Gates DriveAlign tensioner: a durable, custom-made solution

15/01/2018

Gates has recently launched a new tensioner for popular Mercedes applications: the DriveAlign® Heavy Duty Tensioner T38667. This advanced solution tensioner boasts superior performance and avoids unnecessary maintenance, thereby significantly lowering the cost per kilometer. Read on to find out how this new Heavy Duty Tensioner came into being and to discover its unique advantages.

Extensive testing revealed durability and reliability

Once the design phase was completed, the new T38667 tensioners underwent extensive testing. Being fitted to a high kilometer fleet, the tensioners accumulated an impressive number of kilometers between them. Showing no signs of misalignment whatsoever, and with no noise or failures reported, the new Heavy Duty Tensioner was deemed fully functional. The load and damping were within specification; moreover, there was minimal wear on pivot bushings, damping mechanisms and shafts, suggesting plenty of remaining life. 

T38667: application and design

The Gates DriveAlign® Heavy Duty Tensioner was designed to replace the original tensioners on OM470 engine families. This advanced, OE replacement tensioner can be applied to Actros, Antos and Arocs trucks, and to Travego and other busses.

The T38667 tensioner combines the fan and water pump belt drive tensioners on a common bracket, while also allowing them to operate independently. The accessory tensioner arm was optimised for strength.

Thanks to the labyrinth sealing technology, the spring, damping mechanism and bushing are protected from elements that could lead to premature failure, like dirt. The belt tension damping system, in turn, reduces arm movement, eliminates belt flutter and maintains belt tension, thus extending the life of both the tensioner and accessories. This is crucial given the large amount of tensioner movement that results from the accessories’ typically varying loads.

Differences with the OE tensioner

Compared to Gates’ new Heavy Duty Tensioner, OE tensioners use other pivot bushings which lead to different performances. In addition, the OE tensioner utilizes hydraulic struts. These make the whole device slower to react to the constant changes caused by the accessories’ fluctuating power requirements which, in turn, could lead to belt flutter and wear.

The DriveAlign® Heavy Duty Tensioner’s many advantages

DriveAlign® Heavy Duty Tensioners T38667 are very easy to install, but that’s not the only thing they have going for them. T38667’s many advantages include: 

  • True heavy duty performance up to 550,000 kilometers, thus avoiding unnecessary maintenance and thereby reducing downtime as well as lowering the cost per kilometer.
  • Pivot bushings that differ from the OE counterpart, resulting in longer tensioner life.
  • Perfect balance and more responsiveness to system load variations, thus ensuring proper tensioner alignment at all times.
  • Double row pulley bearings, designed especially for the heavy-duty market: they last longer than other bearings and maintain stability.
  • Higher damping, resulting in less arm movement.
  • Easy belt installation (the tensioner can be preloaded, creating space for belt installation (with both hands)).
This tensioner will be made available in several Extra Service Micro-V® kits, to guarantee an optimal overhaul of the system with a perfectly matched tensioner and belt combination.