Alternator/PS Belt
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This is a discussion on Alternator/PS Belt within the General Maintenance, Troubleshooting & Accidents. forums, part of the Tech & Modifying & General Repairs category; Hi. I've been lurking awhile and now I'm tearing my hair out over a belt problem.. If anyone can spare ...

  1. #1
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    Alternator/PS Belt

    Hi. I've been lurking awhile and now I'm tearing my hair out over a belt problem.. If anyone can spare some advice, it would be greatly appreciated.

    A few months ago I installed the v-belts on my '02 WRX. The rear(AC) belt seems to be holding its tension just fine. The front-side (Alternator/PS) belt, however, keeps losing tension.

    Now when I installed the belt, it slipped over the 3 pulleys quite easily with room to spare and I had to tighten the slider bolt to max before the belt felt even close to the right tension. It stayed there for a few thousand miles then started squeaking and I replaced the belt again and again the belt slipped on easily as before and the bolt is maxed out. Well it's now squeaking again and the belt is really loose. Since the bolt is maxed so there's no room to go any tighter.

    I'm sure that I'm just missing something here but it is eluding me. Could the belts that I have bought be too big? Is it a pulley problem? Am I messing up the procedure somehow? It's killing me.

    Again, your help is appreciated.

    Dennis

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  3. #2
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    Check to see if the altenator bolt is tight it may be allowing the altenator to swivel loosening the belt.
    '02 WRX 4EAT, 311,000KMs/194,500Miles, Sold. Best car I ever had. '09 STi stage 1, hope this one will be good too...

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    Thanks for replying. I checked the alternator bolt and it wasn't as tight as it could have been. I loosened it, rotated the alternator to it's highest point and tightened the alternator bolt, the lock bolt, the slider bolt. This did give the belt additional tension but it still had a lot of play.

    So, the tension of the belt is dependent on the swiveling of the alternator through the tightening of the slider bolt. Is that right? At what position should the alternator be when installing the belt? If I move the alternator to the highest position, there is still a lot of play in the belt and no room to tighten the slider bolt. It seems so straight forward, but I'm really having a problem.

    Thanks again,

    Dennis

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    Resolved

    I'm new to the maintenance thing and didn't really add the alternator position into the equation until wrxdrvr's post. So, I tried a couple of belt sizes starting with a 33 1/2 inch and finally ending up with a 34 1/2 inch belt. The 33 1/2 belt is too small. Even with the alternator at its lowest position, there was no way to get it over the pulleys. The 34 1/2 belt appears to fit well with plenty of room to tension the belt after it seats itself. Of course, I will let you know if it doesn't.

    Anyway, I hope that this thread helps other noobs and/or anyone who has a problem with installing and/or tensioning their PS belt. The auto parts stores have a 35-inch belt in their system for the '02 WRX, but this is just too big. 35 inches puts the alternator at its highest position leaving no room for tensioning after the belt has seated itself. This may just apply to my car for some reason, but I don't know how it could since 2 of the 3 pulleys are fixed in their positions and the alternator height was maxed.

    Well...thanks all. Have a good day.

    Dennis

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    I have an '02 with the exact same issue. I've tried two different manufacturers and they both tightened just slightly. They worked for a month then started squeeling.

    Do you have the belt number of the 24 1/2"? Thanks!

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    I meant 34 1/2"

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    Hi Brankie

    I'm using a cheap duralast right now. Figured I would get better belts when I get everything straightened out. The number on the Duralast is 345K5.

    I won't know for a few thousand miles if everything is working ok, but at least I know there's the room to gain more tension of necessary. Before, with the "recommended" belt, that just wasn't the case.

    Hope it helps.

    Dennis


    Quote Originally Posted by Brankie View Post
    I have an '02 with the exact same issue. I've tried two different manufacturers and they both tightened just slightly. They worked for a month then started squeeling.

    Do you have the belt number of the 24 1/2"? Thanks!

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    Thanks for the reply. I'll try that belt number. I'm pretty sure it will work fine because the recommended belt was almost tight enough. I just need a little more tension.

    Right now I have to find a new tensioner bolt because I over tightened it trying to get the tension right. The head of the bolt just popped off. Good thing the lower part of the bolt comes through the bottom of the adjuster or I would be sc##wed.

  10. #9
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    I did the exact same thing with my bolt. I went to Auto Zone and they have a threaded board with a bunch of different-sized threads. You can take your bolt and screw it into the threads until you find the right size. I still need to get the stock bolt, but ended up buying an 8mm x 60mm bolt at Auto Zone. It seems to work but you need to use it with a washer.

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    Right Belt size?

    I'm having the opposite problem, I think. I have a 34.5" belt I picked up at a local auto parts store. I can't get the belt on the alternator's pulley, the fit is too tight.

    I'm pretty sure 34.5" is the right size, but I'm 99% sure it is too small. The alternator is swung down as far as she will go.

    I have a 2003 WRX, which should be the same as '02 for these parts. Anybody find that they need to use a 35" belt? Anybody find it impossible to get the 34.5" belt into place? Any suggestions besides bringing my car into the shop? This should be really easy stuff, so I'm not sure what is going on here, and searching for a while didn't lead to anything.

  12. #11
    Registered User vttk_mig69's Avatar
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    i had to change my altenator on the I-94 toll way in gary, indiana bc the original burned up on my way to Ohio. lol
    (not a fun expierence at all)

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    i had no idea this was such a common problem.....i get the squealing when i start up the car than in min. it goes away.....i have the bolt all the way tightened and there is still to much slack in the belt.....i will def. be trying the 34.5" belt...thanks for the tip everyone....

  14. #13
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    I Support ClubWRX
    I use the Subaru belts and they fit great, plus they don't squeal and they are inexpensive anyway. If there's no dealer near you, you can order authentic parts online (but order more than one thing you might need to save shipping).
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    Thanks for the advice, I will definitely do that for my next belt change. I ended up bringing it to a shop, and they had a really hard time too, ended using a flat head to pry it on. I didn't enjoy watching that, but it seemed necessary.

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    Thank you! This thread has been a life saver for me. I originally bought a Subaru belt for my alternator and after removing the old one I couldn't get it to fit on at all! I thought they had given me the wrong part. I proceeded by purchasing 3 different belts from other parts stores (napa, autozone, checker) and all of them would fit but I couldn't get them tensioned tight enough for spec, therefore they would slip a little. After reading this thread I went back to the too small Subaru one and with a little pry from a screwdriver it went on just fine. My problems are solved!!!! Now those parts stores need to fix their systems....
    Last edited by MNBodyMan; 10-15-2008 at 07:48 AM.
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