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This is usually indicative of someone pushing down on the sander too hard while sanding. The motor in this sander is strong enough to pull the belt around even with too much pressure on the sander. This causes excessive heat to build in the sanding belt and sander shoe which causes the belt to break down prematurly. It's also very hard on the sander's bearings and motor. Use an appropriate sandpaper grit that will do the job without excessive pressure on the worksurface. This will make your sanding belts and sander work longer and cooler.
unplug tool first and then remove the 3 screws on the side cover to expose the pulleys, while apart clean the entire area with compressed air. start the belt on the smaller pulley and then ROLL it onto the larger one and after it is installed roll it a few more times to make fully seated. reinstall the cover and screws and you are ready to go. they made 2 different belt types for this tool so make sure that you get the correct one. the older one has ridges that go the entire area of the belt and the newer one has cogs spaced out.
there might be a buildup of sawdust in the tensioning mechanism or the yoke might be bent. I would look at excess buildup in the mechanism first. there are 3 screws on the outside of the tool so you can remove the assembly as a whole. try and clean as thoroughly as possible. the mechanism should move freely and "snap" when lever released.
There is a tracking adjustment knob on the side of the sander--adjust one way or the other until it tracks properly. This is something that will change by itself as the sander is being used--check periodically.
I take it that the rear drum stopped turning and if so the drive belt or one if the pulleys could be your problem. I would be doubtful if the gears are stripped. Give me the model number and brand and I will find a schematic for you. If this is the Porter Cable sander. on the side with the black cover you will find 3 screws that you can remove, UNPLUG tool first and take a quick look to maybe find your problem. Let me know if I can help further
The slide arm mechanisms and tension arm, springs, etc. need a little light machine oil, 3-in-1, to make them slide easly, a few dropes will do the trick, do not over oil. Move the adjustment knob just hair at a time or it will over adjust, hope this helps you.
What have you been sanding? Make sure the sander is unplugged. Remove the dust collector bag and use a flexible wire, like a coat hanger, to free the clogged material from the dust tube. Replace bag and sand away! Hope this solution works for you. Michael Mittelsdorf