Repair Information for Your Imperial's Belts

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Tip from Mikey (392 Belt numbers):

Here are the Goodyear belt numbers for the 58 392. Generator: 15406. Generator on a/c cars: 15701 - set of 2. Generator with 40A Gen: 15396. Generator and idler ( mopar w/ air ) 15550. Power Steering : ( with or without air ) 15456- set of 2. A/C and idler : 13621 - set of 2.

Tip from Larry:

An old remedy for noise belts is to use a simple bar of soap - stick it to 'em and they quiet down right away.

Question from Bruce:

At idle all is well, but as I rev up the engine, the belts (I think) gradually start to squeal. I put soap on the belts, which didn't help, as well as a soapy water solution, which also didn't help. I can depress the belts about 1/2" and are about at tight as I thought I could get them. Any suggestions to get rid of the squeals?


From Joe:

Are you sure its the belts? My old '76 Newport Custom had what I thougth was a belts squeal but it turned out to be the fan clutch.

From Rich:

Try a new belt. My '73 LeBaron was doing the same thing, and when I went to a new fan belts with a different design problem of squealing disappeared.

From Steve:

I assume from you post that the belts did not squeal before the operation. If thats the case make sure you didn't get any grease on the belts and pulleys. They pretty much have to have something that is making them slippery or not be tight enough. The ones that do the alt and a/c can be very difficult to get tight enough!

Can you isolate which belt is squealing? I wouldn't reccomend soap or soapy water as that will make the slipping worse. You could try belt dressing but in my experience that is a very short term cure.

From Rob:

It's easy enough to isolate. You can just take the fan and clutch off and see if you still get the squeal. I wouldn't drive it like that for long, but revving it up to 1500 a few times won't hurt. It's easy enough to pull, just jam a big screwdriver between the bolts, so it doesn't spin when you try to loosen them. Also, be sure to put it down in the right orientation or even if it was good, it will be ruined. If you've still got your squeal and you know it's your water pump, you've already taken the first step to changing it out.

Question from John (1955):

I am working on getting the '55 running after sitting for about 15 years. While removing the three belts off of the front of the engine I found that there is insufficient clearance between the crankshaft pulley and the front cross member to get the belts off (forward). There is clearance, but just not enough for the belts. I don't know what the clearance should be, but assume that it should be more than what it is. I assume this indicates the engine mounts need replaced. Has anyone had a similar problem and if so what was the cause?

Reply from Paul:

When I changed the belts on my '55 I didn't have this problem. It sounds like you may be right in that the mounts may have collapsed.

Question from Marc(1960):

I have a '60 Imperial with a double pully generator. I need the size, #'s for the 2 belts that run from the Generator-A/C Compressor-Crank. I have bought 2 sets- 1 from NAPA, and 1from Kragens. Both sets are #'s 15700. the 15 is width and the 700 means 70.0 inches long. They appear to be about 5 or 6 inches too short. I don't have the originals, so nothing to go by.


From Brian:

Take a string and run around your pulleys the way the belt goes. Mark the string where the string meets itself, then remove string and measure with a tape measure. This is the length of belt you need. Take that measurement and the width measurement to a reputable parts store(Not the ones run by teenagers and idiots) and tell them you need a V belt X inches long by X inches wide. When you get the belt, keep the number somewhere for the belt so you don't have to do this again. It is also best to take the measurement when adjustment is in the midrange position.

From John:

I just checked my '60 Imperial & the belts you need are #7695 Gates XL.

Question from Charles (1963):

I am looking for a set of matched belts for my 63 Imp, but these guys around here NAPA included do not even know what I am talking about. How about brands and part numbers EX: Gates 1780 How about where to buy EX: AutoZone


From Kerry:

I don't think anyone makes matched belts any longer as most cars use serpentine belts these days. Autozone belts are KellySpringfield and considerably cheaper than most other chains for some reason.

From Mark:

According to my local parts guy, they do make matched belts, you just have to find a store that knows what you're talking about. He showed me a number on the belt that I believe is the batch number-- it's not the part #, but a # in smaller print beside it-- that you need to match up in order to have matched belts.

Again, according to him, there can be very, very slight differences in length b/n 2 belts with the same part #, because of the batch, when they were made, how old they are, etc. I guess this is only important if you are using them on a double pulley (?).

