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Old 08-09-2016, 07:09 AM   #1
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Serpentine belt recommendation - 2003 986(S)

Hello,

I have 2003 - 986-S with 45K miles on it, the serpentine belt has never been replaced and I want to replace it. I tried to look for one and there seems to be various brands and reviews.

I would greatly appreciate any recommendation on which brand should I buy and what is a good place to buy from.

Regards,

Jay
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Old 08-09-2016, 08:22 AM   #2
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Buy one from a Porsche parts specialist.

When you own a German car, you've moved past Pep Boys, etc., and you don't want their dime store junk.
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Old 08-09-2016, 08:33 AM   #3
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I went with an Optibelt when I replaced mine. Original equipment.
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Old 08-09-2016, 08:52 AM   #4
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Go with OEM or at least from a manufacturer that makes the OEM part for Porsche. Pelican parts frequently shares this information. Bottom line, it's not worth saving a few bucks on a part that can strand you.
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Old 08-09-2016, 09:16 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lkchris View Post
Buy one from a Porsche parts specialist.

When you own a German car, you've moved past Pep Boys, etc., and you don't want their dime store junk.
Wow. You must blow a ton of money with that thought process.
Every other car and their parts are "dime store junk"? It's just a car, too.

It's just a serpentine belt, not unicorn hair. I wouldn't buy the cheapest one I find, but any belt that fits from any reputable manufacturer will do just fine.

The serpentine belt will not cause massive damage when it fails
The battery will die and that's about it.
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Old 08-09-2016, 10:37 AM   #6
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Wow. You must blow a ton of money with that thought process.
Every other car and their parts are "dime store junk"? It's just a car, too.

It's just a serpentine belt, not unicorn hair. I wouldn't buy the cheapest one I find, but any belt that fits from any reputable manufacturer will do just fine.

The serpentine belt will not cause massive damage when it fails
The battery will die and that's about it.
Water pump will not turn --> you won't get far without overheating.
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Old 08-09-2016, 10:59 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Porsche9 View Post
Go with OEM or at least from a manufacturer that makes the OEM part for Porsche. Pelican parts frequently shares this information. Bottom line, it's not worth saving a few bucks on a part that can strand you.
This is exactly what I do. No point paying for the Porsche box, when you can get the exact same item a bit cheaper. I use Pelican to determine the brand, then hunt for the best price using the part number. Optibelt and Contitech are both OEM suppliers, I went for the Contitech.
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Old 08-09-2016, 03:57 PM   #8
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Keep the old belt as an emergency spare in the car if it is free of cracks at the root of the grooves..
Rock Auto sell the best quality Gates for $27.
Inspect/test the w/p bearing and Idler pulley bearings very carefully while you are there.

Last edited by Gelbster; 08-09-2016 at 03:59 PM.
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Old 08-09-2016, 07:01 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by particlewave View Post
Wow. You must blow a ton of money with that thought process.
Every other car and their parts are "dime store junk"? It's just a car, too.

It's just a serpentine belt, not unicorn hair. I wouldn't buy the cheapest one I find, but any belt that fits from any reputable manufacturer will do just fine.

The serpentine belt will not cause massive damage when it fails
The battery will die and that's about it.
Gotta agree.

Belt R/R is a fine preventative item.

Question: Anybody ever have a belt fail on its own...not caused by a frozen pulley or other drive component?

I know it can happen but don't recall ever hearing anyone posting it before.
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Old 08-10-2016, 02:52 AM   #10
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Gotta agree.

Belt R/R is a fine preventative item.

Question: Anybody ever have a belt fail on its own...not caused by a frozen pulley or other drive component?

