Gates Stretch Fit Tools
Innovations in drive system technology mean that some engine layouts are fitted with elastic belts which are able to maintain the correct tension without the need for tensioners.
Within the belts, nylon cords provide the elasticity required. Stretch fit belts require different installer techniques than the more traditional layouts. Without the correct tools, fitment can even become dangerous, as the stresses and tensions involved when 'stretching' the belt for installation can be significant. A range of Stretch Fit Tools (SFT) has been introduced alongside Gates’ Stretch Fit range of belts to ensure safe and proper practice.
Investing in Tools
The original stretch fit belts were often sold complete with 'disposable' installation tools. With more and more stretch fit belts appearing on the market year-upon-year however, disposable tools are not proving cost-efficient.
Through a series of investigations, Gates found that these throw away tools were often used more than once (even when damaged), or ignored altogether in favour of 'make do' alternatives (such as screwdrivers and tyre levers). In such circumstances, drive system integrity and installer safety is compromised and belts and pulleys are invariably damaged. By investing in reliable and re-usable tools, the quality of the materials is protected, the level of service is enhanced (as mistakes are less likely to be made) and installers can be more safe and efficient in their work. Re-usable tools ensure consistent and reliable performance in less time.
Gates SFT Range
The total range consists of 7 tools covering 98% of the total Stretch Fit Belt car parc.
The SFT001 is suitable for up to 70% of vehicle applications on UK roads. It is a universal tool that has a time-saving advantage, as unlike some OE alternatives, the tool fits between the engine and the chassis, so there is no need to lower the engine in order to install the belt on Fiat and PSA engines.
The SFT003 – which has been developed from SFT001 - is another universal tool, suited for several Fiats and Fords – catering for a further 5% of UK applications.
The SFT006 is designed for those pulleys which have protruding bolts, or wider gaps between the bolt heads, where one tool is not enough. OE manufacturers use a different tool for each application, whereas Gates SFT006, is able to accommodate certain Mitsubishi applications, and some light commercials from Citroen, Fiat, Ford and Peugeot.
Using the Tools
The Gates SFT range of re-usable tools has been developed and introduced to help standardise the installation practices, whilst also protecting the integrity of the belt and the drive system, to ensure consistent workshop reliability.
Installation generally involves placing a belt in position, securing the tool, then slowly turning the engine - using a ratchet - in the prescribed direction. As the tool begins to stretch the belt, it is guided on to the pulley using the fingers.
Helpful videos on installation can be found here: http://www.youtube.com/user/100Gates.
Installation instructions for any Gates Stretch Fit Belt is also included on the inside of the belt sleeve.