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Old 10-30-2021, 06:24 PM   #1
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Serpentine belt and tensioner replacement

2013 Newmar Ventana on Freightliner Chassis
I have a local auto / truck shop connected to my storage location. During recent oil / filter change mechanic noted high pitch squeel he thought might be AC compressor and beyond what they normally do.
I made appt with a heavy duty truck shop to service air dryer and asked them to check out the noise to see if they thought it might be AC compressor.
I was pleasantly surprised when they reported it was serpentine belt & tensioner problem and used the spares I keep aboard the fix the problem. They had to go digging in a compartment in the rear closet to find the spares.
Also surprised they could access and replace them with only minor work inspire of my rear radiator & fan shroud. 2 hrs labor using my spares seemed very reasonable to me.
Does anyone disagree with above and feel 2 hrs is unreasonable?
I was also pleasantly surprised to see parts charges for desiccant dryer canister and purge valve were less than what it would have cost me online via Amazon or other parts suppliers.
I've had them do other work (radiator drain flush & coolant replacement) previously and thinking they are fair and reputable... at least so far.
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Old 10-30-2021, 06:56 PM   #2
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Replacing the serpentine belt and tensioner; on a rear rad coach ; may have required a helper for a portion of the install; one man from the top , the second underneath ; so two hours ... I wouldn't say that's at all out of line .
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Old 10-30-2021, 07:17 PM   #3
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I donít think I have any access from the top. When they did my belt, they were doing the air filter at the same time, he removed the brackets that hold the air filter to get enough access from the side while the coach was on a lift. Donít think I could ever change it on the road.
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Old 10-30-2021, 07:43 PM   #4
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It all depends on the chassis/builder configuration and length of the coach.

On my 2012 Fleetwood discovery 40X
Freightliner XC chassis on the power bridge frame, the driver's side engine compartment has a lot of space to access the drive belt and tensioner.

Yes, you do have to remove the air cleaner to make it easier and two hours from start to finish is about normal since you have to also remove the fan clutch wiring harness and support bracket to feed the belt over the fan and into position.

It also helps to have a surpentine belt tool for the tensioner to make it easier to get the new belt on. A good tip is to have the belt diagram laminated in a 4 X 4 inch card and affixed to the fan shroud should you ever need a roadside repair.
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Old 10-30-2021, 07:46 PM   #5
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As far as I know and was told it was all done from under side. Tech must be young, slim & trim. Certainly not something I would attempt I dont think. Shop Mgr said he had to move / remove part of the exhaust... maybe just the extension to open up access?
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Old 10-30-2021, 09:40 PM   #6
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As far as I know and was told it was all done from under side. Tech must be young, slim & trim. Certainly not something I would attempt I dont think. Shop Mgr said he had to move / remove part of the exhaust... maybe just the extension to open up access?
Sounds to me that you have found an honest and reliable place to to get work done on your RV. That's invaluable to know.
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Old 11-05-2021, 08:55 AM   #7
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Just curious whether anyone has rebuilt their tensioner. I have seen several posts / videos re replacing bearings but have never anything re the spring. I was concerned that an old spring might be weak or more prone to breakage?
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Old 11-05-2021, 09:03 AM   #8
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Just curious whether anyone has rebuilt their tensioner. I have seen several posts / videos re replacing bearings but have never anything re the spring. I was concerned that an old spring might be weak or more prone to breakage?

Automatic tensioners do THREE things/can wear out in any of the three:


Bearings
Spring
Dampening


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Old 11-05-2021, 09:40 AM   #9
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Good info...
Thanks
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Old 11-06-2021, 01:46 PM   #10
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Changing the tensioner and the belt on a side radiator is two wrenches and about 15 minutes. Changing it on a rear radiator is a lot more difficult. The price sounds pretty fair.
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Old 11-07-2021, 05:43 AM   #11
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When I first got my 2002 with a Cat and a Freightliner chassis (rear radiator) I took it to Freightliner for them to look it over. They did a good job. The belt was squeaking and they recommended a new one with a new tensioner.

I went to check on it and the shop manager took me out to it, they had 3 guys working on it and even with a new belt and tensioner it was still squeaking. Turned out the mounting surface for the tensioner had built up crud and once they figured that out it worked great. I didn't expect that one.
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Old 11-10-2021, 07:38 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dutch Star Don View Post
Changing the tensioner and the belt on a side radiator is two wrenches and about 15 minutes. Changing it on a rear radiator is a lot more difficult. The price sounds pretty fair.
This is true except...
On my rear radiator I can get all the parts on the side of my engine, a whole lot more than just the belt and tensioner. Alternator, power steering pump, air compressor, fuel assembly, fuel pump, turbo, manifold, sensors, and many more. Every side radiator I've seen these are not as accessible , and why repair shops charge more for RVs.
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Old 12-01-2021, 01:44 PM   #13
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I just did this myself on a ISB 6.7 rear radiator engine. It took me almost two hours and a second set of hands to help from above. I was able to sit along the tailpipe and reach the tensioner and belt. You can also rear the tensioner from directly below if swapping it. Anyway, I think you got a deal. This sort of thing is why some of the truck service centers don't want to work on RV's.
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Old 12-02-2021, 12:11 AM   #14
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The bracket for the fan clutch must be removed on the rear radiator coaches that I have seen. I'm not sure how that could be accessed from the bottom but I suppose it's possible.
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