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Old 07-29-2014, 09:29 PM   #1
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Default serpentine belt replacement

Just had to have my 2001 Roadtrek towed to mechanic due to a broken serpentine belt. They called to tell me that the belt broke because the alternator froze up and quoted me $534 to replace alternator and belt. Wondering if this sounds reasonable; hate to think they padded the repair, but was only expecting a belt replacement. Any advice appreciated . . . . . rookie treker
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Old 07-29-2014, 09:40 PM   #2
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Default Re: serpentine belt replacement

In my long history of owning vehicles I have never heard of an alternator "freeze up". If the alternator caught fire, maybe, but unless the armature jammed seems odd to me that it would cause a belt to break. Alternator should be examined to see what happened to it. Ie does the armature turn or not? I dont know what the cost of a new serpentine belt would be installed but 500$ would seem a big high--although they say that includes the alternator(200$+).
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Old 07-29-2014, 09:51 PM   #3
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Default Re: serpentine belt replacement

From what I have seen, it is more typical for the tensioner pulley to freeze up and break the serpentine belt, but the alternator can do it also if the bearings seize. Usually, you will get a bit of noise first from the bearings going bad, but you may not be able to here it over the cooling fan. If they are using a Chrysler new alternator, the $500 is probably in the ball park. If they are using a generic rebuilt unit, I would say it is high, unless it is a very difficult one to install.

I would definitely want to see the alternator when they take it out, as it is fairly common for shops to try to sell alternators, water pumps, etc when they do a belt replacement.
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Old 07-29-2014, 10:15 PM   #4
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Default Re: serpentine belt replacement

Thank you for your quick response; I will definitely ask to see the replaced alternator (not that I could recognize a defect unless it was very obvious). I had the Roadtrek safety checked this Spring at an RV Center and nothing was noted regarding the electrical system or alternator. So, is this something that could go unnoticed and deteriorate quickly. . . ? I'm beginning to think this vehicle might be just a bit too much for me.
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Old 07-29-2014, 10:28 PM   #5
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Default Re: serpentine belt replacement

An old and worn belt would be visible at an inspection, but unless they released the belt (which is rarely done) and spun the alternator, water pump, tensioner, etc they would not find an impending failure there unless it was making noise.

This repair should not sour you on your Roadtrek any more than the same repair would on a car, as they all have similar parts and lifespans. You have to remember that this is a 13 year old vehicle and there will be some repairs needed when compared to a new one. Just be a careful consumer as you would with your car.
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Old 07-29-2014, 10:36 PM   #6
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Default Re: serpentine belt replacement

Thanks for the words of encouragement; advice well taken.
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Old 07-30-2014, 02:10 AM   #7
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Default Re: serpentine belt replacement

If you are a do-it-yourselfer you would save a few bucks by installing it yourself. Shop rate can be spendy wherever you may live. The price of a Haynes manual at your local Autoparts store is a very cheap investment for almost any project. Very few tools would be needed for this swap and the parts store may lend them to you if needed, heck, if you did the work in their parking lot maybe one of the guys would come out and offer some advise. Good luck!
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