To me, changing the belts and the oil in your car is the easiest
maintenance to save money on. The last time I visited a dealership
(for service) was a VW one in Atlanta. The hourly rates had gone from
$80 on the last visit to $82 this time. Not to mention the "genuine"
parts cost a slight premium as well. You can easily save $100 by
changing the belts yourself, and it will probably only take you about
an hour (maybe two counting clean-up). Also, there's no special
disposal requirements for belts (that I know of) like there is with
I say go ahead and change them, but, of course, its been almost 70
here in Georgia all week, so I want to be out in the garage working on
my car. If being out in the cold isn't worth $100, then have someone
do it. Its hard to mess up a belt change, just don't let Wal-mart do
it, they can mess up anything.
The easiest way to mess up is to fail to realize that there is a screw
to tension the alternator belt. This is an unusual feature and
mechanics, not expecting it, can damage it. The correct procedure is
to loosen the mounting screw, adjust tension with the adjustment
screw, and then tighten the mounting screw.
Also, I recently had my belts replaced and had the rubber mounting
washers on the A/C compressor changed at the same time. What I had
found was that the rubber had aged (my 300D is a '77) and that as a
result the compressor pulley was no longer aligned with the other
pulleys. The continuous tension of the belt had deformed the aged
rubber mounts. The mis-alignment caused the A/C belt to jump off the
pulley and then it got caught up in the other belts & pulleys -- a
mess. The rubber washers were rather expensive at about $10 each, but
I got them at a MB dealer.
A question: I still have an occasional squealing sound from my belts.
What is recommended? I believe the new belts were correctly tensioned.
This is very good information. I would think it prudent to go ahead
and change those. I have found over the years that any big rubber
component, such as engine mounts and these washers, need to be changed
after a certain time. You and I both have cars that are thirty years
old, and rubber gets brittle after such time. Good advice on the
change of the washers.
I will make sure to pay attention to the alt. tensioner, although I
must confess that I do not recall that aspect of it.
That tensioner shows up on the procedure that I emailed you. Its the
first picture on page 4. Loosen the nuts on the back, tighten the
tensioner, tighten the nuts, then lock down the tensioner with another
1/4 to 1/2 turn.
If yours doesn't have this, then you don't have to worry about it, but
I think it applies to your engine also.
I appreciate this advice and agree that I shouldn't capitulate and
start taking the car to the shop for something I should be able to do
myself. I will fire up the heater in the garage and do it myself.
I am a little concerned about getting that tensioner adjusted right,
Motorsforum.com is a website by car enthusiasts for car enthusiasts. It is not affiliated with any of the car or spare part manufacturers or car dealers discussed here.
All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.