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Friday, April 5, 2013

The Belt

After all the work on the generator, here are a few pictures of the belt.  It’s not a “fan” belt like I previously called it, it actually is the belt that drives the water pump.

(Click on pictures to enlarge)

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It is put on the generator engine by taking the pulley bolts off and taking the pulley apart.  You can see the four bolts that hold the pulley together in this picture.  There is no tensioner for it.

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It is hard to see but if you look closely, you can see the shiny glaze on the sides of the belt.  Normal wear patterns along the top edge where you can see some of the cords that are in the belt.

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Turning the belt inside out to look between the serrated teeth, there were no signs of any cracking or dry rot.

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The bottom line?  I feel the Onan maintenance requirement to replace the belt at 1000 hours is too low.  I think maybe they take into consideration that many RV generators sit more than they are used and over a period of time the rubber in the belt may dry rot.  Because we are heavy generator users, the belt didn’t get a chance to dry rot.  I feel I could have easily done well to leave the belt in place for up to 2500 hours.

The only thing of concern after looking closely at the belt was the glazing on the sides that was starting.  If left in place too much longer, the belt could have started slipping and cause overheating of the engine which would have been tough to troubleshoot with the generator in the chassis.

The belt change was part of my preventive maintenance program, to replace components before they fail.  Better to have things replaced when it is convenient for you instead of out on the road somewhere in the middle of a hot summer.

Total cost for the work?  I had the belt replaced as well as the fuel filter, the air filter, the oil filter and oil, plus the cooling system flushed and new coolant put in and all new mounting bolts installed.  $1009 before tax. 

The technician spent over 13 hours removing the generator, taking the unit apart doing the service work, reassembling the generator and reinstalling it in  Journey.  During the work, at times, other techs leant a hand on the removal and reinstallation, so there were even more man hours of labor involved that I was not charged for.  I budgeted for the work and it came in quite a bit under what I thought it would cost. 

So, I’m happy with it and have peace of mind.

Just a note, my generator is an 8KW Quiet Diesel unit, which is water cooled.  Most gasoline powered RVs use smaller generators, which are air cooled and do not have any belts and such that need replacing.

Thanks for visiting and feel free to leave a comment.

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13 comments:

  1. The good news is - it came in under budget. I can't think of any bad news after that.

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  2. Very good info Paul. As I said yesterday, we weren't even aware we had a belt to replace. Ours has 1500 hours on it, so I guess it's time to think about doing it. Since our generator is on a slide, do you think this would be something Al could do himself? He wouldn't have to remove the generator?

    The price didn't seem too much considering all that you had done.

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    1. I have not looked carefully at a generator on a slide. If you can get all the housing off the generator while still on the slide and have access to the rear of the generator where the belt is, then a handy person can certainly do it.

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  3. I am a true believer of preventive maintenance. Much better to fix before it breaks and possibly cause more damage. And have it done on your own schedule.
    Wise decision.

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  4. Thank you for taking the time to put this together!

    Captsteve from RVForum.net

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  5. The best part of this post for me is that it reminded me it's time to exercise the genny. :)

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  6. Don't you just hate those gambling choices? Do I change it, do I not? I think you're right about many of them going unused and dry rotting. We don't use ours a lot but we do exercise it monthly like we're supposed to...most of the time :)

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  7. Thirteen hours sounds like an awful long time to work on a generator but ... what do I know. At least you're helping the economy and helping that technician make his house payments.

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  8. Dang..you just never know. Better to be safe than sorry. Good to have gotten it done.

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  9. Great information Paul thanks. Always better to go with early and safe rather than later and sorry. IMO.

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  10. Good explanation Paul. You showed me exactly how to replace a belt on these kinds of generators - just take it to a qualified repair facility like you did, take pictures and then "pay the man"!!

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  11. Whew! Good to know we don't have one. It sounds like a nightmare.

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