Need advice re broken serpentine belt 300 miles post timing belt change

rgshredder

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Okay, first off, I'm pretty upset. I always come to this forum for excellent advice and I am in need of some right now.

I got a 100k timing belt job done on my 03 Jetta TDI (@ 95000 miles). The work was performed by a TDI Guru pulled directly from the list. About a month and 400 miles later, my serpentine belt broke. I removed what bits I could from the engine, however one strand of belt remains lodged. Aside from the ****ty service I got from this TDI Guru, I was glad to be done with the maintenance on the car...and now I've got to deal with this.

I understand **** happens, but 400 miles after changing out the belt?
The alt pulley shouldn't die at only 95K...

any advice on how to approach this situation would be greatly appreciated.
 

cfm56

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have you contacted this TDI guru that you used to remedy this situation and see if their is any type of warranty on that serpantine belt and if he is willing to replace it considering that its so close from when he did the work on the car....did he replace the serpantine belt at all initially? i would assume he changed it as is recommended on a timing belt change...not that its a big deal to go purchase it yourself and put it on.
 

cfm56

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you also mentioned the alt pulley...did the sieze which caused the serpantine belt to shred?

if thats the case, then the tdi guru would be off the hook in my opinion unless he worked on the alternator pulley.

s**t happens and like anything mechanical...its bound to break and on its own time clock not yours.
 

rgshredder

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Thanks for the input; I tried contacting him, but they were closed.
He did replace the serpentine belt, well, he was supposed to at least...
The belt was shredded, so I guess that sounds like the alt pully, but I was under the impression that this part was meant to last upwards of 200k miles...
Outside of getting absolute **** service with this guy during the timing belt change, I'm worried some sort of incompetence is at play in this scenario hence, my need for advice. If someone can say one way or the other that alt pulley's go at the drop of a dime irregardless of miles, than I'll do the work in getting a new one in...but if it sounds too coincidental then I may need to call a lawyer.

The other hiccup is he's the only guru in a 150 mile radius from me...I'm pretty confident he's not going to pay a tow truck and I'm sure as hell, not going to spend another day driving it there...
 

aja8888

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I understand **** happens, but 400 miles after changing out the belt?
The alt pulley shouldn't die at only 95K...

any advice on how to approach this situation would be greatly appreciated.
So, where did you come up with the conclusion on the lifespan of the alternator pulley? :confused: Mine went out at 70K and a lot of them fail at way less than 100K. The OE ones are poor quality and the replacement is an upgraded unit. And, sometimes they DO fail in a moment's notice when the internal clutch fails.
 

rgshredder

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aja
I'm reading up on everything now, I was quickly reading through some of the older posts and some mentioned not having to change them that frequently...I'm now reading other posts that are simliar to yours (and my) situation...guess I'm gonna have to take the bloody thing apart tomorrow and see what I see.

Thanks for the advice, much appreciated.

It's just really frustrating having only 400 miles on a new belt; if the guy was a friggin guru, he would've known the life and told me to flip out the pulley...I would've done so had I known...
 

cfm56

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alt pulleys can fail without warning...personallly if it froze up, then i can see why the belt came apart... off the top of my head without knowing what exactly was touched by the other mechanic i would say it isnt his fault because when he's doing a timing belt job he shouldnt be removing the alt pulley.
Did anything else break due to this issue?
The only thing the guru would be liable for would be the timing belt job and related componants replaced due to that service being performed. If the pulley failed, then replacing the pulley would be on you as well as the serpantine belt

the timing sux on the pulley failing but thats part of life...it happens to each one of us one way or another
 

stevekris

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Even if the pulley freezes up it should not shred the belt. If it slips it should not shred the belt. If it comes apart it could shred the belt. Something was not done correctly or he should have seen the problem when he had the car apart. 400 miles, there was a problem when it left his shop. Hope this helps. Thanks Steve
 

steve6

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**** can happen at any time, until you find a source of the issue you cant blame anyone or anything. sometimes new products are just defective, it happens.

find the source of the issue, if it cant be found, replace the belt and keep going.
 

