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Old 07-12-2019   #1
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Honda Fan Belt woes.

As any of you who read my posts will know I look after most of the service and maintenance on the six cars which our extended family use daily. One of these is a 2008 Honda Jazz 1.4 iDSI (the one with 8 spark plugs - not only Alfa's are "twin sparks").

Back in the summer I gave it it's yearly service and general going over - It's needed a few "extras" this year Front caliper, rear caliper and pads/discs - Come September the only outstanding jobs I knew about on it were that it was soon going to need an exhaust (which actually failed sooner than I thought it would - See "Farmer Autocare" in the "Garages" threads - and maybe a fan belt.

Well, with the car's owner in the hospital and an MOT due very soon I took the car back to our house after the exhaust was fixed and trundled it into Harrisons for it's MOT. I was feeling very confident it would pass after all that work in the summer and now it's new exhaust and the old girl didn't fail me, sailing through without even an advisory!

I had noticed a slight screech from the fan belt just at start up which is often a sign that the belt is too slack or worn. *Note to self. It's not a fan belt anymore, it's an auxiliary belt now! Anyway, as the car isn't going to be needed for some time I'll just put a new belt on it. Won't take more than a half hour will it? - WRONG!

This is the first generation car - look at how short the bonnet is, should have alerted me! It's really quite scrunched up under there. I know there is no spring tensioner pulley on these so the alternator must pivot to tension the belt. Opened the bonnet and, that's rather nice, immediately could see the clamping bolt and adjusting screw. Nothing as crude as levering against the alternator casing for this Honda! There is some gubbins (air con piping etc) in the way but it's not too bad for access. You can see it behind that air con pipe to the left of the blue screen wash filler cap.

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So if I slacken the clamping bolt and then unscrew the tensioning bolt it should take the tension off the belt and I'll be able to remove it? But no. There's a bottom bracket bolt which has to be slackened to allow the alternator to pivot. I couldn't see it from the top so that means taking off the sump tray. Oh well, done that sort of thing often enough, usually quite simple unless there's badly rusted screws. Oh dear, Honda use fancy plastic clip/dowel thingies, lots of them. Now about eleven years old they liked being where they are and decided to self destruct instead of popping out (plastic had degraded and gone brittle. This seems a common problem, lots on line about it). Here's one of the only two to "survive" with a damaged one for comparison.

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Ok now the tray is off and the ground covered in lots of bits of broken plastic clips.

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Now to get that lower bolt slackened. It's up in here somewhere.

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I can see it with my bright Cree LED torch, it's the one with the blue colouring on it,

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but reaching it requires my 18 inch long extension and universal adaptor for the 12mm (Honda seem to favour 12mm rather than the more often found 13mm hex fixings.

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Used to catch me out when this car first joined "the fleet" but I'm ready for it now. It's actually very annoying because you are expecting many fixings to require a 13mm socket and, if you're not expecting it, a 13mm seems to fit until you apply torque and then you've got a rounded off hex! Both the top locking bolt and this lower bolt were VERY tight. They made that alarming CRACK noise as they broke free just like when a bolt snaps!

The first belt (which I had picked up yesterday from the factor) was too short. It would only stretch round the air con unit's clutch, wouldn't go over into the pulley grooves.

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apparently there are 3 possible choices. So I took the old belt with me round to the factor who swapped it for the right one. A wee bonus was that on the way a construction truck had dropped a load of nuts as it exited the building site round the corner from us. I scooped a few up as I was passing. 10mm. Very nice thank you. Wonder what grade they are?

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Having got the correct belt it all went back together quite quickly but the Honda agent didn't have the clips (probably just as well. Honda sure know how to charge for parts) So It's all really quite well secured with the two good clips, two self tappers and a couple of cable ties. I'll source the proper clips on eBay and probably wait for a really nice day before fitting them.

In the end I finally got finished around lunchtime, what with the trip to the factor and all. Just as I was tidying up the heavens opened and it absolutely bucketed down - How lucky am I. Put a stop on the leaf clearing I'd planned for the afternoon - pity?

So now I think the wee Jazz (must give it a name) is as ready as it can be to face the rigors of our Scottish winter - our boy lives south of the city up in the hills so gets much more snow than we do down here near the Forth.
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Old 07-12-2019   #2
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Re: Honda Fan Belt woes.

Asian manufacturers love 12 and 14mm hex heads.

The 'WEIRD' ones with FIATS

15 and 16 denote non.standard pitches.

