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Old 08-05-2011, 06:11 PM   #1
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454 engine alternator/water pump belt problems

Our maiden voyage was stopped due to another alternator/water pump belt problem, today I decided to see it this seem to be an reoccurring problem and found many posts about this belt. Some said this same belt breaks on their motor-home every 300 miles. I have to much invested on this 83 Pace Arrow not to be able to use it due to the belt alway breaking. I need to find a solution, some said that the ended up replacing the water pump and other bearing that could have been the problem. I don't want to throw more money at this motor-home, but if replacing the water pump and alternator will solve my problem then I will do it, but if it would have to be a real solution, so I need honest feedback on what has work for you.
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Old 08-05-2011, 07:34 PM   #2
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My first motorhome broke belts a couple of times a year. I started using dayco belts after readinge that dayco made all the belts for all the car manufactures. It cured all my problems. Secondly If you are using (tandem) double belts on your 454, one will knock the other off.
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Old 08-05-2011, 08:02 PM   #3
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I will see if I can locate a correct belt and see it it works for me.

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My first motorhome broke belts a couple of times a year. I started using dayco belts after readinge that dayco made all the belts for all the car manufactures. It cured all my problems. Secondly If you are using (tandem) double belts on your 454, one will knock the other off.
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Old 08-05-2011, 11:49 PM   #4
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I had a Fleetwood Flair that had a flat serpentine belt that was failing. I replaced it and it failed again. It turned out that the power steering pulley was not lined up and was causing the belt problems. Once the pulley was moved to the proper position all was well. It came from the factory that way.
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Old 08-06-2011, 12:08 AM   #5
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Always replace double belts in pairs. The old belt will always knock off a new belt running in the same pulley. If not double pulleys, take off all the belts and check for excessive play in the bearings of all the belt driven components. It is very hard to find a worn bearing with the belts on and tight. Make sure all the pulleys are in alignment. Sometimes when a part is replaced it may have the wrong pulley installed. I even found one time a guy put the alternator pulley on backward. I didn't think that was possible but seeing is believing.
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Old 08-06-2011, 01:09 AM   #6
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........Since my previous m/home was almost identical, a 1982 pace arrow 454, if I were to suspect a problem I would think Alternator area. I would make sure your Altternator is the GM ONE (1) wire, meaning it only has a RED wire going to it. That type came from GM with a big pulley which had a cooling turbine made in the pulley. All of the GM 454 engines had deep groove pulleys on the w/pump, p/s etc.
As OP mentioned using Gates belt is a good choice. I myself like the "GATORBACK" belt which runs cooler. Any good NAPA store can fix you up. I must say I miss the old 454 turbo 400 trans, it was tough. Good luck and let us know your fix, belts are not supposed to come off like that. Travel safe,
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Old 08-06-2011, 08:46 AM   #7
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I suspect that you have alignment issue with the pulleys. Looks close and turn the fan, alternator by hand (without the belt) and see if they are running true, if so put on the belt and look at the placement in the groves if you are in line the space will be equel on both sides of the belt and pulley. If the space is diff even a little bit you have an alignmet issue, I hope this helps you out.
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Old 08-06-2011, 02:11 PM   #8
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Well the tightness of the area and the limited vision make it hard to make a firm decision of this is indeed the problem so I guess I will have to rely again on my mechanic and hope they do the correct Job. I wish I was a mechanic and also wish I could fit into that small are to preform these tasks. I is like doing everything backward due to the mirror I must use to inspect the work I am doing.


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I suspect that you have alignment issue with the pulleys. Looks close and turn the fan, alternator by hand (without the belt) and see if they are running true, if so put on the belt and look at the placement in the groves if you are in line the space will be equel on both sides of the belt and pulley. If the space is diff even a little bit you have an alignmet issue, I hope this helps you out.
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Old 08-07-2011, 10:01 PM   #9
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My old 82 winnie p30 did the belt flip.Alt. sits way out to top right of engine causing a very sharp angle! Would flip off every time I was grinding up a hill and decided to drop down a gear.Would hear a ping then the temp gauge would climb!Put a lazer on pulleys and all aligned.Learned to keep my hand off gear shift.Go on ebay and look up serpentine belt.There is a guy selling adapters to put a sbc 350 serp. on a bbc.Then go to craigslist and in my area,Seattle, people are selling serp. setups all the time.Get one with all the parts(p.s.,alt,water pump)You will need a reverse rotation water pump.Also need to make sure your heads have acessory bolt holes.Old heads may not,newer probably.Then your good to go!!!
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Old 08-08-2011, 06:04 AM   #10
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Not wanting to sound stupid, but all sound very overwhelming, for a non mechanic like me.

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My old 82 winnie p30 did the belt flip.Alt. sits way out to top right of engine causing a very sharp angle! Would flip off every time I was grinding up a hill and decided to drop down a gear.Would hear a ping then the temp gauge would climb!Put a lazer on pulleys and all aligned.Learned to keep my hand off gear shift.Go on ebay and look up serpentine belt.There is a guy selling adapters to put a sbc 350 serp. on a bbc.Then go to craigslist and in my area,Seattle, people are selling serp. setups all the time.Get one with all the parts(p.s.,alt,water pump)You will need a reverse rotation water pump.Also need to make sure your heads have acessory bolt holes.Old heads may not,newer probably.Then your good to go!!!
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Old 08-10-2011, 08:47 PM   #11
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Today I was talking to a guy I know who has race cars and he said he has perform this on many of his race cars, and that all of the basic parts would cost approx $600.00 but could not give me any idea on how much labor it would take to perform the change over, due to the tightness of the area, and not knowing it it could be done without pulling the radiator, does any one have an solid idea on what it would take to get this job done? I can only throw a thousand more dollars at the problem if it solves it, but doubt that $400.00 for labor would cover it

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My old 82 winnie p30 did the belt flip.Alt. sits way out to top right of engine causing a very sharp angle! Would flip off every time I was grinding up a hill and decided to drop down a gear.Would hear a ping then the temp gauge would climb!Put a lazer on pulleys and all aligned.Learned to keep my hand off gear shift.Go on ebay and look up serpentine belt.There is a guy selling adapters to put a sbc 350 serp. on a bbc.Then go to craigslist and in my area,Seattle, people are selling serp. setups all the time.Get one with all the parts(p.s.,alt,water pump)You will need a reverse rotation water pump.Also need to make sure your heads have acessory bolt holes.Old heads may not,newer probably.Then your good to go!!!
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Old 08-12-2011, 04:45 PM   #12
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I had an '85 PA 454 that was throwing the alternator belt frequently. The problem ended up being the belts were not on the correct pulleys, which put a slight bind in the alternator and when it was loaded up it would run off the pulley.
Suggest having your mechanic do a thorough check to verify your belts are installed on the correct pulleys. Someone had even gone to the trouble of buying two incorrect length belts on mine so they could hook them up wrong! Luckly for me I had a sharp mechanic. You should be able to find a diagram that identifies which accessories are operated by each belt.

After this problem was solved I never threw another belt in over two years.
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