Belts, Chrysler 300 1966, 383


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Jan 8, 2023
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Hi guys,

I'm having a few problems with my belts right now.
I'm not sure if the right ones are installed.

The belt for the power steering pump is currently a XPA 982 LW. The adjustment is set to the stop, but the part doesn't really sit very tight. I found some instructions showing a different leveler, but it seems that mine don't have that kind of leveler.

The alternator is a DAYCO 10A1125C.

I don't have air conditioning.

Can anyone help me out?
On the alternator belt, as long as it fits, no issues. Hopefully the adjustment bolt is about mid-way in the slot.

On the POWER STEERING belt, that is a unique situation. Due to the mounting of the power steering pump, the belt is not designed to be "tight", as if you turn the steering wheel fully to one side (or the other), and hold it there, you can see the pump and pulley "lean into" the load, tightening the belt in the process. There is also a YouTube video on how to correctly adjust the belt.

There were two issues with the power steering pump mounting mechanism. One is that the rubber bushings in the mount would age and let the pump sit crooked, BUT the torque reaction to load still happened and the belt stayed on just fine. The other thing is that as people who tried to get it as tight as a similar GM or Ford power steering belt, the rubber tended to age quicker. Chrysler used that neat mount until about 1967, but '66 could have been the last year.

This flex-mount keeps the power steering belt from squealing nearly as quickly as similar GM belts, by observation. Pull into an upscale parking lot where lots of older GM customers frequented and you could hear their power steering belts squawk as they turned into the parking spaces, but the Chryslers seldom made a noise, back in the mid-'60s. The other benefit is that the Chrysler power steering belts lasted a very long time, from my experiences.

This power steering bracket is what made Chryslers better than GM, back then. Just that as with other Chrysler "advances", FEW people really understood them and when corporate money got tighter (and possibly from customer complaints), the design was simplified to a solid mount. Most dealers would just weld the flex-mount solid when the rubber bushings needed to be replaced.

Just my experiences with our '66 Newport Town Sedan,
As to rebuilding the pump bracket mechanism, the items to repair them "to new" are around from some Mopar vendors, I believe. They were always in the parts book, but as few owners and technicians understood the situation, plus the owners not wanting to have them repaired a second time, the brackets were usually welded at the shop to not have those issues again.

We bought our '66 Newport Town Sedan when it had 7100 miles on it as the new '67s had just arrived. That was also when I was starting to pay attention to what made cars work, in about 7th grade. I was under the hood looking at and checking things when I noticed the pwr str belt might be a bit loose. Even a bit too loose, compared to the other belts. It was a wider belt than the others, too.

The mechanic at the local gas station used to work at the local Chrysler dealer. I asked him about the power steering belt and he told me there was a different way it had to be adjusted and that it should not be "tight", so he verified the factory adjustment on it. Still, not knowing it should not be tighter (as all belts were supposed to be "tight", it seemed), I sought to make it a bit tighter, but didn't quite get "there", so I left it as it was. Which caused NO problems, just that the belt looked a bit loose when the engine was running. Of course, the dual a/c belts had some harmonic flopping, even when tight.

By the earlier 1970s, the power steering pump was leaning crooked to the motor, but the belt stayed on and the pump still leaned-into the load at full lock, so it looked like it should fall off, but didn't. And it is still that way! Then, when Chrysler went to the solid mount in about '68, Chryslers suffered the same "belt squealing fate" which GM cars had been suffering from for decades. As if that was normal.

The reason for the belt deflection specs in the Chrysler service manual (free download at is to moderate the loadings on the various shaft bearings/bushings of the engine accessories (alternator, water pump. power steering pump, a/c compressor, and the water pump belt idler pulley (when equipped). Less load means longer life, usually. In that respect, adjusting the belt toward the looser end of the spec, as long as it does not slip/squeal/squawk, that's just fine.

When taking an engine apart once, my late machine shop operative remarked that the owner of the car the engine came out of must have had the belts adjusted very tight. How could he determine that? The upper half of the front main bearing was worn, but the lower half was still new, after about 100K miles.

One other cautionary item on power steering pump systems . . . ONLY use fluid specified specifically for power steering systems. NO automatic transmission fluid. Reason?

While the two fluids are very similar in viscosity, they are designed for two different environments. As far back as 1961, Chevrolet specified a "power steering fluid" for their cars. Chrysler was similar. This was also back when there was one automatic transmission fluid, AQ-Type A, with most makes using it for their earlier power steering fluid. Yet it needed more additivies to make it do its job than a fluid for power steering systems, so a less expensive power steering fluid was formulated just for power steering systems, I suspect.

Yet, it was common practice in the service station industry to use atf to "top off" a power steering system during an oil change or other power steering fuid check. It was not uncommon to need "just a bit", so no issues. But it that "just a bit" was due to a system leak, soon the whole system was red with atf.

