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That's a six-groove belt that has been improperly installed so that one of the ridges is overlapping the edges of the pulleys.

Who put that in?
 

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This should be replaced pretty much immediately. As Mike says, it's been installed improperly (or maybe it somehow slipped), but either way it's ruined. Drive to the closest garage if there's one close and get it fixed or read up on how to do it yourself (which isn't terribly hard if you have a few tools and a serene workspace). If garages are far from you, consider paying for a tow or doing it yourself.

WHEN it breaks, your car will be dead in the water. Your alternator and other dash lights will all light up. The engine might run for a while on battery power, but if you drive any distance beyond what you need to get it off the road you'll severely overheat the motor and possibly do major damage.
 

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hotwiredca said:
How bad does this look (belt issue)? What would cause this to happen...what if it totally snapped!?!

Link to gallery of pics:

http://hotwired.ca/carbelt/
It never came close to snapping, but I would have, had I paid good money for a replacement...
I am assuming this was "a belt installation gone bad"..IMO, this is absolutely impossible - no man could screw up this badly - there must be more to it.....
Did the tensioner spring break ?? Or, bit more likely, a pulley bearing bite the dust ??
 

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These are grooves in the belt corresponding to the grooved pulleys, so if a pulley is misaligned there should be significant shredding on the underside of the belt where the belt ridges grind against the sharp peaks of the misaligned pulley.

If the underside of the belt is intact, then it's probably a human screw-up.

Was this a DIY job?
 

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JMarkert said:
WHEN it breaks, your car will be dead in the water. Your alternator and other dash lights will all light up. The engine might run for a while on battery power, but if you drive any distance beyond what you need to get it off the road you'll severely overheat the motor and possibly do major damage.
Oye, I remember when mine broke back in June. I was in the fast lane coming back home from an outing in LA. I ended up pulling off somewhere in South Central LA and into a dodgy gas station until a towing truck could come and make the long trek to my mechanic down in South OC.

'Twas an horrible (and expensive) experience. Heh.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I haven't had the belt replaced since I've owned the car. I can hear pieces of it flapping as I drive. Funny, I thought I had heard something yesterday, and dismissed it after thinking 'oh it's only a branch, I'll look at it when I get home'. So I thought nothing of it because I couldn't see anything under the car (kinda dark last night - only working by porch light). I didn't hear anything again until I was leaving work today, hopped out of the car and found what looked like a fw strands of 'string' to be dragging. I pulled off both, not thinking it was part of the belt until I looked closer...and noticed that the one piece was too think to be string and was actually a piece of belt...popped the hood and sure enough :eek:

I haven't driven a great distance, so I will take it to my mechanic in the morning, it's about 3 or 4 Km away.
 

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Ask the mechanic to check the idle pulley and tensioning pulley, while replacing the belt. If there's play there, then your new belt will wear prematurely.
 

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mine had some slight shreading on the side as well.

I had it replaced 2 days later.

But, I still keep the old one in trunk just in case.
 

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oddferkout said:
Oye, I remember when mine broke back in June. I was in the fast lane coming back home from an outing in LA. I ended up pulling off somewhere in South Central LA and into a dodgy gas station until a towing truck could come and make the long trek to my mechanic down in South OC.

'Twas an horrible (and expensive) experience. Heh.
Oddferkout, do you know how or why the belt broke ?
How were the pulleys ?
What was its age ?
GM seems to think these last forever .. I say they are good for 50K miles or so.
Every time a known brand of car is on the hook, many potential sales are lost forever..This is one thing that has hurt VW in tens of thousands lost sales...
I wonder if they know about this ???
 

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earthworm said:
Oddferkout, do you know how or why the belt broke ?
How were the pulleys ?
What was its age ?
GM seems to think these last forever .. I say they are good for 50K miles or so.
Every time a known brand of car is on the hook, many potential sales are lost forever..This is one thing that has hurt VW in tens of thousands lost sales...
I wonder if they know about this ???
I heard the pulley making noise. The dealer had diagnosed it as a belt replacement but strongly encouraged a pulley replacement with the mileage on the car at that time (89k). I lacked the money in my budget to do the pulley so I went to my SAAB mechanic and did the belt for $200. A couple days later the pulley was still making noise, I figured since it was a new belt it'd need time to settle.

Wrong.

Driving back from LA in the fast lane going about 80mph or so there was a tug on the steering. I said, "uh-oh" while my friends questioned it. Then all the dash lights went on, the SID said "Engine Failure", I saw coolant spraying out the front of the engine and I had no steering power.

I turned my hazards on and safely got off the freeway. Once I got out and popped the hood open I saw the belt was shredded and the bottom pulley was missing.

I waited an hour for a tow truck in South Central LA which isn't fun at all. I left it at my mechanic over night. What sucks was even with AAA I still had to pay $300 for towing from LA to Santa Ana. The next morning, I got a call from the mechanic. The belt would be covered under warranty for being a defective belt. The pulley broke off (the mechanic chose the word disintegrated, heh). All in all I spent another $400 for the pulley. $900. I could have gone to the dealer for $700 had I done it all-in-one. But since I needed that claim the warranty with my mechanic I had to deal with the towing.

In the end, I sort of believe what my dealer mechanic says. He did say that it might pop off due to age. And it did. ;oops:
 

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$200 for a belt replacement!! That's highway robbery.

There's something really really fishy here. Pulleys don't just pop-off. If the bearing on the pulley was that bad, then no mechanic would have just replaced the belt. That would be like putting new tires on a bent rim. You just don't do that even if the customer insists.

Also, I don't buy the "defective belt" theory. If the belt was indeed defective, then it would have snapped and left the pulley intact. If anything, it make more sense that the defective pulley destroyed the belt, in which case the belt would not be convered under warranty.

May be I've been watching too many episodes of CSI, but this just doesn't sound right.
 
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