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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Tried to search this forum and the others for articles on the serpentine belt tensioner siezing but maybe I'm searching for the wrong words cause I wasn't able to bring anything up that's answered my question.

So... Here's what has happened: 96 VR6, 97,500 miles. For the past two weeks I have been increasingly hearing a noise that (to me) sounds like a bad bearing coming from either the top left side of the engine or maybe the serpentine belt tensioner. The noise is very loud when the engine's cold and when it's warm it's far less noticeable but, occasionally it will get immediately louder while driving and almost sounds like a whistling noise (from inside the car) then will dissappear for a bit.

Yesterday on my way home from work I started to smell something burning in the car so I immediately pulled over thinking it was electrical. I didn't see anything noticable in the car and there was no smoke or CEL so I popped the hood (the noise was still loud at this point as the engine was still cold) and although I could see the serpentine belt moving but I'm thinking the smell may have been caused buy the tensioner momentarily siezing and causing the belt to smoke.

Does this sound accurate or is there something else that could be making this noise? I also though of the water pump but the noise seems to originate much higher than that and otherwise the car is running fine (no power loss, no overheating and no CEL present.)

I continued home and the smell was not noticeable after that but I have parked it for now because I don't want to ruin anything at this point. Ideas anyone or maybe suggest some "search words" for related articles?

Edit: Decided to remove the airbox for a look. Holy crap! The accessory belt tensioner was definitely toast! The bearing was so siezed it was a pretty shade of Blue! I have the new parts shipping from ASAP. Check out what was left of the plastic idler pully! No wonder I smelled smoke. Obviously the belt is shot as well. I can't believe it didn't rip.

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