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Old 03-05-2020, 12:20 AM   #1
Cartell
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Default How long to fix serpentine belt in SL2?

Hello, again.
Same car, same me. This is an SL2 1991 Saturn and I still LOVE it, even though it's a little banged up from bad drivers.
I was quite frightened yesterday when my car made a lot of noises and then just stopped. I tried to get a couple more blocks but that was it. I had been suspecting my alternator, since my lights were not that bright and then got brighter, but the alternator is pretty new.
So I had it towed to my regular mechanic. I saw the broken belt and he said the pulleys were also twisted. The next day he said all other parts: water pump, alt, etc all okay. He quoted me $750 to fix the belt and pulleys and tensioner. He said the parts cost $250 since he didn't want to wait to order the parts for a cheaper price, and he charges $150 hour labor.
I got him down to 600 to include making my AC colder by adding freon.But I think he is still fleecing me.
I was pretty upset and called another garage that said it should be $225.
Reading here and online, it would only take one hour to fix. He said he had to remove the engine to get to it, but it doesn't say that here - just the wheel.
I wanted to confirm: he wouldn't have to remove the whole engine to get to the belt? And should it be just one hour labor at most?
Thank you!
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Old 03-05-2020, 12:47 AM   #2
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Default Re: How long to fix serpentine belt in SL2?

Yeah, that guy is definitely trying to rob you blind. Replacing the tensioner, idler pulley and serpentine belt takes maybe 30 minutes if you're going at it quickly, at most an hour. Tensioner is held on by two bolts and the idler is held on by one bolt. You don't have to remove the wheel, but it does make routing the belt easier. You definitely do not need to remove the engine, that's complete BS. Where are you located? If you're within an hour or so of the Cleveland Ohio area I'll do the work for you for $50 and a six pack.
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Old 03-05-2020, 08:21 AM   #3
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Default Re: How long to fix serpentine belt in SL2?

That is robbery! Not the $50 and 6 pack, the $600/750 number.
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Old 03-05-2020, 08:31 AM   #4
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Default Re: How long to fix serpentine belt in SL2?

Wow
That guy is trying to hose you. Get away from him , and tell others to do the same.
He is either ignorant or thinks you are . Gives honest repair shops a bad image.
You are a member here because you want to learn, and keep you costs down on these great little cars. With a little patience, because of the tight confines of the front of the engine, I might add that jacking the car up, pulling the wheel and splash shield off, may facilitate easier access. I've done this repair 8 or 9 times , and still I prefer this way. Also will be clearer to you once the belt is ready to be reinstalled.
You can do it!
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Old 03-05-2020, 09:26 AM   #5
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Default Re: How long to fix serpentine belt in SL2?

We all agree that this mechanic is ripping you off big time.
And what ever is he lying about by saying the pulleys are TWISTED, total lie.
He must have a large boat payment coming up and needs YOUR cast to pay for it.
RUN away from this shop and spread the word. What a brazen crook.
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Old 03-05-2020, 12:30 PM   #6
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Default Re: How long to fix serpentine belt in SL2?

'91's have the fubar engine strut mount that's unique to '91...it's likely not as easy as '92-'02's are to get in there and change the belt and tensioner. Doubtful anyone made a video on how to do it on a '91 as they're so unique and frankly should just be used for parts on a '92-'95 rather than as a DD.

It still sounds like you found a scammer rather than a mechanic, especially at $50 more per hour than the quality new car dealers around here.

The belt & tensioner should be the same $60ish parts that you put on '92-'02's, maybe $100 with typical mechanic markup.
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Old 03-05-2020, 12:55 PM   #7
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Default Re: How long to fix serpentine belt in SL2?

$750 vs $225......... $750 for over charging on hourly labor rates, lying about not waiting to get cheaper parts and all around price gouging. The $225 quote seems to be the clear choice. Almost every repair shop never pays retail on parts. The parts distributor has a markup, a lower one to sell to every dealer and repair shop and a higher one for walk in customers. If you want to see parts costs at it's lowest, try rockauto.com. Repair shops will use the lowest cost or at least dependable parts (from experience), markup the part since they have to find and order it and make a living while charging hourly labor rates - they have to pay for their overhead costs of insuring against lawsuits, heating, lighting, water, sewage, real estate, etc. Good repair shops are less costly than dealers and still make a living on honest repairs. There are unscrupulous dealers as well as dishonest repair shops.
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Old 03-05-2020, 05:05 PM   #8
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Default Re: How long to fix serpentine belt in SL2?

Run - do not walk - away from this automotive felon....
...
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Old 03-08-2020, 01:27 AM   #9
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Default Re: How long to fix serpentine belt in SL2?

Thanks so much, everyone. I can't seem to give the credit ratings.

Maybe he did have to move the engine, as fetchitfido mentioned the fubar engine strut mount. Someone mentioned dealers...since we don't have Saturn ones, just call a dealer for some other car? I would like to see if they charge $150 around here.