Dimitri16V

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aja
I'm reading up on everything now, I was quickly reading through some of the older posts and some mentioned not having to change them that frequently...I'm now reading other posts that are simliar to yours (and my) situation...guess I'm gonna have to take the bloody thing apart tomorrow and see what I see.

Thanks for the advice, much appreciated.

It's just really frustrating having only 400 miles on a new belt; if the guy was a friggin guru, he would've known the life and told me to flip out the pulley...I would've done so had I known...
You are making invalid accusations against the "guru" . It is just a conicidence the pulley crapped out.
You are more than welcome to go to the stealer for service
 

rgshredder

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You are making invalid accusations against the "guru" . It is just a conicidence the pulley crapped out.
You are more than welcome to go to the stealer for service
Seriously? I go to an expert when I need someone to provide me with knowledge that I do not possess. I do not know the life of an alt pulley; however, being labeled as a guru on this site implies a certain level of experience and more importantly trust...If my car is pushing 100k miles, I would at least liked to have had the offer of replacement of a part that has been clearly seen to go out at any given time, particularly at this mileage mark...

You are more than welcome to go to the stealer for service
When you put it that way, why wouldn't I?
 

puter

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rgshredder: There are many parts that can fail now or later. You are essentially asking the guru to predict the future.

Turbos have been known to fail at 80-100k. Mine did, I know others who have. On the other hand many last 200k. Should he push you to replace your turbo because it _could_ fail? Or would you then just accuse him of trying to fleece you with unnecessary service?

Given that many alt pulleys have failed at under 70k, should he have been responsible if you came in at 20k to tell you to replace it? I mean come on, yours could have lasted much longer...there was no way for him to tell.

He did not feel it was necessary to replace the alt pulley, and his decision is a very reasonable one. The only person here being unreasonable is you.

rgshredder said:
Dimitri16V said:
You are more than welcome to go to the stealer for service
When you put it that way, why wouldn't I?
If you went to the stealer you would only have had your timing belt replaced and maybe the water pump (but not likely). This means that in 300 miles your alt pulley would have failed anyway, followed a few thousand miles later by either a tensioner, wp, or some other TB system component that would have trashed your head and cost you a lot more.

That is, of course, assuming the car actually runs correctly after the job and you don't have to go to the guru you are complaining about to have the timing fixed because the dealer didn't bother to lock down the engine...
 
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rgshredder

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@puter

I respect your comments; I didn't go to the stealership originally basically bc of all the point you've made. I don't plan on going to a stealer at any point for that matter, past or present.

Okay, yes, no one can predict the future, but everyone can hedge bets; for instance, everyone in this thread is making the assumption that it's the alt pulley...I still don't know if it is, as I've not taken the car apart...but we're all making assumptions based on what's presented to us. I started this thread bc I don't have experience and sought advice from those that do. My point that a few seem to take offense to is that being a guru, one should have the foresight to know what needs to be done in the best interest of the car, particularly at the 100k mile maintenance interval.

Replacing the timing belt @100k miles is recommended, why not 120K or 150k or 45k for that matter? The water pump technically didn't need to be replaced, but it did, bc, "well, you're already in there, and it has a life too."


I can appreciate it if the car had more miles on it before the belt shredded, but 400? and 200 of those were place the day the timing belt was done...

It's frustrating bc I followed the rules, and I am a believer in preventative measures to ensure things like this don't happen...Actually, the car belongs to my wife, and on a whim, she decided to take my golf instead...the idea that my pregnant wife would have sat there waiting for a tow truck for 1-2 hours at the hottest part of the day is upsetting to say the least.
 

puter

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There are a few things you have not considered.

