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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
This morning I started my car and immediately heard a knocking noise from the motor. Popped the hood and noticed it was inconsistent knocking. Gave the engine a little rev and the knocking went away, motor sounded normal, but then the belt started to squeel. Thinking it was due to the light drizzle coming down I closed my hood and waited. After about a minute i heard a few more knocks then the sound of the belt shredding. I immediately cut off the car and popped the hood. Saw a piece of the belt sticking up. It seems to have shredded towards the front side of the belt closest to the radiator. I didn't have time to fully inspect the car as I had somewhere to go, I ended up taking my other car. When I got back home I looked at it to find more stuff shredded (pictured). The first picture is what I originally saw and almost positive it's still intact to the rest of the belt. . Picture 2 is another shred I found and can't tell if it's still connected to the rest of the belt or wrapped around the drive pull. The third picture might be the other end of pic 2 not sure.
I'm in the middle of moving and currently don't have access to my tools. Also, I expect I won't see the replacement parts until the end of the week in the mail.

Do you guys think I need to drop the oil pan or did I catch this in time? I literally cut the car off within 5 seconds after hearing the belt shred. Currently the belt is mostly intact and the only things shredded is what pictured

I'm hoping the knocking sounds was from the belt hitting against something.
Thanks
 

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I'd just replace the belt and any pulleys that are worn and see what it sounds like. Dropping the pan is not a simple operation and if you don't see any debris going into the engine, drive on.
 

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I'd just replace the belt and any pulleys that are worn and see what it sounds like. Dropping the pan is not a simple operation and if you don't see any debris going into the engine, drive on.
NO. No no no.
Jesus no, do not start that car without fully establishing the extent of the wreckage.

Pull the crank pulley and see if any belt got sucked into the front main seal.
 

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NO. No no no.
Jesus no, do not start that car without fully establishing the extent of the wreckage.

Pull the crank pulley and see if any belt got sucked into the front main seal.
I'm gonna +1 this one. Better safe than sorry. If any of the belt did get sucked past the main seal, you're going to cause a whole lot more damage if you start the engine again.

How old was the belt ? How old was the tensioner ?
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I'm gonna +1 this one. Better safe than sorry. If any of the belt did get sucked past the main seal, you're going to cause a whole lot more damage if you start the engine again.

How old was the belt ? How old was the tensioner ?
I got the car at 71k and now just hit 90k.I'm guessing it's the original. One owner old man before me who took very good care of the car. How difficult is it to remove the crank pulley and are any special tools needed?

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Discussion Starter #6
When I have some time I'll take a better picture of the belt. It's very much intact and what I pictured earlier is the only part of the belt that got shredded.

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Discussion Starter #8
CTuna thank you for that link. I was already looking at this last night before I posted. But my question is do I need any special tools to pull it off or just regular sockets, ratchets, breaker bar, etc? And I imagine I would have to remove the front inlet? Anyways, here are some better pics of the condition of the rest of the belt.

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Discussion Starter #9

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you need Torx bits(drivers and sockets) for almost anything you do on a BMW
and you want a Torque Wrench and you want to use
it unless you think you have calibrated torque sense.
Because a lot of the fasteners are aluminum.
Bolts with a blue Head are one time use only.
Check the spec on bolt replacement and torque what ever your
doing.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
you need Torx bits(drivers and sockets) for almost anything you do on a BMW
and you want a Torque Wrench and you want to use
it unless you think you have calibrated torque sense.
Because a lot of the fasteners are aluminum.
Bolts with a blue Head are one time use only.
Check the spec on bolt replacement and torque what ever your
doing.
Ok cool. Got all that stuff. Just thought there was a special tool to remove the crank pulley.

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Ok cool. Got all that stuff. Just thought there was a special tool to remove the crank pulley.
BEFORE you go to the trouble to do that, if I understood your posts correctly, the belt came apart as the car was idling in your driveway, and NOT on the road?

If so, you can recover ALL the pieces of the belt and do an "assembly" of the belt remnants, large and small. Do that on a workbench, similar to assembly of airplane parts after a crash.

If you can account for ALL the pieces of the belt, there's NOTHING inside.

Removal of the Crank Pulley and inspection of the seal with a mirror & bright light, or smoke machine to determine if any leakage from the crankcase at the front crank seal, would be the next test steps. You certainly do NOT want to pull the pan unless you find (1) missing belt pieces, and (2) damaged Front Crankshaft Seal.

