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#3325903 - 03/28/14 01:02 AM Drive belt split?
The Critic Offline


Registered: 08/30/04
Posts: 17557
Loc: Walnut Creek, CA
The housemate's wife complained that her car's p/s system was making disconcerting noises.

She had her oil change done at a quickie lube and the tech said that a new p/s pump would be required to resolve the squealing noise.

I listened to the noise and it sounded like belt noise to me. So I popped the hood and found this...



The car is a 2009 Subie Impreza with 107k.

I have never seen a drive belt split like this. I was able to stick my finger thru the belt. shocked

The backside of the belt also had some heavy wear.

Does anyone have any ideas as to what may have caused this? The split is a few inches long and is only on one part of the belt.

Thanks.


Edited by The Critic (03/28/14 01:09 AM)

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#3325907 - 03/28/14 01:15 AM Re: Drive belt split? [Re: The Critic]
michaelluscher Online   content


Registered: 10/07/12
Posts: 1107
Loc: NYC
At that milage and age, A belts a fair call
I'm not saying it's sabotage, unless it wasnt doing it before it went in.

Looks like more a delamination/and or cut then a split between the beads.
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#3325909 - 03/28/14 01:17 AM Re: Drive belt split? [Re: The Critic]
The Critic Offline


Registered: 08/30/04
Posts: 17557
Loc: Walnut Creek, CA
Yeah, the quick lube definitely wasn't responsible for this. The noise was there before it went in for a service. The quick lube didn't sell any belts or parts to fix the problem.

I'm just surprised that the belt looks this bad considering the mileage. I've seen belts with 120k+ that looked brand new, but those were auto-tensioned serpentine belts. This one is manually tensioned.

Perhaps the OE belt is not EPDM?

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#3325964 - 03/28/14 05:42 AM Re: Drive belt split? [Re: The Critic]
Nayov Offline


Registered: 08/01/09
Posts: 696
Loc: ME
Almost looks like the belt was possibly loose and that plastic shield cut into it, but I'm sure it's just the angle of the pic.

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#3325970 - 03/28/14 06:02 AM Re: Drive belt split? [Re: The Critic]
CBR.worm Offline


Registered: 05/10/05
Posts: 1385
Loc: Jupiter, Fl
I have had serpentine belts come apart one ridge at a time, and I have never gone 100k on one. Rarely do they see 60k in my cars. My OE AC belt in the G35 lasted about 45k miles before it ended up in the belly pan.
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#3325981 - 03/28/14 06:25 AM Re: Drive belt split? [Re: The Critic]
KrisZ Online   happy


Registered: 12/23/06
Posts: 4188
Loc: Toronto, Canada
Looks like maybe the car run over some road debris and something got caught near the belt long enough to cut the belt ot at least start a cut line and the belt split later on.
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#3325988 - 03/28/14 06:33 AM Re: Drive belt split? [Re: Nayov]
Char Baby Online   content


Registered: 05/25/05
Posts: 6863
Loc: Rochester NY
Originally Posted By: Nayov
Almost looks like the belt was possibly loose and that plastic shield cut into it, but I'm sure it's just the angle of the pic.


That's how the picture look to me as well!
I'd be inclined to get in there with a utility knife and slice away that area of the shield and replace the belt.
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#3326014 - 03/28/14 07:32 AM Re: Drive belt split? [Re: The Critic]
The_Eric Online   content


Registered: 03/31/10
Posts: 3152
Loc: Iowa
I've seen it once before.

Does the split line up with one of the peaks of the pulley?
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#3326045 - 03/28/14 08:11 AM Re: Drive belt split? [Re: The Critic]
FL_Rob Offline


Registered: 06/03/09
Posts: 1350
Loc: gulf coast FL.U.S.
The cover is positioned evenly over the belt and is fastened to the engine,there's no way that would do it.
It's a belt W/107k on it and needs replacing,that's all.

Maybe a slight defect from manufacturing etc ,add chemicals or some aging it's no real wonder.

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#3326073 - 03/28/14 08:43 AM Re: Drive belt split? [Re: The Critic]
Chris142 Offline


Registered: 06/05/03
Posts: 11081
Loc: apple valley, ca
Look in the pullys for a rock.
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#3326083 - 03/28/14 09:00 AM Re: Drive belt split? [Re: The Critic]
zzyzzx Offline


Registered: 05/18/12
Posts: 1562
Loc: Baltimore, Maryland, USA
Just replace it. I'm thinking that if it's not due to age you might find something when you remove the belt.

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#3326748 - 03/28/14 09:04 PM Re: Drive belt split? [Re: The Critic]
artificialist Offline


Registered: 09/23/07
Posts: 6572
Loc: Florida
Remove the belt, then turn all accessory pulleys by hand. Check for noise, crunchy feel, and being bent out of alignment.

With the belt off, start the engine, and quickly look at the crank pulley and verify that it hasn't gotten out of alignment either. Quickly shut the engine off afterwards.

Belt life is difficult to predict. I have seen some go 180,000 miles, and seen other go 30,000 miles.
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#3326803 - 03/28/14 10:01 PM Re: Drive belt split? [Re: The Critic]
01rangerxl Offline


Registered: 04/08/06
Posts: 7117
Loc: Birmingham, AL
That's definitely an odd failure. I've never seen one like that. I have seen belts that were coming apart, but it always seems to start from the outside edges and the whole belt looks like [censored].

Wouldn't be so weird if the rest of the belt looked rough, but to have it isolated to one section, in the middle is an anomaly.

I suppose it could be foreign object damage, but that seems unlikely. I think something that could cut a belt like that would do more damage. I do not suspect the cover, because in the pic, it looks like the edge is probably ahead of the belt. Also, if the belt rubbed it, I would expect more damage on the cover (worn edge, plastic shavings), and signs of contact across the entire length of the belt.

My guess is some latent manufacturing defect/weakness that just recently got to the point of causing this. I would just replace the belt and monitor it.

At 107K, the belt would be due for replacement anyway, but still it shouldn't fail like this. Most modern belts look fine at 100K miles. My truck had the original belt replaced under warranty at 15K mi in 2003 due to a bad tensioner (tensioner was replaced too). I ran that belt for 115K mi with no visible damage. The only reason I replaced it was a slight squeak when I would cut the steering wheel, indicating it had stretched. Not a single crack in any of the ribs, let alone a split all the way through.
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#3328184 - 03/30/14 01:58 PM Re: Drive belt split? [Re: The Critic]
The Critic Offline


Registered: 08/30/04
Posts: 17557
Loc: Walnut Creek, CA
Thanks guys.

I am finding that manually-tensioned belts have a significantly shorter lifespan than the auto-tensioned ones.

Here are some pictures of the old belt.





I replaced it with another OE belt from the dealer. The updated belt from the dealer is slightly shorter than the original one, so it a bit more room on the adjuster in case future adjustments are needed.

The Gates belt is about 0.6" longer than the updated belt, which is bad since it really limits your range of adjustment.

In addition, the Gates belt was much thinner than the OE belt, and lacked the fuzzy material that the OE belt had.


Edited by The Critic (03/30/14 02:00 PM)

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#3328200 - 03/30/14 02:15 PM Re: Drive belt split? [Re: The Critic]
satinsilver Offline


Registered: 01/24/08
Posts: 2897
Loc: Ohio
Did you install it yourself Critic? I need this done on the Matrix or that's what the stealer told me. They said it was cracking but it looks fine to me. 05 with 76k on it.

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