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96 Jeep Cherokee
04-15-2013, 12:10 PM
Post: #1
96 Jeep Cherokee
I have a '96 Jeep Cherokee with a 4.0 I6 engine. It has developed noise in a pulley or idler on one or more of the bolt on engine parts, i.e. water pump, power steering unit, tensioning idler, AC compressor, etc. How can I find which part the noise is coming from? Or is there one more probable cause and start with replacing that? Thanks for you help and suggestions.

Rich
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04-15-2013, 06:30 PM
Post: #2
RE: 96 Jeep Cherokee
Hi Rich,

This is how I would try to find it. Make sure the engine is off, keys out of the ignition & the engine cool enough that you don’t get burnt.

Check your power steering fluid level. Low PS fluid will cause pump noise.

If the PS fluid is OK make sure you can see the front of the engine and grab the fan by a blade in each hand. Try to move the fan up and down while feeling for play and watching the pulley. If it wiggles around the water pump is going out.

If the water pump is tight get a can of penetrating oil and oil the tensioner pulley bearing. Just try to get a little oil in close to the bolt so some can get into the bearing. All you’re looking for here is a change in the noise. Start the engine and see if the noise got quieter. If it did you probably need to replace that bearing.

If neither of those two seem to be the problem, shut the engine off, locate the Idler pulley & do the oil thing as above.

I’m guessing that one of those will be the problem. If not, let us know & we will give you more options. If it was, please let us know that too as it could help someone else.

Thanks for using the forum,
Garner

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04-15-2013, 09:50 PM (This post was last modified: 04-15-2013 10:06 PM by rsnopko.)
Post: #3
RE: 96 Jeep Cherokee
(04-15-2013 06:30 PM)Garner Wrote:  Hi Rich,

This is how I would try to find it. Make sure the engine is off, keys out of the ignition & the engine cool enough that you don’t get burnt.

Check your power steering fluid level. Low PS fluid will cause pump noise.

If the PS fluid is OK make sure you can see the front of the engine and grab the fan by a blade in each hand. Try to move the fan up and down while feeling for play and watching the pulley. If it wiggles around the water pump is going out.

If the water pump is tight get a can of penetrating oil and oil the tensioner pulley bearing. Just try to get a little oil in close to the bolt so some can get into the bearing. All you’re looking for here is a change in the noise. Start the engine and see if the noise got quieter. If it did you probably need to replace that bearing.

If neither of those two seem to be the problem, shut the engine off, locate the Idler pulley & do the oil thing as above.

I’m guessing that one of those will be the problem. If not, let us know & we will give you more options. If it was, please let us know that too as it could help someone else.

Hi Garner:
Thank you for the quick reply. I really appreciate the help.
I have already tried trickling some 30 weight oil down into the tensioner idler pulley bearing and it didn't seem to make any difference in sound.
Regarding your suggestion to try to rock the fan shaft pulley, the water pump on this model is on a separate pulley than the fan. Maybe there is a way to try to rock the water pump pulley/shaft even if it requires taking all the the tension out of the serpentine belt, then trying to rock the water pump shaft? if the power steering pump is full of fluid, do you feel that the water pump is the likely culprit? It was replaced along with the belt at about 80K miles, and there is now about 105K miles on the Jeep. After replacing the belt, there was a problem with slippage and squealing several times which was finally stopped by increasingly tightening the tension. Maybe it was too tight and caused a bearing on the water pump or other bolt on part to wear out??
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04-16-2013, 12:02 AM
Post: #4
RE: 96 Jeep Cherokee
Belt tension is a tricky subject for most people so I will give you a rule of thumb. If it's "self tensioning" (spring loaded pulley) then all you have to work with is a tired belt, worn tensioner, or serious contamination. (oil leak, etc on the belt) If the belt needs your personal attention for adjustment then find the longest free run, grab it between 3 fingers, and twist. If you can go more than 90 degrees you need to tighten it. If you can't go 90 degrees it's already too tight and will wear things out.

That said, if you hear a noise the best way to to track it down is to cycle the AC off and on and run the engine. If it changes substantially you have to look closer at the AC clutch / pulley. Most often this is not the case so just remove the belt and spin each pulley by hand. Any pulley that makes any noise is suspect. They are cheap in the aftermarket so best to do them all if any have an issue.

Next suggestion (at any mileage) is to buy a quality belt for replacement while it's off. I run a small fleet and use nothing but Good Year belts. They will last at least 50k miles and I NEVER have a problem second guessing belt noise. They run about $10 more than Gates or others for a serpentine belt.

BTW, a PS pump noise will vary with turning the wheel so that should be easy to confirm or eliminate while everything is still together.
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06-10-2013, 09:10 PM (This post was last modified: 06-10-2013 09:14 PM by rsnopko.)
Post: #5
RE: 96 Jeep Cherokee
(04-16-2013 12:02 AM)Rupe Wrote:  Belt tension is a tricky subject for most people so I will give you a rule of thumb. If it's "self tensioning" (spring loaded pulley) then all you have to work with is a tired belt, worn tensioner, or serious contamination. (oil leak, etc on the belt) If the belt needs your personal attention for adjustment then find the longest free run, grab it between 3 fingers, and twist. If you can go more than 90 degrees you need to tighten it. If you can't go 90 degrees it's already too tight and will wear things out.

That said, if you hear a noise the best way to to track it down is to cycle the AC off and on and run the engine. If it changes substantially you have to look closer at the AC clutch / pulley. Most often this is not the case so just remove the belt and spin each pulley by hand. Any pulley that makes any noise is suspect. They are cheap in the aftermarket so best to do them all if any have an issue.

Next suggestion (at any mileage) is to buy a quality belt for replacement while it's off. I run a small fleet and use nothing but Good Year belts. They will last at least 50k miles and I NEVER have a problem second guessing belt noise. They run about $10 more than Gates or others for a serpentine belt.

BTW, a PS pump noise will vary with turning the wheel so that should be easy to confirm or eliminate while everything is still together.

Thanks to everyone who posted suggested solutions. The noise turned out to be caused by the water pump. I never saw a water pump fail without leaking as a symptom.
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06-10-2013, 09:52 PM
Post: #6
RE: 96 Jeep Cherokee
Thanks for the follow up with your solution. It may help someone else reading these pages.

As a side note, yes those "stand alone" water pumps can make noise and have a bad bearing long before they have play in the shaft or start leaking. This is another reason to remove the belt and spin things by hand as part of the diagnosis.
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