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Old 08-01-2020, 04:13 PM   #1
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444e serpentine belt issues

I have a 98 International 3800 w/ 444e engine and Amtran body. I have to replace the serpentine belt and I went to my local International dealer. They provided me with 8 rib, 113Ē belt. I tried it and itís a bit short, not making it around the final pulley. Whatís the proper length? Thank you
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Old 08-01-2020, 05:27 PM   #2
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Is the old belt still intact to compare with new belt in size? New belts are a snug fit.
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Old 08-01-2020, 05:35 PM   #3
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Solved the problem

The dealer gave me the wrong size. Was able to find a number on the old one, ran it through google, and the correct one is 126Ē.
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Old 08-01-2020, 06:33 PM   #4
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Yes. See below.
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Old 08-01-2020, 07:04 PM   #5
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it comes down to options.. sometimes they give you a non air compressor belt.. my red bus was factory built with an air compressor but hydraulic brakes.. the IH system always wants to give me the non air compressor belt... there also were some add-on A/C compressor bracket kits that instead of bolting an aux pulley on, used the main serp belt.. the dealer will never find the right belt for those unless you walk in with a length
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Old 08-01-2020, 07:21 PM   #6
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Iím guessing he gave me the non-air compressor belt. Lesson learned.
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Old 08-01-2020, 07:40 PM   #7
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What cadillackid said. I just got a bunch of engine parts for my 2004 IC CE200 with the 7.3. The dealer asked for the last 6 (or was it digits of my VIN and that gave him what he needed to provide the correct parts. The serpentine belt was one of the parts I replaced. Not that it matters but mine is non-air brake, non-A/C and he got that from my VIN.
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Old 08-01-2020, 07:43 PM   #8
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putting a 90 thunderbird supercoupe back together now and the new belts are so tight that its tough to get them on the good idler pulleys including rotating the motor by wrenches or hand and forcing those three new serpentine belts where they go and of course make sure evrything meshes and lines up.
definetly take the old belt with you regardless of if it is broke or not.
all belts stretch the second they are used
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Old 08-01-2020, 08:21 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Oldyeller View Post
What cadillackid said. I just got a bunch of engine parts for my 2004 IC CE200 with the 7.3. The dealer asked for the last 6 (or was it digits of my VIN and that gave him what he needed to provide the correct parts. The serpentine belt was one of the parts I replaced. Not that it matters but mine is non-air brake, non-A/C and he got that from my VIN.
I did give them the last 6 which is my I’m scratching my head.
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Old 08-01-2020, 08:48 PM   #10
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I did give them the last 6 which is my Iím scratching my head.

Because they look up what it (supposedly) left the factory with, not necessarily what it was delivered with - which is typical if A/C or other belt driven accessories are added later. Sometimes even the factory jockeys get the database info not-quite-right.
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Old 08-02-2020, 08:31 AM   #11
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While going "the last six vin digits" has always worked for me, they could have still screwed up.
Also, it's possible that belt driven accessory was added after the build. International would have no knowledge of that unless they were the ones who did the work. Even so, I'm not sure they'd update the parts sheet.

I prefer to bring the old belt when getting a new one. Good parts stores will have a belt measurer so the new belt doesn't even need to be taken out of its cardboard sleeve to compare side by side.
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Old 08-02-2020, 09:21 AM   #12
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Buy another one and toss it in the bus.. there are 3 or 4 idlers on this engine depending on year model etc.. when one of those break(and they will). Those idlers are shared with the Ford 7.3 so you can get them at auto zone. The belt however is not and isn’t always easy to find.

Idlers are asked to live the life of the vehicle without any lubrication added... typically your water pump will wear out and go bad or leak, the alternator will die electrically, these items are generally replaced before their bearings break. the brake compressor is continuously oiled, The idlers never get touched until one squeals or breaks.. usually break, and with it will go the belt
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Old 08-02-2020, 11:09 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cadillackid View Post
Buy another one and toss it in the bus.. there are 3 or 4 idlers on this engine depending on year model etc.. when one of those break(and they will). Those idlers are shared with the Ford 7.3 so you can get them at auto zone. The belt however is not and isn’t always easy to find.

