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2005 3.0R VDC Limited Wagon
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
hello, for a few weeks i've heard a brief belt squeal when i start the car on cold mornings, it would go away shortly. then i noticed a slight squealy noise (but it's hard to describe) almost continually while driving (all in town).

this morning, the battery and brake lights came on after i'd driven a few minutes. i noticed the power steering was gone too, and windows were slow. there was a brief smell, something rubbery or burning, but it was brief.

i'm short of $ and need tires too, so i'm going to take it to a guy who does work at his house (he;s a student mechanic, and is a car nut). that may not be the best route, but if i can get any tips to help him fix it, i would be appreciative.

many thanks for your ideas.
marc
(2005 outback 3.0, 104k miles)
 

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2006 Outback 2.5i Limited 5MT, 1984 Porsche 944
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276 Posts
Sounds like a belt broke. The alternator and PS pump are driven from the same belt.

Why it broke is another matter. Maybe it was stretched from being worn. The slipping caused heat, which made the belt fail and produced the rubbery smell. Or, your alternator/PS seized and the belt broke from heat.

If it was just this belt that broke, make sure you have the AC belt replaced too.

I wouldn't have him mount new tires unless he has the proper flat surface, mounting tools, and a load balancer (which I doubt).
 

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Onyx, 2008 LL Bean 3.0R and 2017 Honda Civic Hatchback Sport Touring
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4,110 Posts
It sounds like your serpentine belt has gone. Not sure about the 2005, but 2000 has a belt that goes from the shaft to the power steering pump, and alternator. If your belt is broken or failing due to glazing and it cannot get a grip on the pulleys it runs around, it would definitely cause your symptoms because the alternator would not be charging the battery and the power steering pump would not be pumping the PS fluid.

Have your friend replace the serpentine belt first. If you have two on your model, you might as well have him do the other one as well. Let us know if that fixes the problem. This is the cheapest fix. The next steps cost more but should not break the bank.
 

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2005 3.0R VDC Limited Wagon
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174 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thank you all! should i have it towed to his house? the lack of power steering is annoying but i think i can do it.

i wasn't gonna have him do the tires, i don't think he's set up for that.
 

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(formerly) 03 H6 OBW , (presently) 06 WRX Sportwagon & 2021 Honda CR-V
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18,775 Posts
problem is, the ignition will only have battery capacity to run on. If your mechanic is around the block, maybe worth the risk to drive. Towing an automatic Soob AWD has issues as well. check the owners manual but, flatbed towtruck is probably required.

Considering offering him some beers, pizza and lotto scratchers to come to the car.
 

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01 VDC, 05 R Sedan, 06 BAJA EJ257
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16,498 Posts
The H6 has a single belt.

The pulleys need to be checked for damage or binding in the bearing. The belt could have broken due to wear or seizure of a bearing on the pulley.
 

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2005 3.0R VDC Limited Wagon
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174 Posts
Discussion Starter · #13 ·
the guy i know who works out of his garage couldn't get to it for a couple of days (that's what happens, i guess with dudes working from home), wound up taking it to a shop. the belt turned out to be fine, but the tensioner fell off, or mostly so. he said there was a bolt left or something.

cost: $241. that sound fair? this morning (it was about 45 degrees) the belt squealed a second at start up, i may take it to the shop for them to do a cold start so they can see themselves.
 

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01 VDC, 05 R Sedan, 06 BAJA EJ257
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the guy i know who works out of his garage couldn't get to it for a couple of days (that's what happens, i guess with dudes working from home), wound up taking it to a shop. the belt turned out to be fine, but the tensioner fell off, or mostly so. he said there was a bolt left or something.

cost: $241. that sound fair? this morning (it was about 45 degrees) the belt squealed a second at start up, i may take it to the shop for them to do a cold start so they can see themselves.
It was probably just the bearing came apart and the pulley fell out. Should have just been a pulley replacement. Both the idler and tensioner pulleys are the same part number. The tensioner bracket/tensioner would have had to break the spring.
 

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Fresh Out of Outbacks!
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14,499 Posts
If a tensioner broke and left a chunk behind I could see that taking a couple of hours to deal with. Does not sound like an unreasonable retail price to pay for the work involved.

I would not be too concerned with a quick squeak or two as the new belt will need a little time to stretch and settle, but keep your eye on this as it should not continue past the first few drive cycles.

There is the possibility that the broken tensioner & belt wear were just consequences of something else gone wrong. If one of the accessories or idler pulleys is having a problem, it could be putting too much drag on the rest of the system and causing this premature wear.
 

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2005 3.0R VDC Limited Wagon
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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
it's interesting: the guy i spoke to on the phone said, in effect, "the tensioner broke off, we had to replace that. the belt was good and we re-used it." he's one of the owners, and a mechanic himself i think.

the invoice said: a/c compressor drive belt tensioner/idler - r,r, l.l. bean edition, r vdc limited h6. that was $152.20, plus $90 labor. they are good guys, have done a lot of work on our other family cars. i feel a little guilt in taking some of the cars to the work-from-home guy.
 

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Car: 2008 Tribeca, 2010 LGT, Sold: 2005 XT Limited
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This is a common issue for the H6 of that vintage.
 

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Onyx, 2008 LL Bean 3.0R and 2017 Honda Civic Hatchback Sport Touring
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cost: $241. that sound fair?
That sounds about right. Or you could do what I do sometimes as an amateur shade tree mechanic: Bust up your knuckles, go back to get the correct part, buy a new tool you are only going to use a few times, screw up the job after wasting a weekend, and then pay someone else a bit more than it would have costs for them to fix the problem you made worse instead of just letting them do their job in the first place. lol It rarely happens, but I have two other cars to drive while my Subie "heals."
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
i have a desire to learn some basic car repair skills, but don't have much of a foundation of knowledge in it. some of the "easy" things people talk about here, when i read the description, i get totally lost. plus, no good place to work (no garage, driveway in on a slope), some scattered tools (never seems to be the right one). i need to take a class at tech or something, but never sign up.
 
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