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Old 06-09-2012, 08:58 PM   #1
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2nd power steering pump pulley and belt failure

Anyone with a 7.3 have poor luck with gouging the power steering pump pulley? I've just had my belt fail for the second time in two months due to a major gouge in the pulley.

This was a brand new belt 8 weeks ago:







First pulley that was replaced:






The new pulley looks much the same but was spotless when I replaced the vacuum pump a month and a half ago.

What gives? Am I kicking up rocks into the serpentine belt when off pavement? I thought initially that I was rubbing the back (smooth) side of the belt and it was failing that way, but after looking more closely, the belt is failing due to flexing over the gouge in the ribbed part of the pulley.

Any ideas on what could either be falling off of the engine/compartment into the belt system or coming up from the road surface to cause this problem? What are the odds that it would happen twice in two months and impact the same pulley in the same place?

I've checked all around the local area of the engine compartment and no fasteners are loose or seem to be missing. None of the other pulleys are damaged or have undue play in the bearings. Unless something is rubbing the backside and when the belt fails the belt itself is causing the gouge, I'm at a loss....

I've got to drive to Reno tomorrow, so I'm doing some filing of the pulley ribs to clean them up and then throw my spare belt on and monitor closely.
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Old 06-09-2012, 09:07 PM   #2
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Re: 2nd power steering pump pulley and belt failure

Any play in the water pump pulley?


Herb
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Old 06-09-2012, 09:26 PM   #3
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Re: 2nd power steering pump pulley and belt failure

Quote:
Originally Posted by BroncoHauler
Any play in the water pump pulley?


Herb

Nope, Only the slightest bit of play in the ribbed pulley on the tensioner. Everything else is free of any play.

After doing a bit of filing on the old pulley I really gotta think that something hard was tossed into the system. The ribs on the pulley are not super soft and wouldn't gouge easily.

I just can't believe that it has happened twice in exactly the same spot in such a short time.
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Old 06-09-2012, 11:19 PM   #4
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Re: 2nd power steering pump pulley and belt failure

Pulled the compressor to the side, removed the vacuum pump and was able to get my puller into the space between the fan shroud and the p/s pulley to remove it. I used a three corner file to de-burr and clean up the ribs of each of the two pulleys that I have. A little 300 grit smoothed out the end product. I ended up re-installing the most recently installed pulley as it had a much smaller gouge/repair area.

I'll be keeping my eye on the belt for this trip and try to replace the pulley and belt again in Reno this week. It'll also be on my checklist to look at the pulley/belt after any significant off pavement time.

I'd been hearing a bit of ticking in that area for the last couple of weeks and had not paid it much attention as I knew I would take a look at it when I changed my oil before this trip to the Sierra. Should have checked into it sooner. A couple of the shredded bits of belt were wrapped around the shaft of both the compressor and vacuum pump clicking away with each revolution.

Everything is re-installed and ready to hit the road tomorrow
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Old 06-09-2012, 11:58 PM   #5
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Re: 2nd power steering pump pulley and belt failure

I think something is hitting the pulley though the belt... It must be something strong to damage the pulley like that twice... Any chance something in the axle or steering system could touch the pulley somehow? Tie rod adjusting bolt or something like that? Did you do any work or add anything to the van just before the first belt went out? Do you see any shinny spots where the belt touched something near the pulley?
Do you do much off roading? Does it only happen after you do? I wouldn't think even if it happened with a rock it wouldn't be in the exact same place two times in a row, thats why I think it is something in the suspension or something else touching it... If you file the pulley down well that will be fine for a long time possibly for ever, I have had to do that in the past that will be ok... I wouldnt replace the pulley again without finding out what is causing the problem...
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