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Discussion Starter #1
Hey guys -

I recently posted up about my 02 Odyssey's belt squealing. I replaced the belt and the tensioner, the tensioner was definitely bad, and all was well. Nice and quiet again.

That was last week. Today Mr. Squeal is back. Only with the AC on, typically squeals for a second when starting the van and will often do a quick "chirp" squeal when the trans shifts gears.

Looking at the belt, I noticed that it runs fairly straight with the AC off, but when you turn the AC on the belt moves side to side about 2-3mm.

I'm starting to suspect the AC compressor may be dying (van has 143,000 on it) and am wondering if it's worth making the 800 mile one way trip for Thanksgiving this week.

Any input/advice is greatly appreciated!

Dale
 

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Discussion Starter #2
FIGURED IT OUT!

Pep Boys gave me the wrong damn belt. Belt was too loose, looking at it on the van you could get a good 3/4"-1" deflection on the belt.

Took it back, got the RIGHT size from O'Reilly's, ZERO squeal or play in the belt now.

FYI, the belt part number that was too big ended in 60 (I think that's 60 inches?) Right one ended in 58. Don't know if they had it in their computer wrong (very possible) or they just grabbed the wrong one.

Anyhow, VERY relieved. Thanksgiving trip is ready to go now!

Dale
 

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OK, so I THOUGHT i fixed it back in November....

This has been the MOST FRUSTRATING problem. I'm posting this up in hopes that it will help someone else and save you a LOT of money and pain in the ass.

So, I had a belt squeal. Van would squeal whenever it was started, when you turned the AC on, when the AC cycled on and off, and when the transmission shifted gears when the AC was on. Wet weather made it much worse.

Tried -

- New belt
- New Honda OEM belt
- New belt tensioner
- New Honda OEM belt tensioner

No luck. The OEM parts made it better, but it was still a problem.

So, seeing as the Odysseys don't have the world's most reliable AC compressors, I figured that was the issue. Bought a new Denso AC compressor from Amazon.com for $230 or so, since I have Amazon Prime it was free shipping. Had the system discharged and swapped out the compressor (which, BTW, is pretty damn easy to do). Went ahead and put on a NEW Honda OEM belt since the old one had been slipping for months just to hedge my bet.

Start the car, squeal. Dammit. Check a few things, try it a few times, same symptoms.

Well, crap. Must be the alternator then.

Go pick up a parts store alternator. As I'm removing the old one I suddenly notice (after the pivot bolt is loosened) that it's flopping around. Huh?

Pull the engine and coil pack cover, the alternator bracket from the ear of the alternator to the head is broken.

THERE'S YOUR PROBLEM.

I spent about $500 in parts and pain in the ass for a $10 bracket that could be changed in 15 minutes.

It's a cast steel bracket and it was broken in half. That let the alternator pull back towards the engine, reducing the tension on the belt, causing the squeal.

I found some steel flat stock in my garage, got the chop saw and drill, and made a new bracket. I have the Honda OEM part coming, but this will get me down the road. After that, NO squeal or squeak, NONE.

So, if you suddenly have a belt squeal, CHECK THAT FIRST. This does NOT seem to be an uncommon problem, I searched and found a few posts from people having the same problem. Seems like installing too-tight wrong size non-OEM belts can be a contributor. The Honda OEM belt is only $15-20, fits like a glove, and lasts forever, just get that and be done with it.

Dale
 

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Exellent post - thanks Dale! This is the kind of info that could save alot of $$ on a repair.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Well, ANOTHER update.

Driving the car today, heard a funny noise and the lights in the instrument cluster all went on. Uh-oh. Pulled over into a parking lot immediately, shut down, and popped the hood. Saw the alternator sitting all crooked, belt barely on there. Crap.

Got towed back to the house and pulled the alternator. The pivot bolt for the alternator (the 14mm head bolt) had sheared off flush in the block. The temporary bracket I made was bent as well - I don't know if the bracket bent causing it to break, or if it was weakened and sheared by luck, or what.

Anyhow, got a new bolt coming from the Honda dealer, only about $1 for it which is good. The new alternator bracket I ordered from Majestic and it will be here Friday. Since we're down a car, I'm probably going to put the bolt in tomorrow with the fabbed bracket to get back on the road for a day then swap in the right bracket Friday and hope that all works.

Luckily I was able to get the broken bolt out - it was sheared off flush. I ground a slot in it with a Dremel and used a screwdriver, that got it out a bit but the slot quickly wallowed out to where the screw wouldn't grip. Made another slot, got it out a bit, then didn't work. I finally got a Craftsman damaged screw extractor on the drill, using a slow speed, I got it to back out. Once it was out enough to grab the sides I just twisted it out by hand, fortunately the bolt and hole was in good shape, if it was galled or rusted I'd be so screwed.

Bleh. Hopefully there will be an end to this story soon!

Dale
 

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Did you find that you had to crunch the tensioner ALL THE WAY to install a new serpentine belt? It was a pain doing the belt change alone -- I never had this much problem installing a serpentine on any of my cars (mostly Toyota).
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Not sure if I HAD to, but it was much easier to pull the belt tensioner all the way back to install the belt. I put a wrench on the tensioner then doubled up the wrench. When you get it fully to the "loose" position it doesn't take as much force to hold it there, kind of like a compound bow. The belt itself went on quite easily, didn't have much of a fight with that. I like to get the belt on the AC compressor and the alternator, then get under the car, cock back the tensioner, then slide the belt onto the main pulley and ease the tensioner back. It's pretty easy to do that way.

Lord knows I've removed and re-installed that belt enough times now!

Our old Ford Windstar van was a NIGHTMARE to do the belt tension on. You couldn't get a tool on it for nothing, even a specialty serpentine belt tool didn't help. Good thing I only had to do that belt once.

Dale
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Well, I think this ordeal is over with. New alternator bolt, new alternator bracket, van is running fine with NO squeaks or squeals.

I think the fabbed bracket I made might have been the cause of the bolt breaking. Reasoning -

- Bracket was thinner than the stock bracket
- Bracket was bent after it broke, quite possible the belt tension pulled against the bracket and bent it.

With the alternator misaligned and with the belt tension on it that will put a lot of shear force on the alternator pivot bolt. I'm glad that's what broke and not the hole in the block that bolt is screwed in to!

Might be worth looking at your bracket when doing an alternator for signs of cracking or fatigue. If so, that bracket was no joke only $10 from Majestic Honda and it's VERY easy to change out.

BTW, the AC is working better than ever, I think the AC was previously overcharged.

Dale
 
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