Road trip

Quality Belts ?

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I'm buying back up spares and need 

alternator/Water Pump belt and A/C Belt

is there a best quality best manufacture?

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We just went though a similar discussion on the E28 forum.  Conti-Tech belts, usually the go-to, can now come from China vs. Germany.  The 5er owner stated:

I ordered some "OEM" replacements from one of the popular vendors and got a set of Conti-Tech belts, which I thought were OK, because the old belts on the car were the same brand. While those old, worn belts were made in Germany, the new were labeled "made in China", so I sent them back. I'm not necessarily against Chinese-made products, but I've certainly had issues with car parts sourced there, and with something as important as belts, I'm not taking the chance. 

Most of the local parts stores; Advance, AutoZone, PepBoys, also had Chinese-made house-brand belts, so they were also a no-go. Finally checked with NAPA, and they have their house-brand, too, but they're made in the US and have a 3-year warranty, so I bought a set of those. The 3 belts were ~$57, and these are their high-quality XL belts, although they do have imported low-end belts, too, which would have been ~$15 for all 3. 


A reply:

They may be good quality, but I've had poor fitment luck with domestic belts. Seems like getting things down to 1/64 of an inch would be close enough, but somehow I've found they never fit quite right. I suppose if you just expect to loop it on and tighten it could be a problem, but that's kind of a simplistic approach.

Yeah, the Chinese made Conti's probably aren't what they used to be but I'd still go that route. YMMV obviously.


Original poster replies:

The belts fit perfectly and I had no issues getting them installed. I bought them based on the size of the old Conti belts the car had, and by confirming those dimensions with realoem. All the belts are tight and there's room left on the adjusters, too. 

The Chinese-made Conti belts looked and felt just like the other cheap belts I saw, which is to say they were flimsy compared to the NAPA Premium XL belts. The old Conti's, of unknown age/miles, looked better to my eye and I'll keep them in the trunk as spares. I probably would have also been happy with the premium Dayco or Gates belts, but didn't have source nearby. IMO, it's just not worth using cheap belts, especially since you need to be under the car to change two of them, and that the most important one is closest to the engine, so you have to pull them all off to change the alternator/water pump belt.

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2 hours ago, Road trip said:

the best is the Napa xl it seems 


In the opinion of the E28 owner in this case, yes.  I wonder what the dealer is offering these days  - don't they come with a 2-year warranty??

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