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Old 11-28-2012, 11:05 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Accessories Belt

So my car ('04 Forester X) is doing some squealing on start up, and from what I can tell (also does it when the AC turns on, and when I make a hard turn right after starting the car which means power steering to me) its the accessory belt. I'm looking at replacing it, and I have a few questions:

1. Does my diagnosis sound right?

2. Is the replacement difficult(I'm relativley mechanically inclined, but I'm no mechanic, and I only have pretty basic tools), or is it worth it for me to send it in somewhere.

3. About how much would a new belt run me, and where is a good place online to find parts?

Thanks in advance for any help.
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Old 11-28-2012, 12:03 PM   #2 (permalink)
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I see this is your first forum post, so welcome to the forum from Oregon!

If the belt is squealing when you turn & when you switch on the AC, I'm going to guess you might have 2 belts issues, but I'd suggest stating with the power steering/alternator belt first. The AC compressor has its own belt.

It's possible that the belt just needs to be tightened, but if it's been allowed to slip too long, it may be glazed & need to be replaced.

This DIY thread should get you started. DIY Accessory Belt Adjustment

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Old 11-28-2012, 01:27 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I'd replace the belts on an 04 unless you know they had previously benn changed. Pretty easy job.
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Old 11-28-2012, 03:26 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Not sure of your location but much nicer job if you have a heated place to work.
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Old 11-28-2012, 04:55 PM   #5 (permalink)
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even if you don't buy belts from subaru it would pay to check and see what the exact mm measurement is supposed to be.

aftermarket parts places seem to consolidate belt sizes, so they can sometimes give you one too big or small if you don't know what the "design" measurement is to compare it too.

right now i think i have gates top cog drivebelts from advance. the a/c belt is tight and a little hard to get on, especially the first time. the last one i had (maybe goodyear gator from Autozone?) was looser and nearly ran out the pulley adjustment getting it tight enough.

edit 2: the a/c tensioner pulley is relatively cheap and not hard to replace, so you might consider doing it too if it seems rough or loose or you have a lot of miles on the car.

edit:
also consider doing power steering "flush" by sucking out old fluid with baster or large syringe, driving/turning, and repeating process a few times. mine was noisy when i first got it and i replaced my fluid and put maybe 35,000 - 40,000 miles on it now with no more noise. i think someone had put "power steering" fluid in it instead of red Dexron ATF fluid like you're supposed to.
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