Question about 1999 Pontiac Grand Am GT

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V groove pulley slipped off of harmonic balancer of 1999 Grand Am

While driving my car I heard a strange noise from under the hood. I noticed the battery light came on and started to overheat quickly. After checking under the hood I noticed the serpentine belt was very loose. So loose that nothing was turning-- alternator, water pump, power steering pump. As I was replacing the belt I noticed the harmonic balancer didn't have any grooves on the pulley for the belt to ride. I found the pulley laying under the engine on part of the frame. Is this pulley made to slip easily over the harmonic and if so, why did it come off while driving the car? If I slip it back on, will it come off again? Would I have to replace the whole harmonic balancer? Thanks, Mike

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After checking around, I decided to replace the harmonic balancer. I had a repair shop fix it for me and I think they over charged for the part. But, at least I'm on the road again. This Grand Am has 227,000 miles and still runs pretty good. 

Posted on Jan 17, 2009

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You have to replace the whole balancer

Posted on Jan 15, 2009

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1 Answer

My car makes a loud squealing sound when i start it


Mary,

This type of problem is best checked by a trusted mechanic. I doubt you'd hear squealing noises from the crankshaft or harmonic balancer; but it is likely to be heard from a belt tensioner pulley, water pump (or other belt-driven devices under the hood - such as the alternator, power steering pump, etc.). A loose or slipping belt can also cause this noise.

Spraying WD-40 on the source of the squeal may quiet the sound - but not solve the problem that is causing it. By simply masking the problem with WD-40 instead of fixing it - you run the risk of the squealing part failing catastrophically - probably at the least desirable place and time.

For your own safety and convenience, have this problem checked and repaired properly.

Good luck!

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The balancer is bad, or it has come loose. There is a little metal wedge piece called a woodruff key that holds the balancer in place, and then the crankshaft center bolt keeps the balancer on tight.
There should be no wobble or movement at all of the harmonic balancer. Take it off, it may still be alright, but find out why the pulley moves on the crankshaft. Maybe the key is missing. This should not be an expensive repair-it's not a problem with the motor, just that balancer pulley.

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Not all of them have a woodruff key, but yours may still be on the crankshaft if you had one. At one time, someone had that pulley off and did not tighten the bolt tight enough-they need to be very tight according to specs, over 100 ft. lbs. of torque when tightening.
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A little risky. If it comes apart on the trip you will need a tow. Yes, the harmonic balancer does occasionally break, and require replacement. It shouldn't take a shop very long to replace it. Just the belt is removed, the crankshaft pullley bolt is removed, and the old pulley pulled off, and a new one put on. I wouldn't chance it for 700 miles, but...it's up to you. Good luck.

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