Intrepidation

Belt Rage

22 posts in this topic

So, since it was actually above freezing today and the rain had ended, I decided to talking the badly worn alternator belt on the Prizm.

First let me say, if I ever met the engineer in charge of the engine bay design I'll kick him in the balls. The front of the engine is so close to the inner fender that I can barely fit my hand between them. This makes getting a ratchet onto the locking bolt extremely difficult and annoying. You can't see the bolt, you have to fee l around for it. Once I got a ratchet on the bolt, it moved in tedious one lick increments because there's so little room to move before hitting either the pulley or the a/c lines.

So I loosen it, then loosen the adjuster bolt. This is again extremely annoying because you can't actually see the bolt, and because the ratchet comes into contact with the radiator.

So I loosen that fr what seems like forever, and get the old belt off. Get the new belt on two of the pulleys but I can't get it on the last one. I tried pulling it over the pulley, I tried loosing the tensioner bolt more, I tried using a screwdriver to get leverage, which then resulted in the screwdriver slipping, tearing part of the belt, and my hand into some part of the car. So now I've wasted 2 hours of my life, I imagine ruined a new belt, its dark now, and for not a damn f@#king thing. Changing a simple belt shouldn't be this difficult. :cussing:

And it's supposed to snow tomorrow and then be cold from there on out, so not only did I waste money on a belt I've ruined, but I'll end up having to waste more money getting the shop to do it. :rage:

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LT-1s with the heavy duty towing package you have to remove 3 water pump bolts to change the main belt.

Odd.

What's different about the towing package that makes this necessary?

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A mechanical fan. The LT-1 has a camshaft driven water pump. The non-HD models have just electric fans.

To add the mechanical fan, GM made a bracket that fits over the water pump and holds the fan and pulley.

The primary belt runs through the bracket in such a way that the only way to change the belt is to remove the bracket.

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With the Intrepid its just matter of taking off the upper radiator support bracket, and then you have loads of room to access the (visible) locking and adjusting nuts for the two belts.

I hate this short days and no garage space to work in.

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Annoying!

Sounds like afterthought tech to me. I just remembered all of the room under the hood of an Impala SS, and couldn't imagine how this could be.

Thanks for the info.

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I dunno.. even some of the more common GM stuff has PITA serp belt issues...

The '99 Bonne has the belt running through the front engine mount... once you twist the belt up and realize its not coming out without taking the piece (which isn't real obvious) of the mount out, you forget the layout of the belt... and the car doesn't have a belt diagram on it!

The '89 GMC fullsize van requires SO much force and twist to get the belt off/on I have to use a breaker bar... which, of course, does not clear the cowl panel... you have to remove several relays, pumps and the window washer res. and mounts from the "firewall"... then you need to twist the idler 160 degrees... so you start with the braker under the master cylinder and twist it to hit the A/C box... I've used shorter pieces, but they slip off and I have injured myself several times in this process... *Plus* there is little space between the belts and the fan shroud... so any last minute adjustments require careful planning with your free hand.

The van has the belt diagram on the air intake... which falls off easily and sits in my garage... not on the truck! Now, I understand the desired direction of the accessories... so I can figure out the belt routing... but it seems like on every GM serp setup there is a Right Way and a Nearly Right Way... both will work, but one requires 2 inches more belt length and 20 minutes of head scratching before the Right Way becomes obvious...

I love the Caprice's serp belt... but its non-HD...

I need to do the belt on the GF's Corolla... which looks somewhat PITA... the worse thing being that there in only about 1.5-2" of clearance between the inner fender and belts.

Edited by SAmadei
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Full-size vans are a PITA due to the layout.

I've had my gripes with serp belts, I may invest in the proper tool for that job.

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Maybe I should have kept turning the adjustment bolt. It just didn't seem like it was getting the alternator to move any more...plus I have no idea if the bolt would pop out or not and if it did how the hell would I get it to re-thread when I can't even see the bloody thing.

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Loosen the other mounting bolts for the alternator a bit more, and see if that gives you more movement.

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Replacing a serpentine belt is one thing I'd never attempt at home, I'd probably end up stabbing myself in the hand w/ a screwdriver... I need to take my Jeep in for an oil change and get the belt replaced soon.

Edited by Cubical-aka-Moltar
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Is it really that bad in a Jeep?

Bad enough. Would probably have to remove the fan shroud. Not to mention the hood struts need replaced, as the hood won't stay open. Easier just to take it to the shop and get it done.

Edited by Cubical-aka-Moltar
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Going at it from the right front wheel area might help. The Saturn S-series are definitely like that. Kind of a pain in from up above, simple as can be w/ the wheelhouse liner removed.

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What a difference a clear mind and enough daylight make. Got a new belt from AZ. Took me 10 minutes. 8)

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Replacing a serpentine belt is one thing I'd never attempt at home, I'd probably end up stabbing myself in the hand w/ a screwdriver... I need to take my Jeep in for an oil change and get the belt replaced soon.

+1

I've nearly done that helping a buddy out....

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The right tool makes all the difference.

+1

at least you don't have a 99 Grand Am with the 3.4L have to jack the engine, take basically a motor mount off, remove old belt(if you didn't tear it in half yet), route the belt, replace motor mount unjack the engine.

not nearly as bad on my monte or the parents' buick. think it' snot too bad on the 4.3L's in trucks...just less so in, say, a savanna. ( my family loves the v6's) haha

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+1

at least you don't have a 99 Grand Am with the 3.4L have to jack the engine, take basically a motor mount off, remove old belt(if you didn't tear it in half yet), route the belt, replace motor mount unjack the engine.

not nearly as bad on my monte or the parents' buick. think it' snot too bad on the 4.3L's in trucks...just less so in, say, a savanna. ( my family loves the v6's) haha

If the Buick is the 3800 with the belt through the motor mount, just take off front wheel, remove plastic shrouds, remove stud, remove spacer, replace belt, then reconstruct. It's about a 30 minute job if you have the tools and a jack ready. My dealer did the first one without removing the wheel. They jacked up the car on the left side and turned the right front wheel to make room to work.

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If the Buick is the 3800 with the belt through the motor mount, just take off front wheel, remove plastic shrouds, remove stud, remove spacer, replace belt, then reconstruct. It's about a 30 minute job if you have the tools and a jack ready. My dealer did the first one without removing the wheel. They jacked up the car on the left side and turned the right front wheel to make room to work.

no... it's no problem. i said the 99grand am is the pain.

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I'm sure I'll be feeling your pain later today. Its 30 degrees and I get to replace the water pump and belt on a Century with the wonderfabulous 3.1.

3300 not 3100, happy happy joy joy!

Edited by Satty
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