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Discussion Starter #1
I have gone through 2 serpentine belts in the past 2 weeks. I've had this 2001 Focus SE with the zetec for about a year and a half now and now all of a sudden the engine is having issues holding the belts. The first time the shop noticed that the idler pulley was defective and replaced that. The next shop said they didn't see any issues why the belt would come off other than the protective shielding that protects the belt from the elements is missing that could be causing it all of a sudden where a rock could be getting lodged on the belt and causing it to come off.

Does anyone know what the part numbers are for the passenger inner fender wall and the protective cover that shields the belt area from debris from the wheel and road?

Thanks!
 

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Gross shop incompetence.

The cover only serves to mainly keep water off belt to stop power steering dropouts with heavy rain. I have them removed on all 3 cars I have and no issues at all other than be ready for it in heavy rain. Putting them on only has that same heavy rain tear them off again, they snap on so flimsy that a big water puddle will tear a new one right off again if you hit it right.

If belt coming completely off either wrong length belt or bad sticking tensioner or a bearing locking up at some point. After selling belts for years you begin to figure out that 99% of all 'belt problems' are misconstrued by car owners, the belt itself rarely causes the problem, more like the things it runs on if belt is picked correctly for length. Often the part catalogs are wrong as to belt length, the belt has to be a certain place on the tensioner, many of the tensioner bodies are marked as to that.
 

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Often by the time a belt is needed the tensioner & idler pulley are due as well, and a poor tensioner won't keep even a proper belt working right.

I remember one local shop that wouldn't replace one part without doing all three (different brand, same theory) to avid comebacks.
 

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Very wise and how you prevent 3 shutdowns, but most can't think that far ahead. Once they get that word belt locked in their heads the brick wall gets turned up to the max as a head adjusting tool. I watched one guy once insist on using five different belts firmly convinced the belt HAD to be bad. When I carefully asked him why after 3 of them,. he simply said he 'felt' it had to be the belt. He left very frustrated after having to pay for two he tore up with his cockeyed theories, and pronounced all our belts as 'junk'. Rock solid decision making there. The only bad thing there was a brain.

The belt makes the noise, it must be the belt. No logic or thinking there at all. Pretty silly from people who were supposed to have finished high school.

Even though it gets discussed ad infinitum here onsite, most have still not realized that the tensioner has a life about equal to the belt in most cases now. The belt now lasts longer due to improved materials and the tensioner replaced parts that never broke, or solid steel brackets that adjusted and were then left alone. Or, 30 years behind the times.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks for the feedback on this!

I have had the vehicle a little over a year without the cover and have had ZERO issues after driving through winter and all kinds of conditions. Out of nowhere the belt came off and appear to be partly torn. Now after the idler pulley is replaced the belt has came off again and the belt is unusable because it is showing a tear as well. I'm thinking the issue must be the tensioner as mentioned unless the pulleys have become unaligned somehow causing the belt to randomly be thrown off under stress.

I have ordered a belt cover to bolt up as added protection in case that is somehow causing the issue and will order a new tensioner. Does anyone know what type of bolts hold the belt cover in place? A youtube video mentions 8mm bolts but I wanted to make sure.
 

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Tensioner most likely, it jogs back and forth and seizes for a fractional second at the shaft from dirt inclusion, at that point belt is loose, it derails and the tear from damage as it goes over pulley edges.

On a bad day that can tear up crank or other, I've shelled a water pump when belt wrapped around it while coming off. I've seen crank seal destroyed from it. If it wrapped around crank just right could conceivably break the motor.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thanks for the response, I just ordered a Gates tensioner and hopefully installation will not be too much of a pain.
 

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Thread belt on as much as possible from the top then install tensioner arm on belt underneath with pass side tire removed. Two boxed end wrenches hooked together to make a longer one to get enough physical advantage to get tensioner arm all the way up. Can get belt on in like 30 seconds like that.

Tensioner actual install? More work but far easiest to remove pass side motor mount and the idler below it, tensioner has plenty of room then to install with motor lifted up a bit with a jack under pan (use wood to spread out stress there or pan can cave in).
 
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