Mechanics

WHY DOES BRACKET KEEP BREAKING

2000 Dodge Intrepid • 130,000 miles

In March, power steering belt came off. Mechanic said the bracket was broke. They replaced it and belt came off again aproximately one month later. They then said that they had not replaced both brackets so they did. In August, the power steering belt once again came off. And once again I was told it was the bracket they put new bracket along with idler pulley bushing and spacer. I got the car back September 6, 2011. On October 8th the power steering belt came off again and once again I was told the bracket was broke again. Is all this possible? If so why does it keep happening?
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Grannyfulce
October 11, 2011.



That is a tough one to diagnose without seeing it.
My best guesses are; The power steering pimp is bad and the pulley does not tract straight and when the tension is adjusted, this might affect how the technician adjusts it. Most technicians adjust new belts a little tight to accommodate for the stretch that comes with a new belt.

The pulley itself may be bent. This would cause approximately the same situation as above.

There may be a blockage in the power steering system causing a pressure rise that made the belt slip, get damaged and fail.

The idler may indeed may have an issue, but it would just let the power steering belt loose.

Everything must be in line with each other when belts and brackets for any accessory is aligned. It can be done with a straight edge, but I have never seen any problems with doing one by eye.

They could be getting the incorrect part even though they are ordering the correct part number.

I find it unusual that the idler bracket broke as it is a spring loaded pulley and would have to be maxed well beyond its limits to break its mounts.

The mounts are made of cast aluminum and are a brittle metal. If they are purchasing cheap parts from an aftermarket company that has a bad batch or makes cast more porous to save money, it could compromise the bracket. Not only could it make the bracket more susceptible to breaking, but the alignment specifications could be off. This is the specification for the mounting holes for the bolts as well as the flush mount with the block and the mounting angle then created by the bracket. This does not include the distance from the mount to the power steering pump bracket that is cast into the pump.
More than likely, Dodge might have a specification for this measurement, but only a dealership, if they even have it, will have access to this.

All in all, there is either a problem with them getting the wrong part despite ordering the correct part number. Aftermarket parts are never as good as manufacturer parts. You might ask them to get used brackets from a salvage yard.
There might be the problem within the power steering system as aforementioned.

Working an automobiles can be really tough as a distributor can change the manufacturer they use and not change the part number and the repair shop will never know. They might have used the same distributor for years and never had a problem and will never know if the parts they are using are coming from a manufacturer that is inferior unless they do some real research with the distributor as well as the distributor checking themselves on what is on the shelf/

Finding problems that are causing your type of issue is frustrating. They lose money, you lose time and no one is happy.
I am not taking any sides, however give them a final chance to get it right. You should take the information I have given you and ask there opinion of what you have found. "Would we be better off getting Dodge parts from a salvage yard?", May be the question that solves it all. Try to be understanding, even though the situation is at what I would say is their last chance, and maybe give them time to check things to be sure you get it back in the correct shape. See what their warranty on their work is. I might ask for a note to be made for, "Heavy Consideration" if the brackets should fail again. I have never seen brackets fail on a car unless it got into a wreck.
Be firm that this is their last chance and bracket pieces flying out from under the car is a safety hazard that will get you in trouble, if you have to go that far.
Try to be firm while understanding.
There is an old saying, "Everyone complains about their Doctor, but the human body has not changed in 100 years". Take that with a huge grain of salt, but it is very hard to keep up with the massive surge in technology from 50 different manufacturers, problematic issues with each, issues with vendors, etc.
In the end, you deserve what you paid for and that is that.
I really hate situations like this and I hope it turns out well for you.

Please let me know if you need any help and if you don't, I would be very interested in the outcome.

I hope all of this information helps