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[Engine] Serpentine belt and alternator issues
I've had my 1.9D for about 3 years but during the past 18 months it's hardly been driven -- once a month at best.  I know these old vans run best when driven regularly, so I'm wondering if a few things that have happened recently could be related?

February:  battery light came on during a 2hr drive, made it home but turns out it wasn't charging.  Battery was brand new 2 years ago, we tested the alternator which seemed ok but sporatic.  Van sat on drive and I  finally got round to getting it looked at in April once I charged up the battery overnight with a charger.  

Turned out to be a rusted alternator "live and exciter wire" which the local garage replaced.  They ran the engine for a while they said, to charge it up.  But driving home the voltmeter my OH has rigged up to the cigarette lighter was reading only 12V and dropping. 

Fast forward 2 months, van's only been driven for a couple short trips to the tip etc. since April but has been fine.   Tried to start it in the drive, dead.  Charged it overnight then started fine in the morning.  But within 10 min I heard a flapping sound and smelled burning and the steering got heavy.  Parked up to see the serpentine belt in tatters.  I have managed to get all of it (with some effort! wrapped around various pulleys) out of the engine bay, I don't think any got into the timing belt case as it ran fine getting back home.

The tensioner looks almost melted and not entlirely round, and the alternator pulley has a bite out of one side.  Both the pulley on the power steering and the alternator spin freely. 

So my question is:  could the belt going so suddenly (garage looked at it back in May and I assume thought it didn't need replacing) be related to the on-off alternator issue I've been having?  Or vice versa?  Was the belt not charging the battery which is why it was dead when I tried to start it after not driving it for a few weeks?  Did the bite out of the pulley cause the belt to go, or the other way round?

Just sussing out the possibilities before fitting another belt that may or may not last if there's a deeper issue.   Thanks.
I've got a 1.9D and though I've not worked on the alternator/belt yet, I know that currently the belt tensioner bearings are getting worn and so I've read around the subject a bit.  Could your tensioner be the cause of the problems?  If it's melted then it's obviously got too hot, which suggests friction.  Were the bearings getting worn and noisy?  According to this "Auto Parts University" page, "belt tensioner wear will also decrease accessory performance. This reduced performance will eventually lead to lasting accessory damage":

As an aside, I'll add that since my 1.9D became just my spare van and hobby project, all the info I've read has said that vehicles should be used at least once every 1-2 weeks to keep them running OK and help prevent problems. Might not be connected to your current issues, but leaving the vehicle standing for months isn't going to be good for it long-term. Though I guess you know that already.
Work van:     2020 1.5 BlueHDi 100 Enterprise Berlingo
Spare van:    2001 1.9 600d Berlingo
While the belt's off, just give the alternatorm, tensioner, and PAS pump (I think that's all that's on the belt on a 1.9) a turn by hand, make sure nothing's seized up.

The tensioners are far from expensive, so it's worth doing one with the belt.
Take note of all the above especially the bit about checking that all the pulleys are sinning free. It does sound like a seized pulley.

'Sinning freely'

Ohhh Matron!
My van: 2008 Berlingo 1.6 HDi Enterprise - a bit ratty!
Leaving a car battery dead flat for a month or two will have killed it.

It's worth keeping an eye on accessory belts & pulleys, a mate of mine found this out at a fast sharp bend, as when the belt went, so did the power steering................& Crunch!

If the alternator needs fixing, I've usually been lucky with 2nd hand off Ebay.
Search for different models of car with the same engine.

I got an HDi Picasso C3 alternator for £24, free post, next day delivery, and it was excellent.

Yeah, I know it sounds like a plug, but they did such a good job for me that I will say it.
Others experience might differ, greatly.

Hmm. Prices have raised a bit the last few weeks. Sigh.
192,500 miles,  (Resurrected at 186,000)
Good tip smutts, decent prices from that seller.
2017 B9 1.6 BlueHDi Van
2012 B9 1.6 HDi Van
2008 M59 1.6 HDi Van
2003 M59 1.9D Van
Thanks for all the comments. Sadly I've not the time, space, or tools (or helpful friends) these days to do these things myself so I've had to succumb to the garage who replaced the whole alternator as the pulley was too dead and apparently you can't get the pulley as a separate replacement part on these old vans.

So one new belt, tensioner and alternator later, and a few hundred quid lighter in the wallet, I now have power steering that works again.

It's ok really. The van didn't cost me much to buy 3 years ago and certainly hasn't cost me much to run either. Probably 300-400 a year in parts and labour which is not much -- exhaust and alternator were the main things. It's been a brilliant vehicle to haul mountain bikes around or load up stuff for the tip.

However as I hardly drive it anymore and we can't really justify 2 cars these days, I'm probably going to sell it and see how much I miss it! I've quite enjoyed owning it but my days of running bangernomics cars/vans are coming to and end I think.

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