What happens after CVT failure?

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lparsons
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What happens after CVT failure?

Post by lparsons » Fri Feb 02, 2018 10:02 pm

I'm not sure if I just became (possibly) the first new helicopter club member of 2018 or not.

I was driving down the freeway in our 05 limited and I heard what at first I thought sounded like a lot gravel or loose rocks bouncing in the front passenger wheel well. It's winter here so I thought maybe I knocked a clump of road grime off the undercarriage and into the wheel well and it needed time to break down and kick loose. However I noticed after a minute or two that the noise wasn't going away and varied in frequency with engine speed. I didn't have a good place to stop immediately, and had to drive on it for ~10 minutes until I did - the noise continued the same way up to that point where I stopped the car.

I turned it off and gave it some time. Then I went back out and decided to try to limp it home. At that point the battery light came on and a message on the dash read "check charging sys". The noise ended shortly after that and things seemed normal - until I suddenly lost power steering (though the battery light was still on). A little after that I no longer had interior lights (they were dim, then eventually out). I suspect my brake lights might have even cut at that point (though I'm not sure), I know my turn signals stopped working at that point and the hazards did nothing. Then I had almost no engine power. I limped it a little further into a gas station parking lot, came to a stop and the engine died.

I called AAA and had it towed after that to a Ford Dealership. I'm not sure what to expect. Tow truck driver actually suggested symptoms sounds like alternator (except for the noise).

Is my CVT a goner? What normally happens immediately after transmission failure? Or is the noise perhaps a red herring?

I looked online to see if I could find a source for a rebuilt CVT (just to at least have an idea of what it might cost to replace if we go that way) but have yet to find one. The "best" replacement I've found so far has been a used one with 70k miles on it.
05 Freestyle Limited AWD - dark red (wife's car)
02 VW Passat W8 - all black (my car)


brad e
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Re: What happens after CVT failure?

Post by brad e » Sat Feb 03, 2018 5:18 am

Hi Iparsons,

I have to agree with the tow truck driver on this one; except for the noise, the systematic shut down of various electrical systems is what happens when the alternator stops charging. If you had described the noise as a whining or something similar I would even say, that lines ups.

I haven't had a serpentine/alternator belt failure in years, mid 1980's probably, so I can't say exactly what happens when one lets go on a newer car, but did you pop the hood and look at the belt? Wondering if the noise you heard was the shredding belt slapping around in the engine bay (?). Just a wild guess to explain the noise.

Brad

lparsons
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Re: What happens after CVT failure?

Post by lparsons » Sat Feb 03, 2018 7:01 am

Thank you for the quick reply! I love the idea, and I hope that is what we find. Dealership will open their service dept in another 5-10 minutes out here, I'll call out there and see if they'll be able to get it in to at least try to diagnose the problem today. Here's hoping ...

I did do a quick search on napa to see what they get for an alternator (~$200) and serpentine belt (~$40). I figure if it's ~$250 out the door at napa for the parts it'll likely be at least $350 for the parts at the dealer plus diagnostics and labor. Not fun but better than replacing the whole car right now.

Apparently our freebies aren't common enough for anyone to feel the need to sell rebuilt transmissions for it, either. I did a quick search for that as well and the best that came up for the AWD was a used transmission with ~70k miles on it somewhere for about $2k. That was a quote from a place that claims to sell rebuilt and remanufactured transmissions no less ...
05 Freestyle Limited AWD - dark red (wife's car)
02 VW Passat W8 - all black (my car)

lparsons
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Re: What happens after CVT failure?

Post by lparsons » Sat Feb 03, 2018 8:20 am

Dealership currently supports the serpentine belt hypothesis. They're diagnosing the problem further (to figure out why the belt shredded - not clear why they can't just call it old age) currently.

FWIW they quoted me ~$200 for the serpentine belt, installed. Considering how everything on that end of the transverse engine seems rather severely shoehorned in, that doesn't sound that outlandish to me. Now we wait to see if they want to replace the alternator and/or anything else while they're in there.
05 Freestyle Limited AWD - dark red (wife's car)
02 VW Passat W8 - all black (my car)

lparsons
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Re: What happens after CVT failure?

Post by lparsons » Sat Feb 03, 2018 11:06 am

Now they're saying the belt tensioner seized, which resulting in auto-shredding of the serpentine belt. I guess at 150k miles that doesn't seem beyond the realm of possibility. Now it comes down to how long it takes them to get it done and if they can pull off a miracle and do it today (dependent in part on when the parts show up). Looking either today (Saturday) or Tuesday as the dealership of course does not do service on Sundays and this particular group that is working on my car doesn't work Mondays either (hence Tuesday - Saturday).
05 Freestyle Limited AWD - dark red (wife's car)
02 VW Passat W8 - all black (my car)

lparsons
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Re: What happens after CVT failure?

Post by lparsons » Tue Feb 06, 2018 2:10 pm

For those interested in the conclusion of the story, the dealership was able to get it turned around the same day! It was not cheap to have them do it of course (over $400) but it's done and the car is running again. And this still beats the costs I feared I would face for a transmission (nearly impossible to find one with less than 100,000 miles on it - they go for $2k on their own - and rebuilt ones seem to be 100% unobtanium) based on my hair-brained perception of the problem. And the alternator still seems to be fine as well.
05 Freestyle Limited AWD - dark red (wife's car)
02 VW Passat W8 - all black (my car)

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jas88
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Re: What happens after CVT failure?

Post by jas88 » Wed Feb 07, 2018 6:38 am

In these times, having a dealership that correctly diagnosed and fixed the problem on the first try is a good find.
2006 SE Silver w/Slate cloth

lparsons
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Re: What happens after CVT failure?

Post by lparsons » Wed Feb 07, 2018 7:15 am

I have been pretty consistently happy with this dealer (I'll avoid turning this into spam by omitting their name here, if people want my recommendation for a dealer in the Minneapolis, MN area they can contact me and I'll happily share it). They are one of the older dealers in the state AFAIK. They did some body work for us a few years ago on our freebie as well - replacing the rear bumper (which is a paint-to-match part) after our neighbor had backed into our car - and that turned out great as well. And going even further back in time they were at one point the seller of my very first car (a 1978 Mustang) so I've worked with them a few times over the years.

Some times, you just have to bite the bullet and put the money down. I'm glad I did it this time.
05 Freestyle Limited AWD - dark red (wife's car)
02 VW Passat W8 - all black (my car)

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mmsstar
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Re: What happens after CVT failure?

Post by mmsstar » Wed Feb 07, 2018 8:35 am

We have no problem with you identifying either a dealer you are happy with or one you have problems with.
Drove an 06 LTD FWD from July 08 to August 10, moved on to a 2011 Flex

Stangyog
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Re: What happens after CVT failure?

Post by Stangyog » Tue Feb 13, 2018 6:08 pm

Glad you got if fixed, but $400 to change the belt and tensioner!!! That's why I try to do most of the work myself, or worst case, take it to a local shop. The parts probably only cost $50-75.

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