Date: 10 Feb 2007 05:39:58 -0800
From: "JohnO" <>
Subject: Re: Tossed a belt...

On Feb 9, 4:58 pm, Joe Morris <> wrote: > - Bob - <> writes: > > >First, here's a page with the belt route - stock is the diagram on the > >LEFT: > > FWIW -- several years ago the tension idler on my 97 900 failed -- the > entire bearing assembly crumbled -- at night, in January, in the mountains > of east Tennessee. (And just past the 50K miles point...) > > I was (barely) able to get off the interstate into the parking lot > of a truck tire repair shop and (skipping much detail) later got > a ride into Knoxville (~70 miles away) and back to buy a new idler > and belt. The reason for this note is that I got the dealer there > to print out the manual page showing the belt route -- and it > didn't look anything like what I had to install. A little experimentation > and lots of cusswords helped me reverse-engineer the path. > > >The upper idler pulley that goes bad is the one shown at the top > >integrated with the tensioner. The break up after 50K miles - so next > >time replace it around 45K. > > In my case the idler was completely broken; the actual pulley had > nothing to connect it to the mounting bolt. Also (and something I've > not seen noted in this thread) the inner (grooved) surface of the > belt was melted, and had deposited its excreta into the grooves on > the other pulleys. I suspect that the idler seized, then failed > catastrophically. If the OP's belt shows this, check the grooved > pulleys for contamination and carefully pry out enough of the mess > to ensure that the belt gets a good grip on each pulley. > > And especially if the replacement is being done outside a garage, > it's worth making sure that you have a long rod (such as an old > chicken band antenna) to push the (stiff) belt where it needs > to go. > > One side note: Last time I looked at a new Saab engine (in the showroom, > waiting for a repair) the serpentine belt was buried under lots of > engine-compartment devices. I asked the service people about it; they > agreed that it was a major pain for them (in the shop!) to replace > the belt, and (IIRC) carried a flat-rate charge of two hours. > > (No, I don't recall the model involved.) > > Joe Morris Good point on the crud in the grooves of the other pulleys...I saw that when we removed the old belt and obviously it has to come out. I'm not much of a mechanic and don't have a lot of tools, so this job gave me an excuse to buy a breaker bar. Looks like it'll come in handy for two tasks. Hopefully the pulley comes in today and then we'll have the new belt on right away. Bob, I'm going to trust my luck on the's at 115k miles, and I have no idea what's been done previously. Call me crazy if you must. :-) -John O

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