Engine Belt Drives

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Camshaft & Valvetrain Belt Drives
Camshaft & Valvetrain Belt Drives

The belt drive which is essential to the valvetrain, and all of its components, is commonly referred to as a timing belt. This belt connects the crankshaft to the camshaft which will then open or close all of the valves on the engine at the appropriate time. It is important that all valves are opening at the proper time to prevent too much or too little fuel making it through the valve, and to ensure that all the exhaust gases make it out of the valve at the correct time. Proper synchronization of this belt is necessary when replacing the belt to ensure the pistons are valves are working together efficiently. A timing belt drive that is not set up properly can cause catastrophic to the engine and its components.

A timing belt is made out of an extremely strong and durable rubber material that can handle huge amounts of power that an engine produces. These belts have become mainstream over the years and replaced chains and gears. This belt drive system does not need lubrication to operate efficiently and its lightweight/smooth design makes it extremely quiet even while spinning at high RMP’s. To keep this belt on the pulley at high speeds and to more efficiently put down the power produced by the engine, teeth are integrated in the belt. These teeth on the timing belt can be curved and trapezoid in shape.

The entire belt drive system is covered up by a metal or polymer timing belt cover which helps keep the belt away from the elements. Harsh elements that can get on the belt such as oil will reduce the belts life span and can cause it to slip which can reduce power output of mess up the timing when the valves should be opened. The timing belt should be replaced every 60,000 to 90,000 miles to avoid a breakdown if the belt breaks.

Some belt drives can be used to power other components that are essential to the engine such as the distributor. Using an external source like a belt drive to power the distributor will create a more accurate ignition system that will not deviate from the initial setting. Most distributors are powered by a gear which is connected to the camshaft. At high RPM’s the camshaft has a tendency to twist from the load that is put on in which can screw up the timing between the gear and camshaft.

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