Perhaps they are saving that 3% of steel.. on every M8 bolt..

Thats a few quid on a few dozen cars...



I did work on an early golf GTI.
@20 years ago..

A LOT of parts were badly corroded
( snapped easily..) : o

But the geared mechanism for alternator adjustment looked neat.
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Last edited by varesecrazy; 07-12-2019 at 23:31.
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Old 07-12-2019   #3
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Re: Honda Fan Belt woes.

It just occurred to me that one of the questions I was often asked when I taught basic mechanics (others have asked too) was: How do I know when a new fan belt is needed? With the Jazz giving me a good example I though I'd say a few words here on the subject.

"Fan belts", as they were called in my day (largely because they actually drove fans in those days) used to be triangular in cross section. Here's a very old spare I bought for one of the Fiats I previously owned:

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What a lot of people don't appreciate is that the belt "wedges" itself into the V of the pulley and transmits the driving force through the sides of the belt. If the sides become very polished or if the sides of the belt wears enough for it to "bottom out" in the V then it won't transmit drive. In this case you can tighten it as much as you like, it still won't be able to transmit any appreciable amount of driving force. Actually it takes a few horsepower even to drive those old dynamos and alternators.

As more and more electrical components were fitted more and more powerful alternators were fitted to cope with the demand (dynamos just weren't up to the job) "cut sided" or, some call them, "Raw Edged" belts were introduced. Here's a couple, one new and one worn. You can clearly see the polished side and some cracking in the base of the teeth on the worn one:

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If you compare them with the old Fiat belt you'll see the old belt had canvas sides - in fact the whole belt was canvas with a rubber core to let it flex - which gave very little grip - fine for your old A35 or Morris Minor but it just couldn't cut the mustard on a fully loaded Granada or Cresta etc. The Cut sided belt had grippy rubber sides to the V and a circumferential belt to maintain dimensions and stop it stretching. It also, usually, had "teeth" on the inner surface. People thought this was to give extra grip and that it in some way "engaged" with the pulleys but actually they were there to increase flexibility and stop the inner rubber part of the belt from cracking up prematurely. Same problems though, If the sides get very worn or the belt bottoms out in the pulley it's time for a new belt!

This worked fairly well for a while but when hydraulic power steering became popular the "envelope" was being severely pushed! This could be often heard in old American films - Kojak etc - where there was always a fiendish squeal when the engine was started. Cut sided belts just couldn't cope with this level of demand. In fact I remember seeing one big "Yank" (at Santa Pod in the '60's) which had no less than 3 fan belts!

To combat this Multi V belts, with which we are all familiar, started appearing. They look quite different being wide with small V grooves on their inner surface. Actually they share a lot of features with the old cut sided singe V belts. They have a reinforced belt round the outside (I believe sometimes made of Kevlar!) to maintain dimensions and V shaped grooves on the inside. What many people don't understand is that the belt drives in EXACTLY THE SAME WAY as the old belts! That is to say the multi Vs drive through their multiple side faces. When the sides of the multiple Vs wear and/or the belt bottoms out in the Vs, IT WON'T TRANSMIT ANY USEFUL DRIVE!

Have a look at the old Jazz belt. First off you can see the sides of the V is worn - notice the ridge half way up the driving face where the pulley finishes:

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Now compare to the new belt:

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There is a difference in texture as the rubber the V section is made from is different to the rubber used in the reinforcing belt section, but you'll plainly see there is no "step"

The belt has bottomed out too. Look at the base of the Vs. Clean and shiny aren't they? Shouldn't be though because dirt will accumulate here - as you can see on the peaks - if the belt is not bottoming out.

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Again look at the new one and you'll see the ribs are thick and fatter than on the old belt. so it'll grip the side faces of the pulley Vs:

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What will often fool you is that the rest of the belt looks quite good doesn't it? often old belts will crack up on the inner faces. In fact, if you look closely there are just a couple of very small cracks on the old belt but if you were deciding using cracking as your sole criteria you probably wouldn't condemn this belt. The shiny base of the V's really shows up well in this shot

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So, If your suspicious of your belt, shine a nice bright light on it and have a look at those Multi Vs. Squealing under heavy load, typically at start up is a dead give away too (but might just be a slack belt)

Getting tired now so probably forgetting stuff. Best if I make a cocoa and settle down with my book for a while - The Aliens are being excitingly objectionable so can't wait to get back to it!

