Are Snowmobile Belts Directional? An Owner’s Guide


There are a lot of myths around snowmobile belts, and you probably heard some of those. For instance, some people claim belts are directional. That there’s a specific direction to install the belt on the CVT. Is this true?

Belts are not directional; you can install a new belt in any direction you want to. But, if you remove a belt and put it back into the CVT, you should place it in the same direction it was before.

Belts are essential for the proper functioning of your snowmobile. However, we know you might feel worried about installing it incorrectly. So let’s see more about belts and why your snowmobile needs one.

Understanding Belts And Their Function In Snowmobile

To understand why the drive belt is so important, we have to learn how the transmission works. Modern snowmobiles come with what people call continuously variable transmission or CVT.

In the CVT, you will find two pulleys, also known as clutches. The first one receives power from the engine. In contrast, the second one gives power to the suspension system that makes the tracks move.

The belt is the component that creates a connection between both clutches. It transmits the power from the primary clutch to the secondary pulley to make the snowmobile go.

A Bit Of History On Belts

Belts have always been an essential component in the history of the snowmobile. The CVT we know today first appeared in 1970. Ever since its appearance, the concept has suffered minor changes.

The first belts were made out of rubber, but this material was not long-lasting. Back then, riders would carry a couple of replacements if their belt got ripped due to the RPMs. Nowadays, belts are made of durable materials, such as aramid, that can withstand heat and high speeds without shredding. These materials are the same used for bullet-proof vests.

How To Install The Belt On Your Snowmobile

Most people recommend installing the belt in the direction where you can read the lettering in it. This way, if you remove it, you will know which way you should place it again.

To ensure that your belt was installed correctly, make sure you can see at least 1/16″ over the pulley. This is crucial to know if the belt is the right size. If you can’t see it, it means you will have to loosen the secondary clutch. If you see more than that, you will have to stiffen the secondary pulley.

Belt Maintenance: Things You Should Know

You should know a few things about your snowmobile belt to keep it under the right conditions. The drive belt is crucial for the proper functioning of your sled. So here we made you a list of things you should check on your clutches.

  1. Make sure the belt doesn’t show any physical damage. You should look for:
    1. Dents
    2. Cracks
    3. Shred cords
    4. Uneven borders
    5. Looks melted or “glazed.”
  2. If you subject your sled to rough trails, it will directly affect the lifespan of your drive belt. Some trails include:
    1. Hard snow
    2. Ice
    3. Sand
    4. Grass
    5. Asphalt
  3. You should let your sled warm up before you go for a ride. Low temperatures can stiffen the drive belt. This piece of equipment is supposed to be flexible to function. If you go for a ride as soon as you start your engine, it could damage the CVT.
  4. Clean your CVT and belt every once in a while. To clean your belt, you will use soap, water, and something to brush off the debris. But, cleaning the pulleys is equally essential. To clean your pulleys, you could use a brake cleaner and a Scotch Brite pad.
  5. Make sure the tension is correct. Belt’s don’t usually stretch, but it could be possible that the clutches are not correctly aligned.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you break in a snowmobile belt?

Install the belt on your sled and run between 20 to 40 miles to break it in. Make sure you go easy on the speed.

What happens if the snowmobile belt is loose?

It is common for drive belts to appear loose while the sled is idle. However, if you are experiencing issues while driving your snowmobile, you could try checking the placing of your secondary clutch. For example, if it is not aligned with your primary pulley, or the spacing is incorrect, you might feel the belt is loose.

Why does my snowmobile belt squeal?

If you hear a squealing noise coming out of your belt, it means that it is too tight. Check the manual or manufacturer’s website to make sure you got the correct size.

What can I spray on a squeaky belt?

You shouldn’t spray any chemicals on your belt. Chemical compounds may damage the belt and shorten its life.

What is proper belt deflection?

Your drive belt deflection should be 1/64″ per every inch of length. To measure the deflection, you could also use a tension gauge.

How do you size a snowmobile belt?

The length of your belt is the distance between the second clutch and the first clutch. Please make sure the drive belt is installed when you measure it. 

How do you adjust the tension on a snowmobile belt?

You will adjust the tension by lowering or raising the drive belt in the second clutch. To do so, you will need a hex key. To loosen the belt, you will move the hex key clockwise. If you want to tighten the belt, move it counterclockwise.

How much does a snowmobile belt cost?

The online price ranges from $70 up to $190. But, you can find cheaper options as low as $30.

Who makes the best snowmobile belts?

The quality of snowmobile belts seems to be a standard among the manufacturers. There is not a specific brand you will call the best option.

How long do snowmobile belts last?

Belts last from 1500 to 3000 miles, depending on the material they are built. In addition, modern belts are highly resistant because they are made of heat-resistant synthetic fibers.

When should I change my snowmobile belt?

You should change your belt before it reaches 3000 miles. However, if you notice that it has been damaged, you must replace it. In addition, some practices can shorten the life of your drive belt. It includes running your sled through asphalt, grass, or sand.

How do you clean a snowmobile belt?

It is straightforward; you will use water, soap, and a brush to clean your belt. First, make sure you brush thoroughly until it is squeaky clean. Then, let the drive belt dry before you put it back on your clutches.

How often should you clean your belt?

There are divided opinions about how often you should clean your belt. Some people claim you should do it every three rides. Others say you should do it every 500 miles. And there’s a final group of people who claim cleaning the belt is not vital and you shouldn’t do it at all.

Conclusion

The final answer to our main question is no. This is because drive belts in your snowmobile are not directional. However, you should take into account that this only applies to brand new belts.

If you are putting in a belt, you already used it. Therefore, you must place it in the same direction it was before. To make sure you don’t forget how it goes, as a rule of thumb, you should install it so you can read the writing.

Sources:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aramid

https://www.snowmobile.com/blog/2017/01/snowmobile-cvt-drives.html

https://www.snowmobileforum.com/threads/belt-too-loose-anyway-to-fix-this-can-it-be-adjusted.35707/

https://www.ultimaxbelts.com/cms_files/original/Snowmobile_Drive_Belt_Installation_Tips_20161.pdf

https://www.amazon.com/Snowmobile-Belts/s?k=Snowmobile+Belts

Ryan Conner

Outdoor enthusiast with several years of snowboarding experience in the winters and watersports activities all summer. Living within 3 hours of 4 well-known ski resorts, I get plenty of board time from Nov-March every season.

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