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pulley breaks and engine loses power


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I think my 99 Buick Park Avenue Ultra just died.

One night, just before I got home, a pulley snaps off and the engine loses power. It is at the top of the 3800SC engine, all the way up front. Yes, I got it towed home, which was only a few blocks away. When I described the problem to a service guy at Pep Boys, he said to bring it in and they can replace that pulley. I get a call 90 minutes before the appointment that the supercharger locked up and that will also need to be replaced. Not just the pulley and the regulator attached to it.

What was going to be a $400 job turned into about a $3000 job, because the entire SC had to be replaced. That is only because the SC is a dealer part, and those get expensive.

Four questions: Is he right? Why would a 3800SC have its SC fail with only 79000 miles on the odometer? Is it worth getting it replaced, given that the car was bought five years ago at $6500+tax? Is it common for a SC to fail so spectacularly?

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Actually, the superchargers don't really need oil changes too often, but do need the level topped off. Removing the supercharger oil requires suction and in the end, the oil was so clean after 100K miles, it was a waste of time.

Supercharger failure at 79K is pretty odd... they tend to be very reliable parts. I would imagine that the the bearing/seal leaked slowly and then burned up when the SC oil was gone... the destroyed bearing may have lead to case damage, seizure and the pulley breaking off. But I am merely guessing without seeing it.

I would visit a pick-a-part and get a replacement supercharger... or CL/eBay. As long as the unit spins freely, you should be good. Bonus points if you have the seals replaced before installing it. In any case, I don't see this being more than $500~600 to do. $300 for a used supercharger and $200~300 to install seals and the supercharger on the engine.

Edited by SAmadei
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