Pulley Alignment

Tiny
DSW95
  • MEMBER
  • 1999 VOLKSWAGEN BEETLE
  • 2.0L
  • AUTOMATIC
  • 150,000 MILES
HI, I have not been able to drive my car because I needed to replace my serpentine belt because it recently broke. I bought a replacement and it fit perfectly however, my car still will not run. It would start to smoke, believed it was because it was damaging the belt. I looked and saw that one of the pulleys was off center. Could this be the reason its not working? Is it an easy and affordable fix? I am not sure how to go about getting it repaired by getting a shorter belt to bypass the air conditioner (which does not work) or aligning the pulley somehow?
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Wednesday, June 8th, 2016 AT 12:50 PM

3 Replies

Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
Absolutely, you have identified the cause of the problem, but you need a live person to see which pulley is tipped or turned. That will dictate the needed repair. Any pulley that is tipped or turned enough to cause the belt to run off-center on the next pulley by as little as 1/16" can set up a horrendous squeal since the belt will slide across the pulley as it goes around it. Much more than that and the belt will start to shred on one side.

Typically the generator and power steering pump are fixed and those pulleys will only be mispositioned if the assembly was just replaced and was mounted incorrectly. When the problem occurred after no repairs were recently done, it is almost always due to a pulley riding on a bearing, meaning a spring-loaded tensioner pulley or an idler pulley.
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Wednesday, June 8th, 2016 AT 8:44 PM
Tiny
DSW95
  • MEMBER
I will add that the pulley was a part of the air conditioner compressor which looks fine just misaligned, the pulley is just not allowing it to work. I am not sure what pulley it is specifically (spring-loaded tensioner or idler). If I want to fix it, is it best to get a mechanic to do it or is it an easy fix you think?
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Wednesday, June 8th, 2016 AT 8:49 PM
Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
As I did not say earlier, I do not know which pulleys are involved so I do not know how involved the repair will be. When the air conditioner compressor clutches come a part there is almost always more symptoms than just a shredded belt. A seized clutch will just cause the air conditioner compressor to run all the time. A worn bearing in the clutch will cause that pulley to wobble severely and make a lot of noise. Special tools are needed to replace a compressor clutch. Due to confined working space, the need for those special tools, and the time involved, a lot of mechanics find it less expensive for you, and faster to just replace the entire compressor. That usually results in a more reliable repair. If you remove the belt, you should be able to identify the pulley causing the problem by wiggling sideways on them. You will see that most are solid but will spin freely, and there will be one that is not.
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Wednesday, June 8th, 2016 AT 9:07 PM

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