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V-belt drives: Common problems and their solutions

Publication date: 
June 2015
Tom Bishop, P.E., EASA Senior Technical Support Specialist
Type of media: 

Two common scenarios that service centers deal with regarding belt drive applications are failure of a motor drive end ball bearing or breakage of the shaft at the drive end bearing shoulder. The cause of these failures often is over-tensioning of the v-belts. However, there are many other faults or undesirable practices that can lead to premature bearing failure, belt wear and sheave wear. 

Due to practical space limitations, this article won’t be exhaustive in its coverage but will deal with common scenarios other than motor bearing failure and shaft breakage, including:

  • Worn or damaged sheaves
  • Misaligned sheaves
  • Insufficient belt tension
  • Excessive belt tension
  • Mixed brands or mismatched belts
  • Noisy belt drive
  • Inadequate drive selection/design
Troubleshooting & failure analysis