1) This was pure chance. Would it have made any difference if it was 2000 miles later? how about 10,000, 50,000? It could have easily been much later.
2) The amount of damage caused by a broken serp belt compared to a broken timing belt is not comparable. It would be way more expensive to replace every single component that "may" fail regardless of how much damage it would do. You replace those components that may fail and would cause a lot of damage if they did. The alt. pulley is not one of those.
3) The guru's decision was in agreement with the opinion of most everyone who works on these cars. Are you really going to hold him to blame for something that pretty much everyone else would do?
4) it is easy to want to play the blame game, but what's the point? I think it's pretty clear that the guru did what he thought best and made good decisions...why are you trying to blame him for something that happened by pure chance simply because it was shortly after he worked on your car? No offense, but in the end you end up kinda looking like a jerk who is badmouthing someone who did his best to help you. I honestly don't mean offense by that comment either, I just wanted to make sure you were aware that that is how you are coming off.

In the end, I think most people would agree that the guru did not do anything wrong and your experience really is just a "**** happens" experience. I think people would be much more up in arms if the guru was pressuring all of his customers to change the alt pulley at 100k since that would end up wasting a lot more money overall than having to replace a serp belt a second time.
 

PDJetta

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Okay, first off, I'm pretty upset. I always come to this forum for excellent advice and I am in need of some right now.

I got a 100k timing belt job done on my 03 Jetta TDI (@ 95000 miles). The work was performed by a TDI Guru pulled directly from the list. About a month and 400 miles later, my serpentine belt broke. I removed what bits I could from the engine, however one strand of belt remains lodged. Aside from the ****ty service I got from this TDI Guru, I was glad to be done with the maintenance on the car...and now I've got to deal with this.

I understand **** happens, but 400 miles after changing out the belt?
The alt pulley shouldn't die at only 95K...

any advice on how to approach this situation would be greatly appreciated.
All I can speak to is the alternator pulley. Mine failed at 96,000 miles and many others on this list repoprt early failures as well. It is a failure-prone part. Although mine just locked solid on its shaft and caused the belt and tensioner to vibrate a lot when the engine idled.

--Nate
 

eb2143

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400 miles is not many for a shreaded alt belt. Not to mention I wasn't aware the alt pulley usually caused the belt to shread...idler pulley can do some nasty things. When my alternator pulley went out, it gave me some subtle and not so subtle warning signs and I easily had time to get it changed out before failure. I know some percentage (small? large?) do give some warning before locking.

It will be interesting to see what you find, but I'd wager a few bucks it's not the alternator pulley.

I do think you're being a bit harsh on the "guru;' other than this failure, was there anything that made you feel he wasn't providing top notch service?
 

rgshredder

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I do think you're being a bit harsh on the "guru;' other than this failure, was there anything that made you feel he wasn't providing top notch service?
haha, hopefully puter won't think I'm coming off as a jerk for mentioning this:

* A four hour timing belt job took 9 hours to do, despite making an appointment for that morning...oh, they weren't working on it for four hours, they didn't start it until about 3 hours before closing...hence, my concern they were trying to rush through things...

* they were meant to do other work on the car, and when they were finished with the timing belt, I asked how the other work went..."oops, forgot to do it..."

* I asked to speak with the "guru" who was meant to be working on my car about specifics on the car and turns out he didn't stick around long enough to see them even open the hood of my car...when I specifically requested that he do the work.

* I had a check engine light thrown a few weeks from what I suspected was a glow plug; They found the check engine light, and recommended I change the harness...I asked them to measure the glow plugs and they measured fine, hence they suspected the harness. I asked them to verify that the harness was faulty..."it's impossible to measure that..." you just need to get a new harness...

On their recommendation, I bought a harness and installed it myself...this didn't resolve the issue...figured I already spent the money, might as well flip out all of the glow plugs, despite them telling me they were fine...which DID resolve the issue...

suffice it to say, I've been pretty unhappy and this is just the icing on the cake.
 

tditom

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formerly: 2001 Golf GL, '97 Passat (RIP) '98 NB, '05 B5 sedan
i've always had a problem with the definition of "guru" on this site. In my opinion, there are maybe a couple dozen of people who fall into this category, and who's to decide when someone acheives this status? What you've described does not meet "guru" service in my book. we have had people proclaim themselves as gurus- so the term is not well defined at all.

