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Thursday, September 16, 2010

94 Olds Delta 88, 3.8L V-6 serpentine belt replacement

My 94 Olds Delta 88, 3.8L V-6 is on a belt chewing tantrum. The old serpentine drive belt was several years old with cracks across the belt ribs. Well, it separated apart, splitting completely along the ribs last week. I replaced the belt with a new belt from O'reilly auto parts, "Master Pro" brand. I installed the new serpentine belt, making sure that the pulleys were clean of any old belt debris and according to OEM belt routing diagram. I have taken the same belt off/on this engine many times in the past so I am very familiar with the belt routing.
Now after several days of using the car for 25-50 miles. I heard clunking sounds and after raising the hood, the new belt has chewed the inner side up and nipped off a 12" long thin piece, like one rib wide.
Since the belt is shaved, it is now riding out of line from one pulley to another.
What is the cause of this belt chewing? I checked/double checked to make sure the new belt was routed and seated in the pulleys correctly.
All pulleys appeared to me ok, rotating well with no (in/out)end play.
The only other thing that I noticed was it put some holes in the under hood insulation padding and the top covering, cloth, I think was hanging down where IT POSSIBLY could have been caught in the serpentine belt, would that throw the belt off line and caused the belt damage/shave?
One other thing I will note is the engine harmonic balancer has a slight wobble but it has had that for quite a long time.
Please give me some advice on correcting this belt monster. I wouldn't want to buy a $40 better belt only to have it eaten too.

Check your Belt Tensioner out. It sounds as if it is worn out and out of line. These are available at most parts stores for around $50 and have 2 plastic inserts for the water jacket and Heater Hoses. Also most people don't look at them just the pulley. If you can see any of the internal spring, it's worn out.

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