Belts and Hoses
Description: Fan belt is the traditional term for what today is called
a drive belt. Drive belts are made of reinforced, high-tensile strength cords
and synthetic rubber. They connect the engine to front-mounted accessories.
Belts come in two different types: The traditional V-belt (cross-section of
belts has a V-shape for V-shaped pulleys) and the serpentine belt (also called
Poly-V, Poly-Rib, Multi-Rib, and Micro-V belt), which uses multiple Vs for
more positive contact with its mating pulleys.
Purpose: Drive belts
provide power to engine-mounted accessories like the power steering pump, air
conditioning compressor, mechanical cooling fan, and air injection pump.
Serpentine belts are now used on almost all vehicles.
Tips/Suggestions: Studies show that the chances of a drive belt failure
rises dramatically after four years or 36,000 miles for V-belts, 50,000 miles
for serpentine belts. This doesn’t mean that the belts shouldn’t be inspected
before then, though. The belts should be checked every time the oil is changed
to make sure they’re OK and properly tightened. When checking V-belts, a
slipping belt usually has shiny sidewalls (glazing) caused by heat from
sliding in the pulleys. The glazing often causes a chattering, slapping or
squealing noise. And, because the glazing hardens the belt, it's prone to
cracking and early failure. Belt slippage often occurs because of low tension,
the wrong belt, or grease or oil. Missing chunks, or separating layers of the
belt often hint at a dousing of oil or grease. The source of the oil or grease
needs to be corrected before installing a new belt. A V-belt with any of these
conditions should be replaced as soon as possible. On serpentine belts,
inspect the belt closely for any cracks in the ribbed area. Also check the
backside of the belt for grooves, fraying, or splitting. Although random
cracks across the ribs are a sign of normal belt wear and don’t mean the belt
will fail immediately, it’s a good idea to replace the belt the next time your
car is serviced.
It's All in the Timing
With automotive engines as with
many aspects of daily life, timing is critical. One vehicle component often
overlooked during routine maintenance is the engine timing belt. If it fails,
the engine will stop and the car will coast to a stop. The lucky motorist will
only have the inconvenience of being stranded on the side of the road until
the car can be towed to a repair facility to have the timing belt replaced. On
the other hand, the engine might suffer severe, if not catastrophic, damage to
its internal components.
This potential disaster can be avoided
easily and relatively inexpensively by replacing the timing belt within the
required replacement interval.
Timing belts resemble an engine accessory
serpentine belt in appearance, only they typically have square teeth on the
inside surface. They usually are constructed of rubber reinforced with nylon.
The timing belt transfers the rotation of the crankshaft to the camshaft. The
rotating camshaft activates the valves, which provide air and fuel to the
cylinders and expel combustion gases to the exhaust system.
The valves and pistons are constantly moving
up and down at very high speeds. When the pistons are down, the valves are
open; when the piston is at the top of its travel, the valves are closed. Some
engines don't allow clearance between a valve at its lowest point and a piston
at its highest. The timing belt, therefore, is the critical link to ensure
that these components don't collide. If collision occurs, damage to the
valves, pistons, cylinder head and cylinder walls can result. This can be an
Timing belts usually are protected from
foreign objects by a cover, making visual inspection impossible.
Many domestic vehicles built within the last
several years and the majority of imports are equipped with a timing belt.
Other engines rely on a timing chain rather than a belt. Refer to your owner's
manual or take your car to a repair facility if you are unsure. The owner's
manual maintenance schedule is a source of timing belt replacement intervals,
typically every 60,000 to 90,000 miles.
Timing belt replacement usually requires
removal of the engine drive belt that operates the alternator, water pump,
power steering pump and air conditioner. Consider replacing this belt, or
multiple belts, when having a new timing belt installed......
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