Belt, pulleys, tensioner
Mercedes-Benz Serpentine Belt Replacement
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How Often Should I Replace My Serpentine Drive Belt on Sprinter?
Most vehicles have a rubber belt on the front of the engine that drives accessories such as the air-conditioning compressor, power steering pump, and alternator. If this accessory drive belt (also called a V-belts or serpentine belts) breaks, the battery won’t get charged, the air conditioner won’t blow cold air and the power steering will go out. In addition, if the belt drives the water pump, the engine could overheat.
Most manufacturers call for periodic inspection of the belt as part of scheduled maintenance, but few list a specific replacement interval, and inspection intervals vary widely. Mercedes-Benz, for example, says to inspect the belt every two years or 20,000 miles.
Though these belts often last many years, they can become cracked or frayed and need to be replaced. These common signs of wear are why they should be inspected at least annually on vehicles that are more than a few years old. In addition, if a belt needs to be replaced, the pulleys and tensioners that guide the belt should be inspected to determine if they caused damage other than normal wear.
A belt that isn’t cracked or frayed may look like it’s in good shape, but grooves on the hidden side may be worn enough that the belt slips on the pulleys that drive the accessories. That will cause problems in systems that rely on the belt to keep things humming. For example, a slipping drive belt may cause the alternator to work intermittently or at reduced power, and the battery won’t get fully recharged as a result, perhaps triggering a warning light.
Another sign of a worn belt is a squealing noise under acceleration. That could indicate that the belt is slipping because of wear, a belt tensioner is loose or a pulley is out of alignment.
Mercedes-Benz Sprinter 2500 Serpentine Belt Replacement Cost
What is a serpentine belt?
The engine in your car has many roles to fill. It has to do more than move. It also has to generate electricity, assist with power steering, cool off the passengers, and keep itself cool. The serpentine belt - sometimes referred to as the fan belt, alternator belt, or accessory drive belt - is used to spin, or "drive," several components attached to the engine. It drives the alternator that powers the electrical system and recharges the battery. It also drives the power steering pump, the air conditioning compressor, and the water pump. (The water pump circulates coolant through the cooling system). In the past, multiple drive belts were used to turn pulleys attached to these components. Today, most vehicles employ just a single belt - the serpentine belt - to do the job.
How does the serpentine belt work?
As the engine's crankshaft pulley turns it drives the serpentine belt. In turn, the belt drives the pulleys for the other systems including the air conditioning, alternator, water pump, cooling fan, and power steering.
What are the symptoms related to a bad serpentine belt?
Over time serpentine belts stretch, crack, and the ribs that ride on the accessory pulleys being to wear smooth. A squealing noise that increases with engine speed or as engine driven accessories are turned on may be noted. The noise is caused by the belt slipping on the pulleys, insufficiently driving them. Ineffective air conditioning, a battery warning light, or intermittent power steering assist can result from this.
Can I drive with a serpentine belt problem?
A slipping belt means one or all of the accessories are not being driven properly. Loss of air conditioning, electrical power, power steering, or water pump and fan drive are possible depending on the severity of the wear. If left for too long the belt can shred or come off of the pulleys. The belt should be inspected as soon as is convenient to protect against becoming stranded.
How often do serpentine belts need to be replaced?
Replacement intervals vary by vehicle and driving conditions. We typically see this part replaced approximately every 100,000 miles.
How are serpentine belt issues diagnosed?
The technician will visually inspect the serpentine belt for wear or fluid contamination. The belts have grooves that locate them laterally on the accessory pulleys. These will be checked for cracking or chunking. On vehicles equipped with automatic belt tensioners, there is usually a gauge on the tensioner that indicates how much the belt has stretched, this will also be checked.
6 Signs of a failing Sprinter drive belt
A faulty drive belt can cause a number of problems. These are some of the most common.
1. You hear a squealing noise: A drive belt that is stretched or out of adjustment can make a squealing noise. The noise is caused by the belt slipping on the pulleys, insufficiently driving them. This is usually most noticeable when the vehicle is first started in the morning, as the drive belt has not yet heated up and become pliable.
2. You see physical damage: A belt that is visibly cracked, frayed, torn or broken is no good. You’ll need a new one.
3. Warning lights are on: The alternator is driven by the drive belt. If the belt slips or breaks, the car’s charging system won’t have voltage. As a result, a cluster of warning lights may pop up on the dash. This is especially true on cars made in the last 10 or 20 years, which have dozens of voltage-dependent computers.
4. The battery goes dead: The battery is basically a storage device for electrical energy created by the alternator. If the drive belt slips or breaks, the alternator won’t properly charge the battery. As a result, the battery will die.
5. Lack of power steering: Vehicles with hydraulic power steering have a belt-driven pump. A loose or broken belt can result in a lack of steering assist.
6. Engine overheating: On sprinter van, the water pump is run by the drive belt. A broken or slipping belt can cause the water pump to stop turning, making the engine overheat. If this happens, pull off the road in a safe place and turn off the engine. Overheating can kill an engine quickly and cost you a lot of money.
If you see such cracks on your belt, then you need to urgently change the belt and check the pulleys and tensioner!