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Old 01-16-2009
Robert Britton Robert Britton is online now
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Location: Hollister, California
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Default Belt Tension

I’m going to be installing my new belts on my 87FC. Looking through my blue box I can’t find what the belt tension is to be set at….does anyone have a recommendation for proper setting?
Robert in Hollister, CA
Marathon XL40
Previously Owned; 04 M380, 88 PT-38, 87FC, 95 Weekender "Baby Bird"
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Old 01-16-2009
Bill Pape's Avatar
Bill Pape Bill Pape is online now
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Commerce
Posts: 11,676

Robert I do not have a number, ( Ya kinda get a feel for it ), could be about 1/2 inch play. On your 87 ,make them tight , as they will loosen after a short time. As you know it is difficult to open the front and set the tension again.

NAPA sells a tensioner tool


When the rad is closed and after a few hundred miles, all belts can be checked reaching up from under the bumper.
Bill & Patty
1988 FC, Silver Edition
Commerce, Michigan

Last edited by Bill Pape; 01-16-2009 at 04:47 PM. Reason: spell
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Old 01-16-2009
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Mike Hohnstein Mike Hohnstein is offline
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Location: NW Milwaukee Metro Area
Posts: 4,594

Maintaining belt adjustment is the major problem with a FC, particularly if the fan cycles frequently. I WILL have cobbled up a method to adjust the fan belts with out opening the front before next summer. Gotta be a better way. I have tried every belt mfr. and use the clicker adjustment tool sold by Napa. I do understand why idler controlled serpentine belts were developed.
Mike Hohnstein
FMCA 97824
Germantown, WI/Myrtle ID

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Old 01-21-2009
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lucaswillemse lucaswillemse is offline
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Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Paramount
Posts: 454

We are here at the Southwest Bluebird ralley in Quartzsite there are about 40 Bluebirds here now with more expected. Last week before we left I checked all the belts on our 80 FC35 and found them all loose. I could actually turn the alternator pulley by hand. I checked the belts tension using a Borroughs belts tension gauge I bought on Ebay and it showed all the belts were running in the 30 to 40 pound tension range. I adjusted them all to 70 to 90 punds wich is shown on the gauge for used belts. On the way out to Quartzsite I noticed that the fan when it kicked in it worked without squaling belts as it always did before and we seemed to run much cooler going up the hills. As we were pulling into the area I heard a intermittant squaling sound from the engine and today we investigated. I opened the hinged radiator, started the engine and used an infrared thermometer to check the idler/adjustment pulleys, one went to 140 degrees in 3 minutes, I took the idler out and found the bearing was almost frozen, removed the bearing, replaced it and retightend the belt to 80 pounds on the belt gauge, it was the Air Conditioning belt idler, this also provides 1/2 the power for the radiator fan, and we were back in business. This provided a great technical session for some of the assembled Bluebird owners. Anyway on the belt tension issue, according to the Borrroughs belt tension gauge 90 to 120 pounds is the adjustment for a new belt, a used belt should be 70 to 90 pounds of tension.

Wanderlodge Owners Group > Mechanic's Corner > FC (Forward Control Unique Issues) > FC Parts List > CAT 3208 BELT NUMBERS and their PROPER ADJUSTMENT
Lucas Willemse
Paramount, CA
1995 WB 42
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