Hope the above is useful. I'm sure others could add to this and please do I'm always up for more info.

Stay safe everyone
regards
Jock
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Old 07-12-2019   #4
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Re: Honda Fan Belt woes.

Quote Originally Posted by varesecrazy View Post
But the geared mechanism for alternator adjustment looked neat.
Oh yes Charlie, My Cordoba 1.9 tdi had that! separate water pump too, driven by the aux belt not the toothed timing belt! Sensible!

Night night
Jock

PS hope you enjoy the "lecture" on fan belts?
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Old 08-12-2019   #5
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Re: Honda Fan Belt woes.

Quote Originally Posted by varesecrazy View Post
The 'WEIRD' ones with FIATS

15 and 16 denote non.standard pitches.
Now that's an interesting "heads up". 15 and especially 16 mm headed fixings are quite rare aren't they. The sockets in these sizes on my rail look almost new. Never took in that they are often non standard pitch - I'll look out for this in future.
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Old 09-12-2019   #6
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Re: Honda Fan Belt woes.

Have a look here for the undertray clips.
https://www.vehicleclips.co.uk/vehic...list_mode=list

These guys are generally quite good, although some trim clips are not flexible enough, being made of different plastic, but the push-in to expand type you need should be ok.

If not specifically listed, anything of similar dimensions should work fine.
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Old 10-12-2019   #7
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Re: Honda Fan Belt woes.

Quote Originally Posted by Pugglt Auld Jock View Post
--------------------
----------------------------



---------------------------
--------------------
I'm sure others could add to this and please do I'm always up for more info.

Stay safe everyone
regards
Jock
Hi Jock,

If you want further info on the modern multi-V type belts you might check out www.gatesbeltwear.com
Gates is a long established U.S. company well known for it's belts and hoses.
They produce a list of instructional videos available via their websites www.gates.com or www.gatestechzone.com

e.g. they explain how a V or multi-V belt actually grips similar to what you've described. As regards checking a multi-V or Poly-V belt for wear, they offer simple plastic tools to do this (available f.o.c.? from their website or belt stockists afaik). One type of tool is a plastic finger/pin which should remain proud of the surface when inserted into each of the belt grooves if the belt is fit for service, another is serrated and should fit the belt grooves exactly if the belt is unworn.

They also mention that belt tension is very important on these types of belts and mention various methods/tools to check this accurately incl. 'sonic' belt tension gauges - there are also simpler, cheaper tools available e.g. the Krikit Belt Tension Gauge available in 2 sizes from Dayco (a U.S. belt manufacturer), a small size for traditional V belts, and a large size for Poly V belts.

One point to note is, that due to the change in belt construction from Neoprene rubber to EPDM (Ethylene Propylene Diene Monomer), that the belt may not exhibit any cracking or missing sections as the belt nears the end of it's service life - you need to check the belt for wear using a gauge. An associated point is that while a Neoprene belt will typically have a service life of 50-60,000 miles, an EPDM belt might last 90-100,000 miles - therefore it's very important to carefully check all pulleys, the belt tensioner and it's bearing for any wear/deterioration - both flat and grooved pulleys can wear and shorten the life of a new belt.

Regards,

Al.
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Old 10-12-2019   #8
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Re: Honda Fan Belt woes.

Quote Originally Posted by Pugglt Auld Jock View Post
Now that's an interesting "heads up". 15 and especially 16 mm headed fixings are quite rare aren't they. The sockets in these sizes on my rail look almost new. Never took in that they are often non standard pitch - I'll look out for this in future.
There was a long-running thread on an American forum of which I'm a member concerning which sizes of sockets/spanners (wrenches in the U.S. ) are really necessary. Many related a similar experience to you i.e. some sizes of sockets never seemed to get used. What it came down to was which vehicles you worked on. Pretty much every size is used somewhere on some make of vehicle. You might only use e.g. 8,10,13,17,19mm on Fiat but if you work on Japanese you'll use 12,14mm) or European e.g. French vehicles you'll use 9,11,12,15,18mm etc.

Also, for many years many manufacturers have been reducing the head size of fasteners as 'varesecrazy' has already mentioned, usually incorporating a built-in washer (I think the Japanese started this), presumably for weight saving/convenience in assembly - so there can even be a difference in the socket sizes needed to work on modern versus older models of the same make (modern Fiats seem to be using 11 and 15mm for example).

