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changing belts on a saracen


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Hi All


Before I take delivery of the new beastie the generator and fan belts need to be changed. Does anyone have an idea of what needs to be done here. In the manuel it says refer to REME, not a good sign.


Has anyone had to do this themselves, can you get in around the rad?





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Unfortunately you need to take the radiator and front armour off to do a proper job. You might be able to fit join-link type belt but the diameters are really too small (ie has to bend too much) to last long. Also, belts tend to be fitted in sets so if some are duff, they probably all are. Least accessible and most important is the hydraulic pump belt, right down at the bottom. You don't want that going unexpectedly.

By the way, you need a crane for the front armour!

Don't be disheartened though, it is not a difficult job, just a bit tedious!

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Its exceedingly diffecult to change the belts without removing the front armour, rad and fans. The space to work in is tight and when you have your arms in the way your unable to see. It can be done though but its quicker to remove said parts and change them from the front.

Read the manual carfully regarding the belt tensions!! Too thight and the 5 little bolts that hold the generator pully on stretch and snap.

I would not recomend linked belts having tried them. I use some to try and get us home once but still ended up on a low loader. They just dont have the friction to drive the the fans. Thouse two fans need a lot of energy to keep the air flow up. Buy NEW belts, not NOS ones.

BSL Ltd stock the right size. Reason for not useing NOS is the rubber is past its best with age and new matched belts are no more expensive but will last a lot longer. I strongly recomend doing the hydrolic pump belt at the same time.


Have fun :)

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  • 1 year later...

Looking at taking the front armour then fan / radiator assembly. Can this assembly be removed in one piece? ie radiator stays in place within the fan assembly and whole unit gets removed? Looking at the fan belts, it looks realistic apart from the belt that is driven from the engine. Assuming radiator comes out 1st, is there anything I should look for? Already drained and exposed (front armour off).


I'm going to take the radiator out seperately ultimately as it seems an opportune time to have it renovated ready for another 50 years! Its very gunked up between the vanes and there is an area where it has obviously been dinged, though it doesn't lose fluid (unlike the fluid flywheel!!!!)


Alternatively, can anybody point me at some photos of this part of the disassembly? If not I'll anyway document my attempts. Already done the Ferret successfully so done the practice!

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Been a few years since I did mine but so far as I recall, you have to remove bits in this order: top front armour (engine covers), hinge up the rear halves. Front armour. Radiator. Loosen fan drive split flanges, lift off fan drive belts. Remove fan drives, replace ALL belts. Tension all belts except fan drive. Replace fan drive, hooking fan drive belts onto flanges. Tension fan drive belts (this can be done at any time from now on but it is easier to do the less that has been replaced at the front. Having tensioned belts, turn engine over to check tension does not change, if it does, belts were "mipped" between the pulleys so re-tension. Replace radiator. Replace front and top (engine cover) armour. Refill radiator. Run engine for a few minutes. Re-tension belts. After first run, check tension and re-tension if required.

I do not think it is possible to remove front armour, rad and fan drives together because they have bolts going in different directions that have to be removed and the bits are bolted to the body individually rather than being bolted together in a unit. The radiator itself is attached to the fan drive so could be left attached but I can see no advantage to leaving it attached. The armour certainly must come off separately.


Please note, the job I was doing was with the normal airflow saracen. If yours is the reverse flow then I think you have doubled, thinner belts with different tensioners as I think the reverse flow uses the Saladin fan drive system but apart from how the belts are actually tensioned and of course also having to remove the air cowlings, the task is the same.

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Here's some pictures of my radiator coming out, next its the fans.



Sheet of hardboard in front of radiator to avoid risk... Also the swing up engine covers are VERY securely roped to the turret


One of the lower coolant connections



The upper coolant pipes, also the jumble of connecting wires, I've re-labeled them so they should all go back together - recommend get a cheap Dymo maker.



The radiator out, its realistically a two man job, as much as anything to be able to do it slow and sure.


Plan to have radiator reconditioned, it all looks good but I don't want to take it out again soon. Also, when draining the coolant, its lots, have 3 buckets ready, suggest use the pressure cap to regulate flow and be prepared for a rush!





Edited by simonm
adding images
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Bolts that hold the the two sides of the pulley (the ones secured by the wire) being removed. The nuts will then be loosened, they seem to lock the pulley half and stop it turning against the lareg thread. Then the pulley half is unscrewed to allow the fan belt to slip down and thus be loose against the main drive pulley.




Looking down on both pulleys, fan belts now loose




Fan assembly now removed.






Edited by simonm
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There seems to be a view that I'm going to go to this bother and not take the engine out? Can't see any previous comment on my part where I've said I'm just doing the fan belts. I'm adding these images here as its very appropriate to the fan belts. As with my comment above, its just the start of a long journey in taking the engine out to do the fluid flywheel seal, that is the sole reason for this activity and has been planned over the last couple of years.


As to taking the front armour, fan assembly etc off in order to change the fan belts, my experience so far is that to take teh fan assembly off you 1st have to remove the fan belts, if I was just doing the fan belts I think it would be quicker to leave the front assemblies in place.

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  • 3 years later...
As with my comment above, its just the start of a long journey in taking the engine out to do the fluid flywheel seal, that is the sole reason for this activity and has been planned over the last couple of years.




Fast forward to 2015 and wondering how this turned out! Did you ever pull the engine? Is all the work done?

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