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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I just had the oil changed at a local SAAB dealer here in Rochester, New York... 40 dollars... and two hours. But besides the lousy service time they told me very vaguely that one of the serpentine pulleys on my friends '97 GM900S, which I am borrowing until my '91 Turbo gets back from the shop, has "hairline cracks in it, is marring the belt very badly, and could fail at any minute... we'd like to go ahead and replace it..." I asked how much it would be, and he said about 350 dollars, and that I would need to leave it over night- and they could "offer me a replacement rental at a low rate." I told him it wasn't my car, so I wasn't going to make the call. And took it home.

At home I popped the hood and examined the belt. It looks very nice to me! No visible cracks, or bits missing from the belt. IN FACT: The back side of the belt still says "SAAB" on it. I'm just wondering if ANYbody on this forum has had a problem with "hairline cracks" on their pulleys (whichever one the little guy in the suit and tie was refering to), or if this dealer is raking me over the coals like I feel he is. Although the average SAAB driver here in the states would prolly just reach for their wallet and smile having peace of mind they're not being raped by their friendly dealer; I'm not that fortunate.

Thanks!
 

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A DIY belt replacement takes about a half hour and costs something like $20.

Jeez....

That was a stealership.

Feel under the belt. If there are cracks AND missing chunks of ridges, then definitely replace it in a couple of days or so. Hairline cracks only, not so urgent but at your next big service. If it's your first time, it should take an afternoon. Get the Haynes manual and the instructions are explicitly detailed....

I have no problem with replacing belts at the first signs of wear because they're cheap, easy to do, and the avoidance of being stranded is a high priority....

EDIT: I missed the part about the pulley being bad and showing the hairline cracks. That's more involved that a simple belt replacement. My wife's 97 SET had a chipped idler pulley that needed replacement. The cost was wrapped into a 60K service but was maybe a couple hundred...
 

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That dealership must have spent 1 hour and 45 minutes looking for defects or drinking coffee. And this how I earned a living years ago -
but I was much faster ....

But you are wrong to complain about the time spent !

$40, believe it or not, is a dealer level bargain.
Did they wash your car ??
Did they actually perform a maintenance service or simply do an oil change ??..
Back to the belt - this is how the stealerships make a lot of money - and I believe you could get them in much trouble if they were to replace it. It probably did have a number of cracks on the side - this means nothing !
Besides, the belt can be good for 50K miles , I see where it is NOT scheduled for renewal at any time - at least for a 900.....
The weakness is the pulley bearings, seems as if they will give out before the belt does...
Go the short belt route, there are many threads on this...
 

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You mentioned hairline cracks in the pulley too. Do you think they mean the idler pulley? If so, then yeah, it should probably be replaced, and probably soon. As others have said, hairline cracks in a belt aren't that big a deal, but worth thinking about. The pulley though can fail and do some damage.

350 is probably "reasonable" for a dealer, but as Mike says, you can get it done in a half hour if you do it yourself (AND if you find good instructions from SAAB Central). I paid about $30 for the belt. There is an idler pulley that ought to be replaced too, and it's about $35.

This site:

http://pages.infinit.net/mlbriand/index.shtml

has good pictures and instructions for doing the "short belt" modification that was mentioned.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I can most definately change a serpentine belt, hah...

I'm just worried that it really IS a problem, and he's not yanking my chain... I have to travel back to Maine in a week... 600 miles, and a broken pulley would prolly tick me off... It's my friends car, I want it to break on his cheap watch... lol

The service rep said that the pulley its self had hairline cracks in it... WHAT PULLEY DOOFY?! and that it was eating the serpentine belt. He said that this was urgent, and it should be replaced today. He told me he'd make a note of it, but it never showed up on the invoice or any paperwork at all: which makes me more suspicious... ("if it's not in writing, there's no proof that we said it was broken..." kinda thing- and if they had replaced it before my inspection, I would still have no proof)

Just don't wanna be stranded...
 

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If you look at the end of one of the tutorials to doing the serp belt, the guy mentions that he chipped his idler pulley, and it started shredding his belt.

I would bet it's the idler pulley, and somehow it got chipped and is doing the same thing. Have your looked at any of the pulley's?
 

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I'm in Rochester. I'm assuming that you're talking about THE only saab dealer in town...right?

You might want to ask them to show you the problem. Another thing might be to tell them that you want the replaced part after they fix it. They will be more likely to back off knowing that you want to see the part if it really isn't bad.

If you're interested, there is a used car dealer in pittsford that deals exclusively in saabs. I've never delt with them so I can't attest to their abilities but it might be a second opinion. They are called schoen place auto.

Good luck
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Also:

I don't think they washed the car... the coffee was lousy, and the tv was stuck on the "Doctor Phil Show..." They did check the fluids, and tire pressure however. And lubed a door seal... It was also just an honor to drive into their beautiful garage... Tile floors... sigh, if only I had a million dollars...
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Yes... the BIG one... that owns everything... ugghhh, corporate America...

I've heard of Schoenes, and they sell old stuff too... the dealership this one came from in Maine sells all sorts of saabs, mercs, bimmers, audis... new and old, and they have the best service center ever. The guy's a car nut, these guys are investors.
 
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