All Big Six 88 econoline 6 cyl belt squeal issues.

Relates to all big sixes

philford

Well-known member
Ive been trying to stop my serpentine belt from squealing.

I have treplaced the belt several times.
I replaced the tensioner a couple of times.
replaced the alternator.
I tried the shorter belt and eliminated the air conditioing pump and wrapped the belt as descrbed on the hood label.
I replaced the idler.
I tried belt dressing it worked a little , tried cleanifn the pulleys and whatnot a biunch of times.

the only related part that I have not replaced was the crankshaft pulley and it's probably expensive, do the grooves wear out?

the problem is when I start it , the thing starts squealing and it will stop squealing and be ok after 5 mins but I can;t seem to actually solve the issue;.

I again replaced the belt and tensioner and Im hoping that has done it but my past experiences with this issue have not been good. ill find out when I do get it started.


one thing I tried was to use washers to lock the tension on instead of relying on the tensioner spring. that worked a little but not too long so I put it back to original.
the idea there was that maybe I could force more tension on and lock it like that permanenetly.

the belt is near the oil filler so I wondered if it was perhaps dripping oil and contaminating the belt. I also had issues with the brake proportioning valve which is near there. it was loosing fluid until I replaced that thing . its screws into the master cylinder where the line connects. I dont think the engine is worn enough to be blowing back through the cap but I have seen other vehicles ( volvos ) of that age they can have a problem where the flame trap plugs up and that can increase crankcase pressure. does this ford have a flame trap that might plug up?

I replaced the EGR valve. that did seem to help it run better.



How do others deal with this issue of squealing belts? I imagine it must be even worse for the ones who do performance upgrades. are there aftermarket parts that improve the design?

I believe i have the 300 , it is a big inline 6 , runs beautifully otherwise. 1988 ford econoline. It probably is similar to the E150 although mine has no E150 tags.

can I keep it reliable and keep the primitive type of fuel injection? Im not concerned about power just want it to be reliable. I sometimes wonder if switching to some sort of carb would actually help by eliminating some of the mysteries that go with the early computers but maybe they aren't too bad? Its over 30 years old and people are actually starting to admire it.. I like the simplicity. I think it just has one injector and a manifold which is weird most FI cars have an injector for each cylinder.

It looks a bit like a refrigerator and with the raised roof too. I got a hold of a tag from a refrigerator that says "frost free" so I have been meaning to put that on the back door so if people pull up behind they can ave a chuckle at it.

I got the original low back seats. they were uncomfortable so I put in captains seats from the back of a delica. now I have lap belts and also the original seat belts. I got stopped by the cops for not wearing it and was able to buckle my lap belt discreetly and evade the fine. i surprised him when he said he stopped me for not wearing it and I said but I do have a seatbelt on and opened the door so he could see..


I wear the original seatbelt on the highway but I was just putting along between stores in a little town .. I assume this was the last year ever for low backs and no headrests so they are kind of neat, but not very comfortable. I've never been able to get the original belt to lock . I think the spool thing is frozen up but it can only unspool so far and then it's all the way out. I cannot make it lock by yanking the belt and stepping on the brakes at the same time even on a downhill slope makes no difference.

Im cureently having a no start no spark issue so I posted separately on that .

Phil
 

Big six Farmer

Well-known member
The 4.9/300 six in your Econoline has proven it self as one of the most reliable engines ever made, and your lucky to have it under the hood. Keep it just like it is, and it will serve you well... I am currently suffering with a little belt noise on my 90 F150, ( same engine and belt drive ). I have not got too serious with that yet. I have seen belt noise issues just from cheap belts. I try and always use Gates belts when i can, they perform better than most... I have seen belt issues on others. I had a Jeep one time that had a lot of issues with its belt. It had its front Crankshaft pulley moving out of aline, the rubber was going bad. It also had a front crankshaft seal leaking. They both got fixed at the same time, so i really cant say which was the cause.
 

BigBlue94

Famous Member
Supporter 2021
Supporter 2019
If it has 5 lug wheels, its an E150. 8 lugs is E250 or E350. VIN will tell you for sure. Should have E×× as digits 5-7. E1× means E150, E2× is a 250 and so on. It could also be classified as a Club Wagon, depending on options.

Lowback buckets went through 91. That generation of van ran from 75 through 91. They are getting hard to find in the junkyards, usually always the EFI models. Ive actually come across one with a manual 4speed from the factory behind a 300.

