Changed my serpentine belt and tensioner yesterday

Messages
13,463
Location
ROCHESTER, NY
Vehicles are becoming harder and harder to work on and I don't care what vehicle it is. The Mfg's have made vehicles easier to assemble not easier to work on. Plus just think, each time we buy a new vehicle, many of us plan to keep them for many years into their teens. So, when it come time to replace some of the simple items, the whole vehicle has to come apart to replace the part that take only 15 minutes. I replace the high pressure P/S line in my wifes Lexus due to rust where the line enters the rack(in the wheel well where salt can attack it). Working by myself, crawling under the car and back ontop again and again. I had the whole air box and all of the plumbing removes from the engine bay just to get my hands a place to work. Finaly got the whole line disconnected and removed, took it to a radiator repair shop to have only the rotted protion of the line and high pressure hose bent and crimped properly($85) and picked it up again 4 hours later and started to install it the next day. While the P/S line was out for repair, I cleaned the throttle body, and tranny speed sensor and inspected anything that I had been curious about for some time. To make a long story short...17 hours over 3 days...Dealer or any other shop wanted $1600 to perform the whole job with parts. I could have purchace a brand new high pressure P/S line for ~$300 but, I didn't need the whole thing, only a part of it replaced.
 
Messages
527
Location
Seattle, WA
I love German cars, but agreed that simplicity in servicing is a big plus when I go looking for a new car, figuring in the costs of ownership over time, I'll sacrifice some performance for ease of maintenance. Not to mention that s more basic set up means if there is a intermittent problem it will be easier to find.
 
Messages
1,471
Location
Las Vegas
I read an interesting book by a Brit who postulated that lack of maintainability of their equipment was the reason the Germans lost WWII. Looks like the engineers who designed the Tiger II tank are still at work in the Fatherland.
 
Messages
2,789
Location
California, USA
Wow! You know, dparm, I love that engine bay, and way back when you first posted that shot of it, I swiped the image to put in my set of engine bay shots that rotate through as my desktop backgrounds. But I never considered that it would make the serpentine belt such a PITA. Shoehorning a V8 into what's essentially a compact is enough on its own, but then you add it in the fact that it's mounted in front of the axle for the AWD setup, and it's in a hole new league! Makes me appreciate the short flat 4 in my Subaru! 9 hrs for the belt and related, 60 mins for plugs! Still a beautiful car, though.
 
Messages
1,724
Location
Glen Ellyn, IL
All that work at just 65K miles.... Back when I used to drive my car for work, that would be about every 18 months (and some here could rack up that much even faster). No thanks! I've had a couple cars where the serpentine belt and tensioner were ten-minute jobs. That's more like it!
 
Messages
1,122
Location
Minneapolis
I'm not sure what some of you are talking about. I've owned BMWs and Audis for the last 15 years, and I think that they're pretty straightforward to work on. They require someone to be very methodical and very patient, but as long as you understand how the "layers" of stuff interact with each other, it's actually kind of fun. You cannot work on these cars without reading, and re-reading, as much as you can about the service you're about to perform. That said, I've never really had a problem where I've "hit the wall". I've certainly had problems, but they're usually solved by relaxing and learning more about what I'm trying to do. The next time I do that job it usually takes 1/2 the time. And it happens FAR less often with German cars when I sit there with awe at something that seems REALLY stupid. Like a bolt that faces into a frame rail, or a pipe that runs right across a work area. You know, things that are obviously design afterthoughts that make servicing something much more complicated. This idea is probably lost on anyone who hasn't spent a lot of time under Teutonic hoods; it's hard to explain. But I think it's worth noting that an S4 is at the extreme of "German-ness". I would LOVE to own one, but I think it makes working on my e46 seem like working on a 64 Ford.
 
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Messages
11,196
Location
NY Capital District
I wouldn't say that ALL german engineers are ludicrous. I mean, the Cruze was designed primarily by GM of Germany, at their Russelheim Studio. The 1.4L is designed by them as well. And working on my car will be a cinch, there is so much empty room around the engine!
 
Messages
246
Location
Eastern U.S.
Wow, it takes about 5 minutes on my '92 Chev pickup (tensioner has one bolt). On the other hand, it'll probably be an all day job on our PT.
 
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