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Old 05-24-2009, 08:38 AM   #1
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Failed serpentine belt

What are the symptoms of a failing belt?

What happens if the belt breaks while driving?

2001 Boxster, 5 spd, Seal Grey
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Old 05-24-2009, 10:05 AM   #2
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The serpentine belt usually doesn't slip because of the tensioners. So when it goes, you'll probably hear it whacking about in the engine compartment for a few seconds and then you must pull over and you're stranded.

When it's needing replacement, it will be cracked. Replacing it is not hard and checking it out isn't hard either. You just pull off the carpet behind the seats, unscrew the heat shield, and then inspect it.

I keep a spare in my garage and toss it in the front trunk along with my sockets and torque wrench when I travel. There's nothing more frustrating than to get stranded when a $19 belt is the culprit and so easy to change.
'97 Boxster (Black Hole for 42,000 Dead Presidents and counting) - 122k
New motor, transmission, suspension, and on and on and on it goes...
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Old 05-24-2009, 10:30 AM   #3
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Mine went on my Rodeo on I-85 back in Feb. I smelled something burning, heard a funny whining noise that sounded much like wind noise, and idiot lights started coming on. I coasted to a halt and that was it. I will say this-if you don't have a AAA Gold membership that gives you 100 or 200 miles free towing, whatever it is, it's well worth the $38 or so upgrade. I got hauled 60 miles back to my local mech. Turned out mine was due to a failed idler pulley bearing (185k or so miles). Yeah, I know, it's a Rodeo, not my Box, but it's the only experience with a failed serpentine belt I have.
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Old 05-24-2009, 01:48 PM   #4
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serpertine belt

Mine went onmy 98 about 2 years ago. One of the tensioners failed spun off and destroyed the belt. I immediatley shut down an cruised to a stop.

I had the dealer do the work becasue I was stranded in another stated. If I were you becasuse you are concerned I would replace it.

Since then I have worked on my AC and powere steering which required me to take the belt off. It is fairly easy to do and should take an afternoon. The hardest part is getting to it. Once you get the drivers seat out and the back wall carpet, padding and hatch it is really easy to replace. You will need a 24mm wrench to turn the engine belt tensioner.
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Old 05-24-2009, 03:32 PM   #5
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And when it does break, you will not have any power steering, AC, charging system and (more importantly), no engine cooling as the water pump is also driven off the belt.
I replaced my belt @ 63,000km - took less than 2 hours as I don't remove the seats - just push them as far forward as possible, remove the carpeting & cover plate to reveal all !!
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Old 05-24-2009, 04:24 PM   #6
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I just changed it. It was easy. I was just curious as to what would happen if it went bye-bye.

Mine had one crack in it (see pic). I was hoping it was the culprit for a 2 Hz thrum coming from the AC compressor area, but no joy.

Time for the extended warranty to earn it's keep!
2001 Boxster, 5 spd, Seal Grey

Last edited by clickman; 05-24-2009 at 04:27 PM.
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Old 06-06-2009, 04:31 PM   #7
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just changed mine. i know it's probably nothing to most of you guys, but it's the most i've ever done to a car. before this, changing a flat tire and adding gasoline were my limits.

just wanted to post a link to skyler's boxster maintenance page, which helped me a lot by walking me through the steps.

oddly enough, the belt looked to be in perfect condition - no cracks, tears or anything i could see and the "Porsche" text was still quite legible. so i guess i have a spare just in case.

and for what it's worth, i did not have to remove my seats...

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Old 06-08-2009, 06:23 AM   #8
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24mm Wrench a must!

I had the same thing happen to me when the top idler bearing failed and the bolt holding it on unscrewed to the firewall. Two tips- 1) You must have a 24mm wrench (preferably an offset box) to take tension off the belt, 2) when you screw the bolt in for the top idler do it from the top of the firewall.

Also the actual bearing is only about 10 bucks, so if you can find someone to remove the bearing and press in the new one you can save $75 over buying a new one.
97 Boxster 115k miles
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Old 06-08-2009, 07:30 AM   #9
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My ~2 Hz thrum (only noticeable at idle) was diagnosed by the tech as a faulty tensioner pulley. It's supposed to get changed out this week, so we'll see!

As far as what tool to use for relieving the tension when changing the belt, I used an 18" breaker bar with a 24mm socket (1/2" drive). Worked great

2001 Boxster, 5 spd, Seal Grey
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