Cybex 445T Walking Belt
The most common parts replaced on any treadmill, commercial or residential alike, are the walking belt and deck. However, it is not always the most obvious part to replace. A worn belt and deck can be a silent killer of treadmills, especially if regular maintenance is not done early and often. Belts often appear to be in good shape on the surface, literally. The business end of the walking belt is the backing. It is not the surface that the user walks on, but the one underneath that comes into contact with the walking deck during every foot-fall. The treadmill drive motor and control interprets foot-fall as load and as the belts and decks age, the load steadily grows. If the treadmill is not serviced, the load will rise exponentially until drive failure occurs.
For the most part, home treadmills are the most susceptible to a worn belt and deck because they utilize a DC drive motor with some type of DC voltage motor control. These control systems run warm on a good day and down right hot as the parts around the drive system age and fall into a “non-serviced” state. Heat really is the enemy for all electrical components in all treadmills. That being said, in the case where a DC drive treadmill is found in a commercial environment like a gym or a hotel, there is an even greater chance of catastrophic component failure due to worn walking belts and decks.
The Cybex 445T is a commercial treadmill and currently is the standard in many “original” Snap Fitness facilities around the country. The 445T uses PWM technology in the DC drive making it extremely vulnerable to belt deck friction issues as these treadmills age. Another problem with the 445T is that it was shipped with a maple wood deck and cotton/fabric belt adding insult to injury. In other words, it has not one but two Achilles heels. One, the 445T uses a DC drive which is well known to have heat issues even with the most ingenious cooling fans and heat sinks incorporated into the design. Two, the Cybex OEM belt and deck that the unit was shipped with generates an inordinate amount of load to the treadmill drive system as it ages because the maple deck expels all impregnated lubrication after so many heat cycles.
Cybex no longer uses that belt and deck package on ANY commercial or light commercial treadmills. Currently, Cybex supports the 445T with a silicone impregnated monofilament-backed walking belt and a phenolic deck. It’s not clear what took Cybex so many years to adopt the current belt deck package as it has been the industry standard for the last decade for all manufacturers over all market segments. Perhaps it was just the novelty of the only New England treadmill manufacturer using Vermont Maple stock from a family owned mill. One thing is certainly true; New Englanders are wickedly serious about their Vermont Maple. Would you like syrup on those pancakes?
Treadmill Doctor has used phenolic decking exclusively in the non-OEM third party repair parts industry for years. It seems that time and time again the most efficient belt deck system is the lube-based monofilament-backed walking belt with a phenolic walking deck. Treadmill Doctor used and proved this system in commercial environments even when Cybex and others were flirting with dubious deck materials for marketing and sentimental reasons. There have been reports of 100,000+ miles seen using this set up as long as the proper maintenance schedule is implemented. With the TMD belt deck system controller, failure has been reduced tenfold and motor brushes show little, if any, wear after several thousand hours of use. In the end, it’s the best of both worlds because the most cost effective option also happens to be the most durable while performing at the highest level.
Most Snap Fitness owners are inexperienced operators with respect to facility maintenance. When service providers are called out for a non-warranty treadmill issue, it is almost always a treadmill holocaust. Not really, but it might as well be for these green horn Snap owners. After replacing walking belts, motor belts, walking deck and motor brushes, the cost per unit can easily exceed $1500.00 based on the price of OEM parts.
Some of the business-savvy owner operators with like-minded service providers have used an after market belt deck package from Treadmill Doctor with great success and at great cost savings. The current OEM belt deck package costs $735.00 from Cybex before freight. The Treadmill Doctor equivalent for OEM part BD-19642 is a two-ply belt that boasts an aggressive tread pattern PVC top skin and the double-sided phenolic deck and costs $369.99 with minimal freight. The belt and deck perform flawlessly when lubricated regularly with the World Famous Treadmill Doctor Lube. Again, it is not recommended that the Treadmill Doctor walking belt for the Cybex 445T be used with the Cybex OEM maple wood deck, so please do yourself a favor and replace both at the same time. It is always good treadmill repair form to replace or flip the walking deck (if applicable as some decks are double sided) when replacing the walking belt.
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