I need all of the excellent advice I can get. I have a 1999 Fleetwood Southwind with a Triton V-10 motor. The serpantine belt is chirping, squealing and generally driving me crazy. I have had the belt replaced several times by my mechanic and he also replaced the tensioner. About 200 miles is all it would take to make the belt start in chirping again. I then took it to Cummins Diesel who does work in our area on RV's. They discovered that it had the wrong size belt and put on the correct one that was one inch shorter than the old one. They said "It's fixed"! Very expensive also. 200 miles down the road and it started chirping again. I have gone back to them and they said it looks like it needs a stronger tensioner on it but have not been able to find one. They have talked to Fleetwood and can not get any help from them. Any one out there that might have run across this problem and have any ideas on how to correct it?
Quit letting them 'play' with it - they obviously aren't interested in fixing the problem or they would have listened to the problem history. They are throwing money at it instead of diagnosing it.
Call Fleetwood or any authorized parts dealer and ask them for the correct belt size and tensioner for that engine. If that isn't the equipment on your unit, make your mechanic put the right ones on. Once you have the right equipment on, diagnose the issue as follows.
When the belt starts squealing, rub the outside edge of the belt with beeswax, then run the engine in a manner which would normally cause the squeak to see if you can get the squeak again. If so, then rub the inside edge of the belt and test again. If this stops the squeak, your problem is not the tensioner (you can further verify this by determining the amount of deflection of a 'correctly installed belt' at rest and matching that with what the manual requires), nor necessarily the belt itself. The problem is more likely that one of the pulleys is just slightly out of alignment with the others, OR there is too 'much' tension on the belt. So it will turn the belt slightly and once the belt gets worn down or turned to a certain point, it will start to chirp.
Now beeswax (you can get those beeswax sewing needle lubricators at any craft shop) does work for a few hundred miles or until you get the belt wet, but to really cure it you will either have to fix the alignment problem, replace a bad pulley (one of them is out of round or mis-aligned or worn down or loose), or replace the belt with one that is more resistant to stretching. Possibly all 3.
Good luck with it; I would strongly suggest you quit throwing money at it without having a plan between you and your service tech on exact methods you two are going to use to remedy the problem once and for all, complete with warranties - if something doesn't cure the problem, put it back the way it was before (without labor charge (wrong fix means they should eat the labor until they find the right fix - after all, why should you be paying for their mechanic's education?) and the difference between old and new parts worked in), and move to the next thing. Point is, you shouldn't be paying for them to play find and fix the squeak. You should be paying for the right find and fix, however.
A misaligned or worn or loose or soft pulley (not tensioner) will likely be pretty difficult to diagnose, but if you can somehow determine exactly where the squeak sound is coming from you'll be a lot closer to curing your engine's woes.
2000 Pace Arrow Vision, 36B, 2 slides, Ford V10
2006 Audi A4 3.0L Quattro Cabriolet
2003 Indian Chief
Patriot Guard Rider
Iron Indian Rider
Indian Riders Group
I have the same year, What I found was that the smooth side of the pulleys had to be crosshatch, A good green pad did the job, took a little bit but no problems since. As the others have said , the right belt and a new tension that also should have come crosshatch from the box. Napa or CarQuest is where I found mine. The first time they gave me one too short. The correct one # K081102 green stripe that I got from CarQuest work find and was the correct length. 1 3/32 Wide by 110 3/4 long. My engine has AC and power steering but I think all are the same. CarQuest showed from their book to do the crosshatch. Been on there for the past three years. Good luck
Not to throw a fly in the ointment, but could your squealing noise source be an accessory driven by the belt, i.e., alternator bearing, water or power steering pump, Just a thought. Often it's the belt tensioner, however you said you changed yours out.
I sure hope you find a cure for your problem as I can only imagine how extremely irritating it can be.
Jim & Sherry Seward
Las Vegas, NV
2000 Residency 3790 V-10 w/tags & Banks System
2003 Suzuki XL/7 toad
Never, BUT NEVER put anything on your serpentine belt! If it squeals, fix the problem - don't gum-up the works with a lot of stuff that will prevent the right belt from gripping properly.
The correct Serpentine Belt is:
Ford P/N XC3E-8620-AB and it's effective length is 110.118".
Use only a "cogged" belt. The smooth ribbed belts will slip. I went through this problem with my Ford Areostar. I replaced smooth ribbed premium belt after premium belt only to have them squeal after a few hundred miles. I put a cog belt on it and it lasted over 6 years and never squealed or slipped - well worth the effort to locate the proper belt. I finally replaced it when I noticed the limit of the tensioner had been reached.
The original belt was made by Dayco. It's aftermarket brand name is "Polycog". The premium belt aftermarket replacement for this part would be 5081103. (5081103 is 1/4" longer than 5081100)
Hopefully, MoRambler will respond with his expertise on this subject. He worked for Dayco's engineering department.
As stated above "Cogged" belts run quieter, cooler and have a tighter "bend Radius" around Sheaves (pulleys). Goodyear Gatorback are excellent.
Also as others have stated worn bearings, glazed sheaves/pulleys, misaligned sheaves/pulleys (use a straight edge to check alignment). PLUS most don't think about WEAR of the steel Sheaves/pulleys (rubber can wearout steel!), But a lot of times work steel grooves in the Sheaves/pulley can cause slipping.
Serpentine belts (Multi rib) belts are less prone to all of the above than "V" belts, but still have issues.
DFord alerted me to this thread, and he is correct. You should NEVER put anything on the ribs of the belt. That only masks the REAL issue.
Like a previous poster mentioned, there is a misalignment problem with one of the accessories OR a worn pulley. Since the tensioner has been replaced, it's obviously not that, which is usually the culprit. Sometimes these things can be a real bugger to diagnose. I know there's not a lot of room in the engine compartment but...if you have access to an automotive stethescope(which I bought at Harbor Freight)you can usually isolate where the noise is coming from.
Also, make sure you have the CORRECT length belt. Many part stores don't carry the right belt and will sell you a belt either shorter or longer that the right one. Check with a Ford TRUCK dealer to confirm the proper length belt. A belt the wrong length severely affects the proper belt tension.
BTW, there is no such thing as a "stronger" tensioner available. They are designed to work with a proper length belt on a designated drive.
BTW, before I bought my current mh, I owned a 1999 HR Vacationer on a Ford chassis w/V10.
Larry & Ann w/Lucy the cocker
'00 Mountain Aire 350 Cummins/Spartan
Toad: '05 Jeep Liberty Ltd.