Problem Description and Possible Solution
A loud squealing noise on high mileage cars can be confused with a loose fan belt. The distributor should be inspected because it can seize, which can cause the timing belt to slip resulting in serious engine damage.
Average mileage: 166,633 (134,899–198,000)
Engine affected: 1.8L 4 Cylinder
12 model years affected: 1990
, more1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001
15 people reported this problem
Also kind of sounds like a chain saw. It has happened twice. Distributor rotor very loud. Will have the shop replace it again. Car wouldn't start & shop replaced old corroded distributor & coil. Engine light has come on twice, but gone away. Occasionally car dies for an instant while moving from stop (jerks like you popped the clutch), then continues on fine.
Squealing sound from the passenger side of the car, I marked the distributor on any of the rotating parts before removing it. After removal I spun it by hand and it was hard to turn and felt rough. I replaced the whole unit with a new complete set including the distributor cap.