Motorcycle Forums » Off Topic

Need a Cage Mechanic's help....HELP!

    • 7 posts
    April 30, 2013 7:42 AM PDT

    Ok, here goes...

    I'm working on a 1991 Buick Century 3.3 w/air.
    The serpentine belt (driving everything) came off, and that was just the beginning of THIS particular nightmare.

    Upon inspection, it was found that the water pump pulley was completely gone...MISSING.  Bolts and all.
    Very strange, as the car didn't act like that part just fell off...and it looks now, like it had been pried off.)

    No big deal, we thinks.  So we replace the water pump, thinking a new pulley would come with that...
    well no it didn't. So after exhaustively looking around, we get a pulley (had to order it from Michigan, cause they
    discontinued this part.)  We get the pulley overnited, and...wait for ain't the one recommended for that
    car!!!  For one, there are many more holes to line up, AND online, it said that one wasn't recommended...

    (Backstory....the folks @ the parts store, who ordered this piece, swear by the guys in the "warehouse".
    Never had a "failure" with their recommendations, before...)

    So everyone "we" talked to said, this one WILL work, so we bolted it up.  Groovy, it's on, right?
    (Even tho, there's no way to put the balancing bolts in, but whatever, everyone says this'll work, so...ok)

    So all we got left to do, is put the serpentine back on, fill up the radiator, and WAH-LAH!  RIGHT???
    I took the old belt in with me, to get the replacement, and had 'em give me a Gates w/the three year warranty, just to be on the "safe-side".  Only one problem...AND THIS IS THE WHOLE PROBLEM:  THE BELT DOESN'T FIT.  Even tho, we compared them, and the lengths and width were identical.  AND...the computer says this IS the belt for THIS make, model, and year.  The other problem?  We discovered after several attempts to install, that the configuration on the car I'm workin' on, and the diagrams on it, are totally DIFFERENT!!!  WTF???  

    The only conclusion "we" can come to, is that someone dropped a different motor in this car.  That it ain't the 3.3 that the owner told my roommate it was, when she bought the car from him, and he is a lyin' piece of crap.
    OR, the last mechanic she used, just a few days before the serpentine "fell off", and (WHO RIPPED HER OFF BADLY, not too very long ago) sabotaged this car, so she would bring it back to him...  He made a BUNDLE off her last car, and I'm afraid, the way things look, that this dude, has the "missing" pieces, and may be the ONLY one who could "MAGICALLY", get it back on the road...

    Either way, somethin' in "Dodge", just ain't right, and it's PERSONAL for me and my other mechanic, now.
    We've spent over 15 hours, and a lot of gas, chasin' down the "right" parts, only for them to end of being wrong. BTW, the configuration under the hood, is almost identical to a 1991 Oldsmobile Delta 88. And as any of you with mechanical savvy, know, there are four different models, this motor can be swapped out with.

    My question is this:  NOW WHAT THE HELL DO I DO?

    Kelly Blue Book Value on this car, even in excellent condition, is only about $1,000 bucks. (And that's a guess, cause they only go "back" to '93).

    Feel free to comment, but what I NEED, right now, is REAL mechanical know-how.  PLEASE???  

    Ride Free

    • 1 posts
    April 30, 2013 8:38 AM PDT
    Sorry to hear about your problems. Let see if we can help figure it out. I spend most of my time work'n on bikes but know a thing or two about cars.

    Even if the engine was changed, you said the new belt matches up to the old belt, so if the old belt came off, the same size new belt should go back on.

    Are you sure you have all of the adjustable parts (alternator, AC pump, belt tensioner, etc) all the way to the loosest positions?

    How much to small does the new belt appear to be?

    I am thinking if it is just a little too small that the pulley you put on the water pump may be slightly larger than the original.
    • 7 posts
    April 30, 2013 9:09 AM PDT
    Oh Jeez, where do I start...when we roped the belt through, there was WAY to much belt, for any configuration. I'm almost thinkin' this rip-off mechanic did THAT on purpose, as well, cause that belt only had a little hiccup in the very outter edge. We could've re-used it, but that's neither here nor there. That belt "came off", and now I'm thinkin' I know WHY! We got a slightly shorter belt, and here's the other thing, the tensioner, when you go to tighten it, moves in the wrong direction...

    Several of us attempted to do this, and had the same result. It's like the tensioner is on backwards, which I don't even know if that's possible, but there it is...

    We're gonna try again, here, in about an hour, with a fresh set of eyes and hands...I'll let ya know, then, what the consensus is, K? Thanks Bailout. I'mma send a friend request and PM. K?

    Ride Free
    • 7 posts
    April 30, 2013 1:11 PM PDT
    WE GOT IT!!! Two strong men, one pry bar, and a lotta divine help (to my way of thinkin'

    So thanks, anyways people. I need to FROG more, and bother Ya'll less.

    Ride Free
    • 5418 posts
    April 30, 2013 2:32 PM PDT
    Glad you got it. Don't know anything about these new engines (yes a 1991 is new compared to when I used to work on cars myself) so I couldn't supply any input.
  • May 1, 2013 8:30 AM PDT
    Sorry not to have picked up on this sooner honey but all I ever do when I see a configuration that don't match is to rip out clean and stick an old school muscle in never play by the rules...

    ...and before anyone mentions that its front wheel drive America has some excellent "old school" transverse engines that would drop into anything new-ishish...Corvair springs immediately to mind, a strong engine with an equally strong transaxle.....
    • Moderator
    • 17284 posts
    May 1, 2013 9:14 AM PDT
    WOW what a nightmare....happy you were able to work it out.
    • 1 posts
    May 1, 2013 12:10 PM PDT
    Good thing there are so many cage experts in here....good luck with your yank tank..
    • 7 posts
    May 2, 2013 10:43 AM PDT
    Jonesy1340 wrote...
    Good thing there are so many cage experts in here....good luck with your yank tank..

    Damn glad to have 'em...even IF..this time, I din't need 'em....
    YEAH, the TWEEK rides

    Too bad, it ain't on a HARLEY...;p


    Ride Free

  • May 2, 2013 3:26 PM PDT
    Sounds like you may have already got it but...

    a Buick '91 3.3 should have a belt tensioner

    put a ratchet on the pulley bolt and pry couter-clockwise - this will relieve the tension on the belt (the bolt is reverse thread)

    • 7 posts
    May 3, 2013 12:58 PM PDT
    Thanks to all who answered the "call". Some great insight, and I've learned a thing or two, I wasn't "aware" of...;p
    We got 'er done, but I've recommended the "roomie" put that sucker on craigslist, post-haste. YA'LL know as well as I, that car is a rollin' money pit, just waitin' to come open.

    She'll be daggone fortunate to get a grand. And I told her to TAKE IT & RUN!!!

    Ride Free (My mechanical Fish's)
    Tweek :)