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Old 11-01-2016, 03:18 PM   #1
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Serpentine belt

A few weeks ago i got ambitious and took the covers off beside bed and got in and lubed my Pac / exhaust brake. While i had my melon in there i was observing my serpentine belt........I do not have a side rad and i thought , if that sucker goes some day it's got to be a bearcat to change. Is there an idler pulley you have to cam over to put new belt on ? Do you need a swing bar and special socket ? [ 400 ISL ] I have changed belts on smaller units like F-350 but this job looks like it could take two people. Now the dog is on my mind all the time. Any tips would be appreciated !!

Thks and happy trails.
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Old 11-01-2016, 03:58 PM   #2
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Belt should be changed every 5 years. I have all my work done
by my local Thomas Built bus dealer, so I had them do it.
They know the chassis better most Freightliner dealers,
since a lot of school buses are on the same chassis. I recall it
was 2 hours of labor.
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Old 11-01-2016, 05:11 PM   #3
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Don't know what rig or engine you have, but changing the belt on my CAT 350 in my SAFARI is an easy 10 minute job. Access from the top, crank the idler back with my socket wrench, slide the old one off and new one on. Done. Dick
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Old 11-01-2016, 05:16 PM   #4
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The rear radiator makes this job a little more challenging for sure. Two people, one from the top and another underneath simplifies the task. Here is a diagram that will assist.
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Old 11-01-2016, 06:27 PM   #5
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Let's see, I've blown 4, count 'em 4, belts on my ISL 400 so, at this point, I'm pretty adept at replacing them. Last time was on I-80 West just past Princeton, IL this past July.

Some rules:
1. Have a spare belt with you AT ALL TIMES.

2. Invest in a $60 NAPA serpentine belt tool. I just bought this as I was told it makes life easier. I have used a long handled ratchet which requires you to stick your arm high into the slot between the hot engine and the hot radiator. 2nd degree burns on your forearm are a sign of success (or stupidity).

3. Call Freightliner (NOT Cummins) with the last 6 digits of your VIN and they will email you a belt routing diagram. Print this out (multiple copies) and store one with your spare belt and one with your RV paperwork. A plastic sleeve helps as you'll have this under the coach keeping you company.

4. Put your dirtiest shirt on and say a prayer to Jesus and ask forgiveness in advance for all the bad words you are about to say.

5. Crawl under the RV on the driver side rear where the engineers have left a nice space for you to work - right by the 1000 degree turbo... You should be able to see the alternator, AC compressor, tensioner pulley and the fan. If you feel around the alternator, there is an idler pulley. Check that the pulleys move freely. If not, you have a bigger problem...

6. Remove old belt if its still there. Check that its not wrapped around the fan or any other pulley.

7. Take the new belt and, fin by fin, get it around the fan.

8. Work the belt carefully around the other pulleys except the alternator.

9. Attach your ratchet or, for those with brains, custom belt tool to the 1/2" square hole on the tensioner bracket.

10. While your helper (not your wife, I speak from experience...) is pushing up on the belt tool with all their might, carefully pry the belt with your fingers over the alternator pulley.

11. Its very important to now check that the belt is aligned on all the pulleys - ribs fully on a pulley and backs centered.

12. Start her up and you're on your way! But stop soon to buy a new replacement belt...
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Old 11-01-2016, 06:41 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RVThere View Post
Let's see, I've blown 4, count 'em 4, belts on my ISL 400 so, at this point, I'm pretty adept at replacing them. Last time was on I-80 West just past Princeton, IL this past July.

Some rules:
1. Have a spare belt with you AT ALL TIMES.

2. Invest in a $60 NAPA serpentine belt tool. I just bought this as I was told it makes life easier. I have used a long handled ratchet which requires you to stick your arm high into the slot between the hot engine and the hot radiator. 2nd degree burns on your forearm are a sign of success (or stupidity).

3. Call Freightliner (NOT Cummins) with the last 6 digits of your VIN and they will email you a belt routing diagram. Print this out (multiple copies) and store one with your spare belt and one with your RV paperwork. A plastic sleeve helps as you'll have this under the coach keeping you company.

4. Put your dirtiest shirt on and say a prayer to Jesus and ask forgiveness in advance for all the bad words you are about to say.

5. Crawl under the RV on the driver side rear where the engineers have left a nice space for you to work - right by the 1000 degree turbo... You should be able to see the alternator, AC compressor, tensioner pulley and the fan. If you feel around the alternator, there is an idler pulley. Check that the pulleys move freely. If not, you have a bigger problem...