George
 

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Discussion Starter #13
BEFORE you go to the trouble to do that, if I understood your posts correctly, the belt came apart as the car was idling in your driveway, and NOT on the road?

If so, you can recover ALL the pieces of the belt and do an "assembly" of the belt remnants, large and small. Do that on a workbench, similar to assembly of airplane parts after a crash.

If you can account for ALL the pieces of the belt, there's NOTHING inside.

Removal of the Crank Pulley and inspection of the seal with a mirror & bright light, or smoke machine to determine if any leakage from the crankcase at the front crank seal, would be the next test steps. You certainly do NOT want to pull the pan unless you find (1) missing belt pieces, and (2) damaged Front Crankshaft Seal.

George
Correct. As soon as I started the car I heard knocking. I'm guessing that might have been the belt slapping against something as it was an inconsistent knock while rod knock would be consistent. I popped open the hood to check it out and there was a light drizzle of rain. So I have the car a quick little rev up to around 1200 rpm. The knock went away but then I started getting a belt squeel. Figuring out was due to the belt getting wet from the rain, I closed the hood. Other than the belt squeel the motor sounded normal. After about 30 seconds of it idling with the squeel I then heard the sound of the belt starting to come apart. Can't really explain the sound but it was the same exact sound my E46 made when the water pump went out and took the belt with it. So I quickly shut the car off. It was literally within 5 sec I cut the car off from when I heard the belt going. Popped the hood open and saw one strand (first picture above) hanging there and it shredded from the front side of the belt rather than the side towards the engine block.
Later last night after getting back home I inspected it again and noticed the other two shreds. The second one pictured might still be attached to the belt or it could have wrapped around the drive pulley, I'm not sure yet. Then the third picture I posted I think might be the other end of the 2nd pic.
My plan, once this rain stops is to pull the belt off and do as you said, seeing if I can piece it all together. If not then I've been needing to do my valve cover gasket. Gonna have the car towed to my new house. I'll do the vcg there, along with the oil filter housing gasket, and look for any pieces inside instead of pulling the crank pulley off. Hopefully I cut the motor off in time and there is no damage other than the belt and having to replace the tensioner.
On another note, what's the deal with routing the belt? Looking out up on Google I'm seeing two different ways of routing it. Is it determined on what year car you have? Mine is a '09 with a build date of 9/08

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BEFORE you go to the trouble to do that, if I understood your posts correctly, the belt came apart as the car was idling in your driveway, and NOT on the road?

If so, you can recover ALL the pieces of the belt and do an "assembly" of the belt remnants, large and small. Do that on a workbench, similar to assembly of airplane parts after a crash.

If you can account for ALL the pieces of the belt, there's NOTHING inside.

Removal of the Crank Pulley and inspection of the seal with a mirror & bright light, or smoke machine to determine if any leakage from the crankcase at the front crank seal, would be the next test steps. You certainly do NOT want to pull the pan unless you find (1) missing belt pieces, and (2) damaged Front Crankshaft Seal.

George
George, excellent , beat me to it. Was just gonna say, piece together the belt remnants. I think you’ll find you have all the belt. If so then follow other advice to replace suspect pulleys and thoroughly inspect the belt routing for sharp edges or anything that can cause shredding before installing a new belt.
 

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Had that issue with a Merc that I owned previously. It would shear the front rib off of every belt, taking it down to 4 ribs , and then wouldn't take any more of them off. I finally noticed, after very close scrutiny, that there was an almost unnoticeable wobble to the spring loaded tensioner pulley. Once I replaced it and installed yet another new belt, the issue was gone. Start the engine and watch the pulley very closely with a good bright led light and you'll likely have the exact same issue. It'll appear that the ever-so-slight wobble to the pulley comes and goes, but that's all it takes to do the damage. I do dread the thought of ever having to replace the belt on my 535iGT as it's really buried as opposed to the one on the E350 I previously had.
 

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+1 Agreed with everyone about inspection and piecing the belt together.
I also see the oil on the front face of engine (as you said replace VCG and OFG) to remedy future belt slippage.
Also order belt + tensioner kit, I had good luck with continental.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
+1 Agreed with everyone about inspection and piecing the belt together.
I also see the oil on the front face of engine (as you said replace VCG and OFG) to remedy future belt slippage.
Also order belt + tensioner kit, I had good luck with continental.
Did you happen to order from FCPEuro? Can't seem to find Continental on their site. Just Contitech.

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