Fan and Belt
One of the
easiest and quickest checks to the cooling system is the fan and fan belt. Check the fan
for bent blades, cracks, and other problems. A bent or distorted fan on one with a loose
blade should be replaced. Where the fan is just loose on its mounting, tightening is in
Fan belts, or
drive belts, should be checked for wear and tension. Most wear occurs on the underside of
the belt. To check a V-belt, twist the belt with your fingers. Check for small cracks,
grease, glazing, and tears or splits. Small cracks will enlarge as the belt is flexed.
Grease rots the rubber and makes the side slick so that the belt slips easily. A
high-pitched squeal results from slippage. Large tears or splits in a belt allow it to be
tossed from the pulley. On vehicles with a set of two belts, replace both if one is worn
and requires replacement.
Use a belt
tension gauge to check and adjust the fan belt tension. When you do not have a gauge or if
space does not allow use of a gauge, you can make a quick check of belt tension. Press
down on the free span of the belt, a point midway between the alternator or generator
pulley and the fan pulley. Measure the amount of deflection. When free span is less than
12 inches between pulleys, belt deflection should be 1/8 to 1/4 inch. When free span is
longer than 12 inches, belt deflection should be 1/4 to 1/2 inch.
belt can cause overheating and a run-down battery. These troubles result because a
slipping belt cannot drive the water pump and alternator fast enough for normal operation.
Sometimes a belt will slip and make noise even after it is adjusted to the proper tension.
Several types of belt dressing are available which can be applied to both sides of the
belt to prevent this problem. Belt dressing helps to eliminate noise and increase belt
The fan belt
should be checked every time a vehicle comes in for preventive maintenance (PM) to make
sure it is in good condition. A fan belt that has become frayed, or has separated plies,
should be replaced.
of a defective belt is usually made by loosening the alternator or generator mounting
bolts. With the mounting bolts loose, push the alternator or generator closer to the
engine. This action provides enough slack in the belt so it can be removed and a new one
installed. After installing a new belt, adjust it to the proper tension and tighten the