When your serpentine belt snaps...how do you know if it took anything else with it?

Discussion in 'The Garage' started by TechHead87, Feb 1, 2009.

  1. TechHead87

    TechHead87 Senior member

    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2004
    Messages:
    739
    Likes Received:
    0
    Last night, my belt decided to die. I got the normal symptons...steering column locks up, and power to the engine goes dead. Luckily, I was able to turn the wheel far enough to get across 1 lane of BUSY interstate-speed traffic and onto the shoulder. The car was towed to my mechanic.

    I looked under the hood, and no fluids were spotted, but I'm kinda worried that my mechanic is going to call me and say "you've got a busted such-and-such too". How do I know if anything else went with the belt?

    Thanks
     
  2. Vette73

    Vette73 Lifer

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2000
    Messages:
    21,505
    Likes Received:
    0
    First..

    Year, make, model, engine, milage, etc...



    The only thing thast a belt may do damge to is other "soft" items. Such as hoses, other belts, wiring, etc... Majority of the time when a belt broke and the car was hauled to my shop I inspect the basic stuff and spin all the pulleys by hand to make sure the belt was not killed instead of died by old age. If that all checked out I install a new belt and let it run for a couple on minutes and also turn on the AC to make sure that was not the problem as well.
     
  3. TechHead87

    TechHead87 Senior member

    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2004
    Messages:
    739
    Likes Received:
    0
    1995 Buick Regal GS,
    Engine: 3800 ("pre-series 1")
    124k miles
    No A/C Compressor...belt has bypassed the compressor for months.
     
  4. Vette73

    Vette73 Lifer

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2000
    Messages:
    21,505
    Likes Received:
    0
    Yea there should not be to much to damage on that setup. Just check all the pullys by hand and look for anything really out there and make sure you get all the old belt off. Then just install a new one. If you don;t have any tools Advance/Autozone has one in their loan a tool program.
     
  5. LTC8K6

    LTC8K6 Lifer

    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2004
    Messages:
    23,725
    Likes Received:
    15
    Your engine should have run for quite a while even after the serpentine belt snapped. The battery should have provided enough power to run the electricals for a while.

    You should have seen a charging system light first, and then it should have started overheating, since the alternator and water pump weren't turning, but the engine was running.

    If the engine really quit right when the belt snapped, I suspect at least you have a very weak battery.
     
  6. Pacfanweb

    Pacfanweb Lifer

    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2000
    Messages:
    12,904
    Likes Received:
    2
    It's unusual for a serpentine belt to break without some help from a failing component, such as an A/C pulley that's locking up. It CAN happen, but most belt failures that I've seen were caused by one of the accessories it turned locking up.

    So be ready for that call from the mechanic.

    Now, if the belt really did just break from old age, it's unlikely it tore anything up under the hood.
     
  7. TechHead87

    TechHead87 Senior member

    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2004
    Messages:
    739
    Likes Received:
    0
    Update:

    Mechanic says that the water pump locked up, which caused the belt to snap...and the belt took out the harmonic balancer and the crank sensor.

    After replacing ALL FOUR F-KING PARTS, the engine now vibrates.

    God I hate life.
     
  8. LTC8K6

    LTC8K6 Lifer

    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2004
    Messages:
    23,725
    Likes Received:
    15
    Now I know why the engine stopped immediately...

    Sorry for your bad luck...
     
  9. Zenmervolt

    Zenmervolt Supermoderator<br>The Garage<br>Elite member

    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2000
    Messages:
    24,522
    Likes Received:
    0
    Chances are that the mechanic installed the balancer incorrectly. If a balance shaft is not properly aligned, it can actually create extra vibration. Take it back and have the mechanic fix his error.

    Also, the serpentine belt does not drive the balance shafts, those are usually either gear or chain driven on cars with a timing chain. Occasionally they are driven by a toothed belt, but if that were the case there would be a replacement interval listed for the balancer belts in your car's manual. It strikes me as extremely unlikely that a serpentine belt could take out a harmonic balancer on your car.

    ZV
     
  10. Vette73

    Vette73 Lifer

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2000
    Messages:
    21,505
    Likes Received:
    0
    He never said balance shaft. :confused:

    Also I agree that the Serp belt should not take out the balancer part, but the teeth on the back could have been damaged which would also explain why the crank sensor was replaced as well. Which would have meant a replacment.

    Also the balancer on the 3.8L is known to go bad. OP take your hand and try to move the outside part of the balancer. If it moves freely from the inside part then the rubber has gone bad. But if that was the case you here a clanking noise as well. It could have just got a bad one. Have the tech replcace, or at least remove and reinstall it.
     
  11. rezinn

    rezinn Platinum Member

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2004
    Messages:
    2,421
    Likes Received:
    0
    Sounds like your mechanic better fix that harmonic balancer for free because he screwed it up somehow. Maybe installed the wrong one, check the diameter of it.
     
  12. amdhunter

    amdhunter Lifer

    Joined:
    May 19, 2003
    Messages:
    22,912
    Likes Received:
    4
    lol, when the water pump on my Galant died, I was pissed that the part cost me $25 dollars and the labor $300...lol

    Water pumps are the worst things to fix.
     
  13. Zenmervolt

    Zenmervolt Supermoderator<br>The Garage<br>Elite member

    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2000
    Messages:
    24,522
    Likes Received:
    0
    My fault. I completely misread that.

    ZV
     
  14. TechHead87

    TechHead87 Senior member

    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2004
    Messages:
    739
    Likes Received:
    0
    So, the general consensus is the harmonic balancer was not installed properly?

    What are the chances of it (or some other part) failing if I continue to drive it like this for another couple of weeks? I don't have the money to get it replaced again...
     
  15. angeldovewings

    angeldovewings Junior Member

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2015
    Messages:
    3
    Likes Received:
    0
    I have a 2001 dodge van 2001 1500 3.9. It has 67,000 mi. I had a mechanic put all new hoses filters change tran tune up change oil
    put new serpentine belt with tension er. He said it would be ready as soon as belt was on. Now he says the alternator locked up.

    Could he have done something wrong or is this normal??/

    i am a lady senior
     
  16. angeldovewings

    angeldovewings Junior Member

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2015
    Messages:
    3
    Likes Received:
    0
    I have a 2001 dodge van 2001 1500 3.9. It has 67,000 mi. I had a mechanic put all new hoses filters change tran tune up change oil
    put new serpentine belt with tension er. He said it would be ready as soon as belt was on. Now he says the alternator locked up.

    Could he have done something wrong or is this normal??/

    i am a lady senior HELP
     
  17. monkeydelmagico

    monkeydelmagico Diamond Member

    Joined:
    Nov 16, 2011
    Messages:
    3,297
    Likes Received:
    15
    yep it's possible. As the mechanic is installing the new belt they typically check the accessories pulleys for excessive bearing play or friction. The alternator probably didn't pass the highly scientific "spin it by hand and watch/listen test".