: Day after alternator replace, now I need a new belt...coincidence?



powerglide
03-07-06, 03:12 PM
So I posted another thread last week where I had whirring noise that turned out to be a bad alternator.

Pepboys replaced it and all was fine.

Next day it started making a chirping noise that turned into a full blown squeeling.

Took it back and they tell me I gotta cough up another $7o to have em replace the belt.

They sprayed some belt dressing on it and the sound went away (but it came back the next day)

It really pisses me off, because they could/should have replaced it when they did the alternator.

And also, is this just a coincidence or did they over tighten/misalign something that made this happen?

I can take it back to them and pay em the 70 to do it, demand a discount, DIY or take it elsewhere.

I kinda want to make them do it so that if it doesn't solve the problem I have some recourse....

Suggestinos please.

eldorado1
03-07-06, 04:02 PM
It's possible they didn't seat the belt correctly on one or more pulleys, causing a misalignment. Have you seen the belt? Is it chewed up along the entire length of the belt?

powerglide
03-07-06, 04:16 PM
Yesterday, the belt didn't look chewed up....I'll take another look later today.

I just spoke to them and was told 38 for main belt 9.99 for the waterpump belt and 40 for labor for total of 90 bucks.

Neogitated it down to $69 total.....so I'm thinking just give them another chance. You think the price ir right?

This way, if it doesnt solve the noise I can have some recourse since they assure me its the belt thats causing the problem.

eldorado1
03-07-06, 04:27 PM
what does the waterpump belt have to do with anything?

$40 of labor? What?? I can change my belt in 5 minutes, that's like... $480 an hour.

It's also possible since you got a rebuilt, that they put the wrong pulley on the alternator, with the wrong # of grooves. That will just keep eating belts until you fix that. If you can see the alt pulley, count the grooves and make sure it's the same as the belt. I think there are 6 ribs on our belts...

I don't know... I would check the alt pulley yourself first. If that's wrong, stick them to replace it with the right one. If it's correct, then I'd just replace the belt yourself... it's really easy, and if you don't have the 1/2" drive you need to replace it, you can get them for about $20, and you'll still come out ahead... and you'll have tools for next time.

powerglide
03-07-06, 04:36 PM
Good point, I think theyre screwing me.....

Is it that easy to replace it?

Can you give me a little how to on what it takes?

powerglide
03-07-06, 04:47 PM
Autozone says they have a bel for 20 and gatorback for 38.
They can lend me a half inch slim drive too.

powerglide
03-07-06, 05:22 PM
what does the waterpump belt have to do with anything?

Thats what I said too, but they say you might as well do em both.

40 for the serpentine belt
10 for the water pump belt
20 for labor

I think its a decent price, now that I called around some mechanics.....quotes ranged from 45-75 for labor!

PS I checked the grooves. 6 on the new pulley and 6 on the belt. Also, its not chewed up.

Ranger
03-07-06, 05:23 PM
If the belt all of a sudden started to screech and quieted down when the sprayed belt dressing on it (which is a temporary fix), then something is misaligned.

powerglide
03-07-06, 05:24 PM
If the belt all of a sudden started to screech and quieted down when the sprayed belt dressing on it (which is a temporary fix), then something is misaligned.

Thats what I told em, but they said if it were misaligned it would have popped out of shredded the belt....

To be accurate, the noise started the day after the repair too.

Ranger
03-07-06, 05:28 PM
Thats what I told em, but they said if it were misaligned it would have popped out of shredded the belt....

To be accurate, the noise started the day after the repair too.
Yeah, maybe if the ribbed pully was misaligned it would shread the belt, but the idler and tensioner are smooth and run on the backside of the belt. Way too coincidental for me.

powerglide
03-07-06, 05:35 PM
Yeah, maybe if the ribbed pully was misaligned it would shread the belt, but the idler and tensioner are smooth and run on the backside of the belt. Way too coincidental for me.

Me too.....I don't know what I can do though.....any ideas for recourse?

Ranger
03-07-06, 06:41 PM
No, not unless you can prove that they removed one and put it back on wrong.

powerglide
03-07-06, 06:49 PM
Yeah.....I gotta bite the bullet (again) and take it back to freakin-pepboys....

Now if this doesnt fix it, then I think I can hold them to it....maybe.

Katshot
03-07-06, 06:54 PM
Most likely cause of belt noise is contamination. Chances are either the mechanic got the belt dirty during the alternator R&R, or the alternator pulley was oily or something. Try this:
Get a can of "Brake-Clean" and spray the hell out of the belt while running. Hit the pulleys too wherever you can. That will stop the noise but it "may" come back. If it comes back, you need a wire brush. I like to use the stiff little ones that are on the battery terminal cleaners. Now in many cases, this IS DANGEROUS, but it works so good I use it anyway. With the engine idling, apply the wire brush to the grooved side of the belt for maybe 15-20 seconds or so. This cleans the hell out of the belt and usually eliminates the noise unless the belt is bad. If, after all this, the belt makes any noise, replace it. You can rest assured you've done all that is possible to save it.

eldorado1
03-07-06, 07:14 PM
I'd try that first... it's cheap enough.

powerglide
03-07-06, 07:16 PM
Isn't thar brake clean stuff gonna dry out the belts or something?
Worth a shot, I will go get some afterwork.

eldorado1
03-07-06, 07:22 PM
yes, it will remove any oil which would cause slippage and squealing.

