My first thought was you had a bad belt and/or tensioner, but you've already done that. Take the belt off, and try to spin the different pullies by hand. If its a really bad bearing (which this sounds like) you may be able to tell by hand. Otherwise just replacing everything till you fix it can get expensive.
The two pullies that are hard to spin by hand are the alternator and the p/s pump. Can't spin the water pump/fan pulley, but I think that's normal.
They're a pump and a generator, so I'd assume they'd be somewhat hard to turn.
Well, I finally got some time to check my alternator. I'm not sure if it's bad or not...
I recorded the audio with my phone ... The first part of the recording might not be good, but the 2nd half is where you can here me spin it again and it's a little more clear. View My Video
Any ideas? Is that a normal sound? I can hear the clicking, which I would imagine is the brushes of the alternator. You can also somewhat hear the bearings, tho I can't tell if it's bad or not. It's easy to spin, and continues spinning for a bit after I spin it.
I also peaked in on my air filter, and it was probably the filthiest I have ever seen it I was amazed. I got a new (cheap) one. I tried washing the old filter with my K&N filter cleaner & soap/water. Seems mostly clean now... it's the "Heavy Duty" Fram filter. I might put that back in if it doesn't fall apart before it dries. So, that should help me with gas mileage some I don't know why I didn't check the air filter sooner. I think it's only a year old.
About a month ago I noticed my power steering fluid was low, so I topped it off. Today, I was curious so I looked in it, and I could barely see any power steering fluid The guy at Napa suggested I use the Lucas-brand power steering thing that "stops" leaks and reconditions seals. So, I put that in. I guess we'll see.
From that, I'm wondering if it's the power steering that's squealing? Without the Serp. belt, it is hard to turn ... but I figured that was just because it's a pump. Should it turn easily? I mean, I try to spin it, and it won't even make a quarter of a revolution.
Hrm, I got to thinking about something else as well.
Would lowering the air pressure in my front tires and keeping the rear tires at a high PSI be beneficial?
Theoretically, lowering the front end?
Current tire pressure is 40PSI. Sidewall/max is 45. I believe the door says 26psi is what it should be (factory spec's).
I don't know if I can take my tires at 40PSI. The ride is significantly rougher and I'm bouncing all over the place (basically, it rides like an old jeep wrangler/cj), before the ride was mostly comfortable at 30PSI. But... I am accustomed to the floating-ride of the Buick
There may be an advantage to having a lower pressure in the front tires, but only because when loaded, the front axle bears less weight than the rear. I too am a fan of the classic "Buickesque" ride. My 81 Regal rode well even with 4 bad shocks. When I replaced the shocks & tires on The Beast I selected the best for both ride & economy. I'm proud to say that even at 11 years old and 165,000 miles my 98 K1500 still rides like a Buick, and not an 11 year old 4x4 pickup.
My best recommendation for tire pressure is leave it wherever the tires wear evenly. Underinflation/overinflation will cost you more in increased tire replacement costs than any amount of fuel you may save. Actually underinflation is the worst as you use more fuel, and you prematurely wear out your tires. If you're doing an economy run then overinflate the tires, but just for that day. Don't go about your regular business with overinflated tires unless they wear even at that pressure.
A good test to find the right range of pressures is to use a bottle of chaulk dust. You can get it in the hardware store right by the snaplines. On a dry day drive around for a few miles to heat up the tires, then pull over to a flat, level area. The back end of a parking lot is usually good. Put on a glove, and put a small amount of chaulk dust in your hand. Rub your hand over all the exposed tread on all the tires. Slowly pull forward about 10 feet, then look at your tires. If the chaulk is worn off the sides, but there's more in the center you're underinflated. If its gone in the middle, but still on the sides of the tread you're overinflated. Adjust pressures & repeat until the entire tread area is used. You will probably hit different numbers on the front & rear on that vehicle.
My best recommendation for tire pressure is leave it wherever the tires wear evenly. Underinflation/overinflation will cost you more in increased tire replacement costs than any amount of fuel you may save.
I've found that even allowing a little bit of center wear is fine. I don't mind driving on center-worn tires and they handle fine...unlike edge-worn tires.
If the Explorer is just for winter driving, have you considered just getting a good set of snow tires for the car? I remember a Popular Sci/Mech article where they compared AWD with all seasons to FWD with snow, and there was little difference in winter performance between the cars. Depending on what insurance rates you are paying, and whether you have the space to store a set of tires, you might save more than the difference in gas.