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2003 Honda Civic Squealing Noise Making Me C-C-Crazy


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lonnieman
New User

Jul 15, 2021, 8:37 PM

Post #1 of 13 (257 views)
2003 Honda Civic Squealing Noise Making Me C-C-Crazy Sign In

I've looked through some of the previous posts here and have some ideas but I'm hoping I might get some help troubleshooting my specific issue. We have a 2003 Honda Civic 4-Dr EX Sedan 4-Spd AT 1.7L L4 and I've been having a high pitched engine squealing issue that has been making me crazy for like two years. These are my observations: It only happens when the fan is turned on but occurs both when the heat or AC is on. There are times that it goes away if I turn the fan off and then back on again but not always. Originally it seemed worse in the rain but now is nearly constant when the fan is on. I have had ALL the belts (including the timing belt) replaced (some twice) and checked, tightened repeatedly and nothing changes. My mechanic has what amounts to a neighborhood garage but has always been VERY fair with me. That said, he's no Dobbs or dealership either. Normally I buy the parts and he does the work for cheap. One example, he replaced all my belts and my radiator, front lower motor mount and hoses for $350 once I supplied the parts. I'm guessing an easy $1200 worth of work had I brought it to a dealership but he did a great job for way cheaper.

So he's been trying to help me figure out what we need to do here. Today he replaced the belts AGAIN and used belt jelly (or whatever it's called) but the squealing started again within a mile of leaving his shop. So I'm (based on my internet research) guessing it's a pulley or something and he thinks the same but what pulley? I should however say that I had it into a Honda dealership a couple weeks back for an airbag recall and the mechanic thought it was a blower motor bearing. His opinion however was based ONLY on me telling him what the issue was I was having and not hearing it. He checked inventory and saw that they didn't have the part in stock and seemed to lose interest in my concerns there pretty quickly. He did however peak my interest with that opinion but it seems to me that if that was the case it wouldn't sound to clearly be coming from the right side of the engine compartment where all the belts, pulleys, etc... are.

A bit more back story here... I took the car to Meineke last November to get the safety check and emissions done so we could renew our tabs. At that time I also asked them to do an oil change and talked to them about the squealing. They said it was the belts and replaced them but the squeal continued. I brought the car back the next day to ask them about that and the manager said that it was likely the belt needed to be "broken in" and that if I drove the car through the Winter the squeal should be gone in the Spring. Well that didn't happen. This last March I brought the car to Dobbs for new tires and in turn mentioned the squealing belt. The tech recommended replacing the belts but I made him aware that had already been done the previous Fall at Meineke. At that point he said that it had to be the timing belt and gave me a big fat estimate of $850 if I recall. So I decided to have my neighborhood guy do the timing belt instead and it cost me way WAY less than that but the end result was the belt still squeals. So I’m really sour on big chain garages and mechanics but would love to help figure out what’s going to so my neighborhood guy can fix it. Any help appreciated!!



Tom Greenleaf
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
Tom Greenleaf profile image

Jul 16, 2021, 3:29 AM

Post #2 of 13 (245 views)
Re: 2003 Honda Civic Squealing Noise Making Me C-C-Crazy Sign In

Quoting you "> It only happens when the fan is turned on but occurs both when the heat or AC is on. <"
In you post you said it was said, not in person it's likely a blower motor bearing/bushing.
Good guess!
All other noises of parts you replaced would be engine speed related the fan motor for airflow to interior doesn't even require engine to be on.
In there also you mentioned a "belt jelly" - what on earth was that? If to make it sticky or a loose belt work save things like that for a desperate last chance to make it to a shop. All I know of if that's what it was make belts noisy, new, older doesn't really matter.
Your usual tech didn't seem to want this job? Ask why? It may be (I didn't go searching) inside dash, really well burried in junk in now about an 18 year old car with a high chance of things breaking to get to it? Takes a lot of time if that's the case - ask? The blower motor is the guess would also change pitch with fan speed selected making it worse or go away?
That diagnosis without being there in person is still hard to nail but seem highly likely,


T







Hammer Time
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
Hammer Time profile image

Jul 16, 2021, 3:41 AM

Post #3 of 13 (240 views)
Re: 2003 Honda Civic Squealing Noise Making Me C-C-Crazy Sign In

Judging by the symptoms that get worse under increased electrical load, my money would be on the alternator.

