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Disco Man
04-03-2008, 12:47 AM
I was on my way back home this evening about 3 miles from my house when I started hearing a hissing sound on my 141,000 mile '94 Grand Cherokee (with 5.2 liter V8). It sounded like it was coming from the transmission. It got louder as I approached my house when I pulled in the driveway I discovered the sound was the plastic adjuster pulley had broken on the inside and the outer pulley ring was rubbing against the pulley/adjuster bolt. The self-adjuster mechanism kept the belt on. The long and the short of it is the pulley is broken however the serpentine belt appears to be ok. Looks like I will going to the dealer tomorrow and buying another pulley and replacing the bad one - I hope the bolt did not bend. This is perfect example of why the older metal pulleys (which have pretty much disappeared) are better than the newer plastic ones.

I'll post pictures of the damage tomorrow..

DonTom
04-03-2008, 01:55 AM
Pete,

A couple of years ago, in my 1997 Jeep Grand Cherokee (5.2 L. 155,000 miles) my PLASTIC (yes, plastic) power steering pulley broke apart leaving me stuck at about half way between my two homes. It had to be towed, since it's a serpentine belt that's used for cooling and other stuff as well and could not be made to work without the power steering pulley.

I removed the power steering unit and brought it to the dealer. The dealer tried to use their machine to remove the broken pressed on pulley but it couldn't get the job done. I ended up buying a new power steering pump and pulley. I changed the serpentine belt too, since it was such a convenient time to do such.

-Don-

Disco Man
04-03-2008, 03:06 AM
Don,

I guess I was pretty lucky to not lose the belt and have to be towed. I may just replace my belt its got about 20K miles on it but I figure its a good insurance policy, and who knows what I'll see when I take the belt off tomorrow (Thursday). I am hoping and praying the tension bolt has not been damaged or bent, or I may not be able to get it off without major surgery.

Eric
04-03-2008, 08:28 AM
I was on my way back home this evening about 3 miles from my house when I started hearing a hissing sound on my 141,000 mile '94 Grand Cherokee (with 5.2 liter V8). It sounded like it was coming from the transmission. It got louder as I approached my house when I pulled in the driveway I discovered the sound was the plastic adjuster pulley had broken on the inside and the outer pulley ring was rubbing against the pulley/adjuster bolt. The self-adjuster mechanism kept the belt on. The long and the short of it is the pulley is broken however the serpentine belt appears to be ok. Looks like I will going to the dealer tomorrow and buying another pulley and replacing the bad one - I hope the bolt did not bend. This is perfect example of why the older metal pulleys (which have pretty much disappeared) are better than the newer plastic ones.

I'll post pictures of the damage tomorrow..


Plastic pulleys.... yeah. That's the ticket!

Well, at least you got home. But I agree - stamped steel pulleys are preferable; they will last basically forever unless they're damaged by someone banging on them or using them for a leverage point with a crowbar....

Dave Brand
04-03-2008, 09:53 AM
But I agree - stamped steel pulleys are preferable; they will last basically forever unless they're damaged by someone banging on them or using them for a leverage point with a crowbar....


...unless the welds fail! Fords Kent engines in the 1960s used a crankshaft pulley made of two pressings spot welded together. OK for normal use, but they had a tendency to fail in hard use. We had one go at about 3AM on a rally somewhere in deepest, darkest Wales. A bang, ignition light on - no problem, we've got a spare belt. Imagine my surprise when I couldn't get the new belt located on the pulley...shining a light on it revealed that we'd only got half a pulley! The answer was a 'competition' pulley, a machined die-casting.

chiph
04-03-2008, 12:01 PM
Sorry to hear about the broken pulley.

I'd go ahead and replace the belt for good measure -- they're actually fairly cheap, like $30 or so. It's the labor that makes replacing them expensive, and you're already 'in the neighborhood'.

Chip H.

Disco Man
04-04-2008, 12:56 AM
Eric and Dave,

You guys are right well made metal pulleys are the way to go.


Chip,

I ended up getting a new belt today, thanks for your input.


All,

Here's an update, I tried to take off the pulley but the bolt was stuck like I feared, so after I exerted a lot of force to loosen it - the bolt head broke off. So I ended up taking off many parts to get the belt tensioner off which the pulley was connected to. The good news is I got it off, and was able to get a new tensioner which comes with a bracket, tensioner, and pulley from the dealership (which cost along with a new belt about $150.00). The bad news on the drive home from the dealer it started raining cats and dogs and has rained all evening. Tomorrow is supposed to be Thunderstorms all day long, so I am stuck waiting for the weather to clear to finish the job. here are a few pictures...


1) Here's a picture so you can see how the inner part of the plastic pulley is metal but the portion between the middle and the (plastic) outside is plastic and that is what disintegrated after 141,000 miles. It's a miracle I got home when you see the damage:

http://www.potomacweb.com/epa/badpulley.jpg


2) Here's a picture of all the pulley and tensioner parts you can see the pulley inside the outside and outside the inner metal ring is completely gone (there were plastic shavings all over the engine bay (also notice the broken bolt head on the tensioner):

http://www.potomacweb.com/epa/badpulley2.jpg

DonTom
04-04-2008, 08:22 AM
The only thing left of my power steering pulley was the metal part that was pressed on to the shaft. That was the only piece left to get off, but not even the Jeep dealer could get it off and they have a special machine just for such.

But perhaps they didn't try too hard, since they had new power steering units in stock. ;D

BTW, one lesson I learned in this is when you bring (or buy) a part to the dealer to fix, bring your VIN number as well. Two reasons. They cannot repair anything without a VIN number and the VIN number might be handy to get the correct part as often there's changes in the middle of the year.

