: Brief "squeal" on COLD winter start-ups



WesH8398
12-13-10, 09:27 PM
Winter arrived here with a bang yesterday. It's been about -20 celcius with the windchill at the warmest, and we are getting pounded with snow, ice, and high winds. After working a night shift last night I came out to my car this morning and started it up. My V voiced it's displeasure with a brief (one second long?) squeal upon startup. It wasn't while I was cranking it over, but just as it fired up. I slept all day today and the car sat in the driveway (I put the wife's in the garage). When I started it tonight to head into work, it did the same thing. I let it idle for 5 minutes or so, then shut it down and re-started it in an attempt to recreate the sound. No squeal this time.
I can't pinpoint the type of sound it is, but it doesn't seem to be a metal-on-metal type sound. What I'm thinking is maybe it's the serpentine belt slipping, or maybe it could be one of the accessory pullys. I don't think it sounds like the starter sticking, since it's not really that 'grinding' sound.
Any ideas?

kevm14
12-13-10, 09:29 PM
A new belt might be all you need.

darkman
12-13-10, 09:37 PM
It is that time of year again.

WesH8398
12-13-10, 09:50 PM
It is that time of year again.

Are you suggesting PS fluid will stop my cold start squeal? Care you explain? I've checked my reservoir a few weeks ago when I bled my clutch and brakes and it wasn't lacking fluid...

darkman
12-13-10, 10:03 PM
Are you suggesting PS fluid will stop my cold start squeal? Care you explain? I've checked my reservoir a few weeks ago when I bled my clutch and brakes and it wasn't lacking fluid...

Pictured is GM's "Cold Climate" Power Steering fluid. We get reports on this forum every winter concerning cold weather squeal. Very often, switching to the cold climate power steering fluid will cure that.

(Or it could be the serpentine belt or something else entirely.)

kevm14
12-13-10, 10:08 PM
The cold climate fluid has a lower viscosity so the pump should be happier internally AND require less torque from the belt. I've never run it in any GM vehicle but I've always meant to try it. My Caprice has 262k on the original pump and I seem to recall the assist gets stiff in really cold temps. We'll find out this winter as it will be back in winter duty to keep my V at least mostly clean.

WesH8398
12-13-10, 10:37 PM
If the squeal were related to the PS pump, wouldn't I get some squealing when steering? (I don't)
Also, is changing PS fluid tough? I dont see much in the way of how-to's (nothing on the FAQ).

darkman
12-13-10, 10:47 PM
Since I live in a warm climate (Houston, Texas are) I have never had the problem. Based on the reports of others, the noise starts the instant the PS pump is turning as the motor starts without regard to steering inputs. Sometimes it lasts only a few seconds but can last for several minutes depending on the ambient temperature.

To Change the fluid-

1. Jack up the car.
2. Remove the apron pins and apron underneath the front bumper/radiator.
3. Remove the bolts holding the PS cooler and let the cooler drop.
4. With a catch pan in place - remove one of the cooler hoses and drain.
5. Reattach the hose.
6. Top off the reservoir with fluid and run the engine 2-3 minutes making sure the reservoir is full.
7. Repeat Steps 4-6 until you are draining clear fluid. (The OEM fluid is crystal clear-some other brands may be red like ATF).
8. Reassemble everything.
9. Recheck the reservoir periodically in case you had an air bubble.

There picutres in the CTS-V FAQs in an article on installing a larger power steering cooler.

WesH8398
12-13-10, 11:11 PM
Rock on, thanks Darkman. For the time being, is the squeal indiciative of me "hurting" anything in the pump? Should I rush the fluid swap, or no harm done if I wait for a more mild day?

darkman
12-14-10, 06:47 AM
For the time being, is the squeal indiciative of me "hurting" anything in the pump? Should I rush the fluid swap, or no harm done if I wait for a more mild day?

I do not think you will damage anything as long as the duration of the noise is short.

ROG
12-14-10, 07:52 AM
What Darkman said !!
Mine was doing the same thing before switching fluid.

rand49er
12-14-10, 08:50 AM
... To Change the fluid-

1. Wait for a warm day.
2. Jack up the car.
3. Remove the apron pins and apron underneath the front bumper/radiator.
4. Remove the bolts holding the PS cooler and let the cooler drop.
5. With a catch pan in place - remove one of the cooler hoses and drain.
6. Reattach the hose.
7. Top off the reservoir with fluid and run the engine 2-3 minutes making sure the reservoir is full.
8. Repeat Steps 4-6 until you are draining clear fluid. (The OEM fluid is crystal clear-some other brands may be red like ATF).
9. Reassemble everything.
10. Recheck the reservoir periodically in case you had an air bubble.

...Fixed.

Natedog
12-14-10, 10:27 AM
Same thing happened to me this morning... car was parked outside for this first time in forever and it was frigid last night in the DC area... started it up this morning and had a distinct whine/squeel coming from engine bay... let it warm up a bit but it was still there... drove a few miles and noticed it was directly related to steering wheel movement... even while sitting at a light in neutral, if i turned the wheel (or even moved it up or down), the whine clearly fluctuated.... it didn't go away after the 5 minute drive... u guys think simply swaping in some new fluid will do the trick or is my pump shot?