On older Fiat models, you'll find 14,16 and 18mm used inside the engine iirc on big end nuts and main bearing cap bolts but I don't think these sizes were used elsewhere on Fiats.

P.S. as regards what strength the 10mm nuts were that you 'found'? There should be a mark/marks (e.g. 8.8) to indicate this on the top surface of the nut. If there are no marks present, they might only be Grade 5, in which case I'd advise against using them in any safety critical area of a motor vehicle.

Al.
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Last edited by F123C; 10-12-2019 at 01:10.
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Old 10-12-2019   #9
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Re: Honda Fan Belt woes.

Thanks for all that F123C. - When younger it was all BL (Austin/morris/etc) for me since that was what I trained on and subsequently worked on. Since their demise I've tended to run SEAT/Skoda with small Fiats as a second car/town runabout. My children, despite asking my advice, tend to buy whatever they can get the best deal on. Granddad looks after them all most of the time but there are still sockets on my rails which have never seen action. By the way, those nuts have no strength markings so will probably get used on my horticultural machinery.

Gates belts? My belt of choice for many years now! In fact the one I have just fitted to the Jazz is one and both the Fiats are running Gates timing and aux belts. I first saw these belts many many years ago when I made my living working on cars and have used them ever since. I've never seen one fail (although I presume that if neglected they are as likely to fail as any other brand). Strangely perhaps, I don't think I've ever sourced a Gates branded hose. Maybe because I usually go straight to the dealer for hoses? Sourcing through 3rd parties can be a bit hit and miss I find. Your advice to carefully check pulleys etc is well taken and, in my experience, often neglected. I've never seen one of those depth checking tools for multi V - I'm going to buy one so thanks for the "heads up" on that.
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Old 11-12-2019   #10
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Re: Honda Fan Belt woes.

Hi Jock,

You're very welcome.

I first encountered Gates belts and hoses back in the 1980's in a motor factors which catered for heavy commercial vehicle maintenance workshops - they had Gates 'rubber' hoses on reels - excellent stuff, I've been a fan ever since, even managing to get Gates timing belts for some Honda Goldwing motorcycles I've worked on (very much cheaper than Honda belts too).

The two simple plastic tools are afaik available free of charge from Gates stockists, so you might not have to spend any money (which is always good ).

Although I served my apprenticeship in a Fiat/Lancia main dealers, I too also worked on lots of BMC/BL cars , so am reasonably familiar with many models of that era, along with Ford, Rootes, Opel/Vauxhall, VW Beetles etc.

Talking of tools, I miss the days of old when it was possible for a competent Mechanic to do most types of work on most makes of car using just the tools contained in a standard cantilever carry box (no one seemed to need a massive rollcab etc. in those days). Have you encountered any of these new-fangled 'stretch' belts used for driving ancilliaries ? - yep, there's tools to remove and refit these also....

Regards,
Al.
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Old 11-12-2019   #11
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Re: Honda Fan Belt woes.

Quote Originally Posted by portland_bill View Post
Have a look here for the undertray clips.
https://www.vehicleclips.co.uk/vehic...list_mode=list

These guys are generally quite good, although some trim clips are not flexible enough, being made of different plastic, but the push-in to expand type you need should be ok.

If not specifically listed, anything of similar dimensions should work fine.
Hi PB. The clips arrived about an hour ago so took roughly 2.75 days to get here, pretty good I thought. I bought them from an ebay site:

https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/10x-Honda...sAAOxy9eVRQGmM

I placed my order before reading your recommendation but I'm very pleased with them. They are slightly different to the ones I took out in that they have two little metal "claws", one on each side, which pop out when the main button is pushed home. The 4 jaws at the end also spread just like the old clips and altogether they seem to hold very securely. I believe these ones with the metal "claws" are now in general use and have replaced the older all plastic clip. There were at least a couple of lengths to choose from but luckily these ones are just perfect.

The only thing I wonder about is how difficult they may be to remove in a few years time if the metal parts corrode. The all plastic ones came out quite easily mainly because they were very brittle (age) and disintegrated.
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Old 11-12-2019   #12
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Re: Honda Fan Belt woes.

Quote Originally Posted by F123C View Post
The two simple plastic tools are afaik available free of charge from Gates stockists, so you might not have to spend any money (which is always good ).

Although I served my apprenticeship in a Fiat/Lancia main dealers, I too also worked on lots of BMC/BL cars , so am reasonably familiar with many models of that era, along with Ford, Rootes, Opel/Vauxhall, VW Beetles etc.

