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Old 09-16-2011, 02:02 AM   #1
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Default Serpentine belt keeps slipping off

A few days ago, my jeep started making a noise that sounded like plastic cups being tossed around. I pinpointed this noise to the engine bay and found my serpentine belt was way off track by power steering pump. So to fix this, I went ahead and loosened the belt tension adjusting bolt by the power steering pump bracket and the idler pulley and realigned the belt once more and tightened her up again.

Within seconds of starting the vehicle up again, it slipped off track again and I decided to take a dance with my luck and had tried to drive it back to my house which was a mere 7 miles away. Unfortunately, it did not make it. Part way through the trip, the serpentine belt came completely off and I lost power steering and the temperature started to rise. I was forced to pull it over to a gas station to let it rest for about 15-20 min before I trudged it along to a nearby friend's house where it currently sits.

My question is....what the hell is wrong with it? The belt was on there pretty good and is (was) in good condition before, so I am not sure how it all of the sudden started to become loose and slip off track.

Any input is greatly appreciated, the car is my only set of wheels now so the sooner I get this thing back on the road, the better.

It's a 96' cherokee with a 4.0 for those wondering.

EDIT: Oh, and my coolant spewed everywhere too causing the car to overheat.

Last edited by CommanderXJ; 09-16-2011 at 02:30 AM.
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Old 09-16-2011, 02:05 AM   #2
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Check your pulley alignment, One of them is likely off. If I had to guess I'd start with the harmonic balancer as the rubber in them tends to dry out and rot/crack causing the pulley to shift.
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Old 09-16-2011, 02:22 AM   #3
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me thinks you have a idler pulley/tensioner which is shot.

if it is....Serpentine belt will never hold tension no matter how much you adjust the bolt by the power steering.

it is pretty easy to spot.....the shiny wheel where the belt goes over and yet has no grooves.....

spin that....if it clankety clanks.. its shot..

now on a 96 am not sure if its a spring loaded one or not (my 95 chevy was and was a breeze to replace) on my 91 jeep though its bolted down and takes some doing to get to.
its basically a extra pully to ensure the belt path is ok (and to allow for A/C accessory, smog, etc etc.)

anyway, start there....if you can get a pic from the top down that would be great....to show (in case I am crazy and you dont have an idler pulley/tensioner).........

cheers!

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Old 09-16-2011, 02:40 AM   #4
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I'll look at it tomorrow and see, the car was making a clanking noise prior to it going out. I guess the best way to describe the sound would be if someone dropped a bunch of plastic cups on a linoleum floor.
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Old 09-16-2011, 02:55 AM   #5
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I had the same problem, but mine was the power steering pulley. I had just replaced the pump and when I re-installed the pulley I didn't press it on far enough so it was out of alignment with the other pulleys. Could be the idler pulley or harmonic balancer isolator could be slipping off like the other guys said. The plastic isolator on the balancer will sometimes squeeze out and hit the fan making a metal clanging noise. I just took a razor blade and cut the piece that was sticking out and it has been fine for a over a year now.
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Old 09-16-2011, 02:56 AM   #6
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Also, how would I know which pulley is bad? WOuld it be wise to just replace all of them? Or just narrow it down and replace the one(s) that are bad?
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Old 09-16-2011, 02:59 AM   #7
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just spin everything by hand, chances are if you heard noises before hand, one of them will make noises/be loose.
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Old 09-16-2011, 03:40 AM   #8
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99.9% of the time you hear that noise like the plastic cups on the floor thingsy thing.

its the idler pulley/tensioner. (the cheapo bearing in it has worn and gone.)

check all pulleys by hand....no belt on..spin them with your hand.

like the other guys said if any one of them grind, or are sloppy, or seem like not spinning right.. thats the problem.

anyway, good luck!

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Old 09-16-2011, 03:42 AM   #9
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'cept for the crankshaft pulley....that shouldnt move at ALL by hand....

if it does.....harmonic balancer probly has split as was stated before.

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Old 09-16-2011, 04:13 AM   #10
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Quote:
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'cept for the crankshaft pulley....that shouldnt move at ALL by hand....

if it does.....harmonic balancer probly has split as was stated before.

cpnwrench

Or your the freaking hulk..
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Old 09-16-2011, 12:59 PM   #11
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Are pulleys easy to replace? I have been able to fix everything that's been wrong with the car since I've had it.
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Old 09-16-2011, 05:33 PM   #12
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Okay, after taking a closer look at it today. I noticed the power steering pulley is a little wobbly. If I rock it back and forth in a forward and backward motion (towards me and away from me if I am standing directly in front of the car), there is a clanking noise.

I am assuming this is the culprit?
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Old 09-16-2011, 06:06 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CommanderXJ View Post
Okay, after taking a closer look at it today. I noticed the power steering pulley is a little wobbly. If I rock it back and forth in a forward and backward motion (towards me and away from me if I am standing directly in front of the car), there is a clanking noise.

I am assuming this is the culprit?
This is a case where rock-n'-roll IS truly bad. Time to replace.
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Old 09-16-2011, 10:07 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CommanderXJ View Post
Okay, after taking a closer look at it today. I noticed the power steering pulley is a little wobbly. If I rock it back and forth in a forward and backward motion (towards me and away from me if I am standing directly in front of the car), there is a clanking noise.

I am assuming this is the culprit?

I'd say that's your problem right there. Time for a new one. And a new belt while you are at it.

And, just be ready to put a new water pump on her within the next 6 months or so. My experience is, every time I have put a new tight belt on mine, within 6 months the water pump seal where it turns will go out due to the tighter belt tension pulling on it and breaking the old seal. And no, I do not over tighten my belt, it's just the old seal on a water pump that's a few years old.
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Old 09-17-2011, 03:48 AM   #15
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Sorry for the dumb questions but I really want to make sure everything is good to go so I don't have to disassemble it all over again, but....is there anything else I need/should do while I am replacing the power steering pulley? I am thinking I may just end up replacing the power steering pump as well. This will be my first time doing anything like this, and from what I read in the FSM I will have to take out the power steering pump to remove the pulley (which honestly isn't going to be a problem).

I picked up a new pulley today (just the pulley, nothing else) am I going to be needing new seals on anything?

Again sorry for the newbie questions, I am just a poor college student trying to save some money by not taking this thing to the mechanic lol.

EDIT: I purchased a replacement serpentine belt so I will be doing that since it is already off, I am just looking to see if I should do other things while I can.

Last edited by CommanderXJ; 09-17-2011 at 03:51 AM.
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Old 09-17-2011, 03:48 AM
 
 
 
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