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2010 Outback 2.5i CVT Premium - Black
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
For the past several months my 2010 OB 2.5 has had a squealing belt-like noise that is very irritating but apparently not affecting anything. Kind of a squeal/rapid chirp. It happens especially when cold, still in Park, no AC running, but continues intermittently after warming up. Had the serpentine belt replaced, and it happened immediately upon starting again. Definitely coming from the front end, and it has to be something close to the engine. Could an exhaust leak around the manifold be mistaken for a belt squeal? IDK.

If it was a bearing you would think it would have burned up by now, plus there is no smoke, no smell, nothing but the noise. When driving, it does seem to happen more when accelerating or straining the engine a little.

Any guesses would be appreciated.
 

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2012 limited, white, no moonroof or nav
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1,698 Posts
What you describe is the squeal from a slipping belt. Since you had that replaced, it could be a defective tensioner that is not keeping the belt tight enough. Go back where you had the belt changed, ask them to check out the tensioner. Good luck.
 

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2011 OB 2.5i Prem CVT HK/AWP, Ruby Red Pearl
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3,321 Posts
Who replaced the belt?<O:p</O:p
Belts in itself don’t’ squeal unless you have mega miles on it, but do as a result/symptom of an offending pulley/acc. Seems to me they replaced what, but not why.
Check the PS pump, it’s been reported/suspected to be coming from when cold. Ours does not squeal, however.
 

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(formerly) 03 H6 OBW , (presently) 06 WRX Sportwagon & 2021 Honda CR-V
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if it wasn't doing it before, why didn't you complain after the new belt was installed?

was ANY other work done at the same time?
 

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Onyx, 2008 LL Bean 3.0R and 2017 Honda Civic Hatchback Sport Touring
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The belt needs more tension. DO NOT use belt dressing on it!
 

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There has been a few cases of a loose heat shield which will make more of a clatter racket for sure not a belt sound which is pretty **** easy to spot.
 

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Onyx, 2008 LL Bean 3.0R and 2017 Honda Civic Hatchback Sport Touring
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It's the power steering pump.
Wow, mine didn't go until 150K miles, and that was just the pulley. Bhan Subie, get a second opinion before you run out and get a new PS pump. Maybe NickH was pulling our leg.

Tightening the pulley for the serpentine belt will be an easier and cheaper first step.
 

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2011 Outback and Legacy 2.5i Premium w/ All Weather Package
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152 Posts
Wow, mine didn't go until 150K miles, and that was just the pulley. Bhan Subie, get a second opinion before you run out and get a new PS pump. Maybe NickH was pulling our leg.

Tightening the pulley for the serpentine belt will be an easier and cheaper first step.
No joke. The power steering pump screams for help in the cold on these vehicles... especially if the vehicle is left outside when cold. Even the owners manual says not to be concerned if it makes a noise when cold.

Nick
 

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2005 3.0 R n totaled
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7,526 Posts
There is a spray available at any auto parts store that will condition and restore old serpentine belts...after application they "stick" to the pulleys.... it's a standard issue in my garage for older cars and my teen's cars...it's a white liquid in spray can, looks like milk....
 

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2013 Outback 3.6L Limited with EyeSight
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Have your shop do the job right and tighten up the new belt, which stretches a little during break-in.
 

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2017 2.5 Touring
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1,412 Posts
The problem with belt dressings is that they're temporary solutions. They just cover up a problem, rather than solve it. Most belt dressings contain either a lubricant of some kind, to allow the belt to slip more, or a tacking agent, to allow the belt to grip more. The problem is that these agents -- and the solvents that are used as spray-can propellants -- can cause modern belts to swell and delaminate. Belts are made of several layers of rubber, and when they delaminate, these layers come apart and the belt fails. In most cases, when a belt is making noise, it's because it needs to be tightened or needs to be replaced. Belt noise also can be caused by a bad belt tensioner or a misaligned pulley. But belt dressing isn't going to address any of those problems in the long term. Don't know of any maker of serpentine belts that approves of belt dressing for its products. And it's a short-term band-aid at best.
 

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2005 3.0 R n totaled
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The problem with belt dressings is that they're temporary solutions. They just cover up a problem, rather than solve it. Most belt dressings contain either a lubricant of some kind, to allow the belt to slip more, or a tacking agent, to allow the belt to grip more. The problem is that these agents -- and the solvents that are used as spray-can propellants -- can cause modern belts to swell and delaminate. Belts are made of several layers of rubber, and when they delaminate, these layers come apart and the belt fails. In most cases, when a belt is making noise, it's because it needs to be tightened or needs to be replaced. Belt noise also can be caused by a bad belt tensioner or a misaligned pulley. But belt dressing isn't going to address any of those problems in the long term. Don't know of any maker of serpentine belts that approves of belt dressing for its products. And it's a short-term band-aid at best.
Good point! I use it only on old and cheap cars...it's a quick fix for people on low income or no income (like my kids...)
 

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2010 Outback 2.5i CVT Premium - Black
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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Let me clarify - it makes the same noise it made before the belt was changed. I'll check the tension on the belt. I doubt its the PS pump, based on the comments here. Its usually between 50 and 80 degrees in my garage where its kept, and the squeal doesn't seem to be affected by the ambient temp. When I mentioned "cold", I meant just after cranking it up, not the temp outside. I should have been more clear on that.

It wasn't checked right away because I just dropped by and picked up the key, then went back later to get the car (had a rental QX56 - nice!). He only charged $35 to replace it and I wanted it replaced anyway. Had the oil changed and tires rotated/balanced too - nothing else.
 

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(formerly) 03 H6 OBW , (presently) 06 WRX Sportwagon & 2021 Honda CR-V
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open the power steering tank and look for bubbles or foam. If present, there may be a leak on the suction-side of the pump or a bad seal in the pump.

Could you carefully use a length of hose to your ear and move the other end around the engine compartment to further locate the area that is noisy?
 

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I just bought an 02 Subrau Outback Wagon that has 85K on it. It was really cold this AM, -8 and when i started it it squealed quite a bit and then when idling right down the road I noticed it was smoking. Did it again when I got to my sons daycare. I turned it off when I was inside and when I restarted it there was no noise and it wasnt smoking when i got to work.
 

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I see Subaru has campaigned replacing belt on squealing cars. Only thing have to return to dealer to have adjusted( tighten) new belt after few thousand miles.
 
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