Idlers are asked to live the life of the vehicle without any lubrication added... typically your water pump will wear out and go bad or leak, the alternator will die electrically, these items are generally replaced before their bearings break. the brake compressor is continuously oiled, The idlers never get touched until one squeals or breaks.. usually break, and with it will go the belt

I had one of those idlers shear off on the road one Sunday afternoon and when that idler jumped ship we were dead in the water. Autozone saved our butts that day. It's well worth replacing the idlers periodically. Our bus was right around 100K miles when it happened. It's an easy fix if you carry tools with you but getting the part is the problem. I replaced all of ours and kept the old idlers as spares.
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Old 08-02-2020, 04:22 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by cadillackid View Post
Buy another one and toss it in the bus.. there are 3 or 4 idlers on this engine depending on year model etc.. when one of those break(and they will). Those idlers are shared with the Ford 7.3 so you can get them at auto zone. The belt however is not and isnít always easy to find.

Idlers are asked to live the life of the vehicle without any lubrication added... typically your water pump will wear out and go bad or leak, the alternator will die electrically, these items are generally replaced before their bearings break. the brake compressor is continuously oiled, The idlers never get touched until one squeals or breaks.. usually break, and with it will go the belt
What are idlers and where are they found on the engine?

I will be buying a spare belt.
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Old 08-02-2020, 05:23 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by cadillackid View Post
Buy another one and toss it in the bus.. there are 3 or 4 idlers on this engine depending on year model etc.. when one of those break(and they will). Those idlers are shared with the Ford 7.3 so you can get them at auto zone. The belt however is not and isnít always easy to find.

Idlers are asked to live the life of the vehicle without any lubrication added... typically your water pump will wear out and go bad or leak, the alternator will die electrically, these items are generally replaced before their bearings break. the brake compressor is continuously oiled, The idlers never get touched until one squeals or breaks.. usually break, and with it will go the belt
I've got to order 2 new idlers tomorrow. I noticed they have internal snap rings so I'll be interested to see if they're rebuildable.
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Old 08-02-2020, 06:07 PM   #16
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I've got to order 2 new idlers tomorrow. I noticed they have internal snap rings so I'll be interested to see if they're rebuildable.

the bearing is a timken bearing.. I had some at one time.. only reason I had them is someone that worked for timken new exactly which ones they are.. if you take one apart and find the bearing part number you can stand a chance at getting a new one.. I'll have to look for mine to see the stamped number.. they are a small permanently lubricated ball bearing.. .. at least the ones i have and know fit the ribbed idler..



brianmi - if you look on your 444E, there are 2 smooth ones above the water pump that run the back side of the belt..



there is a ribbed one next to the water pump.. that one takes the most belt tension and is the most likely to die it seems..



the belt tensioner is another one that seems to be a problem child.. its a real small pulley so it spins super fast .. if that one breaks pieces go flying..


your air conditioner may have one of its own.. with a viscous fan clutch the loss of an air-condtioner belt usually sends the belt into the fan which spits it out and rips apart the serp belt..


with an electric clutch the loss of an A/C belt will still usually send it into the fan (if the fan is off) it will just sit there and stop the freewheeling fan.. (I have had this happen.. once due to a Cheap chinese A/C compressor clutch flying apart in pieces.. and once due to an A/C idler failure.. .. the chances of an A/C compressor failing while the bus is sitting at home in high idle are very slim.. I got lucky.. the fan sent the belt into pulley-geddon H*ll on that bus.. on the other bus the electric clutch was off so the belt just layed there till I stopped after hearing the "snap" and the 'ding-ding-ding' of an idler pulley buzzing around the engine compartment..




here's a trick if you do break one of those damn things on the road..

if your bus has a heater boost pump and you didnt rip it out and all of your Bus heaters and defrosters during conversion you can use it to limp off the road... crank open the heater valves, turn that pump on and all your heater fans on high.. . start the engine and drive till your temp hits about 210.. shut the engine off, shift to 'N' tuern the key back on but dont start!. so the pump and the fans run.. coast till you stop.. temp goes down below 200.. do it again start the engine and run a short way.. you dont over heat your engine and you get off the highway.. if your batteries are good, they will hold up to the task..
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Old 08-02-2020, 07:52 PM   #17
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Thank you!!!
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Old 08-02-2020, 09:46 PM   #18
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Here are two of the idlers on the belt tensioner which is mounted just below the alternator. Insert a 1/2" drive ratchet in the square hole and pull toward the passenger side to untension the serpentine belt.
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Old 08-03-2020, 04:58 AM   #19
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Thank you everyone!
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Old 08-03-2020, 08:40 AM   #20
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I've got to order 2 new idlers tomorrow. I noticed they have internal snap rings so I'll be interested to see if they're rebuildable.
Yep, easily rebuilt. The bearings aren't anything special. Read the number off the bearing and get quality replacements. I'm not too picky about Timken, NSK, etc.. For this application stay away from the unbranded crappers on amazon and eBay.

I rebuilt 3 of them. Used a vice and some appropriately sized sockets to press the bearings in place.
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