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My 2017 Malibu Hybrid with 70k miles began to chirp about 2 weeks ago a as the engine cuts off or back on. Whether moving or stopped. It is like a rubber belt on a pulley (perhaps some sort of clutch). Well it has rapidly turned from a chirp to a squeal, now lasting 3 to 8 or 9 seconds with every transition. I'm afraid if something fails completely I'll be on the side of the road.
 

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It might be worth inspecting the water pump drive belt. Since there's no tensioner, it may be more susceptible to degradation (heat), contamination (oil) or pulley misalignment (worn waterpump bearing).
 

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Belt tensioner's loose their strength or can bind over time allowing belt slippage. 70k miles things get worn. Get it checked, the car has been warning you.
 

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This isn't a great photo. There are only 2 pulleys in this accessory drive belt arrangement: the crank pulley (far) and the water-pump pulley (near). A special tool might be required for installation as there's no tensioner.

2016_Malibu_LKN_AccessoryBelt.jpg
 

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2011 Malibu LTZ 3.6L V6 Red Jewel Tintcoat
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The 1.8 in the Malibu Hybrid is an RPO LKN. There are just 2 pulleys, one at the crankshaft and the other for the waterpump; everything else is electric, and all a belt tensioner would do is increase mechanical losses.

The belt arrangement in the LKN is similar to the LUU used in the first generation Volt. The A/C compressor is on the right instead of the left.
68370
 

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That is just so odd to see a belt that can't be tightened!
 

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There has to be an adjustment. I doubt they use a ''elastic'' belt but anything is possible. Shop manual needs to be referenced. I would suspect water pump ''rotates''.
 

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I've witnessed lazy garages using a screwdriver and the starter motor to install V-belts. With the lower profile of serpentine belts and synthetic fibres, they can probably tolerate a bit of stretching during installation without compromising longevity.

 

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Rock auto lists a belt tensioner for the 1.8 .
 

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The tensioner listed for 2017 is an error; it's not shown for 2016 (or 2018 or 2019). The descriptions note "stretch fit"; I suspect Gates is the OEM supplier.

RockAuto_2016_LKN_Belt_Drive.png

Here's a better photo of the LKN.

2016_Malibu_Hybrid_LKN_Engine02a.jpg
 

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Yep stretch fit. Another reason I will not own hybrid junk. Average person is chained to the dealer.
 

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I'm dealing with this same issue right now. my test was, when the engine turns on pull the dipstick to see if it stops. mine did!!! the PCV stuff in the valve cover causes this noise some how... yeah I know... it sounds unbelievable. i paid the dealership 130 bucks they told me this, I immediately went to the dealership and asked to talk to the tech. the manager came out and did this test for me there on the spot. once the valve cover goes it can potentially cause the crank seal to do the same and he said that can also produce the same noise.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
I should have posted back, as I took it to the dealer and after testing, it turns out to be similar to what you describe. The PCV was failing and pressurizing the crankcase. The squeal was from the front main seal blowing pressure out. The fix was to replace the valve cover with a working valve (don't know why it is not just a replaceable PCV) and to replace the front main seal. Thank goodness I had bought the extended warranty. With 70k it was not covered by manufactures engine coverage but the extended paid for the 1500 in work. Apparently it is a PITA to change that front seal.
 
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