24c this morning) have to do with clutch on the fan. Mine will make some ugly clicking/whirling sounds, and then when i hear that the fan has kicked in, it subsides. Mind you it doesn't last that long - only about 25 seconds until the fan kicks in when it's that cold.

In the warmer above freezing weather, the fan turns on right away (already thinking of the electric one when it's warm enough to feel my hands).


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Old 03-23-2001, 09:26 AM
Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: North Conway, NH, USA
Posts: 85

I had the problem at around 12k miles on my '99 F150. The dealer replaced the belt, idler and tensioner. No more noise and covered under warranty, didn't cost me a dime.

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