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1992 F-150 Serpentine Problems

Kaajot

Micro Machine Manager
New Problem parked the F-150 at the Farm and have the loaner truck again.

The Serpentine Belt shredded itself again -- has 2-3 of its ribs left out of the 6 beads (half width).

The belt had about 100 miles on it!!!!

We've replaced the Smog Pump, fixed the Tensioner Pulley and the Power Steering Pump.

I'm so mad!

Any ideas on what we should be checking? I'm about to get a new alternator on there anyway -- the mechanic DID NOT test that pulley's free spin either, so now he's saying "It could be seizing too." As I told him, there was oil everywhere and I think we damaged nearly every component in that front area because of that before the new engine went into the truck.
 

Kaajot

Micro Machine Manager
I found this article discussing the Serpentine Belt. I started to have a feeling the Harmonic Balancer might be the issue, which is crap because this is a brand new engine installed and the balancer SHOULD be lined up properly.

https://www.southcoasttoday.com/article/20030319/news/303199923

We still have to investigate the alternator and recheck the tensioner because I think it could be off at those two points or even the power steering pump.
 
I had this problem on my 91 e350 with the 5.8. The shop somehow misaligned the power steering pump after snapping a stud and doing a lazy fix when I had the timing chain replaced. It took several trips and 6 months but they finally fixed it on their dime. Pull the belt off and run a piece of string around the pulleys on the edge of the pulley and you might be able to see the deflection if its misaligned.

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dustybumpers

don't play well w others
You need to see what's out of alignment.

If the belt is shreading something is not lined up.

Balancer is probably not bad, or you wouldn't be able to set the timig with a light,
That being said, it may well be that it was not put in deep enough. many mechanics don't have the tool to push the damper all the way in, and try to drive it in with a hammer until the bolt catches, then thry to use the bolt to pull it back. this usually pulls the threads out of the crank, or strips the threads off the bolt.

Second area to check is the pulley on the power steering pump. this uses a similar tool to set the pulley, and can set the pulley too deep, or shallow if not done properly.

At this point, best check for you is a trick Jake suggested the other day for mine.
Put the belt back on, take a timing light, and hook it up.
at night, start the truck, shine the light at the running belt, and look for where it is out of line. the flashes will pick up on the belt numbers, and you will see which pulley is out of alignment.
Try this, and let us know what you find.

Pictures of course are a big help.
 
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Kaajot

Micro Machine Manager
You need to see what's out of alignment.

If the belt is shreading something is not lined up.

Balancer is probably not bad, or you wouldn't be able to set the timig with a light,
That being said, it may well be that it was not put in deep enough. many mechanics don't have the tool to push the damper all the way in, and try to drive it in with a hammer until the bolt catches, then thry to use the bolt to pull it back. this usually pulls the threads out of the crank, or strips the threads off the bolt.

Second area to check is the pulley on the power steering pump. this uses a similar tool to set the pulley, and can set the pulley too deep, or shallow if not done properly.

At this point, best check for you is a trick Jake suggested the other day for mine.
Put the belt back on, take a timing light, and hook it up.
at night, start the truck, shine the light at the running belt, and look for where it is out of line. the flashes will pick up on the belt numbers, and you will see which pulley is out of alignment.
Try this, and let us know what you find.

Pictures of course are a big help.

Yep, we'll get some pictures. Thanks Dusty & Jake!

The engine was remanufactured by S&J Engines, so it does have a pretty high standards. I read through their reviews and even some driveway mechanics had good experiences when S&J determined the guy was skilled enough to fix their head job manufacturing defect, they reimbursed parts and paid $25/hr for him to do the job and get the new engine "operational" as intended. So, not a bad company overall. Hopefully they did set it deep enough (I read about the harmonic balancer being extended/too short if they tightened it incorrectly).

BUT, I'm gonna lean on my mechanic. He was in a rush to get the power steering pump back on. I helped him take the old one off in 5 minutes because the Autozone delivery guy was there and would waive the core charge if it was good to go and the delivery guy had a few minutes to spare. But I am pretty sure that PSP was installed JUST as fast and Keith's famous words were "We don't need the spacers or those instructions." I held on to them for posterity (and because I had a bad feeling about this). So there's a chance it's the offender again. We'll re-examine everything and try the string trick too.

Also, I'm pretty sure Keith examined the timing when we had the transmission bungling everything earlier last month, so yeah, probably not the harmonic balancer but will be calling S&J Engines anyway since I want to find out where they get their oil filler tubes when they ship a long block (still looking and oil change is due in 150-200 miles).
 
Yep, we'll get some pictures. Thanks Dusty & Jake!

The engine was remanufactured by S&J Engines, so it does have a pretty high standards. I read through their reviews and even some driveway mechanics had good experiences when S&J determined the guy was skilled enough to fix their head job manufacturing defect, they reimbursed parts and paid $25/hr for him to do the job and get the new engine "operational" as intended. So, not a bad company overall. Hopefully they did set it deep enough (I read about the harmonic balancer being extended/too short if they tightened it incorrectly).

