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Honda Civic Serpentine Belt Pulleys not moving?

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  • #446556

      Hey everybody, I am having a pretty big problem here. My 1995 Honda Civic DX lost power steering yesterday. I filled up the power steering fluid but there was no change. I ran the engine and looked under the hood and saw that the serpentine belt wasn’t moving. It inched along every once in a while but it definitely is not moving at the right speeds. I watched Eric’s belts and pulley basics video for some help but since the belt isn’t moving I’m not sure what I should replace. Does anyone know what could be the problem?

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    • #446558

        Quite possibly, your PS pump is frozen. This would explain the belt not moving. The PS pump is holding it in place. The pulley on the crank is spinning when the engine is running, so it has probably damaged the serpentine belt. You could go start the engine up again and observe the movement of the crank pulley. (If the crank pulley isn’t moving there’s distinct possibility that the engine is not running. 😉
        In any event, you’ll need to remove the belt. Do follow good instructions for the removal and replacement of the belt and use the proper tool to move the tensioner pulley as this task can be dangerous. If you need to buy a breaker bar, Harbor Freight is good for this.
        With the belt off, you can check all of the pulleys to see if they spin freely. Possibly one of the other pulleys is frozen and the PS pump is OK. Be sure to check all of them. If the tensioner pulley is worn, for example, you will be able to tell. Let’s hope nothing expensive is frozen.


          Hi, I began my response before Big C posted his, so I had not seen his before I posted mine.
          I reckon his instructions would apply to a vehicle with V-belts and not so well to a surpentine belt engine.
          On the other hand, he points out something I missed. Do you have tension on that surpentine belt?
          Tension on V-belts is usually adjusted by moving the ancillaries (PS pump, alternator, etc.) Surpentine belts are adjusted automatically by the tensioner (or idler pulley). If the spring in the tensioner wears out or breaks, the belt slips. If the tensioner is good, the travel as you move the belt is within a distance specified for your engine.
          I would test the tensioner by moving it with my breaker bar with the engine running. This is safe for me to do with my car and my skill level, so I wouldn’t recommend it willy nilly. If I were to do this with your car, (apply the tension manually), and we found the PS pump was frozen, we’d condemn the pump. If we tension the surpentine belt manually and everything works, we know the tensioner is worn or kaput.

          EricTheCarGuy 1EricTheCarGuy

            Since it’s a 95 it’s not actually a serpentine belt but rather a V belt, serpentine belts run more than one accessory normally, I believe that belt just runs the power steering pump however. That said it’s a little strange that the belt is not moving and it has me somewhat concerned. Try and put your eyes on the crank pulley as the engine runs and make sure it’s moving, if it’s not this is your problem, it may be that the pulley has broken loose from the damper or that the damper itself has come apart. There may be a simpler explanation however as it could just be a broken belt that is not spinning the pump but I find this unlikely since it would probably throw the remains of the belt off if that was the case. If the power steering pump were locked up it might also cause this but I can’t see how it wouldn’t be screaming like a banshee and smoking as the belt burned away. Keep us posted on what you find.


              Hi ajmortys,

              With the engine “off”, check the tension of the power steering belt. Also, check that the power steering (PS) pump itself is tight and secured. Usually the tension on the power steering pump is manually adjusted by movement of the power steering pump itself. There should be a bolt that, when loosened, allows the power steering pump to move. A pry bar comes in handle for manually setting that proper tension on the PS belt. Hope this is what the issue is, as it should be an easier fix.

              Also, it might be good to check the PS belt itself. It may be old, or have been compromised from this occurrence. Keep us posted.

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