Serpentine belt came off without breaking, now overheating


Asked by Jun 23, 2014 at 03:37 PM about the 2001 Pontiac Grand Prix GT

Question type: Maintenance & Repair

While being driven, all of a sudden my son lost his power steering, the air conditioner went off, and (according to him), a bunch of warning lights came on in the dash.  He was able to get the serpentine belt back on and drive it home(about 10 miles) with little problem, all the dash warnings went away.  The next day, while driving, it began overheating, and even stalled on him a couple of times.  He didn't turn on the A.C.  He ended up driving only about 10-15 miles total by the time he nursed it back to home.  From what I have read, it sounds a lot like it could be the water pump.  Would a bad pulley or bearing for the water pump cause the belt to come off but still leave it in one piece?

6 Answers


Possibly. If a bearing has gone bad in any of the devices driven by the serpentine belt,, i.e. alternator, power steering, water pump. A/C. and the bearing is causing the pulley to wobble then, yep. it can throw the belt off And not break it, just throw off the alignment of all the other components and it will come off.

4 out of 4 people think this is helpful.

Have a look at the plastic elbows that go from the engine to the belt tentioner. If one has sprung a leak the belt may be getting wet and slip off the pulley system. If that's the case, replace them with the metal elbows. Much more durable. HTH. -Jim

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.
Norm Davis

Without looking at the belt, my first guess is that the belt is worn or the tensioner isn't keeping the right pressure on it. A loose belt will come off the pulleys pretty easily at high rpm, and a loose belt will also cause the engine to overheat because it isn't running the water pump at full speed. Change the belt, and change the tensioner (its an easy driveway job with hand tools) and I bet that solves the problem.

2 out of 2 people think this is helpful.

I agree with Norm, change the belt first and see if the problem goes away. If it does, you're done. If not, the water pump MAY be a good place to start troubleshooting, but I would then change the tensioner. Both simple, inexpensive jobs. I'm betting the new belt will take care of the problem.

2 out of 2 people think this is helpful.

Yeah I believe what norm has said.especially with the belt coming off whole.


I lost heat and my nitro started smoking when i stopped i noticed my serpentine belt was off

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