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Old 05-27-2023, 03:07 PM   #1
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Saturday Wrestling with a serpentine belt

Well I finally quit procrastinating today and did the belt change job on our 2016 Winnebago Adventurer 38 q with the V-10 engine. While I was in there I changed the tensioner also.

The tensioner change was easy. I found that crawling up in front and just inside the passenger side front wheel well gave me good side access to the tensioner. The three bolts came out easily and the new one went one even easier.

The serpentine belt? Well that's another story. I've changed more belts than I can count over the past 60+ years but this one made history for me as being the most difficult belt change job. On paper it would seem that a serpentine belt change would be very easy.

I have a tensioner tool to release the belt from the tensioner. That went well. Using it to get the belt back on was another story-- just could not get the clearance or angle to use it adequately.

Routing the new belt- even with the drawing was quite challenging, not so much for the layout but for all the obstructions.

I removed the doghouse and my wonderful mechanic assistant- the DW assisted from the top, primarily stabilizing the new belt on the water pump and the alternator. She was pretty uncomfortable laying down on her belly and reaching over the front of the block- but she was a great help holding the belt in place on those critical pulleys.. The number of spaghetti A/C hoses and coolant lines from the engine to the front radiators on bottom was a major problem leaving no room to access anything on the front of the block.

After 5 hours of wrestling with the belt and pulleys I finally got everything lined up and somehow managed to spring the tensioner on to the belt for the final movement. It would have been a relatively easy and quick job if the engineers that designed the F53 had been a bit more thoughtful about long term maintenance needs.

The one take away that seemed to be important to my effort was to start by hanging the belt over the alternator after getting it over the fan, then getting it stable on the water pump which contacts the smooth un-ribbed side of the belt making it harder to stay in place, then work outwards from there.

Oh well- this preventive maintenance activity at 66,000 miles is in the bag. I have several more projects underway on the rig, but this was has been one of the most challenging (it didn't need to be). But I am glad I did it myself and didn't chunk out a boatload of dollars to have it done in a shop.
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Old 05-28-2023, 07:41 PM   #2
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Tape is good to hold the flat belt onto a pulley while playing twister with the other pulleys and tensioner. V-belts were much easier to stay in a pulley.
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Old 05-29-2023, 04:01 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ray,IN View Post
Tape is good to hold the flat belt onto a pulley while playing twister with the other pulleys and tensioner. V-belts were much easier to stay in a pulley.
Yes absolutely! Especially on the water pump pulley where there are no rib grooves. It wasn't as bad on the other grooved pulleys where the belt would not slide off. Our problem was we needed to constantly be moving the belt for the final alignment ad adjustment , but tape is a great enhancement to ease the process.
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Old 05-29-2023, 06:57 PM   #4
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Every pulley that must be driven by the belt will have grooves for the belt to fit. If a pulley is smooth it's an idler pulley that contacts the back side of the belt.
You should see a diagram sticker on the engine with proper belt routing. The belt ribs running against a smooth pulley will quickly ruin the belt.
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Old 05-30-2023, 03:58 AM   #5
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Mine fit perfectly and went on exactly as depicted on the drawing. However my water pump/fan pulley does not have grooves and the belt goes over to drive the pump and fan it on its smooth back, like the smooth tensioner and idler pulleys
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Old 05-30-2023, 09:00 AM   #6
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I had a young excellent mechanic install mine last year. The attached instructions I downloaded might help you or someone else in the future.
Attached Files
File Type: doc Serpentine Belt Replacement.doc (122.5 KB, 104 views)
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Old 05-30-2023, 09:19 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by davismills View Post
I had a young excellent mechanic install mine last year. The attached instructions I downloaded might help you or someone else in the future.
Great info! I pretty much followed that and experienced the same. My Tensioner tool may have been on the long side for this job, I found in my case the A/C compressor was easiest as the last pulley to hit but his way is likely better. He's right on about the alternator being the first stop. But any access further than that from the person on top isn't likely the way the Adventurer (2016) is designed)
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Old 06-04-2023, 04:06 PM   #8
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Sir, Thank you for the post. Kudos to you (and the DWs) perseverance. I hoist a pint in your honor tonight!



Quote:
Originally Posted by Americanrascal View Post
Great info! I pretty much followed that and experienced the same. My Tensioner tool may have been on the long side for this job, I found in my case the A/C compressor was easiest as the last pulley to hit but his way is likely better. He's right on about the alternator being the first stop. But any access further than that from the person on top isn't likely the way the Adventurer (2016) is designed)
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Old 06-04-2023, 05:38 PM   #9
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davismills, Thank you for posting the link! The information there clearly explains the process for replacing the serpentine belt on my 2011 Itasca IFE30W with its V-10 engine in its Ford F-53 chassis...
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