Online Technical Resource for Technicians
Gates TechZone website provides the kind of technical resource that Group Auto customers need – 24 hours a day.
Gates has become the first manufacturer to provide a comprehensive online technical resource for its aftermarket customers. The introduction of Gates TechZone promises to lift installer support to a new level.
The first things to notice are that there is no registration procedure and that the search engine is in the centre of the screen. The site is optimised for smartphones and tablets so these are always in the same place. It also means that an installer with 4G has access to technical support at a roadside rescue, even when the motor factor is closed for the evening.
Alongside the search engine is a catalogue link, which identifies the correct part number from the make and the model of car, which leaves the garage with no doubts about the options for replacement parts.
The Installation tab menu leads users straight to guidelines for installing various parts. For example, choose Tensioners, Torsional Vibration Dampers (TVD) and Overrunning Alternator Pulleys and there are links to the various installation procedures.
For example, choose ‘How to install an OAP in three easy steps’ and that’s precisely what you get.
You are reminded that these are general guidelines. Significant differences may exist between jobs carried out on different models, or on other makes of car. Thereafter, the advice is easy to follow:
Make sure to use the appropriate tools: special tools are needed to remove and install an OAP. You are reminded that Gates handy GAT4955A tool kit contains the complete set of required removal and installation tools.
Use the correct alternator pulley type for the specific vehicle: solid pulleys, one-way clutches and overrunning alternator decouplers are not interchangeable. So, it is vital that the new alternator pulley is the same type of pulley that was installed by the vehicle manufacturer as original equipment.
Proceed with caution.
This type of installation requires the pulley shaft to be held with a calibrated torque wrench and the correct tool. The alternator rotor shaft is then rotated with a torque wrench (counter clockwise for right-hand threaded pulleys and clockwise for left-hand threaded pulleys). Typically installation torque is 65 ft-lb/90 Nm unless otherwise specified. In many cases it is possible to remove and install the overrunning alternator pulley while the alternator is still on the engine.
There is a special note when replacing overrunning alternator decouplers.
Gates informs the user that the plastic protective cap cannot be re-used after it has been removed from the pulley.
‘A replacement cap is supplied with the new part. Don’t fit the new cap until you are absolutely sure the new pulley is fixed correctly. Some caps cannot be removed without damaging them after installation.
Rather appropriately, the Gates Techzone page concludes by advising installers to check the system for misalignment – a common issue that if overlooked can lead to premature belt failure. Helpfully, there is a link to another page that helps them to achieve this.
Gates Techzone site was conceived after a survey among garages across Europe to establish what kind of resource was actually needed. As a technical and training resource this site is literally ‘right on the button’. It works, and the plan is to expand the site with the help of contributions from users.