If you were using the "approved mechanics list" then that might explain things. This list is completely uncontrolled. Anyone can put a shop on that list. there have been previous issues like yours.

care to name names so we can evaluate your claim?
 
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puter

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I also think our reactions were based on a lot less information than you gave in your previous post.

I think the first 3 *'s are legitimate complaints.

One note on the GP issue: They are correct in some ways. The process for troubleshooting the GP's is to measure resistance from the GP to the block and make sure they all match. If they do then you replace the harness. I have not heard of a way to test the harness itself (other than maybe to put it on the meter, but if the GP's test out...why bother?). I don't think your comment necessarily gives us enough information to actually say they did anything wrong on the GP issue.

Also, I still don't think they did anything wrong with the alt pulley.
 

rgshredder

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1) This was pure chance. Would it have made any difference if it was 2000 miles later? how about 10,000, 50,000? It could have easily been much later.
You're assuming this is pure chance; it's hard to ignore the possibility of human error given the circumstances. If someone drives their car to 120k miles without changing the timing belt, some may think it a bit risky and definitely pushing the limits...why would they think that? Bc, experience tells us that the risk of failure increases given the established life of the part. Yes, It would have made a complete difference if it had been 2k, 5k or 10k.


2) The amount of damage caused by a broken serp belt compared to a broken timing belt is not comparable. It would be way more expensive to replace every single component that "may" fail regardless of how much damage it would do. You replace those components that may fail and would cause a lot of damage if they did. The alt. pulley is not one of those.
I'm not disagreeing with this point, but like I mentioned before, prevention is better than repair. All parts have a life, it's the job of the expert to know what the averages are...in spending about an hour reading over posts on the subject, I found that I would have asked him to replace it if I knew this information prior to getting the TB done.


4) it is easy to want to play the blame game, but what's the point? I think it's pretty clear that the guru did what he thought best and made good decisions...why are you trying to blame him for something that happened by pure chance simply because it was shortly after he worked on your car?
You can review my other post regarding my experience with this "guru" and you can judge for yourself whether I have grounds to question their judgment/decision and, given recent events, possibly their work.

No offense, but in the end you end up kinda looking like a jerk who is badmouthing someone who did his best to help you. I honestly don't mean offense by that comment either, I just wanted to make sure you were aware that that is how you are coming off.
I am always willing to hear advice from people who are more knowledgeable than myself; if I'm coming off negatively, I apologize, but please note that I've not mentioned this person by name out of respect, I have also not mentioned any locations or other indication of whom this person might be. Given my previous experience with this person, negligence is not out of the realm of possibility, but given your personal responses, even though you have no idea of whom I speaking of, or placed your hands on my car, it sounds like it is.
 

eb2143

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haha, hopefully puter won't think I'm coming off as a jerk for mentioning this:
I thought there was something else that made you not trust the work. If you had been impressed all around, the assumption would have been that the serp belt was pure chance. You probably should have mentioned these things in your original post.

They are legitimate concerns, I'd be a little PO too after that experience and suspicious when a serp belt goes 400 miles later.

There was nothing abnormal at all during those 400 miles before the serp belt shreaded? You were under the hood to change the GP harness and the serp looked good?

Get under there and tell us what you find!
 

puter

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I agree with eb2143, I think you would have gotten much different feedback if you had given the full story.

As for the serp belt, if the reason it blew was the alt pulley not being replaced you can't really hold the mechanic to blame for that.
 

rgshredder

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You probably should have mentioned these things in your original post.
Having personally experienced these events made me somewhat biased regarding placing fault on the mechanic. I thought I would get to the heart of the matter and determine whether a timing belt job could possibly contribute to this issue without introducing bias by including my experience with the mechanic.

