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Old 05-16-2019, 08:09 AM   #1
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Serpentine Belt - Factoid for the record

I have always carried spare serpentine belts in my "spares in case of an emergency tub" in the basement. Luckily, I have never needed to use them. I did get involved with an owner who had lost an A.C. compressor belt while at Quartzsite and three of us owners tried to figure out how to change out a belt, and I now understand that we did it all wrong.... we unscrewed the AC compressor which was a major pain in the butt and NOT the way to change the belt.

I recently had a problem with a loud ratcheting sound in the engine compartment, and I, and two experienced mechanics, could not determine if the sound was coming from the fan clutch, the AC compressor, or the Alternator. The mechanics determined what it was (the AC compressor) by removing the serpentine belts, one belt at a time, and starting the Cummins each time to see where the ratcheting was from.

Here is the factoid. Removing the three serpentine belts was a piece of cake with the right piece of equipment, and that was a 24" long 1/2" breaker bar. There is a tensioner on each of the belts, and each of those tensioners have a 1/2" hole for a 1/2" socket or breaker bar. With the breaker bar, removing the belt is easy for one guy, and clearly "do-able" beside the side of the road. So, I now own a 24" 1/2" breaker bar from Harbor Freight ($13.00) and it goes in the basement with my other "just in case" tools that I carry. It would also be good at knocking a bear over the head that is attacking me in Yellowstone, if that every happens.

Just a little knowledge I am passing along.

Gary
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Old 05-16-2019, 08:16 AM   #2
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Another member of this board removed the belt that drives the A/C compressor, measured and carries a belt that eliminates the A/C compressor. This was done while on a trip where the A/C compressor failed.

I now do the same. Recently I replaced all the belts using Gates green stripe belts. They're supposed to be the best on the market. I carry the original belts as a back up and yes, the 24" breaker bar from Harbor Freight is a "MUST" have tool.
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Old 05-16-2019, 08:24 AM   #3
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Jowdy

Those are good comments. On my 2019 605 horse Cummins, all the main belt driven components are driven by their own belts.... there are no belts that turn two different things with one belt. Not all motors are so configured, of course, and having a belt that lets you bypass the Air Conditioning compressor would be a very smart idea, since those darn things so often freeze up and burn through the belt. Good suggestion.

Gary
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Old 05-16-2019, 09:58 AM   #4
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Gary, when Amy & I attended the Spartan Academy class last year, they had a K3 chassis in the classroom. As an instructional demonstration, one of the technicians removed all three serpentine belts and reinstalled them. Took him about two minutes start to finish.

Admittedly the task was easier since there was no motorhome built on/around the chassis, but looking at our Entegra I don't think it would a whole lot more difficult.

One other comment about serpentine belts. They tend to last a LONG time. We had a 2009 GMC Acadia that was Amy's daily driver. In mid-2017, when the vehicle had about 50,000 miles on it, we decided to sell it to Amy's brother and replace it with a new ride.

I had done almost all the maintenance on the Acadia, but had never replaced the serpentine belt. After eight Arizona summers and 50,000 miles, I figured it was probably nearing the end of its useful life so I bought a new belt. While reading up on how to change it out (not a completely straightforward job on that particular vehicle), I determined that the factory recommended interval for changing the belt was 150,000 miles!

I couldn't believe that was accurate, but checking several different sources confirmed it was. And when I removed the old belt it looked pretty darn good.

As for our motorhome engines, other than AC compressor freeze ups (which seem to be alarmingly common), I doubt we have to worry too much about serpentine belt failures.
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Old 05-16-2019, 10:12 AM   #5
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Gary, good heads up post. Along with the belt 1/2 inch drive, add a strap wrench for fuel filters and a 25mm socket for the secondary filter. A fuel filter change from bad fuel will be likely sooner or later, but hopefully never.

Belts are important. When I lost my AC compressor in MI, it snapped the belt. A replacement was almost impossible to find, glad I had the spare. All the parts houses listed them, but none in stock, it is not a common belt.
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Old 05-16-2019, 02:59 PM   #6
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It would also be good at knocking a bear over the head that is attacking me in Yellowstone, if that ever happens.
Gary
Wait here Mr. Bear, I'll be right back with my breaker bar!
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Old 05-17-2019, 09:18 AM   #7
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I think I'd want a longer bar if I needed to adjust a bear's attitude. At least 36".
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Old 05-17-2019, 09:23 AM   #8
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At 36" or 48", the breaker bar could be used as a walking cane whilst hiking in the woods, or as a barbell weight for old guys to use for exercise in the coach. Wow, coach repairs and improved physical fitness and critter protection all at one time. And only $13

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Old 05-17-2019, 09:28 AM   #9
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It would also be good at knocking a bear over the head that is attacking me in Yellowstone, if that every happens.


Gary
It is unfortunate that the bears arms are 48"-60" long
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Old 05-17-2019, 09:38 AM   #10
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New definition for "bear hug"?
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Old 05-17-2019, 08:49 PM   #11
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While on a trek to Western Canada and Alaska we encountered a road grading area where we were forced by oncoming traffic to cross a high berm of dirt and gravel in the center of the road. Long story short, we scooped enough small gravel and small rocks that made their way to the belts. Rock vs belt with the rock pinned in between wheel and belt, belt loses.

Though the belts were not broken, there was a significant number of damaged spots. Enough to need to replace all belts. You don’t have to have a broken belt to need to change them. Always a good idea to carry a spare set.
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Old 05-18-2019, 05:45 AM   #12
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For those getting carried away with the size breaker bar needed ....the 1/2 inch drive ratchet in the Craftsman 1/2 socket set I carry worked fine to change the belts.
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Old 05-18-2019, 06:30 AM   #13
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Its a whole lot harder with that short handle socket wrench to hold the tensioners in position to remove and install the belts than it is with the breaker bar.... that is the reason that I raised the issue. It is a piece of cake for one guy to do the job with the right tool. Can it be done with another tool, sure, but the job is a LOT easier with the breaker bar and for $13, something that I will carry with me standard now.

And remember about the bears....

Gary
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Old 05-18-2019, 06:42 AM   #14
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Guess I am stronger, It was no problem by myself using my ratchet on two different MH's. The important thing is having a tool that works when it's needed. Easy way to check is to try and see if what you have will move the tensioner. If works, your good to go. If it's a problem get something larger. Or wait 3 hours for coach net.
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