Catalina 34

General Activities => Main Message Board => Topic started by: Stu Jackson on May 07, 2007, 05:18:26 PM

Title: Alternator Belt Tensioner FLIX
Post by: Stu Jackson on May 07, 2007, 05:18:26 PM
This continues from: http://c34.org/bbs/index.php?topic=3619.0

We received and used the tool last week.  It's just great.  Like microwave ovens and ATM'S and autopilots, I can't figure out how we lived so long without it.

The smallest expansion is somewhat too long to be able to place the ends against both pulleys, so I put the crankshaft pulley end aft of the big pulley and the other end on the alternator belt.  (NOTE: 10/14/2008 - since changed, see photos below)  A few turns and the tool tightened the belt to within acceptable limits, not over tight, and all is well.  I loosened the pivot bolt, but left the lower port side bolt on the alternator bracket tight. (NOTE: 10/14/2008 - since changed, loosened all, tightened when tensioner was still in place) 

The new position still leaves a tiny bit more room for adjustment at the alternator bracket adjustment bolt at the engine side, which we may never need to use.  We could never get that adjustment arm down this far even when levering up the alternator through the door to the head.  We use a 7400 length belt to keep the alternator away from the water elbow and the oil filter.

This tool makes us three armed paper hangers.  The price is definitely worth it.

Thanks again to Steve Hansen for the link to the J C Whitney catalog.  It's definitely a tool worth having on board.

Title: Re: Alternator Belt Tensioner
Post by: Craig Illman on July 22, 2008, 12:44:22 PM
Testimonial

I had been getting significant dusting after adding my Balmar 80A alternator, even after aligning the best I could, by shimming fore/aft. I just finished a 300+ mile, two week cruise and had little dusting. The simple little tool from JC Whitney is a required tool now for me.

Yet again, another example of the amazing value of C34 organization membership.

Craig
Title: Re: Alternator Belt Tensioner FLIX
Post by: Stu Jackson on October 14, 2008, 11:52:01 AM
Flix of the $10 marvel.  Adjustable wrench NIC in the $10, bring your own :D
Title: Re: Alternator Belt Tensioner
Post by: Ron Hill on October 14, 2008, 06:22:42 PM
Guys : You can also get a belt tensioner at my "favorate tool store" - Harbor Freight. 
Title: Re: Alternator Belt Tensioner
Post by: dgill on October 15, 2008, 03:54:53 AM

Here is the JC Whitney catalog description for the Belt Tensioner  :thumb:

Part # ZX156161X
 INSTANT FAN BELT TIGHTENER
Quick and easy one-hand operation.

Retail: $18.03
Our Low Price: $10.49 + shipping
You Save: $7.54     
Title: Re: Alternator Belt Tensioner
Post by: Stu Jackson on October 15, 2008, 12:10:35 PM
The direct URL link to JC Whitney is in Reply #5 in the link to the older discussion in the first post on this thread.  Only a few clicks away...
Title: Re: Alternator Belt Tensioner
Post by: Mike and Joanne Stimmler on October 16, 2008, 12:45:23 PM
Just to make it easy for you , here it is.


      http://www.jcwhitney.com/autoparts/Search?catalogId=10101&storeId=10101&sku=15ZX6161X+&searchbtn.x=6&searchbtn.y=8
Title: Re: Alternator Belt Tensioner
Post by: Allan.SVCarina on October 16, 2008, 02:26:25 PM
Ron, I looked on line at Harbor Freight and could not find.  Am I missing something in my search?

Thanks
Title: Re: Alternator Belt Tensioner
Post by: Ron Hill on October 18, 2008, 01:01:26 PM
Allen : We have a store in town, so I'll ask them where their belt tensioners are?   
Title: Re: Alternator Belt Tensioner
Post by: Bill Asbury on October 18, 2008, 03:08:58 PM
Thanks, all.  Just ordered one online from JCW.
Bill
Title: Re: Alternator Belt Tensioner
Post by: Roc on February 10, 2009, 09:46:54 AM
Hello everyone,
Called JCW and gave them the part number and they no longer carry this belt tensioner tool.  Also searched the Harbor Freight site with no luck.  Does anyone know where I can find this tool?