So I guess I have to handle what he did somehow, and get some money back.
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Old 03-08-2020, 02:16 AM   #10
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Default Re: How long to fix serpentine belt in SL2?

A good professional mechanic would not have to remove the engine strut/mount. I've done this repair on all four of my Saturns and it has taken me about 30 minutes. It should take him the same, As far as parts, he did not want to get the "cheaper parts" Newsflash!- they are all made in the same place that brought the world the Corona Virus. And I am sorry to say, but I highly doubt you will be getting any of your money back, live and learn., but we are here to help you learn and our advice, all of it, is free!
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Old 03-08-2020, 11:02 AM   #11
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Default Re: How long to fix serpentine belt in SL2?

The 1991 engine mount is nothing like the '92-'02 engine mount. Looks to be in the way of getting the serpentine belt far more intrusively than the '92-'02 mount.
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Old 03-12-2020, 05:08 PM   #12
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Default Re: How long to fix serpentine belt in SL2?

Hi. I had the tensioner replace a couple of years ago and this morning my belt was thrown (still looks ok).

What is a good brand of tensioner?
And what would be a good belt? The current belt is a Dayco brand.

I'm thinking of using Rock Auto.

If someone has a link to a video on how to repair that would be great too.

Thanks!
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Old 03-12-2020, 05:12 PM   #13
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Default Re: How long to fix serpentine belt in SL2?

I like Gates for the tensioner and Goodyear "Gatorback" for the belt.
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Old 03-12-2020, 05:21 PM   #14
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Default Re: How long to fix serpentine belt in SL2?

Quote:
Originally Posted by billr View Post
I like Gates for the tensioner and Goodyear "Gatorback" for the belt.
Thanks.

I just took a look at the tensioner and it looks like the Dayco in Rock Auto pictures.

There doesn't appear to be any "spring" in it, I can't get it to move even with some force.

Are these really hard to move (strong spring tension) or is mine dead because it won't move any more.

Is this how they die, or do they get floppy when they die?

edit:

Also, while at Rock Auto, they have a belt tool and a tension gauge. Do I need these? Which tool is best?

On last Q - They have a complete Gates "kit" Should I still opt for the Goodyear belt?

Thanks!

Last edited by DonP1; 03-12-2020 at 05:27 PM.
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Old 03-12-2020, 05:29 PM   #15
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Default Re: How long to fix serpentine belt in SL2?

Watching richpin now...
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Old 03-12-2020, 07:01 PM   #16
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Default Re: How long to fix serpentine belt in SL2?

I ordered the Gates kit which comes with the "OEM like" belt, pully and tensioner.

Let me know if I should try to find the Goodyear belt. Rock Auto didn't have it listed. I can take the old belt around town to find a match.
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Old 03-12-2020, 07:06 PM   #17
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Default Re: How long to fix serpentine belt in SL2?

Go for the Gates kit. When trying to fix my problem I examined/tried several different belt brands and the Goodyear seemed best, but didn't solve my problem; that was a bad tensioner and I only concluded that by a process of elimination.

My tensioner problem (the original OEM unit) wasn't obvious because the arm would spring nicely when I pulled on the belt. Yes, you should be able to move the tensioner. The normal to release it for changing a belt is to put a 14mm wrench on the screw in the center of the tensioner pulley and turn it in the CW direction. I'm estimating that takes about 30 ft-lb of torque on the screw; if that gives you an idea of how hard it should be to move the tensioner.

I got fooled because the tenisoner spring was fine, but there is a plastic hub/bushing where the arm pivots and that had cracked such that it limited the range the arm could swing inward against the belt. It felt fine, plenty of spring action when moving away from the belt, but stopped just as it came into contact with the belt.
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Old 03-12-2020, 08:15 PM   #18
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Default Re: How long to fix serpentine belt in SL2?

Thanks Bill.

The Dayco tensioner (if it is bad) only lasted about 5000 miles since it was replaced (the car was out of action for over a year - brake lines).

I'm guessing it is the tensioner because the belt came off the pullies. I guess it could be the belt, but I don't want to fix the belt and worry about the tensioner.
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Old 03-29-2020, 01:11 AM   #19
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Default Re: How long to fix serpentine belt in SL2?

when the tensioner-or-idler Bearings wear (and dry out) they develop
'play'/'slack' in the fittings... and lose the capacity to maintain proper alignment
of the pulleys (and, hence, the belt). The belt develops noise, and begins to run off to the side of the pulley(s).

The tensioner and idler pulleys are generally rebuilt (replace bearings) or renewed, at the same time- THEY TREATED AS A PAIR. But as long as rotate quiet, and smooth, without play, probably OK

Check all the accessory pulleys for turning freely & quietly when the belt removed while engine OFF.
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