I guess the advice I would have is find a store that specializes or seems to have a lot of parts for old cars, or ask them to let you check the batch #s.

From Rolland:

I have not seen matched belts for a long time. Perhaps the accuracy with which belts are manufactured eliminates the need for matched belts. I would buy two of the same part number. I doubt that you will experience any noise problems.

From Charlie:

I use matched belts quite often on trucks and equipment, most (almost all) parts counter men either don't know what they are or are ignorant as to their importance of being truly matched. to be matched they will have been cut from one piece of rubber and their will be a series of numbers running across the belt that continue onto the belt next to it. when you put them next to each other you will see what i mean. they are still available for just about any application.

From Leo:

Last summer I replaced the waterpump in my 83 and got a pr. of matched belts (Gates) from my local parts house. Or at least he said they were a matched set. They seem just fine , both retain the same tension, etc.

From Mikey:

Here are some Goodyear belt numbers for a 63 Imperial. I am listing these EXACTLY as listed in the 7-98 Goodyear catalog. The fact that it is a 5 year old listing should not make it too difficult for any competent parts store droid to cross reference to a Napa, Gates, Dayco or any other major brand. If they cant cross reference or dont know what a matched belt is...find another store!

1963 Imperial, V-8 413 engine

Power Steering ( with or without air conditioning ) 17432 Fan and Idler ( with air conditioning ) 15346 A/C and Alternator 15680* - Matched Pair

Since the post was regarding a matched pair of belts, I am presuming that the person who posted had a car with air. The belts listed above are for such a vehicle . I know on my 62, there is a matched pair that run from the crankshaft pulleys to the air conditioning compressor and to the alternator. There is a separate belt that runs from the crank pulley to the power steering pump, and finally one additional belt that runs from the crankshaft pulley to an idler pulley and then to the fan clutch and blades.

From John:

When you buy a pair of matched belts, at least on Gates belts, they are joined with a piece of red tape that says matched on it. Belts for the 60's Imperials are very easy to find. If you should experience any problem, you always call Bernbaums. You'll pay a bit more , but he carries them.

From Bill:

NAPA stores have a "Tech-line" available to them. All they have to do is call it and the "techies" will set them straight on what you need. This goes for just about any part NAPA can get.

Question from Rob (1981-1983):

I can't figure out how to tension the p/s & air pump belts. Alternator was no problem. I can live w/o the air pump but p/s is a must. Plus they run the water pump so I need to do this the p/s is so loose it doesn't turn and the air pump too tight to go on. I see how the air pump pivots, but it won't pivot. Power steering I can hardly see the bracket.


From Dick:

Each of your drive belts has one pulley that is on a position adjustable device. Depending on which belt you are talking about, you can identify the item that pivots, loosen its lock nuts, and re-position the device so that the belt tension is within spec. This information is clearly given in the
service manual, in section 7, under "accessory drive belts", page 7-5, figure 1 and associated text. Be sure to read and understand all 12 paragraphs, and pay particular attention to the caution paragraphs.

The routing for each belt is shown, and you can figure out which is the adjustment point for each belt by noting that the crankshaft, AC compressor, and fan/water pump pulley are not adjustable as to position. Logic therefore tells us that the alternator is the adjustment point for the
belt(s) that connect the AC, Alternator and crank pulleys; the power steering pump is the adjustment point for the belt that connects the Power
Steering, crankshaft and Water pump pulleys; and the AIR pump is the adjustment point for the belt that connects the air pump, crankshaft and water pump pulleys. If your engine is dirty, you may have problems finding the pivot points and the lock nuts, but they are there, just keep cleaning and looking, you'll find them.

From Dan:

I just replaced all the belts on my 83. As Dick B said, the info IS in the manual. The air pump has to be loosened by two bolts. Mine was a real pain to get loose, but you can do it. The power steering is way down behind everything. Get a light down there and you'll find it. REMEMBER the warning in the manual. DO NOT push on the power steering pump itself to position it. The housing will break. Use caution and take your time.

If I can figure it out and do it anyone can! In fact I think finding the bolts and getting them loose was worst than wrangling the belts all around
the fan blades to get them on/off. 8-)

This page last updated June 22, 2004.  Send us your feedback, and come join the Imperial Mailing List - Online Car Club