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Discussion Starter #1
Just like the title says. I have a 2004 Legacy Outback with 2.5 and 115k miles. Recently when braking the serp belt squeals for a few seconds but stops when I let off the brake. It is definitely a belt squeal and not brakes. No other issues associated with the noise, but is very strange. It seems to happen only when braking firmly but gentle braking does not cause it to happen.

Anyone else have this happen?
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Unsure on the age of the belts. I've had the car about 6 months now. Might not hurt to change them anyway.

I know it definitely isn't the brakes. Last night, I had to stop quickly for deer crossing the road, and it was squealing even when I wasn't moving. As soon as I got back up to speed it stopped.

If the belts were worn, would they start slipping on the pulleys with a sudden change in engine speed (slowing down)? It's very strange to me because braking shouldn't have any connection to the serp belt.
 

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. . . would they start slipping on the pulleys with a sudden change in engine speed (slowing down)? It's very strange to me because braking shouldn't have any connection to the serp belt.
Accessory drive belt squeal will usually occur when the engine speed suddenly changes. In other words, if it is a belt, you should be able to repeat the symptom with the car parked, and pressing the accelerator pedal to suddenly increase the engine rpm, and then as quickly letting it drop back.

There is one possible link to the brakes, and that is the load on the alternator. If the sound appears just as soon as the brake is applied, it could be that the stop light system is loading the alternator. When it's loaded, it tends to be more difficult to turn. If the accessory drive belt is loose or not gripping properly, then this could cause slippage and squeal. But it should show up with a sudden rpm change as well, as described above.

At 115k miles, it could well be a worn accessory drive belt. But in addition, it could be a tensioner pulley. Also, the timing belt should have been changed at around 105k miles, and if it hasn't, the timing belt, or something related to it, could be the source.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks for your replies everyone. I'll check the belt this weekend and maybe get a new one. I see Gates belts are a whopping $7 at RockAuto.

Not sure about the water pump and timing belt. I have a carfax report that came with the car but I dont remember what all is on it.
 
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