4th PS/Alternator belt in 20,000 miles...WHY - GM Forum - Buick, Cadillac, Chev, Olds, GMC & Pontiac chat


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Old 03-10-2005, 06:24 AM   #1
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Default 4th PS/Alternator belt in 20,000 miles...WHY

What the heck is going on here? I just had to replace the PS/Alt. belt for the 4th time in the last 20k miles. Why do I keep shredding this belt? It appears to jump one groove, and then continues to tear up the belt. Luckily I caught it this time before it got messy in there. Last time I spent over an hour trying to get strands of the ripped belt out from behind the power steering pulley it had wedged itself in to (that sucked). All tensioners seem to be bolted up tightly and correctly, they spin freely like they should, and when the engine is running, all pulleys seem to be running smoothly (no wobbles or misaligned ones). Do I have a crazy tensioner, pulley, or harmonic balancer or something? What the heck is happening here? I can't keep throwing $20 at a new belt every 4-5000 miles here. It'* pretty sad that I have to carry around a 15mm wrench in the glove box, in case it happens again, so the belt swap takes less than 5 min...
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Old 03-10-2005, 10:29 AM   #2
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Well we had a problem coming through our shop like this a while back, except it was on a chrysler van. We would keep putting a belt on and double-checking all the play in all the accessories, all the pullies, the tensioner, everything. It was all in check and he'd take it then POOF 4-5 days later it would snap off again. Except the belt on that van is $60 so u should feel lucky. Well after checking everything and pulling our hair out trying to understand what was going on we finally decided to just, for sh*** and giggles replace the tensioner assembly, not just the pully. Low and behold it worked, he hasn't been back in months. It turns out that he failed to ever mention that he had tried to change it himself (self-proclaimed "handy-man") and had somehow mis-aligned the tensioner where is mounts to the block. So i'd check the actual PLAY in all yout pullies (by trying to rock them back and forth up and down) on their shafts and make sure that they aren't warped or have chips out of them.
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Old 03-10-2005, 12:14 PM   #3
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Are any of your accessories newer than any others? I had a problem at WCBF like that. Threw a belt at Woodburn during a run, and another on the way back.

The offset on the warranty replacement alternator that I installed just before the meet was off by about .010". That'* all it takes. MrAlternator shipped me out the proper pulley, and I swapped it on to the alternator. No problems since.
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Old 03-10-2005, 01:07 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by willwren
Are any of your accessories newer than any others?
Not to my knowledge. I bought the car with 87k and I've had this happen 4 times since then. I haven't replaced any accessories. What'* the whole deal with the harmonic balancer I've heard about (I know it'* old news but I never really looked into it)?
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Old 03-10-2005, 01:15 PM   #5
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hmmm if theres some kind of problem with the dampener i would also like to know before anything bad happens But ya i had the same problem just replaced the whole tensioner and it was gone..
later
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Old 03-10-2005, 02:25 PM   #6
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You do have an aftermarket part, the 2.4" pulley. maybe it'* not seating right.

Didn't TWM have a problem like this before? What was the cause of it?
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Old 03-10-2005, 02:43 PM   #7
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its not his surpentine belt though is it??? so i just figured ya know..
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Old 03-10-2005, 03:20 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BonneMeMN
You do have an aftermarket part, the 2.4" pulley. maybe it'* not seating right.

Didn't TWM have a problem like this before? What was the cause of it?
Belt 1 - supercharger, A/C compressor, water pump, crank
Belt 2 - alternator, power steering pump, crank.

Belt 2 is the bad one. With that said, my smaller blower pulley, and also larger tensioner pulley for that difference in the 2.4, does not have anything to do with the belt that is shredding.
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Old 03-10-2005, 03:23 PM   #9
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ok then thats what i said.. i thought they called the "Belt 2" the a-belt and the "belt 1" i know is the serpentine belt.. ok
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Old 03-10-2005, 09:31 PM   #10
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Default Re: 4th PS/Alternator belt in 20,000 miles...WHY

Quote:
Originally Posted by DJ SHO
What the heck is happening here? I can't keep throwing $20 at a new belt every 4-5000 miles here. It'* pretty sad that I have to carry around a 15mm wrench in the glove box, in case it happens again, so the belt swap takes less than 5 min...
Another possiblily is insufficient tension. If the tensioner spring gets weak, and fails to keep the belt tight enough, it will slip on the pulley that puts the greatest load on it. Often this will cause your belts to squeal. The belt gets really hot when it slips and its life is seriously shortened. So, your car can start eating belts even though the pulleys are perfectly aligned. This is why changing the tensioner will fix a problem even when the alignment looks OK. BTW, the pulley with the debris is usually the one most resistant to turning, so that can be a help in showing you where bearings might be going bad, too.

You can check belt tension indirectly with a cheap little tool called a Klikit. NAPA sells 'em for $14. For our cars, the Klikit I provides the best measuring range. People will tell you the Klikit I is only for "V" belts, and you need the Klikit II, but the range of the Klikit II starts at 100 pounds which is too high for the Bonneville. Besides, I called the company that makes them, and a factory rep told me the Klikit I will work fine on our serpentine belts, too.

The other guys are right about alignment too. A slight misalignment can really chew up these micro v belts. The tensioner arm can also wear in such a way as to cause misalignment which would be fixed with a new tensioner.

Just my $14 worth.
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