Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Interchanging OEM Original Equipment V-belts With Standard Aftermarket V-belts

V-belts are commonly used in many light duty type applications including outdoor power equipment (lawn mowers, rotor tillers, snow blowers, etc.), light duty ventilation fans, power tools (table saws, drill presses, wood lathes, etc.) and much more.  V-belts eventually need to be replaced, and obtaining appropriate replacements can be challenging.

OEM Originals
Replacement belts can nearly always be obtained from the original equipment manufacturers, and this is usually the best practice.  OEM Manufacturers often use belts that have been custom manufactured for them in special constructions or in custom lengths that function best in their equipment.  These special constructions are proprietary, so the special features may not be easily determined.

Truflex and PowerRated Replacements
If original OEM V-belts cannot be obtained, replacement belts can sometimes be identified dimensionally although performance and functionality may not be the same as the OEM originals.  When considering replacement belts from our Truflex and PowerRated light duty V-belt product lines, there are additional considerations.

Clutching Applications
Some applications use belts to provide a clutching function to engage and disengage the equipment.  Only PowerRated type V-belts should be used in these applications as they have been designed with a bareback type cover that allows graceful slippage and aramid tensile cords that will not shrink like Truflex V-belts when hot from slippage.  Using conventional Truflex V-belts could cause unsafe machinery engagement and belt shrinkage could prevent disengagement, resulting in potentially hazardous circumstances.

V-belt Length Variations
Standard Truflex and PowerRated V-belts may not fit applications like OEM originals.  Standard V-belts may be too short to easily install or too long, resulting in adjustment pulleys moving to the end of their travel and not able to apply sufficient belt installation tension.  The position of spring loaded tensioning pulleys may also change, resulting in an increase of decrease in the proper belt tension.

PowerRated For Increased Robustness
Identically sized PowerRated V-belts can sometimes be used in place of Truflex V-belts for added load capacity and robustness.  This can sometimes improve belt service life when Truflex V-belt performance is less than desired.  Truflex V-belts should generally not be substituted for PowerRated V-belts, though.

Interchanging with Industrial V-belts
Identically sized Industrial A-Section and B-Section V-belts can sometimes be used in place of Truflex V-belts for added load capacity and durability.  Note, however, that small sheave diameters often used in these applications may be too small for solid banded A-Section and B-Section V-belts.  AX-Section and BX-Section (notched) V-belts are more flexible and tolerant of small sheave diameters, so may perform better.

Identifying correct replacement belts for equipment can be challenging.  We recommend that you consult original equipment manufacturers first for the best replacement.  Then consider the functionality needed by the belt in selecting V-belts from our standard product lines.  Contact Gates Product Application Engineering for further information at 303.744.5800 or

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