Fasciaguy
12-14-10, 01:01 PM
Mine does the same thing and I flushed the fluid over the summer and replaced with same type of fluid/viscosity so the fluid isnt dirty. But mine squeals for a second or two with the nice 7 deg temp we had this morning. I will have to see about getting some cold climate PW steering fluid.

D3l7a3ch0
12-15-10, 01:16 AM
my first response to a squeal is a shot of WD-40 on the ribs of the belt while the engine is running. Never dealt with freezing temperatures but what about the cold and the rubber of the belt? "belt reconditioner" is just watered-down WD-40... kill me if I'm wrong

JFensty
12-15-10, 08:32 AM
So... does the Cold Climate fluid need to be replaced again in the Spring when temps warm up? Anybody running 0w20 in the winter as well? Worried about cold starts. My oil temp at start up was 10*.

darkman
12-15-10, 10:03 AM
So... does the Cold Climate fluid need to be replaced again in the Spring when temps warm up? Anybody running 0w20 in the winter as well? Worried about cold starts. My oil temp at start up was 10*.

My research on this question did not yield either an official or defintive answer.

The owners manual lists the regular fluid (GM Part#89021184) as the standard fluid. I would only switch to the cold climate fluid if need be.

Clearly, if you track the car in the summer anywhere on the North American continent you should switch back to a warm climate fluid.

Here, in the Houston, Texas climate, even the warm weather fluid turns frrom crystal clear to a burnt brown during the course of a single summer (I have installed a larger PS cooler because of this). So if you live south of the Mason-Dixon line, I recommend that you only use the cold climate fluid in the fall, winter, and early spring.

YoshiV
12-15-10, 01:54 PM
I bought Valvoline synthetic from Autozone that got rid of the start up squeal. PS fluid is cheap, I keep mine fresh by emptying the reservoir with a turkey baster and refilling every time I wash the car over the summer months.

Natedog
12-16-10, 09:24 PM
Picked up 1 bottle of the GM Cold Climate fluid from Luke and tossed it in by simply sucking out as much fluid as i could from the resevoir, filling it, running the engine and turning the steering wheel lock to lock, then repeating 2 more times.... after the final fill, the fluid looked brand new... much easier than jacking the car up and removing hoses etc. to drain the fluid. PS pump is whisper quiet now!

D3l7a3ch0
12-16-10, 09:35 PM
lol nice move

WesH8398
12-17-10, 03:07 AM
Nice, maybe I'll give that a shot.

JFensty
12-17-10, 10:15 AM
I just did this with regular fluid two weeks ago. Oh well. Better safe than Sorry.

darkman
12-17-10, 10:35 AM
I just did this with regular fluid two weeks ago. Oh well. Better safe than Sorry.

Have you had some cold weather? Does it squeal when cold? i have an unconfirmed suspicion that having "fresh" standard climate fluid makes the system less likely to act up in cold weather.

In any event, I believe this PS system (like brake and clutch systems) needs periodic fluid changes.

JFensty
12-17-10, 11:36 AM
Yes its been in the low teens with single digit wind chills. There is a slight chirp at start up on occasion. Is the clutch master or slave affected by the cold weather as well. Yesterday I went to shift somewhat fast (yes the engine was at operating temp and trans was at ~80*) and the pedal did not want to come off the floor. I was only at 5k rpm. Scared the heck out of me. I have not had any problems with the clutch slippage or otherwise and check the fluid regularly and just changed the fluid not too long ago. This only happened once, and haven't had the same problem since.

Sorry for the thread jack.

darkman
12-17-10, 11:50 AM
Yes its been in the low teens with single digit wind chills. There is a slight chirp at start up on occasion. Is the clutch master or slave affected by the cold weather as well. Yesterday I went to shift somewhat fast (yes the engine was at operating temp and trans was at ~80*) and the pedal did not want to come off the floor. I was only at 5k rpm. Scared the heck out of me. I have not had any problems with the clutch slippage or otherwise and check the fluid regularly and just changed the fluid not too long ago. This only happened once, and haven't had the same problem since.

Sorry for the thread jack.The clutch master or slave are not directly affected by cold weather but the clutch fluid (brake fluid) is hygroscopic (attracts and retains water) can be affected by cold weather. If the fluid has absorbed moisture, which behaves differently in the cold, it can affect clutch operation, and that includes causing the pedal to stay down temporarily. However, having the pedal stick to the floor at high rpm shifts can also be indicative of a pressure plate problem. More specifically, sticking to the floor often means the pressure plate is no longer up to task.

JFensty
12-17-10, 12:01 PM
While it does have just over 100k miles I believe it may just be some moisture mixed in. I have only sucked fluid out of the resevoir, filled, pumped, repeat four times. So I'm sure there may be some contaminated fluid still in the slave.

WesH8398
10-29-11, 01:35 AM
Thought I'd bump this to the top given the time of year. I didn't get around to changing my PS fluid last year, and the brief start up squeal has already started on these last few cold mornings. Gotta get to this.