So for about as long as I can remember, the car would squeal on startup. This being my first car, and I didn't know much at the time, I had always just assumed it was some metal-on-metal grinding that happened when the car was started until the oil could get flowing to lubricate it, which didn't seem too far-fetched because of the minor oil leak from before I even bought the car. However, a few weeks ago I took it to the shop to get them to straight-pipe the converter for me (yes I know it's illegal, but I had basically been running open headers for a few weeks already and this was the fifth day since the owner opened the shop, plus I had been his fourth customer, not to mention he used to be a Fiero guy, too, so he looked the other way) and basically my dad had apparently told them to do whatever I said to the car and bill him later. Up until then the squealing had been getting really loud and long, and sounded very bad. So I told them about the oil leak and about the squealing and they said they would look into it. When I got the car back, they told me that the oil leak had covered the entire underside of the engine with old oil (I had already known this, and yeah it's really really bad, almost as though it had never been cleaned in 30 years) so they couldn't determine where the leak was coming from. However, he did say that the squealing was from the belt slipping, which made sense in hindsight, and that it was slipping because oil had somehow been dripping on the belt/pulleys and had coated them in oil. I believed him, until it was warm enough to check the belt myself today, and I found that when I ran my fingers along both sides of the belt they came away reasonably clean, and the pulleys were nice and shiny clean too. I checked the tension, and it's normal. I don't think the oil is getting on it, but would this still be a possible cause? If not, I can safely say it's probably just an old belt, and need to replace it (actually I will have to replace it either way of course). I've looked around, but can't seem to find a belt for the 2.8 by itself. I've heard about the other tensioners that are recommended to buy with the belt, but I don't have the money. Where can I get just a belt by itself? It will probably last through the winter as-is, but the sooner the better...
I would be more worried about the oil leak. If it's as bad as you say, you could lose a dangerous amount of oil and damage your engine. Get a couple cans of Engine Brite...maybe the heavy gel kind...and clean off all of the old oil. Get it in all the nooks and crannies, and maybe go to the DIY car wash and do it there so you can hose off the underside. Once everything is clean and dry, park over an old white sheet or something and check on it later and look for oil on the sheet and where it's located. That will help you determine the location of the leak. And make sure you check your oil frequently and keep it topped up!
Thanks for the advice. I check the oil every week and, yes, the engine is burning oil, at least on startup. I can smell it. I'm trying to find somewhere to clean it off so mom doesn't kill me for getting oil all over her garage floor haha. But that's a good idea to go to the carwash, thanks!
And that explains the squeaking while driving, but the squealing on startup is DEFINITELY not normal. It's deafeningly loud and high pitched, and goes away after a few seconds.
Yes, that does sound abnormal. Back to the oil, I have a leaking rear main seal (why oh why didn't I change it when I had the engine out?!), and I use Lucas oil stabilizer...not stop leak...which slows it down significantly.
Hmm I'll give it a shot. At least it'll save me some money on refilling the oil. But yeah I'm afraid that it might be something wrong with a valve somewhere, probably in the back three cylinders, because over the summer l heard a loose rattling sound and it was suggested that it's most likely a loose valve. If that is where the leak is I might as well shoot myself since I only bought the car for 200 and that'll be really expensive...
Haha yeah you would think. But I actually bought it from my friend's dad, who was selling it only because he ran out of space in his driveway, not because the car was bad. He kept amazing care of it since he bought it in 87, and so it's in amazing condition for being about 97% stock. Anyway it's not really a problem anymore cuz I can't hear it, it had only made itself known when i let the oil get too low. But my dad has voluntarily put in over 2 grand for an entirely new brake system, and for the things I said above.
Anyway back to the original question. I plan on asking for a new belt for Christmas as the rest of my gift after my letterman jacket, but I don't know what to tell them to get?
A new belt is not expensive. You need to remove the belt, check the alternator lower bracket to make sure it isn't cracked, as it will cause problems in keeping the belt tight. Clean off the oil with a rag and some brake cleaner. Check the pulleys, re-install the belt and tension is properly. I had a belt that squealed on startup.... I replaced it and the squealing stopped. You could also have a bad alternator that is placing too much drag on the belt when it is starting up (doubt that, but possible).
Anyway. you need to get under there and check out the situation, clean it up and get a new belt.
Things that often leak oil: oil pressure sender, valve covers, distributor shaft o-ring. The valve covers should be tightened to about 8 ft-lbs. The oil pressure sender can be upgraded to the '88 version, see Ogre's cave. The best time to do the distributor o-ring is when you do a tune-up.
Belt squeal is pretty common. I've noticed that when mine is squealing the alternator is not charging. I don't know why it wouldn't, but I'm thinking at that point it's not even turning. You can upgrade the alternator, also see Ogre's cave. TFS sells a stronger alternator bracket.
Dad is smart to pay for the brake job.
It would be a good idea to take the rear wheel liners off and look for rust.
I agree with the above. The common oil leaks are distributor, rear main, oil sender and I'll add I had a front seal that leaked fairly bad. Look down in front of the dist. and see if there is a puddle of oil. Even putting a new o-ring on the dist. it started leaking again within a year. I added a thin gasket under the dist. which has eliminated the leak. Replacing the front seal with a kit that also included the repair sleeve for the harmonic balance surface fixed the front seal leak. Just info for the future. Be careful over tightening the bottom alt. bolt as that is what breaks the alt. bracket.
[This message has been edited by Dodgerunner (edited 11-26-2014).]