If the EFI is still factory, it has a twin throttle body feeding air to the plenum. There is an injector in each intake runner, near where it enters the head. Your engine is basically the same as found in the 87-96 F-series. Emissions equipment is the biggest differences between years. When in good condition, it has nearly the same power as the V8 options. Torque may be higher than the 302.

Seatbelts have a small pendulum mechanism in the reel mech that locks the belt if on a steep incline or in any instance of extreme acceleration (usually negative acceleration when braking). It is tough to unreel one once removed from the vehicle, unless its perfectly level.

Cant really help with the belt squeal, as you've already tried all my suggestions.

Its a high top? Conversion van style or handicap style? Post a couple pics!
 

63 Sprint

Well-known member
Supporter 2021
Ive been trying to stop my serpentine belt from squealing.

I have treplaced the belt several times.
I replaced the tensioner a couple of times.
replaced the alternator.
I tried the shorter belt and eliminated the air conditioing pump and wrapped the belt as descrbed on the hood label.
I replaced the idler.
I tried belt dressing it worked a little , tried cleanifn the pulleys and whatnot a biunch of times.

the only related part that I have not replaced was the crankshaft pulley and it's probably expensive, do the grooves wear out?

the problem is when I start it , the thing starts squealing and it will stop squealing and be ok after 5 mins but I can;t seem to actually solve the issue;.

I again replaced the belt and tensioner and Im hoping that has done it but my past experiences with this issue have not been good. ill find out when I do get it started.


one thing I tried was to use washers to lock the tension on instead of relying on the tensioner spring. that worked a little but not too long so I put it back to original.
the idea there was that maybe I could force more tension on and lock it like that permanenetly.

the belt is near the oil filler so I wondered if it was perhaps dripping oil and contaminating the belt. I also had issues with the brake proportioning valve which is near there. it was loosing fluid until I replaced that thing . its screws into the master cylinder where the line connects. I dont think the engine is worn enough to be blowing back through the cap but I have seen other vehicles ( volvos ) of that age they can have a problem where the flame trap plugs up and that can increase crankcase pressure. does this ford have a flame trap that might plug up?

I replaced the EGR valve. that did seem to help it run better.



How do others deal with this issue of squealing belts? I imagine it must be even worse for the ones who do performance upgrades. are there aftermarket parts that improve the design?

I believe i have the 300 , it is a big inline 6 , runs beautifully otherwise. 1988 ford econoline. It probably is similar to the E150 although mine has no E150 tags.

can I keep it reliable and keep the primitive type of fuel injection? Im not concerned about power just want it to be reliable. I sometimes wonder if switching to some sort of carb would actually help by eliminating some of the mysteries that go with the early computers but maybe they aren't too bad? Its over 30 years old and people are actually starting to admire it.. I like the simplicity. I think it just has one injector and a manifold which is weird most FI cars have an injector for each cylinder.

It looks a bit like a refrigerator and with the raised roof too. I got a hold of a tag from a refrigerator that says "frost free" so I have been meaning to put that on the back door so if people pull up behind they can ave a chuckle at it.

I got the original low back seats. they were uncomfortable so I put in captains seats from the back of a delica. now I have lap belts and also the original seat belts. I got stopped by the cops for not wearing it and was able to buckle my lap belt discreetly and evade the fine. i surprised him when he said he stopped me for not wearing it and I said but I do have a seatbelt on and opened the door so he could see..


I wear the original seatbelt on the highway but I was just putting along between stores in a little town .. I assume this was the last year ever for low backs and no headrests so they are kind of neat, but not very comfortable. I've never been able to get the original belt to lock . I think the spool thing is frozen up but it can only unspool so far and then it's all the way out. I cannot make it lock by yanking the belt and stepping on the brakes at the same time even on a downhill slope makes no difference.

Im cureently having a no start no spark issue so I posted separately on that .

Phil
Phil, some questions about the alternator, what size. Amp Rating, has it been upgraded to a third generation? And, what condition is the battery? If the battery is weak it could be putting a good load on the alternator. My 89 F150 has been upgraded with a third generation 130 Amp alternator. A world of difference but on startup, the belt squeals for about 3 seconds and than goes away. The fix for the third generation 130 Amp alternator is replace the voltage regulator with one that has soft start capability.
 

philford

Well-known member
thanks for the help
here are a couple pics.
I did replace the alternator but unsure of amperage.
it was converted when new with back seat that folds to bed added windows
spare tire bracket on back door and raised roof
otherwise its empty. No panels or insulation.
likely it has the larger alternator to support the requirements of the lift.
Ive seen others with similar wheelchair conversions.

