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Old 12-09-2017, 11:28 AM   #1
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Engine belt life duration

Hello fellows TFers,
reading another thread about engine belt I was wondering what is the life expectancy of a belt (if there is any)?
Is it something you change regularly or only when seeing sign of wear?

My engine has 2 v belts, one driving alternator the other the water pumps but I need to find out what size I need to get some spear parts. There were 2 spear belts aboard when I got the boat but they do not look to be the correct size.

L
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Old 12-09-2017, 11:50 AM   #2
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Lou there’s another thread on this and I posted this;
“If things are aligned well and the load on the belt is low they should last a long time. My seawater drive belt is relatively loose and dosn’t slip. It’s not been exposed to fuel or other agressive fluids. That belt on my boat has been there for over 10yrs and shows no sign of weakness.
Many people just feel better replacing things like belts. I replace my lube oil over twice a year and would like to replace my fuel (in the usual manner) more than that. Perhaps this year.”


However belts vary widely in how they are loaded, what percentage is in contact w the driver pulley, the dia of the pulley and speed. Ect.
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Old 12-09-2017, 12:20 PM   #3
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I recently replaced the original 1989 belt (3500 hours). Original alternator still running strong. The original belt looked fine, replaced just because of age. I run the belt a little loose according to specs which greatly reduces wear to the belt and alternator bearings. There is no belt slippage and alternator charges to specs.
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Old 12-09-2017, 12:33 PM   #4
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Some belts are a PIA to install, something has to be removed just to slip a new belt on.

Best to place a second new belt in place with wire ties so the job will go fast if required while on a cruise.
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Old 12-09-2017, 12:49 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nomad Willy View Post
Lou thereís another thread on this and I posted this;
ďIf things are aligned well and the load on the belt is low they should last a long time. My seawater drive belt is relatively loose and dosnít slip. Itís not been exposed to fuel or other agressive fluids. That belt on my boat has been there for over 10yrs and shows no sign of weakness.
Many people just feel better replacing things like belts. I replace my lube oil over twice a year and would like to replace my fuel (in the usual manner) more than that. Perhaps this year.Ē


However belts vary widely in how they are loaded, what percentage is in contact w the driver pulley, the dia of the pulley and speed. Ect.
Thank you Eric, and sorry did not see your post in the other thread. Like you mentioned my belts do not show an sign of wear (well my boat's belt, my belt is a bi different lol) after years. I will anyway keep some spear aboard in case.

L
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Old 12-09-2017, 12:51 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Old deckhand View Post
I recently replaced the original 1989 belt (3500 hours). Original alternator still running strong. The original belt looked fine, replaced just because of age. I run the belt a little loose according to specs which greatly reduces wear to the belt and alternator bearings. There is no belt slippage and alternator charges to specs.
I guess that if mine stand till 3500h I will have enough for a lot of years!

L
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Old 12-09-2017, 12:53 PM   #7
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Some belts are a PIA to install, something has to be removed just to slip a new belt on.

Best to place a second new belt in place with wire ties so the job will go fast if required while on a cruise.
Indeed on my boat I have to remove a main water hose to change one of the belt (hose is going through)

L
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Old 12-09-2017, 12:59 PM   #8
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Like others, my belts have gone for a very long time and look and behave fine after 14 years and 2,400 hours. But all they drive is the alternator. If my belts drove a water pump I would replace them quite frequently, like maybe every 4 years max or 1,000 hours whichever comes first. And, I'd suggest to inspect them as part of your pre start routine.
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Old 12-09-2017, 01:07 PM   #9
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Belts are cheap. First I have 4 spares for each style of belt on the boat. When belts break itís usually due to something other than age. Which means you will break more belts quickly if you havenít identified the real problem. Since belts are cheap I replace when I see cracks or when other maintenance requires the removal of a belt. Due I waste money with excessive belt changes? Yes. Do I care? No. Have I ever had a belt failure? Only when a water pump bearing seized. Then I went throug 3 belts before the boat made it home.
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Old 12-09-2017, 01:35 PM   #10
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Like others, my belts have gone for a very long time and look and behave fine after 14 years and 2,400 hours. But all they drive is the alternator. If my belts drove a water pump I would replace them quite frequently, like maybe every 4 years max or 1,000 hours whichever comes first. And, I'd suggest to inspect them as part of your pre start routine.
Yup this is always part of my pre start routine, check tension and look for any sign of wear and dust, along with oil, coolant etc and also any hose clamp now on