BUT, I'm gonna lean on my mechanic. He was in a rush to get the power steering pump back on. I helped him take the old one off in 5 minutes because the Autozone delivery guy was there and would waive the core charge if it was good to go and the delivery guy had a few minutes to spare. But I am pretty sure that PSP was installed JUST as fast and Keith's famous words were "We don't need the spacers or those instructions." I held on to them for posterity (and because I had a bad feeling about this). So there's a chance it's the offender again. We'll re-examine everything and try the string trick too.

Also, I'm pretty sure Keith examined the timing when we had the transmission bungling everything earlier last month, so yeah, probably not the harmonic balancer but will be calling S&J Engines anyway since I want to find out where they get their oil filler tubes when they ship a long block (still looking and oil change is due in 150-200 miles).
Sounds like it's the ps pump for sure then

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Kaajot

Micro Machine Manager
Sounds like it's the ps pump for sure then

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That's what I keep thinking, but the mechanic swears my pulley replacement for the tensioner is enough. I will shred another belt to prove him wrong. I'm kind of sick of that modus operandi.
 

CowboyBilly9Mile

Charter Member
7,110
436
USA
Probably wouldn't be a bad idea to go in there and check both the pulley alignment and each and every pulley for anomalies and damage. Instead of tempting fate, etc etc, I'd look in the mirror for the good mechanic, go out there like a boss and take care of this about 10 minutes. Information (correct) is needed, easy peasey.
 
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dustybumpers

don't play well w others
Well said Billy

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Kaajot

Micro Machine Manager
Probably wouldn't be a bad idea to go in there and check both the pulley alignment and each and every pulley for anomalies and damage. Instead of tempting fate, etc etc, I'd look in the mirror for the good mechanic, go out there like a boss and take care of this about 10 minutes. Information (correct) is needed, easy peasey.

Yeah.....

I'm not an expert mechanic, but I do know a thing or two about quality assurance and quality control. Appreciate it.
 

Kaajot

Micro Machine Manager
The son of Crondor has returned! *attempts to Conan his F-150*

F G D IT!!!!!!!!


Serpentine Belt lasted 18 miles. As I said, other mechanic acted genuinely surprised -- the one I pay, the one that knows what he's doing.

I'm now using the 1994/1995 5.0L Serpentine Belt +2 inches bigger exactly than a 1992 4.9L Serpentine Belt (without A/C).

It was pretty snug.

The NEW power steering pump whines pretty good when actuated left or right.

Put my spare 5.0L Serpentine Belt on. This belt is about 99 and 5/8". The first of course lasted 18 miles and shreded down the middle. It is being pulled forward towards the fan of course too.

Keith was working late and came and helped since I didn't have a 15 mm with a cheater bar and my roadside set didn't have enough leverage to move the tensioner. The tensioner is TIGHT.

He's insisting it's the tensioner. I think he's avoiding the Power Steering Pump because it's messier? I also want to mention now I'm 99% sure when we changed the PSP that we didn't flush it out, my bad (and his bad for not knowing better). Have been researching defects because this is becoming a HUGE PITA.

$3500+ later and a new engine, this should not keep happening. It's really affecting life by now 4 months later.

I'm an amateur here on how to really say the tensioner from Autozone is the culprit versus the PSP. The power steering is TIGHT when I move it. I can FEEL the friction. Does that help at all because Keith didn't seem to have much of a thought about that symptom.

Could a looser belt help? We're already up 2 inches, but maybe a another half inch to inch? The tensioner has to travel most of the way to get the belt around the last pulley on install.
 

Kaajot

Micro Machine Manager
At this point, best check for you is a trick Jake suggested the other day for mine.
Put the belt back on, take a timing light, and hook it up.
at night, start the truck, shine the light at the running belt, and look for where it is out of line. the flashes will pick up on the belt numbers, and you will see which pulley is out of alignment.
Try this, and let us know what you find.

Pictures of course are a big help.

Is this the best diagnosis option still at this point? I'm not exactly sure how to use a timing light. I've watched Keith do it, but don't know what I'm looking for in general.

I didn't know the belt has numbers!?!? One of those MOTO moments I've not looked at a belt for numbers I guess? :p

One other symptom -- after initial rev up, it goes down to rpm. It sounds like it's a little high. But while driving, if I go to a stop but in drive gear, it goes about 3 seconds and then revs up for a second, then goes back to regular rpm and 3 seconds later revs for a second. Does not affect voltage or any gauges, just pulls against the brakes every 3 seconds as the rpms are increased.
 

dustybumpers

don't play well w others
Sounds like you have a vacuum leak.
You have something out of line in the belt. If it tears up the belt that bad you should be able to see it

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CowboyBilly9Mile

Charter Member
7,110
436
USA
^^^ Worth saying twice.
 

Kaajot

Micro Machine Manager
Alrighty, so it’s an alignment issue for sure.

To avoid wasting time and getting a shop to warranty any other belt issues, might it be worth it to go to a national chain and let them monkey with the belt issue and secure that sweet sweet expensive corporate 30 day warranty no questions asked unless I got a tree stuck in the engine bay? Buying new belts and experimenting is getting old.

