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Serpentine Belt dust 8.1 Volvo GSi-g

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Hi all, maybe addressed to Wingnut for the most part.  I have an '07 275 SSi, now 295 hours.  New to me last year, I noted belt "dust" in the forward part of the engine compartment, and although the boat only had 116 hours when I bought it, I surmised that the belt was old and may be a bit brittle, so I changed it over the winter.  The new belt is doing exactly the same thing. I can even see some very small degradation on the inside of the belt.  I will take a picture this weekend, but wondering if one of the pulleys may be a little rusty, or some how rough - does not seem so, as I checked them when replacing the belt.  Mr. Wingnut, I see that you are a Merc wizard, but hope that even though this is a Volvo, you may have an idea if this is normal, or not. 

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Sounds like a possible too loose or too tight belt. Loosening up of bolts holding parts the belt rides on. Possibly a belt bearing failing quietly ? A complete check that ALL pulley surfaces are parallel & the pulley groves are in alignment. You should get lucky on the problem.

Even a bad batch of belts . Millions ?  Kind of like the Volvo paint inside of their pumps. …… I would do the first paragraph I posted, first. 

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I have been having a belt issue on my 5.7 volvo as well.  My port side belt keeps throwing itself.  Replaced the tensioner and water pump so far, still had the problem. I am on belt #3 just making sure the second one wasn't a bad belt.  2 mechanics have looked at it now (along with myself and 2 mechanically inclined buddies), but no answers?  all pulleys' seem tight, not squealing and no play in them.  last mechanic checked pulleys for alignment.  mechanics are stumped.  back at the mechanic who was going to call the volvo tech line.  anyone else have any ideas.  I also am seeing belt dust on that side of the engine compartment.  any other thoughts would be appreciated.

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12 hours ago, Just 1 more said:

Hi all, maybe addressed to Wingnut for the most part.  I have an '07 275 SSi, now 295 hours.  New to me last year, I noted belt "dust" in the forward part of the engine compartment, and although the boat only had 116 hours when I bought it, I surmised that the belt was old and may be a bit brittle, so I changed it over the winter.  The new belt is doing exactly the same thing. I can even see some very small degradation on the inside of the belt.  I will take a picture this weekend, but wondering if one of the pulleys may be a little rusty, or some how rough - does not seem so, as I checked them when replacing the belt.  Mr. Wingnut, I see that you are a Merc wizard, but hope that even though this is a Volvo, you may have an idea if this is normal, or not. 

The hardest work your serpentine belt does is drive the alternator, especially if you are in the habit of starting the engine with a battery in less than a peak state of charge. House battery drained by extended time on the hook makes her work hard too. Even at rest with your battery switch in the "off" position,  the ECM, and radio memory will drain the battery so after an extended period of lay-up it's best to top off the batteries with a portable charger before attempting a cold start. Just easier on the charging system and in your case the belt. My rule of thumb is 1 month of inactivity, and as a trailer boat I put my Mercathode system on the battery switch so it would not be a draw when the boat is not in the water. The next thing that can work the belt hard is the power steering pump, when an operator (that would be you) holds the wheel against the hard stop while in tight maneuvers. This causes the power steering circuit to over-pressure, over loading the pump high pressure discharge and forces the internal pressure relief valve to open but even then the pump and belt continue to be working hard. The trick is as soon as you reach the limit of steering travel, back off on the steering wheel about 3/4" and get the steering ram back into her operational range and off the relief valve.

The raw water pump requires some horsepower also, but well within the limits of design, unless the bearing set is starting to fail. The engine coolant circulation pump is not very needy either unless it's bearings are failing. Now lets get back to the belt and idlers themselves.

