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I remember the power steering pump is sensitive to a lousy belt. and I'm having issues again in the rain.... the car loses assist.

What is the best belt for our cars ??
Was it the Gatorback, or the Gates ?
 

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seriously...a belt is a belt for the most part.
Well, not necessarily. Just look at how the Continental/Goodyear Belt grooves are designed versus a standard Serp Belt. When the GoodYear Gatorback was out it was known as the "Quiet Belt".

I had an annoying squeak that could not be found. All accessories were in alignment, pulley's cleaned, the tensioner was good and the belt new and still had an annoying "chirp". Replaced it with the GY belt and the "chirp" was gone immediately.
 

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I was very fond of the gatorback's when they were still made in the USA. Once they moved production to Mexico quality suffered. They were still a decent belt, but not nearly as good and I had the opportunity to prove that. I got lucky and found a NOS one on ebay for my Caddy and while doing a bunch of maintenance and repairs I put it on. At the time I had either the newer gatorback or the continental version (they bought out goodyear's line of belts and hoses a couple years back and production is still in mexico last I knew) and it had not been on very long but I wanted the USA one on it. I compared the two and the biggest difference I could see was that the older American belt was easily a 1/16" thicker, perhaps more. Either way it was substantial and it would explain why I never once had to replace one of those no matter how many miles I put on them. I have had to replace worn or broken ones since they started coming from Mexico. For what it's worth though, still a big heap better than if it were made in China.


Unfortunately, a few weeks after I put that on I finally found the source of the odd rattling sound I had been hearing, and apparently misdiagnosed as a very loose timing chain, the rear bearings in the alternator had failed, locked up the alternator and snapped my prized USA made gatorback belt. I was mad, mad, mad. Since then I have not bothered to find another one, although they are probably still out there. I made the switch over to Gates, and eventually found the Gates green back belts, meant for high mileage use (basically commercial vehicles) and are of outstanding quality. They do make a size that fits the b-bodies, although I'm not completely sure it's listed. I may have had to find the exact length of the factory belt, and get a Gates green back that was a hair shorter (it was within a small fraction of an inch though). And I find the green backside of the belt to be of very high quality, sticks quite well to the smooth surface of the power steering pulley and has never once slipped no matter how hard it's raining or how hard I push down on the fun pedal.


Like I said though, I don't have the part number for that handy, and it is a hair tricky to install being it's a smidge tighter, but if I was smart I left the package in the glove box so I'd always know what belt I need. If I get a chance I can go look for it and see which one I used. It is however further complicated because after that I did my 24x conversion and at the same time put on the ATI Super Damper which is also a 10% underdrive, thus requiring another different belt. The guys at my local O'Reilly's love me. Now all that said, if I had any choice of belt, I'd run a Gates blue back racing belt, but they don't a make a size anywhere close to what our b-bodies take. Trust me, I looked. Actually, part of me thinks I mentioned it in another thread somewhere. You might get lucky searching for it on here, otherwise I'll see what I can find, but I've got a bunch of catching up to do on here.
 

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Don't forget that a leaking water pump is the number one cause of your symptoms...

I assume you're responding to OP, but on mine I never had the water pump leak. It did spit the bearings out the back and die a horrible death once though (the car sat undriven for a number of years before I bought it and I believe the seals went bad and caused the bearings to rust up). Anyways, after a few modest upgrades early in my ownership of the car (deleting home plate and the other big resonator, swiss cheesing the air box, better flowing filter) I absolutely could get the power steering pump to slip under heavy throttle. It was probably before I'd put a new belt on it yet, and the pulley was worn fairly smooth (which I think is a known issue to occasionally crop up on these cars).


At some point I did have to replace the power steering pump and I took that opportunity to "rough up" the pulley a little with some sand paper. Although it's been so long now that I don't recall exactly what my method was. All I know is that as I've continued to improve the performance of the car, between a good belt and possibly my shenanigans with the pulley, I've never had it slip again. I suppose if I were to do it again, I'd either attempt to repaint it, perhaps with vht exhaust paint? Any thoughts on that idea? Or "rough it up" a little again, but with a small wire wheel on a drill so that you could put a nice little swirl into the metal, might give it a little more grip. Just my 2 cents anyways.
 

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Experiment with the next shorter belt. Believe its a 1/4" shorter...
 

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I looked up the belts and figured out what I used. The standard Gates belt is part # K060642 and the 06 is ribs, the 0642 is length in inches, with the last digit being tenths of an inch, so 64.2" in length. The nearest green back (they're called the Fleetrunner belts) is part# K060640HD. That would come in at 64", thus .200" shorter. And like I said, it can be installed, but it's a bit of a fight. I think I found it easiest to route it over all the grooved pulleys first, and then with the tensioner rotated as far as it can go, you can slip it over the power steering pulley. Might need to carefully persuade it slightly with a small pry bar, but it will fit and run perfectly fine. If you're running an underdrive crank pulley or an ac delete pulley, or both, this info won't apply.
 