The only reason they could even try do the work without me coming back home here (Reno) to get the VIN number was because our Sebring was once brought to the dealer for recall work. They used the Sebring VIN to try to remove the pressed on metal on the shaft of the Jeep's power steering pulley.

BTW, I was rather shocked to discover (the hard way) that my Jeep Power Steering pulley was made out of plastic. Are they doing this on all vehicles these days?

-Don- (Reno)

Disco Man
04-04-2008, 12:04 PM
Don,

Unfortunately plastic pulleys are becoming the norm on a lot of new vehicles due to their weight and cost savings. Unfortunately the customer pays for this savings after the warranty expires and pulleys turn to mush. I looked over all my pulleys yesterday and the tensioner pulley which is the bad one is the only plastic one I have. My power steering pulley is metal. I checked the Jeep manual it looks like the '93-'96 Grand Cherokee V8 had the same pulley design/structure. In 1997 they changed the design/structure and went with a new plastic power steering pulley.

Thanks for the heads up about having the VIN number ready to give the dealership.

Disco Man
04-04-2008, 01:38 PM
The rain subsided, so I installed the belt tensioner and pulley along with the new fan belt. Here's the finished product:

http://www.potomacweb.com/epa/finished-pulley.jpg


and...

http://www.potomacweb.com/epa/finished-pulley2.jpg


And a special note to Don, when you have to replace your pulley tensioner and pulley - they are all one kit with bracket. Remove the tensioner from the braket and just install it on the old bracket. To get the old braket off you must remove the oil dipstick tube, sometimes they break when you take them out. So I figured I would avoid that, since the tensioner fits on the old bracket with ease and the old braket is the same exact size and dimensions as the new bracket. Here's a picture of my power steering pulley so you can see that it's different than yours:

http://www.potomacweb.com/epa/ps-pulley.jpg

DonTom
04-04-2008, 06:10 PM
Pete,

Thanks for the info. By any Chance, did you try to find out if there was a metal pulley available that would fit your vehicle, perhaps from an earlier year?

I wish the auto manufacturers would realize that there are many places in vehicles where only metal should be used.

GM likes to use nylon gear teeth on the timing chain sprockets in interference engines. I had to junk a couple of vehicles because of that.

OTOH, it still seems that all of these plastic engine part vehicles make it well past the 100,000 mile mark. We don't want to put the all the auto manufactures out of bossiness by all the vehicles being too reliable.

-Don-

Disco Man
04-07-2008, 03:18 AM
Don,

I'll am not sure if there's an aftermarket tensioner pulley that's metal. I check around and see if somebody makes one. Excellent point about the use of plastic parts by automakers to cut costs.

Besides two plastic pulleys in your Grand Cherokee, I am pretty confident you could probably take it over 200,000 miles if not more miles without any serious problems. I know many '93 - '98 GC and other Jeep owners who have racked up over 200,000 miles on the odometer with no engine or tranny rebuilds. I have owned my GC since new, and at 141,000 miles its just getting broken in, it drives and rides just as good as new. It still has the stock 14 year old shocks on it, they still work great. Its been the most reliable vehicle I have ever owned. Only broke me down once on the side of the road (bad fuel pump 2 years ago).

DonTom
04-12-2008, 07:54 PM
"Only broke me down once on the side of the road (bad fuel pump 2 years ago). "

I wish they would stop putting the fuel pump in the gas tank.

I added EFI to my 1978 RV and had the fuel pump located in a place where it was easy to replace. It worked perfectly everywhere, proving it's not necessary to put the fuel pump in the gas tank. I carried spare parts, including a fuel pump. However, none of the spare parts did any good when a piston rod broke. Twice in that 400 CID engine. I junked the RV the second time this happened.

-Don-

Disco Man
04-17-2008, 11:14 AM
Don,

Excellent point. I also wish they would put the fuel pump on FI cars back into the engine bay. You are right in a standard fuel line on a fuel injected car having it in the engine bay and having it in or on the gas tank makes no difference in function. I believe they did the move to make the cars harder to work on. Notice how PCs are now easier to open and work-on compared to 10 years ago. Notice also how the opposite has occured with automobiles, with each passing year they get harder to work on for the owner. Even the most basic replacement jobs require taking off several none related parts.

DonTom
04-17-2008, 12:03 PM
"Even the most basic replacement jobs require taking off several none related parts."

Yep, but that's mainly because they are trying to put more junk in smaller cars. Not many people look at how hard the vehicle is to work on when they are shopping for a new vehicle.

Have you noticed that things that used to be options now come standard with most vehicles? It seems rather difficult to buy a car these days without A/C, cruise controls, power windows and locks, etc., etc. And then all that smog junk in a car that's smaller.

40 years ago, they were not expecting many cars to get past the 100,000 mile mark. These days, it's quite common to get a couple of hundred thousand miles or more before junking the vehicle. Also, other than oil changes, it seems we can now just wait until things break. So it's not all bad news.

While it's often MUCH more difficult to change spark plugs these days, they now last 110,000 miles instead of 3,000 miles.

IMO, there's less work to do on cars these days, but a bigger hassle when you have to.

What I don't understand is why my Dodge Ram truck, which has a lot of room under the hood, is so difficult to work on. They put the distributor in a place that's almost impossible to get to. And even changing the thermostat looks like a big job. And some of the spark plugs are difficult to get at.

What gets me is that sometimes they seem to go out of their way to make things difficult.

-Don- (Reno)