Originally Posted by ScottFW
Mine showed alternator or alternator belt related problems on my trip to the grocery store tonight. As I prepared to turn into the parking lot, I clutched in and went to turn the steering wheel and it was hard as hell (power steering pump is on the same accessory belt) so that was the first clue. Next time I clutched in when I got to my parking space, the engine died. After I finished shopping, the car started up again without issue, but died a couple of times at stop signs on the way home. When it managed to not die, idle rpm were way too low.
Is is possible that all of this can be caused by a slightly loose alternator belt? It's not ridiculously loose, but it is a fairly new belt (replaced by the stealership where I bought it back in July) and it hasn't been re-tensioned since. The past couple of mornings I have gotten a 1-2 second belt squeal sound on cold startup, and the past two mornings have been the coldest weather this car has seen since I bought it (upper 20s F). However, it makes absolutely no sound when the car is running, so if belt tension alone is the issue then it would have to be possible for the belt to slip in an inaudible manner. Slipping belts have always made themselves heard on my other cars. What say y'all? Should I worry about the alternator itself? Obviously I will tighten up the belt tomorrow and see what happens, but if y'all can think of any other possibilities I should consider, please chime in.
Unless the belt is so loose that it's unable to properly turn the alternator, and therefore keep the battery charged, I wouldn't suspect the alternator belt, more the alternator itself - but it doesn't sound like you have bearing noise, so likely not the alternator.
However, if you're having difficulty steering (you mentioned hard steering), it could also be a failing PS pump and that will wear/stretch the belt.
Do you have an Access Port, or a way to dynamically read your engine performance parameters? If so, hook it up and measure how the alternator does across the operating range. The engine stalling sounds like something beyond either of the above, like idle air control, or a vacuum leak.