Your belt has a spring loaded tension-er so the tension adjustment is done automatically and the spring coil will constantly compensate for wear and even temperature changes. No need for any "adjustments" once properly installed. Alignment is critical as is the case with all belt driven systems. First step for you is the run the engine at idle and look carefully for any wobble on every pulley which would be an indication of bent shaft, failing bearing, or distorted pulley. Next, remove the belt and rotate each pulley by hand feeling and listening for rumble. Then you grab all the driven pulleys and attempt to wobble them side to side and up and down. Any lateral deflection is an indicator of a failing bearing as is any evidence of fluid leakage. Be sure to spend some extra time on the spring loaded idler assembly as it has both a pulley bearing and a pivot point bushing in the center of the spring arm. This bushing is not serviceable, and deflection there is cause for idler replacement.

Lastly, you look at alignment and this begins before you remove the belt. Look carefully as to how the belt edge exits the pulley. If it seems square and true on the input side, and looks to run off at an angle on the output side then you likely have an issue with the next pulley in line. When you get to that pulley, you will likely see some angularity at both the entry grove and exit grove as it's relationship to both the proceeding and trailing pulleys will not be true. This inspection is best done with a brand new belt that still has very sharp factory edges. The last alignment inspection is with a good straight edge. For me that's a 2' aluminum ruler which gets set across each subject pulley face at two points, and then rotated to an adjacent pulley to see if they are affixed on the same square plane. As you mentioned, rust can contribute to belt wear but boats that see average usage don't usually form rust. That said, you need to run your finger around the belt contact area of each pulley to check for any burrs. If you replace the belt again, I would take the old one to a automotive store that carries Dayco products as they are the best and were the first to offer Kevlar reinforced belt technology. I do notice your issue is fairly common to Volvo engines, but as you indicated, I don't fool with many of them as they are just not very popular in this area.  W 

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12 hours ago, Just 1 more said:

Hi all, maybe addressed to Wingnut for the most part.  I have an '07 275 SSi, now 295 hours.  New to me last year, I noted belt "dust" in the forward part of the engine compartment, and although the boat only had 116 hours when I bought it, I surmised that the belt was old and may be a bit brittle, so I changed it over the winter.  The new belt is doing exactly the same thing. I can even see some very small degradation on the inside of the belt.  I will take a picture this weekend, but wondering if one of the pulleys may be a little rusty, or some how rough - does not seem so, as I checked them when replacing the belt.  Mr. Wingnut, I see that you are a Merc wizard, but hope that even though this is a Volvo, you may have an idea if this is normal, or not. 

Yes, I have the 8.1Gi-J and have been dealing with this for a long time.  Last thing I did this spring before launch was take off the pulley and acid wash it and wire brush it because I noticed it was very sharp edged.  Cleaned it really well with acetone and sprayed it with a few coats of rustoleum engine enamel and let it dry completely and put it back on as well as with a new belt.  Gotten great improvements.  It's not flake-free but it seemed once the new belt had gotten its little haircut, the flakes reduces dramatically.  I will be replacing that pulley with a stainless steel one this next offseason.

z8ZuG5J.jpg

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Thank you all very much.  Wingnut and Hatem, really appreciate the input.  I will double triple check all the pulley alignments, and will follow your advise, Wingnut about the Dayco belt vs the Volvo belt that I bought.  Who knows how old it may have been ?  And Hatem, I love the idea of a stainless steel pulley given your results with a paint job.  Where do you intend to find that ?  Thanks again to both of you - I love this forum, almost as much as my Chap.

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If everything is checking out O K ?  Then it is the Volvo belts.Get the information off of the Volvo belt.  Go to a auto parts place & get a different company belt. I did that with my Honda squeaking belts.

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10 hours ago, Just 1 more said:

Wingnut and Hatem, really appreciate the input.

There must be some aberration here!  My name being put aside the Boat Guru of all time?  The Dally Lama?  A commoner mentioned with Jesus Christ at the same time!?  It's like a slave from the city of Argos standing next to Zeus! :haha-7383: 

Just an inside joke, 1 More, nothing against you or making fun of you.  Quite the contrary actually.  Thank you for the appreciation, it's much appreciated! Wait, that's a bit redundant....oh well, I think you get it.

10 hours ago, Just 1 more said:

And Hatem, I love the idea of a stainless steel pulley given your results with a paint job.  Where do you intend to find that ? 