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I remember the power steering pump is sensitive to a lousy belt. and I'm having issues again in the rain.... the car loses assist.

What is the best belt for our cars ??
Was it the Gatorback, or the Gates ?
I have gone thru this .. ac delco belt 6K642 .. this is the belt to use ... I got the belt from rock auto $14.45 total $17.58..

this is the same belt that was on my 1996 Impala back when new .. I purchased gates,duralast, and gatorback reason I did this was that old OEM belt had cracks but NO squeaks .. then these belts started to squeak .. I still have all these belts and what I found was the sh*tty rubber wears out .

ac delco belt has a much stronger rubber so the grooves do not wear , then no slips and noise ..

auto stores want $25 bucks rock auto better deal ..

possible you have rodent sh*t on the belt LOL..
 

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Had some success at cleaning belts/pulleys with a squeeze bottle filled with rubbing alcohol along with a length of tubing. With engine running,liberally apply near locations where belt,and pulleys meet. Another "trick" is to remove the P/S pulley,and sandblast it. Apply one revolution of painter's tape to surface that belt engages,and paint with spray paint of choice. I like semi-gloss black "caliper" paint best. Allow to dry,and remove tape to reveal the new textured surface. Re-install pulley on to the pump,and declare victory...

 

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I have gone thru this .. ac delco belt 6K642 .. this is the belt to use ... I got the belt from rock auto $14.45 total $17.58..

this is the same belt that was on my 1996 Impala back when new .. I purchased gates,duralast, and gatorback reason I did this was that old OEM belt had cracks but NO squeaks .. then these belts started to squeak .. I still have all these belts and what I found was the sh*tty rubber wears out .

ac delco belt has a much stronger rubber so the grooves do not wear , then no slips and noise ..

auto stores want $25 bucks rock auto better deal ..

possible you have rodent sh*t on the belt LOL..

I've never really looked into the acdelco belts because I mostly abandoned acdelco parts once they started making the majority of them in China. That part number is for the acdelco professional belt, and the description reads exactly like the Gates website, minus the green backing for their HD Fleetrunner line. When I looked up the gates part number for the one I recommended I actually came up with an acdelco belt with the exact same part number and a green backing. It was a heavy duty option. I believe acdelco is just licensing and rebranding the higher end Gates belts. So in this case, go with your brand of choice (acdelco professional or gates) since I fully believe they are the exact same thing, and would both be of very high quality. The gates fleetrunners are known to last a minimum of 100,000 miles, and many fleets have reported belts being in service for over 250,000 miles without issue. I also agree that most of the parts store belts (dayco, duralast, etc) are cheap junk. I haven't seen a dayco belt yet that didn't squeak when new. I can't speak for the gates cheaper line, I think they call them the century series, never actually tried one before. Oh, and the fleetrunner I mentioned is currently $20 on rockauto, but the acdelco version with the green back was on amazon for less than that.
 

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I believe acdelco is just licensing and rebranding the higher end Gates belts. So in this case, go with your brand of choice (acdelco professional or gates) since I fully believe they are the exact same thing, and would both be of very high quality.
That's most likely the case.

BTW- Gone are the days of replacing a belt based on visible cracks. A while ago I got a FREE belt testing gauge from Gates. This vid shows a similar gauge and what to look for in Belt Wear on a Ribbed Serpentine Belt.

 

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we all have the test tool it is the LT1 engine .. when it starts squeaking , then the belt failed the test.
I also have 3 tension-er's .. those cheap china belts are junk dayco etc..
I was referring to the entire kit. It has a deflection gauge, my finger and a ruler worked in the past, and a laser, eyeball before, in it. One more time I question "What's the world coming to?"


Mark: Snowman-33
 

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I was referring to the entire kit. It has a deflection gauge, my finger and a ruler worked in the past, and a laser, eyeball before, in it. One more time I question "What's the world coming to?"
Mark: Snowman-33
well it does look like aftermarket parts are designed to fail so we all have to buy these parts again .
advance auto I have purchased some after market parts that stated a lifetime warranty well that does not happen they will not give you the replacement part .. so I get my cash back and find another store .
purchased rotors on my GM truck wagner .. lifetime warranty well they no longer do this at advance so I got my cash back same as when that belt failed from them ..
 

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If pulleys and tensioner are good shape even a cheap belt should be fine.
Or belt is the wrong length?

I'd look closely @ tensioner, my experience with Gates aftermarket ones is they are crap! One bad after few thousand miles, new replacement is crap too.
Reinstalled 126k used OEM and still good.

After decades/many miles the pullies get polished/glazed whatever you want to call it. As stated earlier may need to resurface them?
 

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I was referring to the entire kit. It has a deflection gauge, my finger and a ruler worked in the past, and a laser, eyeball before, in it. One more time I question "What's the world coming to?"


Mark: Snowman-33

I normally just use my "eye"crometer. I find it's generally accurate enough. :grin2:
 
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