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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I recently bought a 2020 RSX 860M and have 5 hours and 50 miles on the machine, and just went through my second belt. My JD dealer is working with me but I was trying to figure a couple things out. First, what is the true break in procedure? And second, has anyone found a good aftermarket high performance belt?

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Quote from Gates Belt Website on CVT belt break-in procedures. You should also ensure you have proper belt spacing in the Primary and alignment between the primary and secondary clutches.

Gates CVT belt application chart link below:

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“To ensure optimal operation of newly installed belts, the belt should be first scrubbed hot soapy water (Dawn) and rinsed with hot water then left to air dry. This will remove moulding release agents used in the manufacturing process.

Additionally the CVT sheaves must be cleaned of all old belt residue, glazing, and oils.

Start by using hot soapy water, non chlorinated brake cleaner or alcohol with a mild abrasive such as Scotch Brite Pad or Steel Wool. When cleaning with an abrasive, start carefully from the clutch shaft outward to the edge of sheave, working around the entire face of the sheave.

Exercise caution not to damage the machined grooves on the face of the sheave, when using an abrasive cleaner.

Follow up by cleaning the surfaces thoroughly again with hot soapy water, non chlorinated brake cleaner or alcohol until all impurities have been removed. Finally blow out the clutch’s with a air compressor.

Cleaning the sheave surface until all contaminates have been removed is vital to future belt and CVT operation. If any particles remain, belt slip and a noticeable drop in vehicle performance can occur.

Periodically throughout the year clutch’s should be blown out with an air compressor, to help remove dust and debris. If the clutch sheaves show excess oil or contaminants, clean the sheaves as described above. Don’t forget to blow out CVT intake and/or CVT outlet tubing and filters if any.

As a reminder most modern CVT clutch’s are designed to be operated dry without any lubricants.

Never use a dressing on the belt, as this will contaminate your clutch’s.

If a belt is to be removed and reinstalled, it is highly recommended that the belt is scrubbed with hot soapy water (Dawn), rinsed with hot water, left to air dry, then reinstalled in the same direction as before to match belt wear profile to contact with the corresponding sheave profile.

Most experts claim CVT belts are not directionally biased, however we recommend installing them with the label lettering facing toward the user to keep belt reinstallation consistent.

Recommend Belt Installation

Clean Sheave Plates

Dirty Sheave Plates

Dirty Sheave Plates should be cleaned with a mild abrasive to remove rubber and other wear contaminates as shown above by dirty Sheave. Dark wear patterns must be removed from the surface then cleaned off with hot soapy water,non chlorinated brake cleaner or alcohol to remove fine particulates. Finally blow out the clutch’s with an air compressor.

New Belt Break In Process:

New CVT drive belts require a break-in period of at minimum 30 Miles to maximize belt life and performance. The goal of the break-in period is to properly wear in the belt to match the sheaves before applying maximum engine torque.

By conservatively running through the entire shift range, proper belt contact over the entire sheave/belt contact path is optimized to eliminate belt slippage and drastically increase the belt’s lifespan.

Follow the following guidelines to accomplish proper Belt-Break in:

•Vary vehicle speed and engine RPM to shift belt through normal operational range.
•Do not exceed ¾ throttle within the first 30 miles of installation.
•Stop engine and allow belt to cool down every 15 minutes of use.

During break in period, the following activities SHOULD BE AVOIDED:

•Aggressive Acceleration or ‘Jerky’ throttle movements at low speeds.
•Holding engine/vehicle speed constant for extended time periods.
•Pulling Heavy Loads.
•Long run times without complete CVT/belt cool down.

By following the break-in process carefully, the belt surface will wear in to match the individual CVT sheaves to maximize grip performance and dramatically reduce heat, glazing, and future wear.

As a reminder always use low gear when climbing a hill, pulling or hauling a load, transversing rocky terrain, starting on an incline, ruts, etc. The key here is, you do not want to slip or glaze the belt, this will cause premature belt failure.

Finally, do not leave the Gator in gear while stopped, such as when opening a gate this will create a flat spot on the belt overtime again leading to belt failure”
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