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View Full Version : I broke my tensioner! How do I get it to tighten?



syphon
08-30-2002, 05:19 AM
I just replaced the alternator in my 90 SC. All things went a little bumpy, but we got the old one out and the new one in. Time came to tighten the tensioner for the serpentine belt, but it wouldnt get tight enough.

We put it in correctly , Then slowly started tightening the bolt on front. It tightened to a certain point then it just started popping... it sounded like we were stripping it or something.

The belt wasn't tight enough yet (it fell off as soon as the engine turned over). We tried tightening it again... and POP. The tensioner broke.

Was it a faulty piece or did we break it? How the heck are you supposed to tighten this thing? I asked someone and he told me all was necessary was to put it on and tighten the bolt... but that's all we did and it broke!

I'm going to buy a new one tomorrow... can anyone help me with any tips to put this one on?

Les Borda
08-30-2002, 06:57 AM
SImply tighten the mounting bolt for the tensioner to the bracket and that's it. It automagically adjusts to your belt because it is spring loaded when you pull it back to drop it on the belt and it takes up the slack. Use an 18mm socket and Johnson bar on the bolt for the tensioner idler pulley to pull back the arm when slipping the belt under it.

TBirdDriver
08-30-2002, 08:28 AM
There is a sticker on the front when you lift up the hood that shows a diagram of how the belts should be routed through the various pulleys etc. You do have the belts routed correctly I assume? Just something to check.

Mike8675309
08-30-2002, 01:38 PM
Are you saying you removed the tensioner from the car?

Take the belt off. Reattach the tensioner in it's proper position, and then put the belt on.

syphon
08-30-2002, 05:04 PM
I did remove the tensioner... We werent familiar with how it worked so when we went to loosen the bolts it was just easier to pull the whole thing off.

So let me get this straight... I put it on WITHOUT the belt under it... then use some kind of bar to hold it up while I slip the belt under it... then it automatically tightens itself?

TBirdDriver
08-30-2002, 07:46 PM
Yes. It's spring loaded. You can put a socket on the nut that holds the idler pulley on then it helps to have a longer piece of pipe over the end of the ratchet for leverage. Then you lift it up, put your belt on just like the diagram on the label, and let it go.
I have also found that the tire iron in the trunk fits the nut, and it's got a nice long handle for leverage.

dseidner
08-31-2002, 12:17 AM
I just replaced an alternator, and after playing with the stupid idler assembly, you can actually do it with a large socket wrech (like a torque wrench) as long as you have an extra body there. Simply put in the alternator w/o the belt like said, and then use the socket wrench (I forget which bolt it is on the assembly, but there's only two) which will unload the tensioner. And, if I remember correctly the direction I had to push to unload it was totally in the oposite direction. As long as you have a goon to unload the tensioner, you can handle routing the belts.
Late!
------Dylan

Mike8675309
09-01-2002, 12:26 AM
You've got 3 tensioners on your car.

Take a look at how the other 2 work and you'll figure out your one you removed.

Notice how there is an indicator with a range of wear on the face of the tensioner. With the proper belt, the indicator will let you know when the belt has stretched so much that it should be replaced. Most belts become cracked too much before they stretch too much.

Use a socket wrench. The longer the better to gain leverage. Then with the socket wrench an the appropriately sized socket you can attach it to the bolt on the tensioner pulley and pull the arm the direction necessary to release the tension on the belt. (Opposite the direction it takes to remove the bolt from the pulley)

Ideally you have a 1/2" drive wrench with the proper socket (18mm I believe). These typically have longer ends. I used a 16" breaker bar with a 1/2 drive socket on it. Long enough so my 14 year old son could handle it with only minimal struggle.

Cliff
04-08-2005, 08:52 AM
You've got 3 tensioners on your car.

Take a look at how the other 2 work and you'll figure out your one you removed.

Notice how there is an indicator with a range of wear on the face of the tensioner. With the proper belt, the indicator will let you know when the belt has stretched so much that it should be replaced. Most belts become cracked too much before they stretch too much.

Use a socket wrench. The longer the better to gain leverage. Then with the socket wrench an the appropriately sized socket you can attach it to the bolt on the tensioner pulley and pull the arm the direction necessary to release the tension on the belt. (Opposite the direction it takes to remove the bolt from the pulley)

Ideally you have a 1/2" drive wrench with the proper socket (18mm I believe). These typically have longer ends. I used a 16" breaker bar with a 1/2 drive socket on it. Long enough so my 14 year old son could handle it with only minimal struggle.

I have a 1990 SC. Can I still purchase the belt tesioners anywhere?
Thanks.
Cliff

Cliff
04-08-2005, 08:53 AM
I have a 1990 SC. Are belt tesioner assemblys available anywhere? Ford told me they have been discontinued.
Thanks
Cliff

Mike8675309
04-08-2005, 10:43 AM
Check with a local autoparts store. www.rockauto.com shows a AC Delco number 38127 but it shows non-stock with 12 day wait.

Cliff
04-09-2005, 11:07 AM
Check with a local autoparts store. www.rockauto.com shows a AC Delco number 38127 but it shows non-stock with 12 day wait.
Thanks for the response. This looks like a good source for just about anything I might need.
Thanks again.
Cliff