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Discussion Starter #1
I've searched but didn't find it specifically. Is it possible to just change the pulley on the belt tensioner assembly rather than changing the whole unit? I could not find a part that is the pulley for the tensioner, just the other idler pulleys. I "suspect" the tensioner pulley is the culprit making intermittent chirping / squeaking sounds and would rather try to just do the pulley / bearing vs the PIA of the whole unit first. Belt tension is rock solid so that function is still okay. Just sounds like the bearing. Thanks for any help folks. 08 with around 125K.
 

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A couple things:

The bolt holding the pulley is left-hand thread.
The pulley uses two standard bearings, which can be easily pressed out and replaced for less than $20.

After replacing the pulley or bearings, you will likely find that the noise doesn't go away. The vibration and squeaking is actually from the spring tensioner inside the pulley. The only way to fix is complete replacement.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks for the info Happy. I am really hoping for now it isn't the whole tensioner. It "seems" to be the pulley where the noise is coming from. It was a really intermittent squeak that seems to be getting more often especially when hot. When putting a screwdriver on it running it sounds / feels rough compared to say the other idler pulley closest to it. When running it's not moving around a lot at all so that's why I was going to try the pulley vs the whole unit to start. When it arrives and I get it in I'll report back. Hopefully it will be good news :)
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Well unfortunately after replacing the tensioner pulley, the intermittent squeak still remains. I for the life of me can't figure out where it's coming from. Everything spun free and smooth with the belt removed, and when installed and running, it doesn't seem to be coming from the things I can't put a screw driver on to help listen. The leaves the water pump and power steering pump. None of those pulleys felt bad nor did they have any movement when I grabbed them. Guess I'll just drive it until what ever it is gets worse or fails. I'll know for sure then what it was ?
I forgot how much I dislike working on this engine because there is such crap access. So if it ends up being the water pump, even though it will co$t a lot, I'm outsourcing it.
 

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I was hoping it was that pulley for you too! I went through the same thing last year. I was chasing a belt squeal. I changed the water pump, two pulleys, serpentine belt, power steering pump, crank pulley, and belt tensioner. It ended up being the alternator! I changed just about everything in that area there except the a/c compressor! LOL.
Here is a video I took of the noise.

 

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Discussion Starter #12
I was hoping it was that pulley for you too! I went through the same thing last year. I was chasing a belt squeal. I changed the water pump, two pulleys, serpentine belt, power steering pump, crank pulley, and belt tensioner. It ended up being the alternator! I changed just about everything in that area there except the a/c compressor! LOL.
Here is a video I took of the noise.

Hmm. It kinda sounds like that, but much less severe for now. It's intermittent too as I said. For example I drove it today after the pulley change and not a peep. However while still in the garage right after the pulley change I could still hear it. Again didn't notice anything out of the ordinary when I spun it with the belt off today, but like you said, you didn't either. I thought it was affected by heat, because it seemed to do it more or at all when it was rather hot out after the van had been driven a bit. But that was blown out the window when it was doing it within 5 minutes of early morning start up the other day. Like I said I'll keep going with it until it gets worse and that will hopefully lead me to the source. How bad was it to swap out the alternator? Did you have to remove that water inlet PIA over it? Thanks for the help and info. The next time it starts making the noise to the point I think my phone will pick it up, I'll try to get a video of it for comparison.
 

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Hmm. It kinda sounds like that, but much less severe for now. It's intermittent too as I said. For example I drove it today after the pulley change and not a peep. However while still in the garage right after the pulley change I could still hear it. Again didn't notice anything out of the ordinary when I spun it with the belt off today, but like you said, you didn't either. I thought it was affected by heat, because it seemed to do it more or at all when it was rather hot out after the van had been driven a bit. But that was blown out the window when it was doing it within 5 minutes of early morning start up the other day. Like I said I'll keep going with it until it gets worse and that will hopefully lead me to the source. How bad was it to swap out the alternator? Did you have to remove that water inlet PIA over it? Thanks for the help and info. The next time it starts making the noise to the point I think my phone will pick it up, I'll try to get a video of it for comparison.
It's not too bad just wish I didn't have to drop the coolant. Yes, I had to remove the water inlet pipe to make room so the alternator can squeeze through. But don't need to remove the fan shroud. It's very tight in there.

Sounds like a plan, just monitor it.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
It's not too bad just wish I didn't have to drop the coolant. Yes, I had to remove the water inlet pipe to make room so the alternator can squeeze through. But don't need to remove the fan shroud. It's very tight in there.

Sounds like a plan, just monitor it.
Damn. I've had that off once to replace the thermostat. I always hate to break into the coolant system. IIRC it was a PIA to keep filling and waiting for it to burp or suck it down etc. Thanks for the info.
 

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Before doing anything else, try spraying the tensioner spring mechanism with WD-40 or penetrating oil. You should be able to get at it with the red straw that comes with the aerosol can.
This will be a temporary fix, but may help isolate the noise.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Before doing anything else, try spraying the tensioner spring mechanism with WD-40 or penetrating oil. You should be able to get at it with the red straw that comes with the aerosol can.
This will be a temporary fix, but may help isolate the noise.

Funny you mentioned this. I noticed that when I was struggling to move it back into the locked position that it made kind of a spring squeak when moving back. I did wonder if that slight fwd / aft movement when running with the belt might be making this noise. So I did spray some lubricant in there, not much at all, thinking it may or may not do anything. When I had it all back together and running I barely noticed any movement of the tensioner arm so I had dismissed it plus I could still hear the noise slightly. However like I noted to Supra, when I drove it last night, not a peep. So I'm not sure if the little lubrication added worked its way in there if this was indeed the source of the noise, or it's just within the intermittent nature of its manifestation at this point. I'll report back after I drive it some more. If I hear it again, I'll pull the fender shield and spray more in there and see what happens.
I also forgot to mention this intermittent noise is totally RPM dependent. It only happens at very low idle RPM when it does. If I turn on the AC which kicks up the idle just a tad, it goes away. If I raise the RPM at all it goes away.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
I was hoping it was that pulley for you too! I went through the same thing last year. I was chasing a belt squeal. I changed the water pump, two pulleys, serpentine belt, power steering pump, crank pulley, and belt tensioner. It ended up being the alternator! I changed just about everything in that area there except the a/c compressor! LOL.
Here is a video I took of the noise.


Okay well it came back in force today. Here is the video of my squeak.

08 Sienna pulley squeak
 
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