I noticed the rubber portion of the intercooler pipe was "wet" with oil and oil markings on the passenger side shield. I know a small amount of oil is normal, but it seemed more than I would expect; it's not actively dripping oil and I've not noticed and substantial changes in oil volume over time.

There is a small thread of belt (1/4 of the width of the belt) fixed between the alt pully and the roller. I can't rotate the pully, however this belt may be impeding it as the belt is looped in the alternator (tethered around one of the fan blades); this also makes the roller somewhat difficult to rotate...

I'm gonna pull the alternator out and see what I see...

Until I do, it sounds like the alt pulley or bad belt...possibly alternator too...fml
 

aja8888

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rgshredder:

As you are learning (and I did too), these cars come with some "built in" known deficiencies. Mainly engineering design faults, (in my opinion). Although some may argue under-designed OE parts are part of the problem.

They are (a sample):

BHW balance shafts which are chain driven,

Lousy glow plug/harness longivity,

"Soft" camshafts on some PD's,

Relays 109, 219, 384 - early failures, bad solder joints,

Alternator pulley issues,

Radio antenna ground issues, junk radios,

and the list goes on....

Find a competent MECHANIC that you can trust to do reliable work if you want to continue to drive these cars. They are not Honda's or Toyota's.
 

Dimitri16V

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rgshredder;3077549 It's frustrating bc I followed the rules said:
there are some failures that give no warnings..which part of that you don't understand ? Get under the car , see if the alt pulley is still attached and if the free wheeling serpentine roller is seized or not.
out of curiousity , how much did you pay fot the t-belt job ?
 

Got Bearings?

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Wow.. the OP is a piece of work. If the alt pulley was consistently going out at 100k miles, it would be included in a deluxe TB kit. but yet NO TB KITS include the pulley. I'm at 140K and still going.

See that's what wrong with the world today. They want to point the finger at someone else for their problems and have them foot the bill or else they will sue. Pretty effing sad. Man up and take responsibility for not knowning your car better and not taking the initiative and having the pulley replaced before it suddenly fails. Shi*t happens. Man up.
 

tditom

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this is what's buggin' me
* I asked to speak with the "guru" who was meant to be working on my car about specifics on the car and turns out he didn't stick around long enough to see them even open the hood of my car...when I specifically requested that he do the work.
that ain't cool
 

rgshredder

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They want to point the finger at someone else for their problems and have them foot the bill or else they will sue.
Outside of getting absolute **** service with this guy during the timing belt change, I'm worried some sort of incompetence is at play in this scenario hence, my need for advice. If someone can say one way or the other that alt pulley's go at the drop of a dime irregardless of miles, than I'll do the work in getting a new one in...but if it sounds too coincidental then I may need to call a lawyer.
I'm not looking for a free meal ticket, If I had all the answers, I wouldn't be on this forum, nor would you for that matter.


To Everyone else that's providing positive contributions to this thread and the topic at hand I've tried several times to contact the mechanic, but to no avail. I don't want to pull the car apart, or mention who it is in this thread, until I speak to them personally. At the end of the day, I am not a mechanic, nor do I pretend to be. I'm here trying to get answers just like everyone else.
 
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cfm56

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if the mechanic is acting this way and acted the way he acted when you had it in for service, well then maybe the rest of us need to know who it is so no one else goes to him and or sends clients his way.

A few posts back you mentioned something along the lines that why is everyone jumping on the alt pulley failing (im paraphrasing) without knowing if its another componant...my answer: your initial post brings up the alt pulley as the culprit. Maybe you could of typed your discrepency alot differently with more information regarding your experiance with this "guru".

anyhow, i would recommend finding another mechanic because after such an experiance i would not trust this mechanic anymore. Another thing, follow the simple guidelines on here in regards to troubleshooting your issue with the serpantine belt shredding.

if this guru is not answering or calling you back then i think his name or shops name needs to be brought up since i consider this shady unless he is out on vacation, in the hospital, or for some odd reason is not able to make the time to console you.
 
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