I'm still suspicious of that alternator... Can you recall how it compares to the old one? When the engine is running, do you see a lateral flexing on the belt, as if someone were pushing or pulling on it from the side?

powerglide
03-07-06, 08:06 PM
yes, it will remove any oil which would cause slippage and squealing.

I'm still suspicious of that alternator... Can you recall how it compares to the old one? When the engine is running, do you see a lateral flexing on the belt, as if someone were pushing or pulling on it from the side?

Lemme go check that out right now.....

That 'belt dressing' stuff they sprayed on is allegedly wax.

I guess I don't get why adding lube (belt dressing) and cleaning it off (brake cleaner) are both intended to do the same thing?

BTW the 'chirping' is now a full blow ear spliting screech/chirp sound..

Ranger
03-07-06, 10:31 PM
Don't overlook the possibility of a bad idler or tenioner bearing or a tenioner spring not applying enough tension thus causing belt slippage.

powerglide
03-07-06, 10:39 PM
Don't overlook the possibility of a bad idler or tenioner bearing or a tenioner spring not applying enough tension thus causing belt slippage.

yeah that was my first thought.

Since the squeeking sometimes goes away at idle. (but gets loud when loaded)

There isn't an adjuster on the idler or tenioner is there?

Ranger
03-07-06, 11:24 PM
No, the tensioner is spring loaded and thus self adjusting. If the fulcrum gets dried out and rusty it may stick. There is a 1/2" square hole in the backside of it. Use a 1/2" drive breaker bar in it for leverage and lossen tension. Spray or drip some oil at the fulcrum and exercise it back and forth to work it in.

powerglide
03-08-06, 08:35 PM
So I decided not to do the brake cleaner method….
I figured I didn't want to get any of that in the bearing or other parts of the car…. To be honest, I just didn't feel like it.
(working extra long days everyday this week and totally fried after work)

I also needed an alignment and Pepboys is running a special for $39, so I brought it back there.
Since they agreed to give me a break on the belt replacement (labor $20) I just rolled with it.

I got the call just now and was surprised to hear that they found the idler was worn (probably what was causing the noise to begin with) so they went ahead and replaced it too. No charge!

Haven't seen the car yet, but sounds like I may have gotten a great deal afterall.

$39 wheel alignment (all four wheels)
$38 premium belt (they didn't have the cheapo $19 belt)
$9 water pump belt
$0 new idler
$20 labor
___________
$106 Total


I think this happened because:

1-I was nice to them
2-Clearly wasn't a dummy ready to believe anything
3-Asked them twice if they were sure that a belt change would fix the noise. (they said yes) and that I may be upset if I paid for it and then later found out it was a tensioner or idler or something!

davesdeville
03-09-06, 03:26 AM
So you DIDN'T get screwed by a shop? That has got to be a first.

powerglide
03-09-06, 11:58 AM
Maybe....

I paid for the alignment, but there's no change in the alignment.....I gotta call them AGAIN!

what a pain in the ass

powerglide
03-09-06, 04:57 PM
wasted another lunch hour at pepboys getting my alignment redone.
Now they over adjusted it and the steering wheel is cocked to the right!?!?
You get what you pay for......so true indeed.

eldorado1
03-09-06, 05:07 PM
aww jeez...

But other than breaking everything else, did they fix the squealing?

powerglide
03-09-06, 06:38 PM
Yeah the cars running silent now.
I'm hoping third times the charm here and take it in for another alignment.
If they fk it up again, I may have to ask for a refund. (although I feel bad because they are spending man hours redoing it.....but its really not my problem that they cannot deliver on the service I paid for)

powerglide
03-09-06, 07:57 PM
Finally I can claim, everything is perfect again with my car!
They did it again, and now its tracks dead on center.
The saga is over...for now.

auroradude
03-10-06, 12:21 AM
No offense guys, but why would you take the car to pep boys? This isn't a Ford Taurus we are talking about. In that case I would have expected trouble. Over here they've messed up people's cars and been sued multiple times at this franchise. I wouldnt take a rusty buick there. GM may be expensive but at least they know what they are doing. :)

STS 310
03-10-06, 01:18 AM
No offense guys, but why would you take the car to pep boys? This isn't a Ford Taurus we are talking about. GM may be expensive but at least they know what they are doing. :)

HAH!

Youd think. Dealer has just as many nightmares and like you said they know what there doing. Makes the nightmare all that more worse.

powerglide
03-11-06, 01:51 PM
Car broke down in front of pepboys, and I called the dealer who wanted more than double what pepboys wanted. I was just gonna buy the alternator and put in myself but as I posted earlier, I was just too damned busy/lazy.....

Normally I woulda never dreamed I would have my car serviced at pepboys. But it turned out to be decent experience.

BTW I hear ya that my car isnt a taurus, but mine is a 100K miles 98 with a trade in value between 2500-4000 bucks.
No way I was gonna drop 20-30% of its intrinsic value on a freakin alternator. (I think private sale valus is about 6000-7000, meaning its 10% of that value)

Just can't justify paying through the nose to the dealership for a lousy alternator.

Northstar333
03-11-06, 10:33 PM
How much did the dealer want and how much did pep boys charge you to install the alternator.

powerglide
03-13-06, 12:08 PM
Here's my original thread about the alternator, I put price quotes I collected:

http://www.cadillacforums.com/forums/northstar-performance-technical-discussion/67128-whirring-noise-you-thinks-its-alternator.html

Penske Caddillac 580 + tax
Firestone 420 total
Pepboys 280 total
Local mechanic 240 total
Another Local mechanic 165 total

Ended up paying $280 to the Pep