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Old 06-27-2009, 06:36 PM   #1
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Serpentine Belt

Had a garage in North Carolina put a new belt on the Jeep before driving it back to Boston back over Memorial Day Weekend. No idea the brand they put on, but before I left NC, the next day, the belt was squealing, so went to the garage again and they tightened the belt. No more squeak.

Now having driven it about 1500 miles, it started squealing again. Popped the hood to tighten the belt and discovered tthe belt is split. There is a strip maybe an 1/8" to 3/16" separating away from the rest of the belt towards the front of the Jeep. Before changing the belt in NC,the original (yes original) belt looked too worn to risk the long drive. The Jeep had 47k miles on it when I bought it.

My question is, was the replacement belt maybe just a cheap belt? Visually, can't see where any pulleys are out of line.

Haynes manual says power steering pump acts as tensioner pulley, but NC mechanic was using the alternator. Which is right seeing how I will be repairing it myself on Monday?

I am also figuring maybe getting an original Mopar belt from the dealer. Any thoughts on brand quality?

I am hoping it is just a crap belt they bought from the Dollar Store or something. The whole engine compartment is covered with rubber dust, kinda disturbing.

FYI - pretty much everything else this garage did has been redone since getting the girl home except for the oil change. Guess I'll do that next weekend.

Thanks for the help

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Old 06-27-2009, 06:40 PM   #2
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you don't need a mopar belt. but don't get the cheapest one, stay away from dayco, and goodyear gatorback. gates are the only belts i'll use. they are o.e. on many makes. napa, carquest and lee sell gates.

now, i've never seen even the cheapest belt go bad at 1500 miles, unless it was installed wrong, or a pulley or something is bad. could be the harmonic balancer coming loose, belt was installed cockeyed to begin with, could've been super overtightened. i'd check the balancer and other pullies, most likely theres a problem.

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Old 06-28-2009, 05:25 PM   #3
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If the Haynes manual says use the power steering for adjusting the tension, and I know the NC mechanic did it with the alternator, is it possible the alternator is tweaked just enough that the pulley is no longer in plane with the other pulleys? Do you think it's possible that the alternator is "crooked"? Just a thought since the old belt had no issues.

Is there an easy way to check the pulleys to see if they are in line? I'm a carpenter and can eyeball a straight line, and all these guys look straight to me. My thought is to take a 2' level out and lay it across the face of the pulleys. Any tricks from you guys?
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Old 06-28-2009, 07:34 PM   #4
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no real tricks, they sell a laser alignment tool i've never bothered with to tell, if you have a good eye, you'd know if they're messed up. but like i said, the harmonic balancer can be coming apart, you really won't see that just by looking from under the hood.
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Old 06-29-2009, 09:39 AM   #5
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Well, just changed the belt. Put on a Gates brand from NAPA.

I remember the 2 guys at the garage in NC fighting with the alternator to try and get the belt tensioned, so kinda went backwards from what they were doing.

After looking at the situation, noticed there is a groove or nub in the top of the alternator, big enough to accept a pry tool. I wondered why the 2 mechanics were fighting this thing from below, and why it took about 45 minutes to adjust the tension.

Loosened the 2 stationary bolts on the front and when I loosened the adjuster bolt on the back, the alternator actually shifted. It actually shifted enough to where the pulleys looked dead in line. Loosened the front adjuster bolt, put on the new belt, used that slot with a pry bar against the A/C bracket and tightened everything back up. 4 minutes.

Belt seems to be riding nice and smooth, no wobble. Checked all the pulleys while it was off, and everything seems tight.

See if I can manage more than 1500 miles this time. Hopefully the alternator is no worse for wear.
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Old 06-29-2009, 11:55 AM   #6
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sounds like you did better than the "mechanics" lets hope thats what it is at least.

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