Serpentine belt problem


Old 01-30-05, 03:48 PM
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Serpentine belt problem

Two weeks ago my wife took her 93 Taurus to Sears for an oil change. I was home sick in bed. I get a telephone call from her and she says that the mechanic is telling her that the serpentine belt won't last another day. Yes it is on my maintenance list but I didn't know it was that bad. She said it is $100 to fix....I moaned, I don't care I'm sick have them do it. She said that the mechanic told her the coolant is bad. OK my dandruff is now up ...let me tlak to him. I told the mechanic I flushed and replaced the coolant 5 months ago. He said what kind did you use...was it gold labeled. I said at the moment I'm so sick I can't remember my name let alone the coolant. He tells me that their sticks will get a false / positive reading from certain types of coolant. I said do not touch it. I'm sure if it would have just been my wife she would have said OK and wasted $70.00.

Anyhow, two weeks went by and I was feeling better and noticed some coolant dripping on the side of the serpenting belt side of the engine. I look and ...well as the mechanic must have laid on or propped himslef on the overflow hose and it was leaking where it goes into the radiator. So I changed the hose and everything is fine. Errrrrr I am not thrilled because I do 97 percent of the work on our cars, including the Jaguar.

Now to the god part. I noticed that the new serpentine belt is now half the width it shoud be, did they use the wrong belt. Off to Sears. They said they think it was the correct belt but thy'll have a look. Two hours later they say I need a new tensioner and it will be another $90 on top of the $100 I already spent. Hm....the tensioner pulley wasn't making any noise, leaking any grease and the last belt was riding fine. What's up? The guy behind the counter said the mechanic said that it often happens that the new belt messes up the tensioner. Is that true or did they press back on the tensioner too hard adn brake the spring?
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Old 01-30-05, 04:28 PM
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Hard to know where to start here, but here goes:

At the age of your vehicle, it's very likely that it does (or did) need a new tensioner. Would have been a good idea to replace the idler pulley (I think your car has one) also as cheap insurance since if one of them fails you'd be buying the repair PLUS another new serpentine.

Not sure if they were trying to sell you an unneeded coolant service or not.

Was the half-width belt the actual size of the new belt or did it loose part of its width due to the "bad" tensioner. If they in fact installed an incorrect belt there is absolutely no excuse for that I would have some very loud words with both the auto department manager and the store general manager especially if you do a lot of business with them (side note: the only thing I ever have done at a Sears auto department is tires, but that's personal taste). I have never heard of a "new" belt "messing up" a tensioner; I would love to hear the technical details of that theory. Normally its the other way around: put a new belt on and the worn tensioner or idler pulley allows the belt to ride crooked and tears it up.

Quite possible everything is on the up & up there, but I would be a little suspicious just like you.

My $.02 worth.
Old 01-30-05, 06:43 PM
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$100 seems pretty high to change a serpentine belt. They don't cost that much and don't take very long to replace. I wonder why they charge $10 less to replace the tensioner since it should cost more than the belt, and involve more labor (including reinstalling the belt). How much did the belt cost?
Old 01-30-05, 08:06 PM
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Here's my 2cents with #@[email protected]#% SEARS...years ago when they had the lifetime wheel alignment deal the guy comes out and claims I need an entire new front end! Idler arm, center link, tie rods and all! WTF?? He comes out with an estimate of over $600 bucks! I said gee, I would like that estimate in writing because I just change the entire front end about 6 months ago! He immediately tore up the estimate! Sears is known to be um.."scammin" the poor customers into purchasing unnessary parts! Better yet, when he was working on my alignment, he breaks a spark plug and lets me leave! I drive the car for a block and feel my car bucking like a wild bull. Now I noticed the plugs broken and dangling. I drove back and gave the "mechanic" and manger a few "nice" words.
Well, that's me 2 cents! Only thing I buy from Sears are their tools since they have a lifetime warranty.
Best of luck with your car and sorry you got your wallet raped at Sears!
Old 01-30-05, 08:23 PM
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I have never trusted sears auto repair either ever since they got busted for that brake repair scam a long time ago where they were over charging people for unnecessary parts. It pays to get recommendations for a good shop from people you know. I can't say for sure that this wasn't the truth, but saying a belt will not last another day sounds like a scare tactic to make sale.
Old 01-30-05, 08:33 PM
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i agree

i agree with the rest of these guys i wldnt trust sears it is possible that the guy that installed ur serpentine belt didnt do it properly they may have use a scredriver and tried to pry it on rather than losening the tensioner or idler pulley's and i also find it hard to believe the belt was a 100$ to replace they are fairly simple to replace and arent even half that fer just the belt anywhere i have been b4
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