When I bought my '67 Newport with 80K miles on it, I noticed the power steering line was "sweating" red fluid from it. I wiped it down and watched it. Same thing again. I noticed that the power steering reservoir fluid was red and smelled of atf. So I emptied the reservoir and refilled it with Chrysler power steering fluid (which was waxy clear). Then started the engine to circulate the fluid. I did that another time before the fluid got more clear. The sweating hose stopped sweating power steering fluid.

On the '66 Newport, I put over 160K on that car and never had any power steering fluid leaks from the pump or hoses. Although the hoses did get some later age issues, it was basically a trouble-free system. Same with our '69 Chevy pickup too. Back then, FEW people knew about a specific power steering fluid outside of the dealerships, unless they read their owner's manual, by observation. But everybody knew that you could use atf to top-off a power steering system.

From my experiences, I wonder if much of the issues with leaks and such are not due to prior use of atf in the power steering systems. FWIW.

Sorry for the length,
Thank you for the detailed description. I will take a closer look at it.

Yes, my Mopar mechanic also recommended me to use ATF3 automatic oil for the power steering. It should be common practice there too.
Yes, my Mopar mechanic also recommended me to use ATF3 automatic oil for the power steering. It should be common practice there too.
I suggest using power steering fluid rather than ATF.

Yes, there are guys that use it. MY argument against ATF has three reasons, number one being that Chrysler spec'd power steering fluid rather than ATF. Second reason being that ATF has fiction modifier and other additives for automatic transmission use, where power steering fluid does not have those additives and I've also read that power steering fluid can survive higher temperatures without breaking down. Power steering pumps can regularly operate at 180 to 250 degrees F and ATF starts breaking down at 240.

My third reason is personal experience. Every Chrysler product I've ever dealt with that was leaking power steering fluid was dripping red ATF. I've never encountered one with a bad leak that had power steering fluid in it. This might mean that the leaky ones were topped off with ATF, I don't know... I just know that the ones that the fluid went out almost as fast as it went in had ATF in them and the ones that didn't leak, or had small "drips" had power steering fluid in them. That's enough reason for me.
Here's Chrysler's warning to not use ATF as it can degrade the rubber lines.

Yes I agree, no ATF in the PS system. Not the correct fluid.

is power steering fluid hard to find in Austria?
Just because some of the Ford Mercon ATFs are also spec'd as Ford power steering fluid (in the later models, noted on the container) does not mean that ATF is universally-approved for continued power steering fluid use other than in Ford vehicles.

There are MANY specifications for rubber to touch oils. The rubber compounds must be compatible with the oils they are sealing against, although they might all look the same.

In one respect, Chrysler ATF+3 is a recent ATF fluid. More late-model in orientation and it can be backward compatible in Chrysler automatic transmissions and transaxles. BUT modern rack and pinion steering systems are nothing like the earlier power steering systems, other than they steer the front wheels. If ATF+3 might be Chrysler Approved for modern rack and pinion steering systems, that does NOT mean it's a good long-term use fluid in the earlier systems.

Now . . . after my jobber source for Mopar Power Steering Fluid, back in the middle 1970s closed and I had then gone to work in a Chevrolet dealer parts department . . . I came to realize that GM Power Steering Fluid looked just like the Chrysler PSF, clear/opaque and waxy looking. I started to use it as it was easily available, and it worked just as well as the genuine Chrysler fluid did. The GM part number was 1050017, IIRC. ACDelco still has a power steering fluid in its listings, plus some "cold climate" fluid that is probably synthetic in nature. So you might check with a GM dealer in your part of Europe to see if they might can get it, or you probably can order it from the USA (at a freight cost). OR . . . perhaps a European lubricant line vendor might have something of that nature you can procure locally?

Just my experiences,
Almost every oil brand will have a dedicated power steering fluid for sale, even in Europe. Many of the aftermarket brands will also quote "GM 1050017" as being equivalent to their product. Others mention the brand and Dexron III equivalency, too. And Mopar builds a "Power Steering Fluid +4" currently. Which is different from their ATF+4. What might work in a current rack and pinion steering gear might not be optimum for the earlier Chrysler or GM steering gears.

In general, to me, any current fluid which claims to be "Dexron III" and "power steering system" compatible/equivalent should be avoided, no matter the brand, or no matter which "expert" might give it their blessing. Follow the Factory Service Manual's recommendations as closely as possible. Yes, there can be some current products which can be "backward compatible", which is completely fine, but I have yet to see any modern Power Steering Fluid which states that. ATF, yes. If you might find an atf which is "Dexron/Mercon" fluid, it can also indicate approval to use it in Ford power steering systems, too. That is fine too, as long as you own a Ford product.

Will using atf in a power steering system cause immediate leaks or failures? No. It can take a year or so before anything might happen, typically. Maybe longer sometimes, too. But "Why go there in the first place" when you know where you'll likely end up? Do your due diligence and find a power steering fluid which matches the GM 1050017 part number or the Chrysler specification from "back then", for best long-term results, from my own experiences. Google can be your friend in these searches. Just read the container carefully.