Daf Drive Belt replacement

One of the jobs that any Daf owner will encounter sooner or later is replacement of the transmission belts.  Without garage facilities - especially either a lift or an inspection pit - some of the instructions in the available manuals aren't pracitcal.  For example, you can't "pull down sharply" on the belts when you're lying on your back with almost no clearance.

The following method was devised to get round that using just a block of wood and a trolley jack.  The car doesn't even need to be raised onto axle stands.  In Betty's case, I'd previously cut the spot-welds that hold the cover under the back seat.  Removing this cover does make the job considerably easier but it's perfectly possible to do it entirely from underneath.  In fact, I worked the method out by doing the ones on Isabel (the red 33) which the cover isn't removeable on.

It should also be applicable to the other models in the Daf range with a few detail changes in things like the belt tensioning procedure.


If you have a removable cover under the seat then first lift out the back seat:

Lift out the back seat


followed by removing the variomatic cover:

Remove the variomatic cover


From underneath the car, undo the centre guard panel and slide it forward along the exhaust:

Undo centre guard

Slide centre guard forwards


Then undo and remove the two side guards:

Remove side guards


You now have all the access you need to complete the job.


Release the belt adjustment as fat as it will go.  On the A body models this is just a matter of unscrewing the adjusting bolt but on the later cars there are locking nuts / bolts as well that need to be released.  For the 33's use a 19mm socket to wind the adjuster well back:

Slacken the belts completely


Make a wedge from a block of 2x4 softwood and use it to jack up between the sheaves of one of the rear pulleys.  Do not lift the car completely clear of the ground - just enough to take some of its weight:

Use a wood block to jack between the pulley sheaves

Now push down sharply on the bootlid and you should feel the car lower as the wedge is pushed in between the pulley halves.

You may find that the old belts still have enough friction to prevent this happening (one of Betty's did) in which case place a screwdriver as deep as you can between the pulleys and twist (don't lever!).  You shouldn't need to apply a lot of force because all you're doing is releasing the friction of the belts - the weight of the car is what will force the pulley apart.

You may need to repeat the above step until there's a wide enough gap between the pulleys.  The wedge will fully enter the pulley when there is:

Pulley fully jacked apart


You now need to fit a 22mm spacer into the very base of the pulley so that the wedge can be removed without it closing up again.  A 16mm socket should be about the right size and can be inserted using an extension bar to keep your fingers well clear of the pulleys themselves.  Be careful and make sure the spacer is right in the root of the pulley because if the pulleys do spring together there is a lot of force behind them - they will seriously damage, if not remove, your fingers!

Fit spacer between pulleys


Once the spacer is in place, gently lower the jack and allow the wedge to slide out, leaving the pulley held open by the spacer.  You can now carefully remove the extension bar from the socket if you need to for clearance but, if possible, leaving the extension in place acts as a useful reminder that the spacer is there!

You may need to spread the primary pulley.  The springing on this is a lot weaker than the secondary and you can either pull it apart by hand or work it gently apart using a screwdriver or crowbar placed right in its base.  Avoid levering near the outside edges because the nearer to the centre you apply any force the less risk there is of distorting the pulley faces.Pull the slack belt deep into the pulley to keep it apart:

Spread the primary pulley


Remove the old belt by working it over the secondary pulley first:

Work the belt off the secondary pulley


then disconnect the two vacuum pipes to the primary drum and lift the belt off:

Lift belt off the primary pulley


If you haven't removed the cover inside the car then you may find that the belt is a very tight fit between the primary and the floor of the car.  You can increase clearance by carefully levering between the pulley and the floor with a crow-bar - the primary unit is rubber mounted and the rubber has plenty of "give" to allow this.

Alternatively, if you have no wish to keep the old belt, simply cut it at this stage and pull it out of the way!


Comparing old and new gives an idea of just how much the old ones have worn:

Comparing old and new belts


To fit the new belt, place it over the primary pulley first.  Spread the pulley again (it will have closed up when you removed the old on) and, again, pull the belt deep into it to hold it apart.  Work the belt into place so that it's looped round the bolt head on the inboard end of the secondary.  This may take a fair bit of fiddling - especially if working from underneath - but it will go!

Start fitting new belt


Once it's into this position you can start to work it rond the pulley.  Begin at the bottom and twist the belt slightly so it sits as far into the pulley as possible:

Twist new belt in pulley to get extra slack


Now work the belt around over the pulley edge until it drops into place.  Again, clearance for this is limited with the top cover in place but it'll get there in the end:

Work belt over pulley



Once the belt is in place, remove the spacer by jacking up again with the wooden wedge.  Once you have some weight on the jack, pull the extension bar sideways very slightly to spread the pulley and lift the spacer out:

Remove the spacer from the secondary pulley


When you release the jack the pulley will stay spread open because part of the belt has been pushed deep into it.  Roll the car backwards and forwards a few times - about 10 feet in either direction - and the belt will work its way back out to where it should sit:

Belt fitted!


Follow the same procedure with the other belt and then wind the tensioner in until the slack is just taken out of the belts.  Roll the car backwards and forwards again and check the gap at the base of the pulleys (where the spacer was).  Make more adjustments on the tensioner, remembering to roll the car after each to allow the belts to settle, until the gap is 1.5mm (60 thou).  Note that the correct gap may be different for the later models (Daf 44 and onwards).

At this point you'll find that the "gear" selector now operates in a completely different position to where it used to.  The chances are that "forwards" will be a lot further forward than it was before.  you can adjust this to a certain extent at the end of the selector linkage.


It's attached to the primary unit's selector lever by a fork end with a clip-on pin.  Remove the pin and work the fork clear of the selector lever.  Undo the locknut on the selector rod and undo the fork end to lengthen the rod.  If it's tight (which it probably will be) then a 17mm socket fits quite nicely over the end of it and allows you to turn it with a rachet handle.  Work the selevtor lever back between the forks and refit the pin.

Refit all the guards and, if you removed them, the top cover and seat.  Remembar to re-check the belt tension after a few hundred miles after the belts have had a chance to bed-in.  After bedding in, the correct gap for the 33's is 1mm (40 thou).


Finally, sit back and enjoy a vastly improved Daf driving experience!







Contact us