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Electric start and belt drives

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Electric start and belt drives

Posted by rob_bradley at August 09. 2018

I fitted a Steve Maney belt drive to my Commando nearly twelve years ago, and an Alton starter kit three years ago.

The belt snapped last weekend after 4000 miles use with the Alton kit (19,500 miles use in total). I wonder if an electric start puts more shock load on the belt than kickstarting?

I think the belt Maney uses is polyurethane and fabric (Optibelt Omega 912 8M-A 912mm long x 30mm wide).

I have an RGM belt drive on my Dominator which is still going strong after nearly 26,000 miles. Not electric start, of course. The belt (980 x 27mm) is steel-backed.

Maybe a steel-backed belt kit is a better proposition with an electric start?

As for running an Alton starter in a dry primary case, the chain drive to the sprag clutch from the starter motor is only in use when starting, so a light spray of chain lubricant lasts a long time. Every so often I spray a little grease into the sprag clutch through the extractor holes whilst rotating it by hand. So far, so good, though I realize 4000 miles isn't much.

Re: Electric start and belt drives

Posted by robert_tuck at August 09. 2018

Hi Rob,    Every month I put a few ounces of oil into the primary and it  very slowly  leaks out. .I renewed the chain last year  as the old one was from the 1960's and it seemed a good idea.  Can't say the system is foolproof as its only done about 40k  over 58 years ,time will tell.   Would really like an electric start ,but don't fancy a sprag .  I think you are right to go for the steel re-enforced belt.

Re: Electric start and belt drives

Posted by ian_goodhall at August 09. 2018

I would have thought the Alton electric start would put less strain on the belt as the starter is acting directly on the crankshaft so only load on the belt is to turn the clutch. A lot more load on it when kick starting.

Ian

Re: Electric start and belt drives

Posted by nigel_keating at August 09. 2018

Previously Rob Bradley wrote:

I fitted a Steve Maney belt drive to my Commando nearly twelve years ago, and an Alton starter kit three years ago.

The belt snapped last weekend after 4000 miles use with the Alton kit (19,500 miles use in total). I wonder if an electric start puts more shock load on the belt than kickstarting?

I think the belt Maney uses is polyurethane and fabric (Optibelt Omega 912 8M-A 912mm long x 30mm wide).

I have an RGM belt drive on my Dominator which is still going strong after nearly 26,000 miles. Not electric start, of course. The belt (980 x 27mm) is steel-backed.

Maybe a steel-backed belt kit is a better proposition with an electric start?

As for running an Alton starter in a dry primary case, the chain drive to the sprag clutch from the starter motor is only in use when starting, so a light spray of chain lubricant lasts a long time. Every so often I spray a little grease into the sprag clutch through the extractor holes whilst rotating it by hand. So far, so good, though I realize 4000 miles isn't much.

a 30 mm belt is a bit too wide for the alton kit. The chain is so close that it can catch the edge of the belt. Once the edge is damaged failure is inevitable.

Best to fit a 27mm ATP10 gen 111 Synchroflex timing belt with steel tension cords from Belting online. It is supposed to be 25% stronger than the older belts

You would of course need to reduce the width of the pulley accordingly.

Re: Electric start and belt drives

Posted by rob_bradley at August 10. 2018

Good point about the kickstarting load being lower, Ian.

Nigel, before I bought the Alton kit I sent them my Maney pulley so they could work out whether it was suitable, and they decided it was. But it is true that the belt runs close to the chain, though there's no obvious sign of wear on the belt edge, or rubber dust in the primary case (I now see the Maney belt is rubber, not polyurethane as I said in my OP).

Unfortunately the Synchroflex Gen 3 belts are 3, 5 or 10mm pitch (the Maney Optibelt is 8mm HTD, and a different tooth form) so would be incompatible with Maney pulleys.

Unlike the RGM pulley which has a loose keeper plate the Maney pulley has it fixed, but I think it's held on by fasteners so reducing the width should be possible, and Belting Online will make any width, though it would have to stay a rubber/glass fibre belt for the tooth pitch.

Alternatively I could change to a complete RGM Dominator 27mm kit which I think could be made to fit. RGM are unsure whether their 32mm wide Commando belt drive can be used with an Alton starter. It seems they've sent samples to Alton but haven't heard back. Surprising, I would have thought it would have been looked at years ago, especially as they're Alton generator agents.

Has anybody on this forum fitted an RGM/Alton combination?

Re: Electric start and belt drives

Posted by karl_nixon at August 10. 2018

Yes i have 32mm RGM belt drive and a Alton Ekit. It fitted with just a round 1mm needing to be removed from the area were the motor pulley interfered with the Alton inner primary case casting. The area is as cast an un machined so i removed it by hand with a sanding disc an angle grinder a little at a time. The issue is caused by the size of the tapers affecting the position the pulley stops at relative to the crank case so yours may not have the same issue. It is one of the reasons for the shims on the gearbox mainshaft to adjust the position of the clutch relative to the engine sprocket in the original manufacturers arrangement. Also it did in my case give a little more clearance between the belt and starter chain so not necessarily a bad thing for me.

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