Normally my mechanic is a good deal on prices, but I’m paying for all the shredded belts. :-b And he’s just guessing the tensioner (at least that’s how I perceive it). And I’m not experienced enough to figure this out. Electrically I’m good. Alignment wise, pfft! I think I see the misalignment and have pointed it out every time but it’s dismissed each time. Well, not dismissed as much as of last night.

Any suggestions on vacuum chasing? Keith said he couldn’t hear anything. Maybe genuinely can’t, but I sure as heck can.
 

CowboyBilly9Mile

Charter Member
7,110
436
USA
One really essential life skill is being able to identify, screen and hire the best man/men for a job/team effort. Not only in our professional careers, but in our personal lives as well. This because, who one picks to do a job can absolutely make or break you, and liking a hire is fine, but it's pointless to have smiling, likeable faces around if they can't get a task done. So with this said and hopefully both carefully considered and thoroughly understood, plus realizing that it seems you don't want to do any of the work yourself, not to mention that this mechanic can't get the job done, it only seems obvious that it's time to replace this guy with one that can.
 

dustybumpers

don't play well w others
Ditto. Well said Billy
You started this fiasco with an intake leake. Start there. A can of carb cleaner sprayed at an idling motor will raise the idle when it hits the leak. Spray all the plenum gasket lines. The intake to head. All vacuum lines. Where tthe throttle body shaft goes through. You will find it.
A major vacuum leak will whistle. That's not the only vacuum leak

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primetime

sawmill slave
I agree with what Billie said also. Might be time for a second opinion so to speak. That being said, to check pulley alignment grab something that you can place against pulleys to check alignment. A ruler, yardstick, carpenters level, hell even a tape measure will get the job done. Not trying to find .005" here.

Now lay it on one pulley and move it towards another. You are looking for this, --. This /\, or this -_ is bad. Your straight edge should sit flat on both pulleys. Are you feeling, me? If not I can try and get some pictures to help.

Take the belt off. How does everything turn? Should be able to turn the accesories with a finger.

Like Charlie said, whatever is going on should be fairly easy to spot as bad as it is.

An unlit propane torch can also help find a vacuum leak. But it has to be the style that you can turn on without lighting. Turn on the propane without lighting it and start waving around.

Idle air control can also cause a hunting idle.
 

Kaajot

Micro Machine Manager
One really essential life skill is being able to identify, screen and hire the best man/men for a job/team effort. Not only in our professional careers, but in our personal lives as well. This because, who one picks to do a job can absolutely make or break you, and liking a hire is fine, but it's pointless to have smiling, likeable faces around if they can't get a task done. So with this said and hopefully both carefully considered and thoroughly understood, plus realizing that it seems you don't want to do any of the work yourself, not to mention that this mechanic can't get the job done, it only seems obvious that it's time to replace this guy with one that can.

I would do the work myself and often do, and often I do work the mechanic says isn’t necessary because I research and maybe am better at LEGOs than him, so I do the extra recommendations or to make it petty or to do an alternator upgrade (he stated I just made more work for myself when a new 2g would just be an easy swap in. Feh!?!)

It’s not unwillingness. It’s lack of experience/confidence in pulleys. In 2013 I tried to tackle my first power steering pump change in my driveway. 36 hours with no sleep later I called a friend to drive me to Syracuse so I could drive a rental through the night to New Jersey and make it to an Air Force work function at 0700 with no sleep over 2+ days trying to change a PSP in my own. Tools included using my Harley Davidson Jack Stand and several 5k Lb wratchet straps to pull the serpentine belt off. I have told the mechanic my unbelievable story of stupidity many times citing that I’m probably the reason the PSP and Tensioner appear to be out of alignment. I’ve yet to see him use a ruler or anything flat to measure the alignments of pulleys. Again, willing to do it, but know here I will not shine and potentially do more damage than good, so I just offer my symptoms, observations, and histories with the vehicle. ^_^

And yeah, have fired and hired people on my airbnb home renovations. The truck I should have done a clean engine swap at top dollar in 2015 but hindsight 2020 and going cheap with backyard mechanics/donor used engines made my next 5 years very interesting. I’m better at a lot of f150 stuff now, but not a mechanic. I am an IT guy and chicken farmer. I can do genetics and programming. And flying things in a pinch.

Anyway, they’re talking about spacing the tensioner pulley forward. Pat, next garage over, concurred. That usually is a warm fuzzy when he agrees with a plan of action. If it shreds again and I can’t (will use ruler trick) figure it out, I’ll send it to Mavis and have them add two new tires to the back (due for it) and move the rear tires to the front disposing of the worn pair there.
 

Kaajot

Micro Machine Manager
Thanks for the vacuum leak recommended actions. Those I can do.

And with all the previous electrical shorting/grounding over the last two years, maybe I need to test the AIC itself. Unlike TPS, MAPS, EGR Valve, and a slew of other electrical relay/solenoid/modules, I’ve not replaced the AIC since 2015.
 
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