Couple of places actually have them.  The first I was told was Power Products that specializes in Volvo marine and Volvo car products and I buy a lot of stuff from their local store and I asked them and they told me they can get that pulley and others in SS.  There are others that I forget at the moment but I do have them written down somewhere.  They average about $130 per pulley.

The other trick I did and since I'm the wrecker/destroyer of the forum, this won't go well so don't do it, ok?  I'm just telling what I did just for the sake of your own knowledge.  As a woodworked/builder for 30+ years, I took the entire brand new belt and folded it over to compact it a bit more and built a 4-sided birch plywood box exactly the length of the double folded belt but about 1/4" narrower than the belt so that when I put the belt in it, it stuck out the open side by that 1/4".  Then and I ran it through my table sander in my shop.  It's sort of a jointer that keeps things square but has both, and sanding disc as well as a sanding roller.  I ran it on the disc (since you can square off whatever you're sanding) and took off maybe a total of less than 1/16" off of both sides of the belt.  I feel the belt is too wide for that one pulley and not just that, next time with the engine off, run your fingers on those sharp lines inside that pulley in my picture. 

Run then with just a little pressure so you can get a feel of how sharp those #$%$&$% things are.  I have kitchen knives that are less sharp than those rings.  Then if you look at the inside of the belt which runs along those sharp slats, it's shaped like tire treads.  So now you have treads rolling over knives!  It's like WTF!?  So since I knew I would be replacing that pulley with the SS one, I put it on my drill (prior to painting it) and sanded down those sharp edges with 220 grit sandpaper.  Not much, of course, just knocked off that sharp edge (as we call it in the trade) because it's ridiculous how sharp those are and since most of the flaking is right around that pulley, I bet you between the width of the belt and those sharp edges, that's the culprit as long as your alignment is good which mine was on the money.

Does this look familiar?  You can see a bit of flaking right under that puller and up on the stringer/platform near the battery.  I have better pics that show MUCH MORE flaking that I was getting, just can't find them ATM.  You can also see the "tire tracks" on the inside of that belt and how they run across those sharp edges on that pulley.  I have no doubt that is a contributing factor.  So far, I have just about that same amount you see in this pic maybe a bit more and it's coming from that same pulley, it seems.

GWMj2Qz.jpg

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Have to remember something about MOST MARINE ENGINES...…………. They ARE MOSTLY a General Motors motor.   So all the hot rod places have any part fully chromed if you want that  for any reason. 

If I remember  correctly. The MAJOR difference  is that G M MARINE engines had a Silicone metal mixture used in the  parts that had salt water in them. That slowed down the rusting out of the metal.

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I have a 4.3 GXi and have the same issue as well as a bit of belt squeal.  Thinking of switching to a Continental Poly V.  Have it in my Tahoe and very quiet and wears well. 

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I buy my Honda replacement belts & brake pads at the auto store NAPA has a fantastic semi metallic set. Low wear rates & great stopping on ice

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On ‎8‎/‎14‎/‎2019 at 9:18 AM, summerx said:

I have been having a belt issue on my 5.7 volvo as well.  My port side belt keeps throwing itself.  Replaced the tensioner and water pump so far, still had the problem. I am on belt #3 just making sure the second one wasn't a bad belt.  2 mechanics have looked at it now (along with myself and 2 mechanically inclined buddies), but no answers?  all pulleys' seem tight, not squealing and no play in them.  last mechanic checked pulleys for alignment.  mechanics are stumped.  back at the mechanic who was going to call the volvo tech line.  anyone else have any ideas.  I also am seeing belt dust on that side of the engine compartment.  any other thoughts would be appreciated.

Had the same problem with my 2007 Volvo 5.7. Two belts thrown and lots of excessive wear.  After replacing first the tensioner and later the water pump and reconditioning the replacement tensioner I gave up and just started replacing the belt each season because that's about all I could get out of one . No more worrying and no more endless back and forth with the mechanic. Done

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