Serpentine Belt Problems - the long version - WHATS THE CORRECT BELT NUMBER?
Since I'm a total non mechanic im really "in the tall weeds" on this problem
I have a 1996 Rialta with ongoing Serpentine belt issues. I bought the vehicle two years ago when it had 22,000 miles on the odometer and have driven close to 20,000 additional miles....My problem is I have replaced the belt 4 times in 20,000 miles...its eating them....the edge is being stripped off by about a 1/16".
I have spent over $3,000.00 in related repairs and it all started in a VW dealer shop in Saskatoon Saskatchawan where I had to be towed off the interstate when the original belt broke...
Next was 1700 miles down the road in Tok Alaska where during an Oil change the mechanic noted the belt was being cut and in fact I had two belts..one about strip 1/16 to 1/8" wide....he replaced it and off we went
In addition there was a "squirrel cage" sound from the motor area that continued to get louder until on my back thru Tok I stopped for fuel and asked a garage mechanic to take a look...and he diagnosed the sound as a bad timing belt or timing belt pully and warned not to drive since if the belt broke it would destroy the motor???? true?....so new timing belt and new harmonic balancer and the same noise persisted....
Next I was told it must be the Serpentine belt tensioner... the garage ordered it .....I drove 200 miles to pick it up and returned it the garage the following Monday and it was the wrong part....(Getting strong vibes I was in the wrong shop by now) I got on the phone with a Napa parts store myself and they guaranteed they would have the correct part for me to pick up in two days .... when I arrived and described my situation he sent me to Anchorage shop where I drove to .... bought airline tickets to fly back home and arranged to leave my Rialta until the following Summer.....these folks replaced the Serpentine belt, belt tensioner, and another suspect pully....I flew back in July, and drove back home ..... first oil change at 5,000 miles and I was told the Serp. belt was cut again......They replaced it and 2 miles away the belt was thrown .....they supplied road service took to the shop where the #1 mechanic reported he re installed it properly this time. He let it run and determined it was o.k..... Next I decided to take it to a recommended shop where they went over the belt system and told me they found a bolt missing from the tensionor and the pully was not running true.....200 miles and its still working...I next decided to buy a spare belt for my return drive to my home in Florida where I was told at Pep Boys the computer listed a belt that is 5" shorter than the package given to me by the last shop that changed it????? Boy am I confused
Does anyone out there know for certain what the correct belt number is???? Or have any other ideas????