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Old 12-09-2017, 01:39 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by tiltrider1 View Post
Belts are cheap. First I have 4 spares for each style of belt on the boat. When belts break itís usually due to something other than age. Which means you will break more belts quickly if you havenít identified the real problem. Since belts are cheap I replace when I see cracks or when other maintenance requires the removal of a belt. Due I waste money with excessive belt changes? Yes. Do I care? No. Have I ever had a belt failure? Only when a water pump bearing seized. Then I went throug 3 belts before the boat made it home.
About replacement parts, is there anything to look at beyond length and width? I will measure length using a piece of string and width of the belt but is there any other characteristic about belt? (like load rating or things like that?)

L
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Old 12-09-2017, 02:01 PM   #12
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There are different ratings on belts. I believe itís Gates that has a color code. Red is standard duty and green is heavy duty.
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Old 12-09-2017, 02:43 PM   #13
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Dont for get depth.


modern belts are so good when there is a failure its almost never the belts fault. Standard duty is fine.


If you choose to go with some off brand belt then I would check load ratings just to be safe but you won't have an issue with manufactures like gates.
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Old 12-09-2017, 03:07 PM   #14
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About replacement parts, is there anything to look at beyond length and width? I will measure length using a piece of string and width of the belt but is there any other characteristic about belt? (like load rating or things like that?)

L
I would say looking for the engine manufacturer's specification is the best way to get the right belt. For my Volvo, there's a Volvo part number. An auto parts store might be able to cross-reference the number to another manufacturer but the set is under $20 at the Volvo place so that's what I use.

I have no set replacement schedule, I just check for the appropriate play every now and then and keep a spare set on the boat. I replaced them once in ten years.
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Old 12-09-2017, 04:02 PM   #15
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We don’t have any set schedule but they usually get changed about every 2-3 years when I’m fiddling with other stuff. The last changes (excluding the rebuild) where when I rebuilt the alternators and then when I replaced the engine coolant pump. If I have to remove the belt to get to something, it gets replaced. I figure it’s better to upgrade to a new one on my schedule particularly having a single engine
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Old 12-09-2017, 07:11 PM   #16
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We had belt dust with a V belt...now use a cogged belt and there's no more dust.
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Old 12-09-2017, 07:33 PM   #17
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We had belt dust with a V belt...now use a cogged belt and there's no more dust.
Cog belts were designed to help v belts bend around smaller pulleys. Often used for alternator.
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Old 12-10-2017, 08:20 AM   #18
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"An auto parts store might be able to cross-reference the number to another manufacturer but the set is under $20 at the Volvo place so that's what I use."

Rubber dies on the shelf . There is no way of knowing the date of manufacture of a belt.

There is a better chance of a fresh belt at the auto shop than a dealer where it might be NOS from a decade ago.
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Old 12-10-2017, 08:44 AM   #19
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Hi


my own experiences are a very long time of use if the wheels are ok and not and a good line between the wheels. My previous boat about 1200 hours 10v twins Volvo KAD 44 with supersahrger belt + 1 charger and water pump and the current Cummins original for about 1000 hours and 8 years, with 2 belts and looks good with no fractures.


You should follow the black flour under the belt and break the strap and the right tension with the strap. Too tight to scatter the water pump bearings. Volvo said 5 years and switch. I can not remember the help of Cummins.

when I see the fracture of the emerging belt, I will change.

NBs
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Old 12-10-2017, 11:35 AM   #20
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Check all the driven pulleys, to be sure bearings are good. I was operating a piece of equipment and had a belt fail, replaced and new belt failed shortly. Alternator bearing seized, causing belt to fail. Should have caught it first time, saved myself some work.
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