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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have a 2008 focus, love it.

Its at 80K miles (no problems) and the accessory belt (alt belt) still looks good. (no cracks, threads, etc)

Replace or wait to 100k?
 

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I tend to err on the side of early rather than late. Early = stress free drives. Late = blocking traffic on the expressway while having my car loaded onto a flatbed. I changed the serp belt, tensioner, thermostat, hoses and radiator cap on my Sport Trac at 75,000.
 

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Good preventative maintenance item to do early... But I would wait if it really does look good.

Records indicate my belt has never been replaced and it still looks good, strange huh? -149K mi. I am planning on replacing the Belt, Tensioner, Idler and rebuilding my original OEM Alternator... all in one whack.

The diagram at the link below is not for your car, but wanted to share it anyway.
2003 2004 Ford Focus
PZEV Engine
Serpentine Belt Diagrams
http://pdhomes.net/diy/tondelayo/pzev/serpentine_belt_diagrams.html
 

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Nope, modern elastomer belts will look perfect right up till the second they pop. They do not crack AT ALL even when dead. Usually they begin to squeak when they wear deep enough in the grooves to start slipping.

Belts quit cracking to show age around '98-'00 or so when the material changed.

I change mine at around 75K+ and keep the original to throw back on the car later at say 150K+, I'm willing to risk more when the car is older and has lost more value, don't do it on a fairly young car.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Good preventative maintenance item to do early... But I would wait if it really does look good.

Records indicate my belt has never been replaced and it still looks good, strange huh? -149K mi. I am planning on replacing the Belt, Tensioner, Idler and rebuilding my original OEM Alternator... all in one whack.
I don't think the idler or the alt will leave you on the side of the road.. Both usually start making noise before they completely die, so I'll wait on them. My Ford explorer has the original alt/idler at 190k miles.

I'm taking the other posters advise and change the belt now though, I did not know they quit cracking with age.

Of course its alternator has never seen the RPM my little focus has. I wonder what the Altternator RPM is when the engine is turning 5000RPM ? [deviltail]
Yes I have the manual 5 spd .
 

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The alternator on my Sport Trac wasn't making a sound when it failed on the highway 2 years ago this month. Stranded on an off-ramp in the rain was not a fun way to spend a Saturday.
 

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Alts make noise when the bearings die, all other things that happen to them are generally silent. Of course the newer alt clutch pulleys will make noise when dead.
 

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...on the highway 2 years ago this month. Stranded on an off-ramp in the rain was not a fun way to spend a Saturday.
Crap! 2 years ago this month?

I owe you. Drove right past you. Sorry man, I was in a serious family emergency type of rush at the moment. Cops were chasing me too, but you saw those cops go by you also right? -yep, that was me, very sorry. After jail and a little in-home probation, I broke-up with her and am now living with her younger sister Emily... and her Mom. Sounds fun, but a longer-term prison sentence might have been better. Uhg. #SendMardeNothing
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
The alternator on my Sport Trac wasn't making a sound when it failed on the highway 2 years ago this month. Stranded on an off-ramp in the rain was not a fun way to spend a Saturday.
I'm curious, did just the light come on or did it lock up?

You can go a long way on just the battery.

I kinda miss the days of multiple V belts running seperate stuff. If your Alt or AC locked up, just cut the belt and keep going.

But they needed changing more frequently, and they were EASY to change.
 

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Crap! 2 years ago this month?

I owe you. Drove right past you. Sorry man, I was in a serious family emergency type of rush at the moment. Cops were chasing me too, but you saw those cops go by you also right? -yep, that was me, very sorry. After jail and a little in-home probation, I broke-up with her and am now living with her younger sister Emily... and her Mom. Sounds fun, but a longer-term prison sentence might have been better. Uhg. #SendMardeNothing
Hopefully your doing good now.
 

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Tongue in cheek any further & you'll bite if off you two!
 

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I'm curious, did just the light come on or did it lock up?

You can go a long way on just the battery.

I kinda miss the days of multiple V belts running seperate stuff. If your Alt or AC locked up, just cut the belt and keep going.

But they needed changing more frequently, and they were EASY to change.
I actually got no indication of a problem until the radio shut off by itself....then the gauges started going crazy....ALL of them were doing this jittering, clicking thing....the truck acted like it was possessed. I don't remember seeing a battery light because everything else was distracting me.

The I kicked off the cruise control and exited at Firewheel Parkway, and while coasting up the ramp, the engine died. I got it stopped and it was COMPLETELY dead. No dash lights. The power locks wouldn't even work. So, I guess the truck allowed me to completely drain the battery by keeping the ignition system working until it just couldn't go any further.

No drama under the hood...the alternator just died, and took the battery with it.

This was a very different story than the first alternator failure I'd ever experienced. 1991 S10 4.3 driving from Denver to Cheyenne at night. BRIGHT blue flash under the hood, and the gauges, lights and engine died all at once. Catastrophic alt failure.....burn marks on the outer casing, but the belt was intact. That was a long, cold night.
 
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