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Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Hardly Davidson, Jan 19, 2022.

  1. Some of us are still building hot rods with conventional style fan belts. Back in the day, parts stores had a whole wall of them, every size imaginable. I should know because my parents owned such a store in Alaska and I worked there.

    Guys building a new rod would come in and give us an approximate size needed. An hour later they'd be back needing one just an inch longer. Sometimes they'd return a third time. Never a problem!

    Stores today have limited inventory of V belts, with a mass array of boxed serpentine belts replacing them. Times have changed!

    I needed a 65 inch belt and our local stores didn't have it, but could order one. I asked if I could return and exchange for another if it didn't fit. The parts guy said no problem as long as I paid the shipping cost back. That's only right I suppose. I made sure my measurement was dead on using the right thickness of rope. Back in the day, guys used a piece of string to measure, thus the incorrect size belts. No biggie if they were wrong. The only expense was a gallon of gas driving back to the store.

    Dayco and Gates have always been my belts of choice. I saw a Chinese brand that I didn't recognize online the other day. Far as I know, Dayco and Gates are now manufactured there as well.

    In another twenty years, I'll hobble into a parts store and ask for a 65 inch belt, and the gal behind the counter will tell me,

    "We can't get those anymore. You might try one of the antique stores around town!"

  2. 2Blue2
    Joined: Sep 25, 2021
    Posts: 186


    Say it isn't so..
    Deuces likes this.
  3. rockable
    Joined: Dec 21, 2009
    Posts: 3,791


    The one consolation is this. They are still used in a large variety of industrial applications, so there will still be V belts. You might have to buy them from Motion Industries or Applie Industrial Technologies, however. :D
  4. Anderson
    Joined: Jan 27, 2003
    Posts: 6,820


    I’ve had pretty good results by starting with a really long belt that is the right width and cut it. Then wrap around the pulleys and mark it then measure. From there I’ll order the size I think I need, plus one below and one above and one is sure to work! Now I have my own inventory of V-belts :D

  5. PhilA
    Joined: Sep 6, 2018
    Posts: 1,430


    I buy mine from the tractor place.

    Correct thickness, a wall of sizes. Lawn mower belts now have nice reinforced fabric and can tolerate much more abuse than my water pump and generator can inflict.

    Much cheaper than the auto store, too.

    dirt t, 56don, Ford52PU and 16 others like this.
  6. BamaMav
    Joined: Jun 19, 2011
    Posts: 5,487

    from Berry, AL

    I don't think it's extinction, it's more choice in which parts to stock, slow movers or items that sell quickly. When you consider the billions of auto parts made, it makes sense from a business standpoint to try and not stock slow moving items and instead stock items that turn over quickly. Supply and demand rules, when was the last time you walked in a parts store and they had a carb for a 60 Chevy on the shelf? Or a distributor cap for a 62 Studebaker? If the demand is low, it's better to let the warehouse store the slow moving items and fill that shelve space in the store with an item that sells quickly putting money in your pocket faster. Let's face it, carbs, points, and v belts haven't exactly been mainstream high demand items for 30 years or more.
    Deuces, mad mikey, 2OLD2FAST and 5 others like this.
  7. Still readily available in industrial and heavy equipment.

    there are a few cars that will still use a small v belt in the compressor (ac) but that’s very few and far between .
    Deuces and Truckdoctor Andy like this.
  8. brading
    Joined: Sep 9, 2019
    Posts: 516


    I go to my bearing dealer they have all sorts of lengths and width and will change them if not right. With HD on this think in a few years you will not get one from a parts dealer without knowing the Make, Model, Year plus the measurements of a ducks arse. Even then it would have to less than 5 years old.
  9. squirrel
    Joined: Sep 23, 2004
    Posts: 50,943


    Auto part catalog price sheets for normal parts that are stocked in a parts store, have a "volume" code...A parts are stocked everywhere, B parts in the larger places, C at a local distributor, etc. It's been that way forever. If they sell a lot, they stock it. If they don't, then you won't find one easily.

    I've had a bit of trouble finding just the right belt for some really old stuff that uses wide belts...and there's usually an industrial replacement available, but it takes some effort to figure out what it is.

    Might be 5, 10, 20 years and we'll have the same problem for "modern" V belts, as used on 50s-80s cars.
  10. Truck64
    Joined: Oct 18, 2015
    Posts: 5,316

    from Ioway

    They sure don't look traditional, but there are adjustable V-belts now, "Accu-Link" is one I think. They are individual pieces that hook together, make any length you want. Popular with industry.

  11. Ned Ludd
    Joined: May 15, 2009
    Posts: 4,419

    Ned Ludd

    I was about to say the exact same thing. The link belts also seem to outperform the solid belts, and they're useful for situations where you can't get an endless belt around things. I chased an idea for an underfloor line shaft driving ancillaries for a few days and came across these belts.
    Deuces, wraymen and Truck64 like this.
  12. KevKo
    Joined: Jun 25, 2009
    Posts: 763

    from Motown

    Auto parts stores market is cars just out of warranty to probably 20 years old. I would like to buy from a real auto parts store, and have one not too far from home. But they aren't going to have the stuff I need in stock. Yes they can get it, but Rock Auto or Summit will ship it to my door quicker and cheaper. Fact of life today.
    Deuces, mad mikey, 2OLD2FAST and 6 others like this.
  13. Pav8427
    Joined: Jul 30, 2021
    Posts: 32


    Deuces and Truck64 like this.
  14. Pav8427
    Joined: Jul 30, 2021
    Posts: 32


