Can any of you brilliant, engineering types help a dumb, little old lady with TS V-belt questions?

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Blog entry by lightweightladylefty posted 03-20-2013 06:24 PM 4218 reads 0 times favorited 22 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I recently replaced the 5-HP motor on my Grizzly right-tilt table saw. (To be honest, my husband did because this weakling couldn’t lift 65 pounds.) I figured it was a good idea to replace the belts, too, so I ordered a set from Grizzly along with the motor. I’ve now gotten 3 sets of belts from Grizzly and none of them match my old, original belts.

My original belts were FM-26. The first belts sent were 3V-250 which were the same configuration but too short. When I called back, I was sent 3L-270 which were not as deep and were longer but fit on the pulley and could be tensioned adequately. I called to ask if they could be used successfully even though longer and not as deep, and they sent 3L-260 which is again the same configuration.

The 3L-260 and 3L-270 are not matched sets, but the 3L-270 are Gates belts. The 3L-260 belts are Bestorq brand (they seem to be pretty poor quality) and are very warped (don’t set flat when on a flat surface).

My questions:

1. The salesman in our nearest woodworking store said whenever multiple belts are run on the same pulley, they must be matched. I was told by a salesman for Gates belts that all their (same size) belts are matched even though sold individually. How important is this?

2. Grizzly seemed to think that the depth of the v-configuration wouldn’t make a difference, but none of the technical support staff with whom I spoke sounded certain. Will these belts wear more quickly or cause additional wear and tear on the pulley or motor? A Gates distributor in the area did not have the belts I need (which I believe to be 3V-265) and would not sell me the 26” belts they carried with a slightly different v-configuration because he said they might not set properly on the pulley. The angle of the 3L is the same as the 3V, just not as deep. I’m concerned about dishing after a period of time.

3. If the depth of the v-configuration doesn’t make a difference, would it be better to use the three Gates 27” belts and adjust the motor accordingly, or attempt the 26” (Chinese quality) which will be much harder to install since even the old belts which are ¼” longer were not easy to install and remove?

This frustration has left me without a tablesaw for weeks now and I’m having withdrawals, along with my frustration. Can any of you genius, mechanical-minded LJs help? Thanks in advance.


-- Jesus is the ONLY reason for ANY season.

22 comments so far

View taoist's profile


124 posts in 2544 days

#1 posted 03-20-2013 06:52 PM

Have you tried one of the link belts ? Because they are composed of individual links that are put together, you can add or subtract links to make the belts longer or shorter to fit what you need. I can’t imagine that you haven’t already tried that approach…You can buy the belts at Harbor Freight for about 25.00 each or a woodworking store for a bit more.

View History's profile


399 posts in 2034 days

#2 posted 03-20-2013 07:18 PM

I’m not sure that the link belts will work, if I’m not mistakin your saw uses three belts that should be bought as a matchet set.

View AustinK's profile


9 posts in 1986 days

#3 posted 03-20-2013 08:04 PM

The depth of the belt definitely makes a difference, the 3L is wider at the bottom by 3/64”, so it will not sit all the way in the pulley allowing for a higher possibility of slippage, which would in turn affect the power transfer from the motor to the saw blade.

I would get the correct belts for your table saw, rather than buying the ones that are “almost” right, and having to replace those shortly thereafter anyway.


View crashn's profile


528 posts in 2518 days

#4 posted 03-20-2013 08:07 PM

While I have no personal experience with a 3 belt system, I have seen lots of posts here on LJ where people use the link belts in a 3 belt configuration without issue.

-- Crashn - the only thing I make more of than sawdust is mistakes

View Grandpa's profile


3260 posts in 2728 days

#5 posted 03-20-2013 08:18 PM

When multiple belts are used they should always be replaced by matched sets. You will probably notice on of them that looks like one is too long but it is still a matched set and should be used that way. Never use a link belt to replace multiple belts. They don’t come in matched sets. A V-belt grips on the sides only. If you see where it is touching the gottom of the groove, it is slipping. They should never touch the bottom of the groove. This means the belt is wrong, the sheave (pulley) is worn or something is just not the correct width. If the belts shown above in your example are the same angle on the sides then they should function properly. The angle IS important. If the Gates belt looks like it fits on the sides then I would be tempted to use it. These should be standard angles. There is an industry styandard for such things. I am not sure I agree with your Gates Rep. Unless it is a speciality belt (proprietory belt) then they should interchange.

View Grumpymike's profile


2269 posts in 2368 days

#6 posted 03-20-2013 10:14 PM

Well, here I go off the deep end … Let me add to Granpa’s post … The belt should match the “V” of the pulley.
the angle on the “V” belt should contact 90% of the sides of the pulley on 35-40% of the circumferance or you lose friction which is power to the shaft.
That is why they use multipal belts to increase the friction and torque to the shaft on these bigger motors.
Here is a backyard mechanic’s way to see how much of the belt is in contact with the wall of the pulley … First un plug the saw … place some soft paper like a paper towel around the belt, gently turn the pulley till the paper exits and give a look; you will be able to tell if it is pinching on the top or crumpleing at the bottom ( to much or to little taper of the belt). Another meathod I have seen is to use chalk. I have also used carbon paper and soft paper to see the amount of contact.
The verticle thickness of the belt will cause it to ride higher or lower in the pulley. To wide and the belt will not set in the groove, it will stand proud. And of course to narrow will let the belt ride low and loose from side to side.
And finally YES you should use a matched set of 3 belts for the max torque efficintcy … think of it this way, you COULD run it with one or two belts … but don’t.
Never use link belts on a large motor … Do use them on the smaller ones, they are great.

