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Do It Yourself - Outdoor Power Equipment Repair & Maintenance

Tractor Engine Belt Tips

Tractor Belt Tips Posted in Tractors

Handy tips to help you replace your tractor belts!

Installation Warning

Always disconnect power supply to machine before removing or installing sheaves or belts.

Never force the belt into a sheave with a screwdriver or wedge. You will rupture the envelope of fabric and break the cords.

Rules of V-Belt Tensioning

  • The ideal tension is the lowest tension at which the belt will not slip under peak load conditions.
  • Check the belt tension frequently during the first 24-48 hours of run-in operation.
  • Do not over-tension belts. This shortens belt and bearing life.
  • Inspect the V-drive periodically. Retension belts if they are slipping.
  • Maintain sheave alignment with a strong straight-edge tool while tensioning V-belts.

V-Belt Maintenance

V-belt drive maintenance is not complicated. Inspecting a V-belt is simply a matter of looking and listening. After belt installation or maintenance, inspect the drive and watch it run.

What to Look For:

  • Oil and Grease: Liquids will increase the chance a belt will fail prematurely.
  • Dirt: Impairs traction and increases belt wear.
  • Added Loads: Shorten belt life.
  • Belt Guards: Ensure cleanliness and safety.
  • Cracking: Does not reduce tensile strength; larger sheaves and idlers may reduce cracking.
  • Belt Dressing: Do not use any type of belt dressing.
  • Vibration: AKA "Whipping"; Caused by not enough tension.
  • Heat: Causes overcuring, which will shorten belt life.
  • Tension: Proper tension on belts is important.
  • Belt Turnover: Indicates misalignment, worn sheaves or excessive vibration.
  • Change in Rideout: Indicates uneven belt wear or worn sheaves.
  • Lateral Vibration: AKA "Snaking"; Indicates not enough tension.
  • Belt Wear: Wear on belt side-walls indicates consistant slippage, excessive dust or rough sheaves.
  • Foreign Matter: Can cause excessive wear or breakage.

What to Listen For:

  • Squeal: Usually indicates insufficient belt tension or overloading.
  • Chirp or Squeak: Usually indicates a dry bearing; realigning the idler may help.


Jack's Safety Tips: Before servicing or repairing any power equipment, disconnect the spark plug and battery cables. Remember to wear appropriate safety glasses and gloves to protect against harmful chemicals and debris. View our Disclaimer.