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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So about an hour ago I lost power steering on the highway, and got the battery error light. I limped into a parking lot with steam billowing out of the car like you'd see in a movie boiling away all the coolant fluid... (Engine temp however was reading 40% if 100% is the hottest)

I've pulled the old belt pieces out of the engine, and now since my car is sitting in a parking lot I need to get this belt replaced ASAP. Could anyone shed some light on how I might do this? Is there anything else I should be concerned about/would want to check?

Thanks in advance
 

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Bummer man.

How long did you drive the car after the belt mangled itself? How long had it been since the belt was last replaced?

I'd be concerned something seized up (alternator, water pump, etc.) and replacing the belt might not fix the root cause. It would be really weird for the belt to randomly devour itself, unless it was REALLY old / cracked.

But, assuming nothing is seized, then...

I just did mine. It's not the easiest belt change ever, but a pretty standard transverse-mounted, front-wheel drive setup. You do have to take the motor mount arm and front passenger's side wheel off, so you'd need a jack and jack stand.

Here's a good guide. Note you can skip the parts about replacing the idler pulleys & tensioner.

https://sites.google.com/site/saabdiy/Home/serpentine-belt-replacement
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I just got the car from a woman whose knowledge of cars was limited to them having 4 wheels and an engine, so I have no info on it. I know her mechanic so I might see if they have any repair data on it.

Also, I smelled a burning smell about 15 miles before the failure. No warning lights were on then. At the point of failure I lost power steering and battery charging in combination with their respective lights coming on (throttle and brakes worked fine). I drove it about 2 miles with an outside temperature of 15° before shutting down the engine. I got a coolant fluid low message a few seconds before I shut off the engine.
 

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The burning smell could have been the belt trying to spin a frozen pulley, burning the rubber until the belt snapped. I had this problem on another car with the AC pulley.

Where was the steam coming from? Sounds like maybe water pump related? Seems like a short amount of time to lose coolant unless there is another leak somewhere else.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I think the coolant started burning away when the belt broke, it was making quite a large cloud of smoke for a few miles. Also I didn't see anything dripping on the ground during periodic checking through out the whole ordeal. Should all the pulley wheels be hand turnable, or should I check them with vice grips or something like that?

Also- the belt tore into long ribbons rather than just snapping.
 

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Based upon your description: I believe this is what happened: Some part of the belt drive system seized "burning smell" the belt burned through or spun off. The alternator light should come on at this point and the power steering is gone. Very soon after the coolant temperature warning will come on as well as the check engine light. At this point the car must be shut down or major damage will occur. With the water pump no longer being driven the turbo received no coolant to the turbo bearing, not good.

You said the belt tore in long ribbons. Either old belt failing or a bad pulley wobbling around. Check all pulleys, especially the AC. They must all turn by hand with no wiggle.
 

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That one is an idler, it's just there to change the direction of the pulley.

The one directly below that one is the tensioner pulley.


If your car has the short belt (like that one in the diagram) you should replace both the tensioner pulley and the idler pulley as we'll as the short belt. If you have the long belt there is another pulley in the middle of the engine (and the top part of the belt in that diagram makes a "V" shape and goes around that extra pulley. If you replace with the long belt you should also replace that pulley as well.


Considerable debate about if the short belt introduces more vibration in the engine. I've had both, I didn't notice any difference. That center pulley is a pain to change, especially on the early cars that didn't have hex-head bolts holding it on but Torx screws.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I haven't got the new pulley wheel yet, but my ninety-something inch belt seems a bit short. The manual lists a 102.84" belt, but it shows the extra idler in the diagram below. NOTE: I have the late 2001 model where they took out that third idler.

And should I replace the tensioner pulley from worries of the same thing happening? Or for another reason?
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Update - I've been trying belts that don't fit, next is the 2425mm which should work. There is a dark spot under my car, I'm not sure if it's from the car or not since I pushed the car to this spot just last night. It's not on the engine side of the engine bay so it cant be oil. I'm worried that the high pressure steam popped a hose off somewhere in my cooling system circuit.
 

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Year ago I had a 2004/95, its belt was changed and this 15 yr expd SAAB dealer mechanic[now with own shop], told me idler pulley...[not tensioner], fails first and shreds the belt.
So he changed the pulley and belt on mine. Now I ve a 2001/95, with 57k on it and I hear a sound of a bad bearing - that sob plastic idler with a brg in it obviously doesnot seem to be a decent quality tobe trusted for more than 60k miles.
So.....I got the belt, and two pulleys[idler and tensioner]....just ready to do the obvious
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Another update - the coolant hose going from the radiator/intercooler burst. If I was to tape it back together would I be able to make it home (15 miles, -8?) without wrecking my engine or is it too high pressure? What other hoses do I want to check?

Anyways, with some good news - I've got the new belt on!
 

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Another update - the coolant hose going from the radiator/intercooler burst. If I was to tape it back together would I be able to make it home (15 miles, -8?) without wrecking my engine or is it too high pressure? What other hoses do I want to check?

Anyways, with some good news - I've got the new belt on!
i doubt it, but maybe if you leave the expansion tank lid off it won't build pressure! try it at idle and see if your losing fluid because there you don't have much pressure at all
 

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A few months ago I replaced the alternator on my 2003 Linear, so I replaced the belt as well for good measure. Mine had the long belt but I replaced it with the short version and skipped the middle idler. I used a Goodyear Gatorback #4060955, which is 96-1/4" outside length. If you use the long belt it should have an outside length of 103-3/4". I did not notice an increase in vibration or any other downside by using the short belt.
 

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Since this hose is easy to take off without loosing all of your coolant, go ahead and wrap the hose many times with a high quality duct tape to get you home. Be sure to top off with 50%+ antifreeze and keep an eye on it till you get home.
 
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