Yes, pulleys and belts are known to do that but usually respond to engine temp and not electrical load.



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We offer help in answering questions, clarifying things or giving advice but we are not a substitute for an on-site inspection by a professional.



Tom Greenleaf
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
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Jul 16, 2021, 4:26 AM

Post #4 of 13 (237 views)
Re: 2003 Honda Civic Squealing Noise Making Me C-C-Crazy Sign In

Long read sorry if I missed. Alternator also has a bushing vs bearing (most) tend to be the squealer of two. That's the rear of them.

EASY - it would have to be running and YES electrical loads that matter are blowers, fans, RWDs for a test, powered seats and windows plus headlights (2003) hot and high draw WORKS an alternator hard, some easy to feel (careful) are hot to the touch, T



lonnieman
New User

Jul 16, 2021, 8:34 AM

Post #5 of 13 (228 views)
Re: 2003 Honda Civic Squealing Noise Making Me C-C-Crazy Sign In

Thanks for the help and insight!


Tom Greenleaf
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
Tom Greenleaf profile image

Jul 16, 2021, 8:52 AM

Post #6 of 13 (222 views)
Re: 2003 Honda Civic Squealing Noise Making Me C-C-Crazy Sign In

If you want to zoom in on what item AND it will do it while running. There are stethoscopes that are safer with moving parts or (dangerous, AYOR) with a listing rod be real sure as possible right where it comes from.

It's dangerous if your test hits moving parts made into a projectile MUST stay away from belts, fan blades.

If the least doubt in yourself to do that safely just pay a pro if only find it, of course not worth seriously hurting yourself,
Tom



lonnieman
New User

Jul 16, 2021, 9:34 AM

Post #7 of 13 (213 views)
Re: 2003 Honda Civic Squealing Noise Making Me C-C-Crazy Sign In

Thanks for the help here and really sorry for the long winded original post. I think the frustration over this squeal has reached max level lol. Just to clarify a bit, I wish I was in a position to just drop at the dealership and say "fix it please" but sadly I'm not. At least I'm trying to avoid that as best I can. My wife has S4 cancer and with all her treatments and such I haven't been able to work as much and I'm left trying to make sure we have a dependable vehicle to get her to appts without breaking (or even bending) the bank.

So I have basically prepaid my neighborhood garage guy to get rid of this squeal so at this point it's just down to buying the parts. He's done a lot of work for me and I trust him completely with the repairs but I don't always think diagnostics are his strong suit. Most of the parts being discussed are relatively cheap to buy online so I have no issue going to him with a few different things to replace. He wants to start with the power steering pulley but I am now more inclined to buy a blower motor (a video I watched from A1 Auto online reveals it to be a surprisingly easy repair... basically three screws under the passenger dash) so as a starting point maybe I'll snag BOTH of those and have him do it. The one other item I see mentioned a lot online regarding this issue is the idler pulley?? Still of course interested in thoughts and opinions and appreciate any and all!


Hammer Time
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
Hammer Time profile image

Jul 16, 2021, 10:05 AM

Post #8 of 13 (203 views)
Re: 2003 Honda Civic Squealing Noise Making Me C-C-Crazy Sign In

Stop just throwing parts at this. If you suspect the blower motor it's very easy to simply shut it off to see if the noise stops.

The dartboard method of diagnosing by throwing parts at it to see if anything sticks never works.



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We offer help in answering questions, clarifying things or giving advice but we are not a substitute for an on-site inspection by a professional.



Tom Greenleaf
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
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Jul 16, 2021, 10:37 AM

Post #9 of 13 (201 views)
Re: 2003 Honda Civic Squealing Noise Making Me C-C-Crazy Sign In

FIRST! OMG, "My Friend, I Care."
Let's see what we can do - miracles.

