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Trouble installing drive belt for '94 Roadmaster - Need advice!


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Hello.<P>I was able to remove the drive belt on my '94 Roadmaster. It would have been very easy if it wasn't for the bracket to support the steel radiator pipe and required an extra hand. I'm having major difficulties installing the new belt by GM. It appears to be a little tight and is currently impossible to install it the conventional way. If the belt was just a tiny bit longer (1cm), it would work.<P>The tension does not require any adjustments (it is self adjusting with a tensioner pulley). There is only one pulley I can turn to get slack in order to remove/install the belt. I turned it as much as I can but no success.<P>I tried removing the alternator pulley to slip the belt on that way, but I can't unscrew the pulley.<P>I am currently thinking about removing the alternator (or adjust it, but I don't know if that would work), however there is a screw that is really hard to reach.<P>Any suggestions will be much appreciated.<P>Thanks!<P>James

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Are you moving the tensioner to it's extreme as you are trying to put the belt on? It isn't clear if you are doing this or not. The best way to put a belt on that's a little snug is to put it on the largest pulley last. It gives you more leverage, don't ask, it just works. Good luck!

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Thanks for the reply.<P>Yes, I turned the pulley to its extreme (any more slack and it'll twist off, hehehe).<P>I'll take your advice and try to do the belt change in the spring/summer. Right now, it is just way too cold to make another attempt. I had to put all the old belts back on so that I can drive to work on Monday.<P>Happy New Year!<P>James

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I had the same problem when I changed the belt on my 94 Trans Am, which uses the same engine (LT1) as the Roadmaster. The belt that was the correct part number just would not fit, so I went to Autozone and got a slightly longer one. It went right on and worked just fine.

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Hello.<P>I wonder if anyone else had problems with this belt. I bought a GM belt too! I tried everything to slip it on. First, I tried slipping it on the big pulley and then the smallest (alternator pulley). Of course, I failed many times. Unforunately, the belt now looks used with some minor cuts and grease and no way can I return it. I paid around $40CDN for it and I'm not about to give up just yet.<P>These belts appear to be impossible to stretch. I'm no mechanic (and maybe you knowledgable people reading this may think I'm stupid) but I'm going to try and strech the belt with 50lbs weights for a few months and see what happens. <P>The cold weather is not helping me much either.<P>One thing that angers me is that under the hood of the Roadmaster, there is so much empty space and would be easy to work in if the engineers cared to design it that way. I need to change the alternator soon. It looks like a simple job, but there is one screw that is impossible to get at unless I take something else apart.<BR> <BR>James

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This is just something I thought of from the top of my head, but how about putting the belt in the dryer for a few minutes, letting it warm up and maybe expanding a bit and increasing its stretchability. Then try putting it on a cold engine, when the pulleys would be at their smallest diameter. You might want to wait for someone else to reply on my idea, as I do not know if putting a belt in the dryer would be a good idea or not rolleyes.gif" border="0 .

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  • 4 weeks later...

The serpentine belts are not designed to stretch--period. Adding heat from the dryer would be no different than engine heat, provided it didn't catch fire in there. If it would stretch any at all, it could well fly off after installation--as some lesser quality belts have been known to do.<P>Many installation problems are from not routing the belt correctly. With the correct GM belt, it should be an easy thing to do. Many aftermarket belts, including Gates, do make replacement belts that are of a different length than the OEM GM belts they are listed to replace.<P>My guess is that if you have the tensioner fully flexed and it still does not fit, then you might have the incorrect belt--regardless of where it was purchased from. There should be some index marks on the tensioner with respect to its travel. Is the tensioner still in good shape?<P>Anytime you replace a serpentine belt, take the old one (or the remains thereof) to compare to the new one (with respect to length). This way, you can determine if it's the one you need before you try to install it.<P>Email me direct if you have any other problems in this regard.<P>NTX5467

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NTX (..not argueing with you here, just have a difference of opinion is all wink.gif" border="0 ), but I've never come across a meterial that would not stretch over time. I agree with you about not putting it in a dryer to heat it up - though I too would be inclined to try it all seemed to fail...), but if you do get the old one off, it probably has stretched a little - so it may actually be a little larger than the newer, correct one. I would, however, see about going to the parts store with the old one and get one that size or slightly larger. If the old one came off with not too much of a hassle, that size would seem to be the correct one to use given that there was still adequate amount of adjustment left in the tensioner. Too many times they can install things with ease in the plants due to the its state of build, that can't be duplicated (with ease of not mad.gif" border="0 ) in the field.

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....I'm not too far from this subject as I soon have to change the serpentine belt on my wife's '97 Pontiac Transport. I may wind up chewing some of my words...but I am looking at all inputs on this thread...I may soon be writing in with the same roadblocks...we'll see...and please keep us updated as to what finally works !

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Guest sintid58

I had a Massey Ferguson Combine that used the same type of belt as the main drive belt. Only thing different is that it was about 18" wide. The recommended proceedure to get this on (according to the MF dealer and mechanic) was to set the belt on the shop furnace and put it on when it was good and warm?

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  • 2 weeks later...

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