5 lug wheels. id like to find a hubcap. one got lost.

i always thought the top looks so much like a boat it could have unlatched and that would be a cool feature.

yesterday i found a surplus bosch OBD 1015 reader for 20 bucks.

the lift is stuck on an electrical issue for now. its a pain to get stuff inside. i can remove it or maybe move it to the rear doors. want to make a video of it working first.

if i can delay charging it would help the belt.

its not so bad for rust. some in sliding door at bottom.
 

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philford

Well-known member
belt is new, so is tensioner. i sprayed the pulleys with brake parts cleaner. bit of a dust track on belt in photo.
i noted the raised parts are wider grooves are narrower on new belt
but it had sqealed a lot.
tried the gates greenback before. it didnt seem to do better.
with that type.
maybe some have deeper grooves.

the oil filler location is right above the belt. i think if i spill even one drop it'll cause issue so being careful. brake master is also nearby.
 

BigBlue94

Famous Member
Supporter 2021
Supporter 2019
The 3G alternator of 130A or more will benefit you. But generally not the belt, unless you get one with a soft start feature
 

guhfluh

Famous Member
I don't see it mentioned and didn't because it seems like common knowledge, but check the other pulleys after removing the belt. Check that the smog pump is free to spin with no hard spots, slack up and down or bearing wear, and check the water pump as well as the power steering pump.
 

guhfluh

Famous Member
The 3G alternator of 130A or more will benefit you. But generally not the belt, unless you get one with a soft start feature
I have one on my 67 from a junkyard car and run it with double V-belts without an issue. It does seem to have low output at idle, but no issues otherwise. I'm not sure how to tell and didn't know they had different models with soft start.
 

philford

Well-known member
I replaced the waterpump. alternator, tried several different belts, eliminated AC with shorter version. its never working anyway. i dont need AC. tried oem and aftermarket tensioners. its quiet for now with a new belt but it's been an onging issue. just a design weakness. maybe changing to a V or cogged belt would work, or 2 V belts, or two tensioners maybe.

the alignment seems ok. maybe a timed relay could be added external to the alternator to switch charging off for 3 mins or so. I think it eats itself once it starts squealing. I think they have a connection from the voltage regulator.
the regulator might be internal. some older alternators had an external regulator, not sure about ford specifically. if its external that connection could be easier. I don't think the high amp circuit would need to be interrupted.
i think the regulator is probably switcing the windings in and out but im not sure exactly. That might not take a high amp relay.

i could ask at the alternator rebuilder place.
 

sixtseventwo4d

Well-known member
good points here, all of them. If you notice the belt only makes its contact maybe on 1/4 of the diameter of the alt pulley; there's the problem area. The alternator is more on the "push" side of the crank pulley, where much of the deflection is; rather than the "pull" side right after the tensioner.
Most belt tensioners have an indicator pad and a mark that can be referenced when belt service is needed. This mark can also referenced after installing a new belt to determine if it is too long; naturally if the belt is too short you will not be able to get it onto the pulleys.
I believe the belt routing around the water pump and crank pulley changes without a/c; not the direction but the routing.
many times I've been able to fix a belt squeal complaint by referencing these marks to determine if a belt that is too long (marginally) has been installed. Check the fan clutch condition. A heavy duty version can come on really strong right at start up and boy is there some wind noise and belt load!
 

Bronctopia

Active member
In my time with the 4.9s I have noticed warmup chirp or squeal from water pumps on the way out. Usually shuts up when the thermostat opens. Also the rebuilt/replacement tensioners will get noisy during warmup as they age. I've contemplated drilling the tensioners for a grease zerk to increase their life expectancy.
 

BigBlue94

Famous Member
Supporter 2021
Supporter 2019
I have one on my 67 from a junkyard car and run it with double V-belts without an issue. It does seem to have low output at idle, but no issues otherwise. I'm not sure how to tell and didn't know they had different models with soft start.
Im running a 200A on mine with double V-belts. No squeal and tons of power. 14.8v at idle with 3 electric fans and a 500w stereo running.

I do not know which models came with soft start, but it can also be added to a standard 3G.

--pulled this from FTE--
"Anyway, it's a white regulator versus the grey one that comes stock. The soft part number is F4ZU-10316-AC or Motorcraft GR-814 and was supposedly used on '94-'00 Ford Taurus and Mercury Sable."
 
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