Bearings for this (most other anything) are sealed, nothing but new. Bushings can put a small swab of high heat grease on, doesn't take much. Motors (electric include alts are kinda a reversed motor.

Almost all can come apart and do just the bearing! Drives parts look-up in person or on line nuts. Whacked may find it's the same as other bearings, idler pulleys last I did on my own was $5 or less!

Time is the reason most wouldn't think of it and some just will not be accessible to do crimped in or "peened" in (make dented flaws on purpose to hold it) - oh my nobody knows what I mean.

Your mechanic may do several of whole unit jobs on others if you wish to take just any apart as practice ASK. If it has a "core" charge bring it back even if wrecked.

Find out which one. I've been able to spray some sealed ones with light spray Silicone grease spray, the type that evaporates to almost nothing gooey would be a problem to other things inside sealed motors if made that way.

Beware if you take a "squirrel cage off held by a nut on blower motors many are LEFT hand threaded! Other if a fan also. Those can bust is part of the motor so junk - I've asked in person at parts stores if any doubt (not much) if I can't tell see the part if there and don't buy it you just needed verification. Maybe found on the web item by item IDK how easy to even search that detail out?

The bearings are a rough sound more than high pitched vs a bushing doesn't have roller anything is either lubed once or older a bronze that weeps oil when hot inside not the weather or engine anything.

If you take belt off (some use adjusters, manually done, some an arm spring loaded to self tension belt(s) LOOK for which if I guess I'd be wrong for some unknown reason.

If your mechanic is older (age) lots of stuff was that way all over assorted things cars or other things! Less by decade so need to have run across it before to know what to do.

Usually no special tools but a clear place to take things apart so you don't lose anything. Some spring loaded electrical brush could shoot a spring out of sight you'll never find.

This is a super popular car ASK a salvage yard if you can have a dead one to practice similar to what you find is still key!

Don't go doing a good part there's risk of wrecking it.

YOU need a place and some tools to do this if not the person so rare now that refuses to throw things out that can be fixed that quit this as there is "mechanic" burn out after so long you (like me) just can't do this all day long $$ or not enough of the BS part of it andi being rushed.

Hit back with questions I know the first job is find out as sure as you can which item it is if belt driven a maybe two if car was super wet or something happened to harm more than one.

That's sometimes from pressure washing engines and solvents that will make nice clean junk out of a very involved thing - an engine!

Take care of yourself too in your struggles YOU are not alone!

Tom Greenleaf


Hammer Time
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
Hammer Time profile image

Jul 16, 2021, 11:04 AM

Post #10 of 13 (197 views)
Re: 2003 Honda Civic Squealing Noise Making Me C-C-Crazy Sign In

Alternators can produce noises that are electronically produced and unrelated to bearings when strained.



~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

We offer help in answering questions, clarifying things or giving advice but we are not a substitute for an on-site inspection by a professional.



lonnieman
New User

Jul 16, 2021, 12:23 PM

Post #11 of 13 (185 views)
Re: 2003 Honda Civic Squealing Noise Making Me C-C-Crazy Sign In

So if there is NO noise when the blower motor is off that is more than likely the culprit?


Hammer Time
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
Hammer Time profile image

Jul 16, 2021, 12:27 PM

Post #12 of 13 (181 views)
Re: 2003 Honda Civic Squealing Noise Making Me C-C-Crazy Sign In

Assuming there was a noise at the moment you shut it off.



~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

We offer help in answering questions, clarifying things or giving advice but we are not a substitute for an on-site inspection by a professional.



Tom Greenleaf
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
Tom Greenleaf profile image

Jul 16, 2021, 1:07 PM

Post #13 of 13 (177 views)
Re: 2003 Honda Civic Squealing Noise Making Me C-C-Crazy Sign In

Agreed - if cost is the issue and easy enough, plus time is a used one from "get your own parts" place available to you? Stuff like that gets squished with most salvage cars no serious value - I think? Popular car REALLY helps. If cage and all come out together a real plus, Tom






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