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  1. #1
    Moderator MichaelColey's Avatar
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    Car Question: Safe to drive with supercharger belt removed?
    I know there are several knowledgeable car people here, so I thought I would ask...

    Our "third car" is a 1996 Buick Riviera with a supercharger. We hardly ever drive it (maybe 10-15k miles total in the 8 years we've owned it), but it's nice to have an extra car. We have had constant problems with the serpentine belt that runs the supercharger, though. I've had to replace it two or three times and had the tensioner and pulley replaced last time. But it just shredded the belt again a few days ago.

    The supercharger is the only thing driven by that belt. I'm wondering how safe it is to drive without it? Will it damage the motor, or will it just not perform quite as well?

    The shop is a few miles away. I'm assuming it's safe enough to drive that distance, or should I get it towed?

    If they can't fix it or want too much to fix it or it continues to wear abnormally, is it safe to drive the car without the belt/supercharger on a more permanent basis? (We don't really need the extra power.)

    Thanks in advance for any help!
    Michael Coley
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  2. #2
    Affiliate Manager maxwellgarner's Avatar
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    You can drive the car with the supercharger belt off. How many miles do you have on the supercharger? Have you ever changed the oil in the supercharger?

    The only effect that disconnecting the supercharger belt on a permanent basis is loss of engine power.
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  3. #3
    Affiliate Manager bcwaller's Avatar
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    There might be a slight restriction of air flow in the intake path since the air has to flow through the supercharger, but the car should run fine.

    Belts are cheap and easy to swap, but you should ask the shop if they can figure out the underlying problem that is causing this. Could be the bearings in the supercharger are going and causing problems. If you don't drive it much, then you could just put the belt on yourself and hope for the best.

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  4. #4
    ABW Ambassador meadowmufn's Avatar
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    I don't have an answer for you, but just out of curiosity, what color is the car? My parents have a 1996 Buick Riviera with a supercharger too.
    -Don't criticize anyone til you've walked a mile in their shoes. Then when you do criticize them, you'll be a mile away and have their shoes.
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  5. #5
    Moderator MichaelColey's Avatar
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    Thanks for the suggestions and feedback!

    As far as I know, the supercharger is original. It has a little over 100k miles on it. (It had 90k when we bought it.)

    The pulley and tensioner that they replaced last time was supposed to fix the problem. If it's the bearings, we'll probably just leave it disconnected. I'll have to see how it drives without the supercharger tomorrow when I drive it to the shop.

    The car is pearl white. It's a beautiful, fun, comfortable car. My wife drives it mostly, but usually just when none of the kids are with her. (With the kids, we usually take one of our bigger vehicles with four doors.) I've loved the body style since 1993 or 1994 when they published the first pictures of this new body style, and when we drove past a nearby lot with one sitting out front for about 1/4th of the original sticker price, I had to buy it.
    Michael Coley
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