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Gray_Ghost 03-31-2012 09:40 PM

Serpentine Belt shredded... Help?
I left the house earlier tonight and was only about a mile or so from the house when the car started squealing. Uh-oh... I turned around and came back home. I popped the hood to find the belt shredded. So, I need help. I need a diagram or picture of how it's SUPPOSED to go on and if there's a DIY that I'm not finding it would be much appreciated. I did search but it didn't help much. Thank you in advance.

SHAUNE55 04-01-2012 04:26 AM

1 Attachment(s)

Gray_Ghost 04-01-2012 08:26 AM

Thanks for the diagram. After checking out the damage this morning, it's more involved than I thought. Unfortunately, the clutch fan took a hit and has a couple busted blades. Yay... So, anybody have a DIY for the clutch fan? Also, any idea where to get a fan besides MB? I apologize if this has been gone over a million times, but I'm freaking out right now. I recently sold the Lightning so I'm down to the car now.

SHAUNE55 04-01-2012 08:44 AM

1 Attachment(s)
This is a PDF for removing the fan and clutch together, you can take the fan off the clutch in the car but it's a bit fiddly and will take longer.
You don't need the torque wrench, I think from memory the four bolts that hold the fan to the clutch are 6mm Allen bolts (could be 5mm).

Gray_Ghost 04-01-2012 08:47 AM

Thanks bro! I was going to replace the clutch as well for peace of mind so that's great.

fabbrisd1 04-01-2012 06:10 PM

You were fortunate the damage was not more severe.

Frankly 99% of the time the reason the belt sheredded was failure of one or both of two other parts: old style belt tensioner, and/or idler pulley. Replacement of the fan clutch should not be neccessary.

1) Belt tensioner: the OE replacement (recommended) is made by Litens and is aftermarket $120. China no-name/quasi brand (not recoemmended) are like $60 and beware most retail auto parts stores only sell the China made for up to a lot of money. The China one has serious failure issues. The updated style Litens (original style was short lived) will last the rest of your life.

2) The idler pulley/wheel OE is Luk/Ina at $21, the China no-brand/quasi brand can be as low as $10, and are also marketed under many retail store brands. I can offer no comment since I have never used anything other than Luk/Ina - which has about 100K mile life. Gates has a 3rd version for a bit over $30 "tech" design, I have never used that either.

3) Belt: Conti or even Gates should be like under $35

4) Fan Blade: Febi makes a OK replacement like $55. MB brand OE is like $55 on China made replacements are like $35. I have used the Febi with no issues.

5) Fan clutch: this is a viscous clutch so if it starts failing it slips, never seizes. The Sach OE is like $250, the China made sh*t replacement is as low as $80 and no-brand/quaisi brand marketed for up to $200.

6) Fan clutch 2pc tool set: 2PCS Mercedes Benz Fan Clutch Wrench Water Pump Holder | eBay

Most oft mentioned parts sources, Sunday night order on in stock parts will ship out Monday, or for MB parts.

Keep the faith !

Gray_Ghost 04-03-2012 12:29 PM

I have the parts ordered. And I'm about the order the tool that fabbrisd1 linked to. My next question is how do I relieve Tension to install the belt? Special tool? I have a Serpentine Belt tool for my Ford vehicles but I doubt it would work.

SHAUNE55 04-03-2012 01:24 PM

It's just a small torx bolt but you can get away with a ring spanner if you don't have a female torx, just lift hard and it will release the tension . Watch your fingers!

Check Codes 04-03-2012 01:39 PM


Originally Posted by Gray_Ghost (Post 5190802)
I have the parts ordered. And I'm about the order the tool that fabbrisd1 linked to. My next question is how do I relieve Tension to install the belt? Special tool? I have a Serpentine Belt tool for my Ford vehicles but I doubt it would work.

It depends. If you have the old-style tensioner (with a threaded shaft extending through a nut on the pulley) you do it as Shaune55 indicated. If you have the newer style tensioner (and the suggestion you're getting is to replace it if you have the old one) there is a hex-head cast into the housing. Put a wrench (17mm? 19mm?) on it and push down to release tension.

Replacing the idler pulley is a giant PITA on that engine, you have to pull or at least angle the radiator out of it's support to clear the bolt.

Good luck.

Gray_Ghost 04-03-2012 02:31 PM

Thanks guys. It's the older style with the Torx head on it. I've checked the pulleys though and all spin freely and no noise so I think the belt was just worn out as it seperated at the ribs. What size is that Torx bolt?

SHAUNE55 04-03-2012 05:11 PM

I will have a look in the morning at the size,
CC my mistake I've only ever encountered the older style tensioner, if you mean the top idler pulley I've only ever had to take the fan off to get the long bolt out.

fabbrisd1 04-03-2012 06:17 PM

I have replaced idler wheel pulley - it's cheap buddy - since you are removing the fan the pulley is a easy job. Sure, pulling shroud clips and tilting works best to pull and reinstall the fan.

Go down to the W210 standard forum, same DIY, just a bit less front space to work with.

It would be foolish NOT to replace the idler pulley - since your old style tensioner shreded the belt (they sheds long way) - and your idler pulley already has serious cracks running fron the inner bearing race to alsmost the outside rim - it's ready to blow soon and with that you will be at square one over one $20/whatever part.

Yes - that idelr pully bolt is like a never ending long one for sure !

SHAUNE55 04-04-2012 10:06 AM

OK I have the newer tensioner on this 2001 car so I can't help you with the torx size for the old one, I sold the one that had the old tensioner.
New one is 17mm and lift counter clockwise.
As I said though I've done the old ones with a ring spanner.

Gray_Ghost 04-07-2012 01:45 PM

Many thanks to the people that chimed in with help and advice. The tools arrived about 2:30 today. Finished up disassembly and reassembly in and hour and a half. New belt, fan, and clutch. Warmed it up to operating temperature, then took it on a rather spirited test drive (scaring my girlfriend's bro in the process, hehehe). My baby is back on the road and running about 10 degrees cooler as well. Again thank you! I couldn't have done it without your help.

fabbrisd1 04-07-2012 02:26 PM

If you didn't replace the tensioner and the idler pulley at the same time - then my hat's off to you buddy for attitude.

W210e55 08-04-2018 11:00 PM

So I recognize this thread/post is very old but I have a 2001 W210 e55 that started shredding belts weekly. Shredded 5 before I took it in to the Mercedes dealer for some help. This is my son's car and outside of this issue it has been a real trooper of car. It has 156K on the clock and it runs really well but this was annoying as hell and very inconvenient when it would shred many miles from the house. Anyway, I started into a long drown out process of replacing parts before I finally figured it out. At least I think I have as it's been two weeks and 150 miles since I have thrown a belt.

Parts replaced in order:

First belt: new belt

Second belt: new belt again

Third belt: new belt + tensioner + pulley (new style)

Fourth belt: new belt + fan clutch (sorta needed to be replaced anyway)

Fifth belt: new belt + alternator (old one full of melted rubber from all the previous thrown belts)

Sixth and current belt: new belt + A/C compressor & dryer + water pump (water pump was the culprit)

So after all that it turned out that the water pump had a very slow leak and was dripping on the belt. The water and coolant was causing the rubber get slick and walk back and forth on the hub of the fan clutch. They would get extremely hot weakening the belt and you know what comes next. The leak in the water pump was very slight but would increase once the revs would get up and the engine got to operating temperature. Let this be a service to anyone who's had the dreaded shredded belt situation on these cars. Start with checking to see if you have a very hard to detect leak that's dripping on your belt.

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