Thanks for the help.
Title: Re: Alternator Belt Tensioner
Post by: Craig Illman on February 10, 2009, 10:48:43 AM
Roc - I might sell you mine for $100  :D

Craig
Title: Re: Alternator Belt Tensioner
Post by: Stu Jackson on February 10, 2009, 12:17:16 PM
Has anyone tried NAPA, like in a real store?
Title: Re: Alternator Belt Tensioner
Post by: Ron Volk on February 10, 2009, 06:11:14 PM
I found one at www1.mscdirect.com part #35438209 (Belt tension jack). this looks like the same type.
Title: Re: Alternator Belt Tensioner
Post by: Ken Juul on February 11, 2009, 05:18:58 AM
The Admiral is going to be amazed.  I am not going to buy this tool, something she vary rarely hears!  I have never had a problem adjusting the belt.  Loosen all the bolts, open the access door in the head and pull on the top of the alternator.  Tighten the bolt on the arm.  Check tension.  If too tight, just cracking the adjustment arm bolt slightly generally is enough to get enough slack.  If not tight enough, loosen the adjustment arm and pull the top of the alternator a little harder.  Generally never takes more that 2 checks to get it right.  Don't forget to tighten up the other mount bolts when you are done.
Title: Re: Alternator Belt Tensioner
Post by: Stu Jackson on February 11, 2009, 09:32:37 AM
Ken, that worked for me for years on our old OEM alternator.  That's because we then used a 7390 belt.  When I installed our new alternator a few years ago, we moved up to a slightly longer 7400 belt.  That made the adjustment bolt on the engine almost bottom out to the slot in the bracket.  I couldn't do the "through the door" trick anymore and we bought the belt tensioner tool.  The length of the belt may have an impact on whether or not the old trick will still work.
Title: Re: Alternator Belt Tensioner
Post by: Ron Hill on February 12, 2009, 05:30:11 PM
For those that have the M35B/M25XPB with the adjusting bracket on the top, you may not need this tool. 
Seems that pressing on the alternator + its own weight allows you to easily tighten. 
Unsaid - is that you have to loosen the top and bottom nut so the alternator will move.
Title: Re: Alternator Belt Tensioner
Post by: Tom Clay on February 13, 2009, 09:16:01 PM
True Ron,

Seems that pressing on the alternator + its own weight allows you to easily tighten.  

If you have the M35B loosen top bracket and just push on the alternator till belt is tight. 

Title: Re: Alternator Belt Tensioner
Post by: sail4dale on February 13, 2009, 09:50:58 PM
To much tension caused a failure of my salt water pump on the M25 engine in my old Cat30.
        I thought I was being a great mechanic when I really leaned on the alternator and tightened down the holding bolts.  Yeah ... real good :cry4`  it side-loaded the shaft on the water pump which froze up.  Shortly, the belt which wanted to keep turning proceeded to fry and smoke big time. 

Limped back to the dock and replaced the water pump.

Hey, a loose belt is not that bad IF it doesn't slip.
Title: Re: Alternator Belt Tensioner
Post by: Stu Jackson on February 13, 2009, 10:09:33 PM
One of the reasons we keep asking you to advise us on what hull # and engine type you have is exactly this.  

Each engine has different characteristics and details, like alternator mounts and tightening.  Push UP on one, and DOWN on another.  

Please help us to help you by providing as much information as you can.  

You can use your signature to do so, as we have including our engine model #.
Title: Re: Alternator Belt Tensioner
Post by: Hawk on February 14, 2009, 12:53:03 PM
Good news on the M35B. One less tool. Looking at it I thought in a pinch I could just lean on the alternator to tighten. Nice to hear its official.

Hawk
Title: Re: Alternator Belt Tensioner
Post by: Steve Sayian on February 14, 2009, 01:17:14 PM
M35's:  Make sure you loosen the bolt on the bottom of the alternator bracket before you try moving the alternator.  It's underneathe the alternator and hidden by wiring harnesses.  Kind of difficult to get access to.
I just replaced my alternator last weekend and had quite a time getting in there.

