Serpentine Belt Broke while driving, Now what? - GM Forum - Buick, Cadillac, Chev, Olds, GMC & Pontiac chat


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Old 05-07-2009, 04:50 PM   #1
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Thumbs down Serpentine Belt Broke while driving, Now what?

97 Bonny SE, 90k miles. For the past few days I have noticed a whine, that changed decibel depending on rpms. More rpms, louder. I figured it was my power steering pump. Today I was driving and heard a snap. Pulled over and my belt was off the tensioner pulley. Didn't seem like the belt was broken, but was oily. There was power steering fluid dripping as well. I drove it home 5 miles (no choice), Temp got up to 260, turned the heat on and cooled a bit. I had no power steering obviously. Belt is now broken and there is a puddle of power steering fluid under the car. So what happened? And what needs fixed beside the belt.

Last edited by sco440; 05-07-2009 at 04:52 PM. Reason: new title
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Old 05-07-2009, 05:21 PM   #2
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Sounds like your water pump may have siezed. That usually throws the belt when it happens. Try to turn the pulley by hand. I bet it won't turn.
The power steering will blow fluid out the reservoir when the pump is not turning and you use force on the steering rack. That would explain the fluid dripping.

At least the water pump is a fairly easy job. Just hope your engine didn't get hurt.

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Old 05-07-2009, 06:32 PM   #3
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I checked the water pump. I spins freely. There is a very slight amount a play in the water pump pully if you pull it front to back, but not up and down. Don't think that'* it. The tensioner pully is totally shot and it will need to need replaced. Could tensioner pully failure be the cause? The belt was caught between the tensioner pully and the engine when I first checked it.
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Old 05-07-2009, 06:52 PM   #4
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If any pulley stops spinning it will throw the belt sooner or later. Check all pulleys and replace what needs to be replaced.
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Old 05-08-2009, 03:52 AM   #5
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My two cents I forgot if the water pump is smooth or ribbed but power steering fluid could be dipping on the belt loosing friction which would make it whine, the water pump not spin efficiently, it sliddng off the tensioner . were you loosing volts also. But yeah check all the pulleys to see if they are turning,
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Old 05-08-2009, 08:35 AM   #6
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Please don't assume anything. You had a noise and left it relatively unchecked, in the future..you'll probably check noises better.

Check all pullies and accessories to ensure they spin freely. Identify where the oil is coming from and what broke or got broken when the belt let go.

Then clean things up, replace the needed parts and you should be back in the game.

One thing to keep in mind is that w/o the belt, you have no water pump. The temperature you read was from non-circulating water in the lower intake manifold. Temps in the heads and block would be much higher. Most likely with the durability of our motors, yours will be ok once you fix the car.
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Old 05-10-2009, 03:50 PM   #7
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I have determined the cause of the problem was the tensioner pulley going bad. I replaced it, removed the lower engine mount and got the belt replaced. Everything is fine as of now. Thanks for the help.
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Old 05-10-2009, 03:54 PM   #8
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You removed the engine mount to replace the belt? You didn't need to do that. I have a write up on belt replacement. There'* a way to get it out without removing the mount.
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Old 05-10-2009, 04:52 PM   #9
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I had to remove the lower mount that bolts to the block, which has a 15mm nut, then a torx head bolt. I pulled the pass tire, removed the plastic shield, removed the nut, then the torx bolt, then removed the sleave. Put the belt on, put the sleave, bolt, and nut back on and that'* it. I have a K in my vin the manual, including someone on this site said do it this way. Only took about 15 minutes don't see how you could do it any other way, but thanks.
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Old 05-10-2009, 04:57 PM   #10
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That is the correct way. I thought you had remove the whole mount.
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