Serptentine Belt Broke Today - GM Forum - Buick, Cadillac, Chev, Olds, GMC & Pontiac chat


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Old 10-04-2002, 10:05 PM   #1
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Default Serptentine Belt Broke Today

So I'm driving along around 30mph and it'* this heavily wooded road. All of a sudden I hear this flapping around sound under the hood. I'm thinking I ran over a branch and somehow it flew up into the engine compartment. I drive a little farther, then notice when my foots off the gas, the sound stops, gas on, sound starts back up. Uh Oh. I finally got to a good place to stop and right before I stop, the check gauges light comes on (96 SE 3800). I try to pull up to a better spot....nothing. I pop the hood and the serpentine belt is broke, not sideways as if it snapped, but longways, so now I have half-width serpentine belt. Took it to the shop...I need it fixed fast.

Anyway, I've never had one of these break on me before, but I'm thinking that since it didn't completely snap, I'm in better shape than I could have been. The mechanic I took it to thinks the a/c compressor may have locked up (my a/c has been losing power steadily over the last week or so) and that may be what caused this.

Any thoughts on what kind of damage I may be looking at here? I've always heard that if the belt breaks you could be looking at major $$$.
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Old 10-04-2002, 11:08 PM   #2
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No big deal. Make sure the AC compressor isn't seized up, if it is, disconnect the connector, put on a new belt, and get on the road. Since there'* only one belt on a NA Bonneville, carry a spare. You can change it with the lug wrench. Just take the tension up on the tensioner, slip the old one off, and slip the new one on. 2 minutes flat.
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Old 10-04-2002, 11:33 PM   #3
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I've broke my belts before when I was on the highway once. I lost power steering, alt, and a few others. My other belt wtayed on so I didn't loose blower and I think water pump. I drove directly to the shop about 10 minutes away and the car kept running. Had them put on new belts and everything was fine.

Now for this whole removing the mount on a '95 to change the belt, I just don't see that on mine. All the belts are above the mount (barely). Was this just a NA thing?
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Old 10-04-2002, 11:43 PM   #4
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thanks, guys...from the looks of it, mine'* no 2 minute jobber, I think JR'* on the money on that one. Of course, nothing'* 2 minutes when I'm fixing it. I like the idea of carrying a spare though.
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Old 10-05-2002, 12:02 AM   #5
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I always thought it was the SC series II, the belt that runs the SC and AC that ran under the mount. Is it BOTH belts that do that on the SC, AND the ONLY belt on the NA?

I know 95 and I can change both belts in 5 flat. Na na na na Na na
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Old 10-07-2002, 10:14 AM   #6
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Hey guys, I'm pretty dumb, so let me ask this. What would cause an a/c compressor to seize up in the first place? Or does it just mean I need a new one? Any ideas on what a new one is going to cost me (parts and labor, probably $60/hour) for a 96 SE Series II 3800?
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Old 10-21-2003, 02:55 AM   #7
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Hey, sorry to bring this ancient thread back TTT, but I have a few questions. My belt just broke tonight, as I was driving rather spiritedly(sp?), but it did the same wierd splitting down the right side thing, instead of just tearing horizontally. For ref, I have a 96' SSEi.

First off, I have been having a few quirks in my power steering, and AC over the past month or so. Could these have been attributed to my belt needing replacement? It was fairly worn out, but it'* only had 1.75 years and/or 31K miles on it.

Secondly, after I replace the belt, should I check out anything before I re-start the engine? There are probably some bits of belt here and there in at a minimum the alternator, but it'* dark, and I haven't checked yet. The temp gauge shot up as I was nursing the car back to my house (about a 10 min. drive at 25 mph), yet the engine didn't seem too hot. The volt light came on, and I pretty much lost all semblance of PS, but I still had boost, so I guess only the main belt died, and not the secondary one.

Lastly, is the Series II SC an interference engine? That was my only thought on the way home, that if the belt slipped off all the way, that one of my pistons would collide with a valve or two... :(

One last thing, where is a good spot to jack up the engine so I can take out the motor mount? I would suppose shoving a jack with a wood block on it in the middle of the oil pan would be a bad thing
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Old 10-21-2003, 03:47 AM   #8
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Check your AC compressor......crap, I can't remember what runs what on a Series 2. Forgive me. Uhhhh.....one of the first things to check is the tensioners. Make sure they didn't let the belt slip OVER the edge of a pulley somewhere and split it.

As far as the jack/block are concerned, the oil pan is fine, if your block is big enough to distribute the weight. You're not raising the engine, just supoorting it enough to release the mount.
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Old 10-21-2003, 01:52 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by evilsaint
Secondly, after I replace the belt, should I check out anything before I re-start the engine? There are probably some bits of belt here and there in at a minimum the alternator, but it'* dark, and I haven't checked yet.
Yes, check for debris.

Quote:
The temp gauge shot up as I was nursing the car back to my house (about a 10 min. drive at 25 mph), yet the engine didn't seem too hot. The volt light came on, and I pretty much lost all semblance of PS, but I still had boost, so I guess only the main belt died, and not the secondary one.
Sounds like you lost the water pump and the alternator on that belt.

Quote:
Lastly, is the Series II SC an interference engine? That was my only thought on the way home, that if the belt slipped off all the way, that one of my pistons would collide with a valve or two... :(
No, it'* free-running. Believe me, if it was an interference engine, you wouldn't get to _drive_ home just _wondering_ about it. Besides, the accessory drive belts don't control timing; that is done with a timing chain inside.

Quote:
One last thing, where is a good spot to jack up the engine so I can take out the motor mount? I would suppose shoving a jack with a wood block on it in the middle of the oil pan would be a bad thing
A wide piece of wood to spread the load out over the full width of the pan should be okay I think. Check a manual and see what it says.
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Old 10-21-2003, 05:20 PM   #10
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Spin the different pulleys while you have the belt off - see if anything feels rough or like it is ceasing up.
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