    Power-twist is another brand. Use them in some transfer sustems we build.
    Not much stretch in this stuff and they have to be tight.
    Only new one guy who used to run this on a dirt track car. Lasted a long time.
    If you choose to try it, be aware this stuff is directional and probably $4-5 a foot.
    Nice ifin you want to color coordinate.
    I have seen red and green. Not sure if there are other colors. Would guess its manufacture choice.
    Ned Ludd and Truck64 like this.
  15. Dave G in Gansevoort
    Joined: Mar 28, 2019
    Posts: 1,186

    Dave G in Gansevoort
    from Upstate NY

    A note about Link-belts: they are really good for machinery as they don't take a set like a rubber band. Smoother running on lathes drill presses and the like.
    continentaljohn and Truck64 like this.
  16. Truck64
    Joined: Oct 18, 2015
    Posts: 5,316

    from Ioway

    Yeah, Power Twist might be the manufacturer that I was thinking of. But the concept is the same. Seems kind of handy, keep a bag o' links on hand, and covered for anything. They do look pretty weird though. Maybe paint 'em black, that would help.
  17. AccurateMike
    Joined: Sep 14, 2020
    Posts: 263


    mad mikey likes this.
  18. F-ONE
    Joined: Mar 27, 2008
    Posts: 3,092

    from Alabama

    It's just changing times. Well, not changing, it's already changed.
    You have to be more educated these days.
    The days of sorting through the fitting drawer are over. Each part, each one is now individually wrapped and price coded.
    The days of try and fit in the store are over, they've been over. You have to know exactly what part you need. You can pretty much bet...they don't have it.

    Thus education...

    You have to know what...
    You have to know where you can get it...
    You need to know who you can get it from...
    You'll need to anticipate how long it will take...

    This means a lot of research and a lot of figuring. Staying with "factory stuff" may be a little easier but rigging something with all kinds of parts...It's all part of the challenge now.
    Whatever you need, you count on it being two weeks away...
  19. seb fontana
    Joined: Sep 1, 2005
    Posts: 7,443

    seb fontana
    from ct Lawnmower deck belts re enforced with nylon, kevlon and in various colors, light grey, red, blue, black, green. If I remember right they run 1 or 2 inches short of a Gates size.
  20. metlmunchr
    Joined: Jan 16, 2010
    Posts: 802


    That's for sure. My Delta belt drive table saw had an irritating vibration from the day it was new. No runout in the motor shaft or blade arbor. A woodworker friend told me to try a link belt, and once I put one on it's smooth enough that I can stand a nickel on edge on the table and it won't fall over.
    Ned Ludd and Truck64 like this.
  21. Feeling the pain. I might as well start running a flat head Ford. I'm kinda lucky that the parts store where I live still has a lot of old stuff in stock, but when you have to order a fuel pump for a small block Chevy, or intake gaskets, you know it's getting ridiculous.
  22. I don't know the accuracy of the information, but I've been told the v belts from tractor supply and such aren't designed for much rpm?
  23. Budget36
    Joined: Nov 29, 2014
    Posts: 8,423


    Yep, I just got back running around town looking for friction tape. All I found was blank stares.
    Ordered a roll off Amazon, I mean why even waste time and fuel these days?
    Boneyard51 likes this.
  24. Phil P
    Joined: Jan 1, 2018
    Posts: 382

    Phil P

    As I understand it it's not the rpm as much as it is the amount of horsepower they are rated for.

  25. error404
    Joined: Dec 11, 2012
    Posts: 338

    from CA

    "V belt? No, all of ours are circular."
  26. jimmy six
    Joined: Mar 21, 2006
    Posts: 11,004

    jimmy six

    Great movie… “electrifying the valley” and all….
    F-ONE likes this.
  27. ahshoe
    Joined: Sep 12, 2012
    Posts: 891


    That is why I have a big bundle of accumulated belt to get a start on the correct one Had to do this so many times with the lady 4 builds I did.
    56don likes this.
  28. gene-koning
    Joined: Oct 28, 2016
    Posts: 2,835


    I have a big collection of belts I've removed from cars I've junked out in the past, sure makes finding a belt easier when you have one the correct size. My son used to give me crap about my "old belt collection" but these days, he has his own old belt collection. Guess it doesn't seem so strange anymore?

    Our local farm store used to have a pretty wide selection of V belts, not anymore. There might be 10 of the most commonly used belts in stock, other wise you have to order them. If anything needs to be ordered these days, I'll order the stuff myself and save their markup.
    Truckdoctor Andy likes this.
  29. Beanscoot
    Joined: May 14, 2008
    Posts: 2,356


    As Phil P pointed out, the generic V-belts are called "fractional horsepower" belts, and are not as durable as real automotive belts, when run on a car engine.
    Also cars often use non-standard widths like 7/16", 11/32" etc.

    You can look at belts on the Rockauto site and try to deduce the sizing system, then search for the length and width you need on their site. I had good luck (with some tedious figgerin') getting a belt that way for a modified belt setup on my car. But the good thing was that the belts were ridiculously cheap on closeout, so I got a lifetime supply (three).
    And now Rockauto thinks I have an '80s Porsche.
    XXL__, TrailerTrashToo and Truck64 like this.
  30. 55blacktie
    Joined: Aug 21, 2020
    Posts: 688


    John Mummert ( recently posted info. and photos of a Ford Y-block serpentine-belt conversion kit on Although show-quality and well made, it's also very expensive, and complex, so much so that it's the first thing you notice when looking at the engine. Considering my 55 has just one v-belt that drives the water pump and alternator, it suits me just fine.
    lemondana likes this.

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