Steve
Title: Re: Alternator Belt Tensioner
Post by: Stu Jackson on February 14, 2009, 01:33:42 PM
For photos of an M35, go to Reply #12 ++++ at: http://c34.org/bbs/index.php/topic,4588.0.html

Title: Re: Alternator Belt Tensioner
Post by: Braxton on March 03, 2009, 02:21:31 PM
Ron did you buy the tool that you sent the link out to?   Is it indeed the right item?
Title: Re: Alternator Belt Tensioner
Post by: Stu Jackson on March 03, 2009, 02:48:26 PM
Dale, re: your "loose belt" note:  too tight = NOT good (fresh water pump), too loose = ALSO not good (alternator)!  That's why one needs to do it correctly:  1/2 inch deflection, 90 degree twist on the long length from the pump to the bottom of the alternator.

In this thread: http://c34.org/bbs/index.php/topic,4454.msg27184.html#msg27184

John Nixon included this very important piece of advice in Reply #21, which bears continued repeating (just in case I haven't done it a few times before already! :D :D :D:

Most alternators that die from over-heating will do so from a slipping belt. At higher rotational speeds and high loads, the slipping belt will heat the pulley and rotor shaft to many hundreds of degrees. These elevated temperatures will cause the front bearings to fail first, which then causes the whole front case and rotor of the alternator to get even hotter. I have seen an alternator rotor that got so hot in this situation that the solder melted out of the slip ring terminations of the field winding. Needless to say, this sequence quickly becomes a catastrophic failure of the alternator.

While increasing air flow to the alternator is never a bad thing, the real killer is improper belt tension. If you are running a single 3/8 inch belt and a high output alternator, you need to watch your belt tension like a hawk. The nifty belt tensioner tool in a previous article will become your alternator's best friend, and make tensioning your belt easy enough that you will be without excuse.
Title: Re: Alternator Belt Tensioner
Post by: Ron Volk on March 03, 2009, 06:28:52 PM
Braxton,

I did not buy one yet, info on it says it extends to 15" and it looks like the picture posted earlier.  Maybe a call or email to their customer service dept. would confirm it.  Since I have not actually seen one other than the picture, maybe somebody on this site that has one could confirm that this item would work.

Ron
GOOSE III #1235
Dana Point CA
Title: Re: Alternator Belt Tensioner
Post by: Craig Illman on March 03, 2009, 07:35:53 PM
Braxton - The one shown on the MSC site looks like the one I bought from JC Whitney.

Craig
Title: Re: Alternator Belt Tensioner
Post by: Braxton on March 04, 2009, 02:37:56 PM
Ok, we'll now have at least two of them in fleet 5.    If anyone else in the south Sound needs the tool just bug me and I'll get it to you.
Title: Re: Alternator Belt Tensioner
Post by: Stu Jackson on October 25, 2009, 09:54:08 PM
I found one at www1.mscdirect.com part #35438209 (Belt tension jack). this looks like the same type.

Anybody tried this in addition to Ron?  Anything new in terms of sources?
Title: Re: Alternator Belt Tensioner FLIX
Post by: Ron Hill on October 26, 2009, 03:23:37 PM
Guys : If anyone with a M25 engine (with the adjusting bracket underneath) that needs a belt tensioning tool there are a number of sources for about $10 :
NAPA
Harbor Freight
J.C.Whitney

As I previously mentioned, if your adjusting bracket is on the top of the alternator like the M25XPB & M35BC, you don't need this tool to properly tension the drive belt.  A thought
Title: Re: Alternator Belt Tensioner FLIX
Post by: Stu Jackson on December 03, 2009, 01:00:40 PM
Here's an older discussion about this very subject from 2001 !!! :shock:

Topic:  Alternator Voltage Regulator   http://c34.org/bbs/index.php/topic,255.0.html (http://c34.org/bbs/index.php/topic,255.0.html)

Some things remain the same after 8 or 9 years.  Good stuff bears repeating

The "Small Engine Mode" uses the alternator temperature sensor pins on the regulator jumpered.  See: http://c34.org/bbs/index.php/topic,4454.msg27149.html#msg27149 (http://c34.org/bbs/index.php/topic,4454.msg27149.html#msg27149)  which also has a link to a picture of the 50%/100% toggle switch we installed.
Title: Re: Alternator Belt Tensioner FLIX
Post by: Roland Gendreau on December 13, 2009, 10:35:53 AM
I purchased the tool mentioned above and it works great.

