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Old 04-07-2010, 08:48   #1
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Aternator Belt Tension

Anyone know where I can buy a qadget that helps you to tighten an alternator belt. I don't even know what the name of the tool is.

From what has been described to me, this tool holds the alternator belt inplace while tightening the appropriate bolts. I have a volvo MD2020, but don't think it matters.
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Erika
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Old 04-07-2010, 09:14   #2
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Belt Tension gauges range from a few dollars to lots of dollars, and should be available from most motor factors, in the USA , could try NAPA. They should also be be able to advise you on type to use, and I think that NAPÅ also hire out tools, so may be the way to go.
Rule of thumb, grip belt midway between the pulleys on its longest length, and if you can twist the belt through 90 degrees, your about right
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Old 04-07-2010, 09:19   #3
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I had trouble with slipping alternator belts on my Balmar 90 amp alternators, and for a period of time I went through lots of belts.

Then I discovered ribbed belts. Ribbed belts are magic on Exit Only. No more alternator belt squeal, and the belts last a very long time. Those transverse grooves in the ribbed belt work wonders. Until I used ribbed belts, I had the same problem as you. I fought to make the belt tight enough so that it would not slip and self-destruct.

It frequently comes down to one of two solutions. Either install dual pulleys and use non-ribbed belts, or stay with a single pulley and use a ribbed belt.

That's the way it is on Exit Only.
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Old 04-07-2010, 09:20   #4
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If I read correctly you are looking for a tool to hold the alternator belt tension while you tighten the bolts, not to measure the belt tension?

The tool I use is called a hammer or sometimes a small crowbar or even a large screwdriver.

Just use any tool that can fit between the alternator body and the engine block, alternator bracket or other convenient, sturdy location, use as a lever to push out the alternator while tightening the appropriate bolt. If set up correctly should be easily accomplished with one hand for each.
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Old 04-07-2010, 09:26   #5
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If you go to the ribbed belt, be careful not to over tighten. They do not require the same tension as a non ribbed belt.
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Old 04-07-2010, 09:42   #6
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I use a small turn-buckle (from the hardware store) that fits between the engine block and the alternator when the turn-buckle is retracted. One can then turn the center-piece to extend the "legs" which apply tension to the belt to the desired level. Its worked for 40 years...
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Old 04-07-2010, 09:46   #7
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That is a great idea!!
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Old 04-07-2010, 09:55   #8
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belt tension should be 1/4" deflection for every 6"s of open length of belt ie: if yopu have 12"s of belt free from pulley to pulley then there should be 1/2" deflection
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Old 04-07-2010, 10:11   #9
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Some of ya'll can't read.

She is trying to pull the tension with something, not figger out how tight it should be.

I use a big screw driver.
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Old 04-07-2010, 10:40   #10
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Ocean,

You might find a spreader in an automotive store. Here's a pic of a guy who used what looks like a woodworking clamp, available at HD.

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Old 04-07-2010, 11:30   #11
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Look in an automotive supply store.........they will probably have what you need.......similar to the turnbuckle that was described earlier, but with "saddles" om both ends that fit onto the pulleys. I have one that I got through Harbor Freight, cheaply made, but more than up to the task. About 10 or 15 dollars as I recall.
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Old 04-07-2010, 12:37   #12
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That looks like Rick Berman’s $2.99 “reversible wood clamp”.
Pulley spreader- on the cheap

Here’s another spreader clamp ➦ Lee Valley Tools - Important Announcement
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Old 04-07-2010, 13:54   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by skipmac View Post
If I read correctly you are looking for a tool to hold the alternator belt tension while you tighten the bolts, not to measure the belt tension?

The tool I use is called a hammer or sometimes a small crowbar or even a large screwdriver.

Just use any tool that can fit between the alternator body and the engine block, alternator bracket or other convenient, sturdy location, use as a lever to push out the alternator while tightening the appropriate bolt. If set up correctly should be easily accomplished with one hand for each.
In a former life this worked on all sorts of farm equiptment.

I'm sure the reference to hammer is the use of the handle as a lever to apply tension to the belt while tightening the bolt on the bracket.
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Old 04-07-2010, 16:47   #14
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The reversed clamp would allow you to set your deflection and tighten the bolt with a minimum of fuss and no straining with one hand and trying to tight the bolt with the other hand and eliminate the swearing when you drop the wrench in the bilge. Okay you could still drop the wrench, but maybe you won't with two hands free.
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Old 04-07-2010, 16:49   #15
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You tighten the belt until untill you cannot turn the alternator with hand pressure.

I see way too many overtightened belts......and the corresponding water pump failures.
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