Originally Posted by CaptainRivet
A what age a serpintine belt on a boat is considered old and need replacing?
Cannot find that info anywhere…
The ‘expected’ life of a serpentine belt may be anywhere from 4 years, to an entire decade, before you’ll need to replace your belt, depending upon engine hours [1,500 - 3,000 Hours], whether/not you have a self-tensioning device, and belt material/construction.
Belts made from ethylene propylene diene monomer (EPDM) tend to hold up much longer than those made from neoprene, a material used by older serpentine belt designs. Even when it’s not in use, the serpentine belt is still exposed to the atmosphere, and is degrading [mechanical wear, extreme heat, and contamination from oil and coolant
Wear on a single
component is rarer, and more than likely a worn/misaligned mounting bracket, tensioner, idler or pulley, will cause [or contribute to] excessive belt wear, in addition to age.
The best strategy to gauge wear, is to inspect the belt for damage, and for proper tensioning at every oil change.
A failing or improperly tensioned serpentine belt usually exhibits some warning signs, prior to complete failure, including:
• The battery
properly, or a battery
or alternator warning is illuminated
• Engine overheats [water pump]
• Belt squeals, chirps or makes other noises [often this occurs during the first few seconds, after the engine is started, then the squealing may go away, or if it’s wetted by fluid leaks] [A quick, repeated chirp from the belt is usually more indicative of a belt pulley wheel
that's misaligned (look for frayed edges on the belt as well)]
• Belt is shiny [glazed - especially at the edges], frayed, has chunks of rubber missing, has cracks between the belt teeth, or becomes ‘hardened’
• Belt gives off rubber dust
Make sure to inspect both sides of the belt, not just the smooth surface on top.
Naturally, the removal
and replacement of any items, that a belt travels over, means the belt itself must also be removed first, in order gain access. So, when it's time to service/install a new water pump
, or alternator, this is an ideal time to inspect applicable belts and pulleys, and replace as warranted.
Serious engine repairs
, that require teardown [cylinder head gasket
replacement, or front engine seals
, etc] are also a common-sense opportunity to install new accessory belts, upon reassembly.