Talking of tools, I miss the days of old when it was possible for a competent Mechanic to do most types of work on most makes of car using just the tools contained in a standard cantilever carry box (no one seemed to need a massive rollcab etc. in those days). Have you encountered any of these new-fangled 'stretch' belts used for driving ancilliaries ? - yep, there's tools to remove and refit these also....

Regards,
Al.
Hi Al, I hope this finds you well.

Thanks for the info on the plastic tools. I get on very well with my local factor (first name terms) so if he has them I'm sure he'll let me have a selection. I felt very honoured the other day when he offered to lend me some specialized tooling (they hire out - very cheaply - the likes of timing tools etc but very strictly to trade only)

Although I worked for some years in a BL main dealer (Halls in Musselburgh - long closed and gone now) I discovered that I really liked small family run workshops and spent the rest of my workshop life in several. One of the things I really liked was the variety of vehicles and jobs - always a new challenge!

As you say, it didn't really matter if it was a Morris Oxford, Ford Cortina (Mk1 or 2 or even up to the Mk4/5) Vauxhall Victor (I always fancied a Ventora) or Hillman Hunter, The tools in your box would usually get the job done. Yes I started off with a cantilever box but succumbed to a Britool roll cab and top box (much of my stuff was Britool - "proper" Britool that is, not the modern stuff which is made who knows where). Mostly I succumbed to gain "cred" (wasn't called that in those days) as many of the senior men in the workshop had them. Took me years to buy enough tools to fill them though!

No. Thank goodness I haven't yet had to deal with a stretch belt. I'm rather hoping that a combination of my advancing years (73 now) and my children's inability to amass sufficient funds to buy late model vehicles will mean that I never have to face one.

Kindest regards
Jock
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Old 12-12-2019   #13
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Re: Honda Fan Belt woes.

One last wee post before the Jazz goes home.

Because it's not really needed just now I've had the jazz for about a fortnight. MOT, Exhaust, fan belt, and a jolly good general check over all done at a very civilized pace, which has made a nice change from the usual phone call of "Dad, can I get the car back? I really really need it".

Here's a picture of the new modified under tray clips on the right - an old all plastic one is on the left - The wee metal "claws" are plainly visible:

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The other thing I was reminded of is the wheel nuts (chromed dome type, look very smart) - and it's one of the few things I really don't like about this car, which otherwise I think is very well designed and made (well maybe they could have made headlight bulbs easier to change?). So what's wrong with them? Well they feel "slippy" when you are tightening them up. They just don't feel like any other wheel nut I've worked with and I think the problem is caused by them being Chrome Plated including on the taper face:

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The chromium is, of course, a very hard surface and I think it "skids" over the metal in the taper of the wheel mounting hole. After so many years of tightening normal steel wheel nuts with a power bar I find you can feel them "bite" and accurately judge when they are tight enough without a torque wrench. Not the Jazz though. It's the only car in the "family fleet" on which I always tighten wheel nuts with a torque wrench and never put anti seize anywhere near them.

So I'm off out to my boy's house south of the city after lunch - about an hour's drive - in time to pick up his young daughter (apple of my eye!) from school and drop the car off. Then it's the long bus journey back unless Mrs J can be cajoled into giving Becky (our Panda) a run.

Stay safe all
Jock
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Old 13-12-2019   #14
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Re: Honda Fan Belt woes.

Quote Originally Posted by Pugglt Auld Jock View Post
Hi PB. The clips arrived about an hour ago so took roughly 2.75 days to get here, pretty good I thought. I bought them from an ebay site:

https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/10x-Honda...sAAOxy9eVRQGmM

I placed my order before reading your recommendation but I'm very pleased with them.
Intriguing. If you delve more deeply into the Ebay listing, and teh link I sent, they are the same company, same address in Newbury.
In future, I think I may use their main website to find what I need, then with that detail search Ebay for their listing for a feww pennies less. Silliness.
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Old 13-12-2019   #15
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Re: Honda Fan Belt woes.

Quote Originally Posted by portland_bill View Post
Intriguing. If you delve more deeply into the Ebay listing, and teh link I sent, they are the same company, same address in Newbury.
In future, I think I may use their main website to find what I need, then with that detail search Ebay for their listing for a feww pennies less. Silliness.
I've noticed this phenomenon before PB. It may be more widespread than I would have imagined. I tend to search ebay with the "cheapest delivered" filter selected. Do you think I could do better?
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