6. Remove old belt if its still there. Check that its not wrapped around the fan or any other pulley.

7. Take the new belt and, fin by fin, get it around the fan.

8. Work the belt carefully around the other pulleys except the alternator.

9. Attach your ratchet or, for those with brains, custom belt tool to the 1/2" square hole on the tensioner bracket.

10. While your helper (not your wife, I speak from experience...) is pushing up on the belt tool with all their might, carefully pry the belt with your fingers over the alternator pulley.

11. Its very important to now check that the belt is aligned on all the pulleys - ribs fully on a pulley and backs centered.

12. Start her up and you're on your way! But stop soon to buy a new replacement belt...

The above is really good advice . . . but makes me SO glad that our rig has a side radiator!

On the 2nd degree burns, wouldn't it be better to just wait until the engine cools off? (assuming you aren't in a really unsafe location and need to get out of there ASAP!)

Another thing comes to mind . . . . What the heck is going on that you've had FOUR serpentine belts break?!? In all the vehicles I've ever owned, I've had one (count them ONE) serpentine belt come off, and that was back in the late '80's on a Ford Pinto that had fractured cam shaft pulley break, so the belt didn't even break, but rather stopped turning since the pulley shattered. Not sure why anyone would go through FOUR belts . . .
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Old 11-01-2016, 07:23 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hit_the_Rhod View Post

Another thing comes to mind . . . . What the heck is going on that you've had FOUR serpentine belts break?!?
Belt #1 - I-78 Allentown PA - no known cause, 14,000 miles on coach.
Belt #2 - Home driveway - Alternator seized
Belt #3 - Casper, WY - AC compressor seized
Belt #4 - Princeton, IL - rust had built up in the pulleys which acted as an abrasive and wore the belt prematurely. Pulleys have been cleaned/replaced.
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Old 11-01-2016, 08:47 PM   #8
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Quote:
NAPA serpentine belt tool
What is the belt tool you speak of?


Is it the thing that grabs the belt, and allows you to position it?



or is it the long handle (leverage) with the different size wrench heads?
https://www.napaonline.com/napa/en/p/BK_7768025

or something else?
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Old 11-01-2016, 09:02 PM   #9
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Serpentine belt

Additional tip: Keep your belt, tools, safety triangles, etc. inside or on the passenger side where you can get to it without the danger of opening a traffic-side compartment. Been there, done that.
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Old 11-01-2016, 09:13 PM   #10
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I have a side radiator but I took a white marking pen and drew a line on the engine block to show the routing of the serpentine belt. If the belt breaks and is gone, I can easily put a new belt (I carry a spare) on using the white line to show the routing.
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Old 11-02-2016, 05:51 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kiawah View Post
What is the belt tool you speak of?



or is it the long handle (leverage) with the different size wrench heads?
https://www.napaonline.com/napa/en/p/BK_7768025

or something else?
It is the 2nd one, the 'long handle (leverage) with the different wrench heads'.

Allegedly (as I'm waiting to use it on Belt #5...) the short bar goes into the 1/2" square hole on the tensioner and the long bar with the handle can attach to the short one at multiple angle points. This orients the handle down so you don't have to reach up into the hot area between the engine and radiator (and to address another poster - who can wait for a engine to cool down when you have a vacation ahead of you!)

The 'grabber' seems interesting but you're doing most of the work from the side so it may not be useful in this application.
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Old 11-02-2016, 04:11 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RVThere View Post
Belt #1 - I-78 Allentown PA - no known cause, 14,000 miles on coach.
Belt #2 - Home driveway - Alternator seized
Belt #3 - Casper, WY - AC compressor seized
Belt #4 - Princeton, IL - rust had built up in the pulleys which acted as an abrasive and wore the belt prematurely. Pulleys have been cleaned/replaced.

Wow! Have you considered having a Priest do a Blessing on your engine?!? Or maybe an exorcism?
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Old 11-02-2016, 06:24 PM   #13
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Wow! Have you considered having a Priest do a Blessing on your engine?!? Or maybe an exorcism?
I have a crucifix as soon as you enter the coach - no help as God has a sense of humor! Since I'm always go, go, go, I think it's His way of slowing me down...
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Old 11-03-2016, 05:28 AM   #14
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I have a crucifix as soon as you enter the coach - no help as God has a sense of humor! Since I'm always go, go, go, I think it's His way of slowing me down...
Good point about the sense of humor . . . .But sometimes you just have to ask the question: Why is he always laughing at ME?
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