]www.mscdirect.com part #35438209 (Belt tension jack)] (http://www.mscdirect.com part #35438209 (Belt tension jack))

Roland Gendreau
Gratitude #1183
Title: Re: Alternator Belt Tensioner FLIX
Post by: Ron Hill on December 14, 2009, 06:16:42 PM
Guys, Susan and D.Gill : Most of us know about the belt tensioning tool from the numerous posts, but most people do not really check the belt tension properly. 
I doubt that anyone measures the 3/8" to 1/2" deflection.  Most eye ball it at best.  Too tight a belt will raise hell with the water pump bearings and too loose a belt will allow the belt to slip.

I've written this up before, but it's worth repeating:
Go to the longest length of drive belt.  Place the belt between the thumb and forfinger and twist it.  If you can twist it 90, but no more than 180 degrees - the belt tension is OK.  I got this from the Old Farmers Almanac and have used it for over 21 years on my C34. 
Remember if you have a deep "V" pulley on your other than OEM alternator, you'll have to check tension more often as the belt will wear and sink deeper into that "V".

The temperature of the case surely changes its charging ability.  Maybe that's why Balmar mounted half of the diodes of my alternator on a heat sync !!   

A few thoughts 
Title: Re: Alternator Belt Tensioner FLIX
Post by: Stu Jackson on July 03, 2012, 06:15:06 PM
From Capt. Sam on the C36 Board:

you probably have figured this out by now, but JC Whitney no longer sells this item. You can get one at MSC Industrial Supply www1.mscdirect.com I ordered one yesterday afternoon and it arrived this morning! How do they do that?
$18 plus about $10 shipping.
__________________
Capt. Sam Murphy
1994 Catalina 36, Hull 1327
Shoal draft, two cabin model.
St. Marks, Florida
Title: Re: Alternator Belt Tensioner FLIX
Post by: Ron Hill on July 05, 2012, 02:50:16 PM
Guys : Harbor Freight had them at one time.  
Also look at any full stocked auto supply store.  Maybe even check "snap-on tools".   A few thoughts
Title: Re: Alternator Belt Tensioner FLIX
Post by: Stu Jackson on July 08, 2012, 05:51:14 PM
From the C36 Forum:

Alternator Belt Tensioner FOUND !
Thanks to the several guys who offered suggestions.
BUT Special Thanks to Capt. Sam who actually found it!

It is no longer being manufactured/carried by Northern Freight or JCWhitney.

It IS in the on line catalog of MSC Industrial Supply.

www.mscdirect.com
search for item # 35438209
$18 for the part
$13 more for shipping and tax.

A MUST HAVE in your on-board tool box.. You never know when the alternator belt is going to break, ... or just needs routine replacement. THIS IS the tool that tensions the belt....keeps it tensioned....while you tighten up your alternator and bracket!!

Thanks again Capt. Sam

Brian Giersch
"Encore"
#1245

Thanks, Brian.


*************************************************
Also from the C36 Forum"

Not to discourage anyone one from spending money on man toys but I have a big screwdriver that doubles as a pry bar. I just stick that behind the alt casing and against the block at the tip and pry up then with a ratchet in my left hand I tighten the bottom bolt then the top one. I have a cricket to check belt tension and I can get it past spec with that method. The cricket is more valuable to me than a tensioner.
__________________
Bud & Suzanne Street
Delaroux #1494
1995 C-36 MkII SR/WK M35A
Eastern Lake Ontario

_________________________

What's a cricket?   :D :D :D

Bud most likely has an M35, which makes Ken Juul's point very important:  "What engine do you have?"

For an M25 or M25 XP, they're pretty handy things.   For M35s, maybe not necessary.  Any "
in between engine owners out there?
Title: Re: Alternator Belt Tensioner FLIX
Post by: Ron Volk on July 08, 2012, 07:41:33 PM
Stu,

The web site and part number for the tensioner is not new to this topic, I referenced it on page 1 of this post in Feb. of 2009.