sepentine belt squealing jeep stalling

Karen Bak

Asked by Feb 22, 2014 at 07:42 PM about the 1997 Jeep Grand Cherokee Laredo 4WD

Question type: Maintenance & Repair

I had a water pump/hoses/thermostat and gasket replaced.  Done by my son,because I
got laid off.  He tightened the serpentine belt after it started squealing.  Squealing
continued.  I sprayed belt conditioner on the belt (which was replaced last year).  He told
me to drive it and it should stop.  It got worse.  I was losing power then sputtering, then
would die out at a stop.  Could the problems be related to bent fan fin. I do believe I need
a new, front O2 sensor.  Could this be adding to the recent problem.  I cannot drive the
vehicle.  Please help with an answer.  Thank you.

5 Answers


The belt squealing could be due to improper installation or an idler/tensioner pulley going bad. Need to find out exactly where it is squealing. A hard vacuum cleaner hose or PVC pipe can be used to isolate the exact area of the squeal. Hold one end to your ear as you carefully position the other end in and around the belt and pulleys. When you get close to the actual problem the sound will be much louder in your ear. Use caution not to get the pipe or your hands caught in the belt.

3 out of 3 people think this is helpful.
Karen Bak

Thank you!

Gilbert D'andrea

remove the belt and spin all your pulleys by hand,make sure they turn smoothly,,,alt,ps idler pulley etc.


Good advice from Gilbert. Could be as simple as the bearings on the tensioner are going out, a relatively cheap fix. And I've always heard that using belt conditioners actually cause faster wear on the belt (not sure if that is actually true). And it the tension pulley automatic or mechanical? On my 1998 JGC 5.9 limited the tensioner is a automatic (spring) tensioner. I use a 15mm (if memory serves me) socket wrench, put it on the nut, push down and it relieves the tension on the belt so I can remover the belt. Also did your son put the belt back in the right configuration? There is normally a diagram somewhere near the fan shroud showing the proper way.


Also is your battery dying? If so an easy way to tell if it is your battery, take it to any auto part store and they will check your battery for free. If your battery is good the way to check to see if it is your alternator is good as well is start the vehicle then remove the positive battery cable. If your alternator is good it will continue to power the engine and it won't stop running. If it starts sputtering then your alternator could be starting to wear out.

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