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The Melting v-Belts Mystery: SOLVED

July 20th, 2017

One of the major events of the past couple of years is that I FINALLY learned the primary source of my v-belt woes. The backstory is that for the last 9 or so years, I had a recurring issue: my alternator would eat v-belts. Also, I was burning up alternators. This problem persisted even when I swapped out all my pulleys, tried different alternator brackets, redid a bunch of the primary wiring for the electrical system, purchased actual belt tension tools, and went through about 5 different alternators. All in pursuit of keeping the belts from squealing and from melting belts (seriously – like throwing molten rubber onto the underside of the hood.)

I finally ended up taking it to a GM mechanic that was recommended to me and they discovered the problem:


The issue was that I was over tightening the post bolt for the alternator (this is the long bolt that serves as the pivot mount for the alternator). When you over-tighten the bolt, it distorts the alternator housing and causes the bearing to bind. This of course prevents the alternator from spinning freely, creates a TON of heat, and destroys the belt. I was torquing the HECK out of that bolt. The pulleys still have some alignment issues and so I still get a little bit of belt dust, but nothing like I used to.

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