-- Grumpy old guy, and lookin' good Doin' it. ... Surprise Az.

View Dennisgrosen's profile


10880 posts in 3168 days

#7 posted 03-20-2013 10:19 PM

don´t call your self dumb little lady
and there is no dumb questions only dumb answers and those question that ain´t said :-)
and I´m pretty sure most of the 60000 J Ls doesn´t now what you are
talking about together with me even after the question has been written
in a genius way
thanks for posting this L/W

take care

View DocSavage45's profile


8639 posts in 2895 days

#8 posted 03-20-2013 11:44 PM


Let us know what happens?


-- Cau Haus Designs, Thomas J. Tieffenbacher

View lightweightladylefty's profile


3243 posts in 3765 days

#9 posted 03-21-2013 12:05 AM

Thanks LJs for all your input. Each difficulty brings new learning. (The only downside is that at my age I forget what I learned by the time the next difficulty comes along. LOL)

My drawings did not make it clear that the angle of the FM-26 and 3L-260 are identical. The dimension at the narrow end of the v is larger because it does not extend down the same length, but the angle is identical.

I had thought about the linked belts, but I felt $20 for three belts was plenty expensive, so I’m just too frugal to ever consider spending $75 for three. Praise God for my cheapness or I would have made another mistake!

Mike, your explanation is excellent in describing the contact with the pulley and the methods for checking the results. If I understand this correctly, then the v-belt with the deeper v-configuration would have more contact with the pulley (if its angle is the same) and therefore more power to the shaft, and would thus be the best configuration to use. Right?

I forgot to ask another set of questions: What exactly is a matched set? How precise of a match is it? Are legitimately matched sets marked in some fashion to know that they are indeed matched sets?

You LJs are the best source of information for woodworkers! I knew I could count on you. Thanks a million.


-- Jesus is the ONLY reason for ANY season.

View NormG's profile


6202 posts in 3057 days

#10 posted 03-21-2013 01:42 AM

Matched sets are the only way to go, they are match for the reason previously stated above.

-- Norman - I never never make a mistake, I just change the design.

View KelvinGrove's profile


2043 posts in 1965 days

#11 posted 03-21-2013 01:56 AM

If it goes around a pulley, these guys will have it. And they will know what they are talking about too. That is, they will if they are as good as the guys in Dalton Game.

Good luck!

-- Tim P. Calhoun GA. If traffic is passing you on the right, YOU ARE IN THE WRONG DAMN LANE.

View Grandpa's profile


3260 posts in 2728 days

#12 posted 03-21-2013 02:09 AM

Matched sets of 3 (in your case it is 3) come with the 3 belts tied together with string or a light wire. They are factory matched. Like I said I have seen these installed and one of the 3 belts would run higher than the others. it looks loose. I questioned that. Nope it is a matched set and it is correct was the response. Use it. I would use nothing else on this saw and it is heavy enough that a link belt would be a waste of time and money even if it would work. They slow vibration and a heavy saw shouldn’t have vibration. If it does then you have another problem and it is serious. Good luck with this.

View Grumpymike's profile


2269 posts in 2368 days

#13 posted 03-21-2013 05:10 PM

Hey Lightweight,
Your thinking is spot on … when the “cheek” of the belt has more surface contact to the pulley, it will create more force or torque to the shaft.
Read “Grandpa” closely, as the outer perimiter of the belt can change from one belt to the other with out affecting the important one, the inner perimiter. At the factory they have a tool that has a caliper with a double arc … (think of a cookie broken in half and glued to either end) ... they will streeeetch the belt to a spefic tention and read the scale. They are measuring the INSIDE. (It’s like fitting a finger ring).
Please let us know the final outcome.

-- Grumpy old guy, and lookin' good Doin' it. ... Surprise Az.

View lightweightladylefty's profile


3243 posts in 3765 days

#14 posted 03-23-2013 05:16 AM

UPDATE: First off, I want to thank all you LJs for helping to educate me on v-belts. I feel like I can at least approach the subject with a mite of credibility now.

Grizzly was very gracious about allowing me to return all three sets of belts for a full refund of charges, including all postage. They were never able to find in their inventory the correct belts which I determined to be 3V265. (I spoke with a customer service rep at length concerning the need for a cross-referencing of parts in their database. Who knows, maybe they will makes some changes.)

I found several companies on-line which carried these belts in various brands, ranging from $2.30 a belt to $13, but decided to order the belts for $8.10 each from a more local (30 miles away) distributor of Gates belts. I was a little apprehensive about the potential quality (or lack thereof) of the much cheaper, brand-less belts (and besides postage was $15). I’m hoping to pick up the correct belts when I’m near the local distributor in about a week and should finally have the saw back up and running. I hope I haven’t forgotten how to use the tablesaw by the time it’s working again! LOL

Tim: Thanks for the information on Motion Industries. The location closest to me is about 45 miles away. When I called to inquire, she was quite rude (maybe she was just having a bad day) but finally looked up the information I gave her and said she could order the belts from Gates. She wanted $9.02 each, plus postage.

I knew I could count on you LJs to help me out. I’m not a proponent of social networking, but I believe this site is one of the best on the web! Again, thanks a million!


-- Jesus is the ONLY reason for ANY season.

View KelvinGrove's profile


2043 posts in 1965 days

#15 posted 03-25-2013 04:32 PM


I am sorry you had difficulty with Motion Industries. Mind if I as which store that was? Message me if you would rather not put it in public view.


-- Tim P. Calhoun GA. If traffic is passing you on the right, YOU ARE IN THE WRONG DAMN LANE.

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