SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Business

July 7, 2012

Chirping Ram has owner scratching head

Q: My 2004 Dodge Ram 1500 truck makes a chirping noise from the belts. I thought the belts needed to be changed, so I took it to the dealership and they told me the serpentine belt needed to be changed. Well, a few dollars later, the belts are still making the same noise. I called them back, and they told me it sounds like my tensioner pulley needs to be replaced. How much is this, and should this have been what they looked at first? Does this sound like the possible problem or am I feeding the dealership frenzy? Any ideas you could give me would be greatly helpful.

A:

My first question would be how many miles are on this vehicle? If I estimate it at about 60,000 miles, I would have no doubt that the serpentine belt was cracked and worn. However, you brought your vehicle in for a chirping noise. The belt tensioner assembly does have a given life, and 60,000 is not unreasonable for the failure. It’s a bit disappointing that the dealership did not pick up on this the first time you brought it in. I think it would be fair of the dealership to install the tensioner assembly, which is about $70, for the cost of the part only and waive the labor charge in consideration that they had already charged you once for the labor to diagnose and replace the belt.   

Q: I recently bought and am restoring a 1978 Cadillac Fleetwood Brougham. All was going well until I tried to repair the heater. No heat! The blower motor works fine but will only send cold air out the floor vent no matter what setting I put it on. It has a new thermostat and great circulation to and from the radiator/heater hoses. Any ideas would be appreciated.

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