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What happens when the serpentine belt breaks?

This is a discussion on What happens when the serpentine belt breaks? within the Technical / Maintenance forums, part of the General Discussion category; I'm arguing with my boss over the importance of replacing the cracked, stretched and worn serpentine belt on one of ...

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    What happens when the serpentine belt breaks?


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    I'm arguing with my boss over the importance of replacing the cracked, stretched and worn serpentine belt on one of our company trucks. To help my case, I'd like to be able to tell him what happens when it breaks.

    The obvious answers: You lose your A/C, alternator and power steering. This truck is an '02 with the 4.3L with a belt-driven fan... so it would lose that too. And there's the big risk that it will tear up your radiator, hoses and other things on the way out. Is there anything else to mention?

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    Re: What happens when the serpentine belt breaks?

    Serp belt breaks, no coolant flow. You will overheat your engine and blow head gaskets, crack blocks, any number of things. If that doesn't open his eyes over a $40 belt, nothing will :)
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    Registered User Grif's Puma's Avatar
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    Re: What happens when the serpentine belt breaks?

    i keep a spare belt tucked away in the back of the truck, never really thought about what it does on its way out. i figured gravity and centrifugal force would make it spit out the bottom


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    Re: What happens when the serpentine belt breaks?

    When my belt snapped when my tensioner went, it just threw the belt out the bottom. Didnt do any damage to anything. Maybe I got lucky tho..
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    Re: What happens when the serpentine belt breaks?

    when mine looks questionable I replace it. I keep the old belt stuffed under the seat just in case i need a spare.. Or someone else with a fsc needs one...
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    Re: What happens when the serpentine belt breaks?

    This last summer one brok on my boat that is a 350. It was squeelin' and when it quit I noticed the volt gauge going down and temp going through the roof shut her down to find the belt in bottom of bilge. Came home on the 9.9hp yamaha.

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    Re: What happens when the serpentine belt breaks?

    I broke one and it came out the bottom and flopped on the ground.
    Last edited by chevytaHOE5674; 04-15-2008 at 01:33 PM.
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    Re: What happens when the serpentine belt breaks?

    You will lose the fan, power steering, water pump, ac, alt, power brakes on a hydro boost system.

    If it overheats, you have all of those problems, and their is the chance it can hit the radiator or coolant hoses on the way out.


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    Re: What happens when the serpentine belt breaks?

    Mine just dropped out of the bottom as well. I drove it home 10 miles with no power steering. It was starting to get warm by the time I got home.

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    Re: What happens when the serpentine belt breaks?

    Hears my question,
    If you drive something long enough to have the belt break from age, what does the rest of your truck look like?


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    Because I Said So... srlbotanical's Avatar
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    Re: What happens when the serpentine belt breaks?

    Quote Originally Posted by kcb37
    Hears my question,
    If you drive something long enough to have the belt break from age, what does the rest of your truck look like?


    This was a truck that I owned about 3 trucks ago. It was an 86 c1500, more rust then paint.

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    Re: What happens when the serpentine belt breaks?

    It was just a comment to make everyone think, not argue, and I know you didn't arlbotanical, I just wanted to add that.

    Also my origonal thought was, if you look, you will see/ or hear about quite a few cars that shouldn't be on the road. At least until they are fixed.

    If something so simple as a belt is left to break, what is getting fixed/taken care of on the truck/car in question?


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    Re: What happens when the serpentine belt breaks?

    I replaced my belt and idler about two months ago. Good think I did because I think the belt wouldn't of lasted much longer.

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    Re: What happens when the serpentine belt breaks?

    I broke mine because the tensioner seized up and melted the belt, no squealing or anything just poof broke. Not from a lack of regular maintenance but a freak occurrence.
    2000 Tahoe Z71, 14bFF 6 lug, 241 swap, bumpers, sliders.
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    Re: What happens when the serpentine belt breaks?

    I just switched out both my belts and tensioners with Gatorbacks and the little squirrel noise in the morning is gone. I had 70K on factory belts and tensioners and they didn't look that bad, but it was time. That little belt for the AC was a B**CH.

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    Re: What happens when the serpentine belt breaks?

    you lose everything like the others said, and when it snaps, it might just break and fall off, or it might shred, slap the hood (possibly strong enough to dent it), cut one or both radiator hoses, or get wound up around one of the pullies, usually the crank. when youve got that much torque wrapping a nylon reinforced belt around a pulley, believe that its wound tight. PITA to get off usually.
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    Re: What happens when the serpentine belt breaks?

    Thanks for the posts everybody. It sounds like the belt harmlessly falling out is more common than I thought (but still not worth the risk.)

    I was able to talk my boss into replacing the belt with a $50 Gates, instead of the $20 generic one. I had to argue with him a while longer to convince him that it was INSANE to take it to a garage to have that done. After I bought the belt and replaced it right in front of him in less than 3 minutes I think he believed me. But... 10 years and 200k miles from now when that belt breaks... he'll blame it on me :/

    Thanks again!

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    Re: What happens when the serpentine belt breaks?

    Odds are good that nothing will be physically damaged by a belt breaking, but you will lose all acessory power and your truck will be running on battery power to the ignition only. You won't have very long to get where you need to go.

    Tell you boss he's being penny-wise adn pount-foolish. He's saving himself a $40 maintenance item thats eventually going to cost him $400 (figuring he's oging to have atruck down, at least one guy down without a truck, the actual belt and the possible cost of a tow.

 

 

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