I know it can happen but don't recall ever hearing anyone posting it before.
Yes, we have and multiple cars flat bedded in with failed belts.
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Old 08-10-2016, 04:41 AM   #11
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The belt on my '98 had lots of tiny micro cracks in it. I looked at belt at Autozone and it was definitely not of the same quality (thinner...less material.) IMHO, It isn't worth cheaping out on something that can leave you stranded. Ended up picking up a Continental belt (Actually a Goodyear but Continental bought Goodyear and is phasing out the brand.) The Continental belt definitely looks higher quality than the Autozone "Duralast" brand.
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Old 08-10-2016, 05:01 AM   #12
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I bought mine from advanced auto parts 3 years ago. Havent had a problem I usually check it one a year.
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Old 11-30-2016, 06:53 PM   #13
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I know Gates makes a very good belt. As for the Timing Belt on the VW's, Gates recommends to replace when six years old. Not sure what is said about their serpentine Belts.
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Old 12-01-2016, 08:49 AM   #14
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If the pulley bearings are worn ,or the pullies misaligned ,any brand of belt will fail prematurely.
One gotcha doing this job is the nut behind the tensioner pulley rotating when you try to fit the new belt. Fix this issue before you try to install the new belt. Otherwise you will have extreme difficulty fitting the new belt because it ill be impossible to move the tensioner pulley sufficiently to get the new belt over the pullies.
Use a straightedge to check alignment of the pullies. On mine the a/c pulley was forward of all the rest.
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Old 01-24-2017, 05:32 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gelbster View Post
If the pulley bearings are worn ,or the pullies misaligned ,any brand of belt will fail prematurely.
One gotcha doing this job is the nut behind the tensioner pulley rotating when you try to fit the new belt. Fix this issue before you try to install the new belt. Otherwise you will have extreme difficulty fitting the new belt because it ill be impossible to move the tensioner pulley sufficiently to get the new belt over the pullies.
Use a straightedge to check alignment of the pullies. On mine the a/c pulley was forward of all the rest.
How do you fix this problem? Is it just a matter of tightening it up?

Thanks
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Old 01-24-2017, 08:13 AM   #16
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Duplicate deleted

Last edited by Gelbster; 02-01-2017 at 06:07 PM.
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Old 01-24-2017, 08:15 AM   #17
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This issue was written up in a link I posted elsewhere.
The short version is that when you use the correct tool to relieve tension on the belt, make sure the fastener on the tensioner pulley is not slipping. If it is, plan on a much bigger job.
The bolt head behind the tensioner pulley is inaccessible with regular wrench. Someone may have a modified one?
Logically you need to remove the entire tensioner pulley assembly - tighten it up while you have it on the bench. Before you do all that, check the condition of the bearing.If in doubt, replace the entire assy. Pelican make it sound easy.The problems arise with older,rusty,hacked cars.
"The tensioner pulley is a little bit different. It is attached to a spring-loaded arm via a single bolt that is backwards in orientation from the other two idler pulleys. You need to get a 15mm wrench on the head of the bolt behind the pulley and then loosen the pulley with a 24mm wrench on the front. Be careful not to drop the spacer located behind the pulley when you pull it off. Reinstall the new pulley in the same manner, using a small bead of blue Loctite 242. Tighten the assembly to 44 ft-lb (60 Nm)."
Porsche Boxster Idler Belt Pulley Replacement - 986 / 987 (1997-08) - Pelican Parts Technical Article
The take home is - do all the checks to understand if this is a quick/no problems job or not - before you remove the belt !
The new belt will be much stiffer and requires full motion on the tensioner arm.Anything less and you will fail to install the new belt - not good !You may need both hands to manipulate the belt and a third hand to hold the tool on the tensioner. I found the Premium Gates belt was very stiff and difficult to install compared to Conti.
Good luck
This may help- it is not a new problem:
http://rennlist.com/forums/997-forum/564327-belt-tensioner-doesn-t-move.html

Last edited by Gelbster; 02-02-2017 at 04:29 PM.
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Old 02-01-2017, 05:25 PM   #18
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I have a contitech one you can have...just paypal me $10? for shipping.
It'll fit stock/oem. My original one was partially shredded so i got a new belt. I ran it for a few minutes to make sure all was ok. A week later installed smaller pulley with smaller belt so it's basically new and I don't need it.
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