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Thread: Serpentine belt tensioner problem Reply to Thread
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Topic Review (Newest First)
10-12-2014 12:19 PM
amc49 They aren't any more, it has gotten to be very common. Pretty bad when you are trying to brag about alternators and the next three you test all fail and then you have to order out for one. Common to find broken/missing parts on everything in a box now but a lot of that is from lifetime warranty guys bringing part back saying they no longer needed it. Even funnier when they bring back $600-$700 worth of stuff saying the same thing. The art of the dumb-ss and commonly practiced nowadays and half the small parts will be missing only to have them say they were not there to begin with. Are you going to call everyone that brings parts back a thief? You NEVER accept a part now without opening the box or you deserve what you get. The big chains are empowering that like there's no tomorrow and they have no clue at all how to bring it back under control without putting the chokehold on customer behavior and they are absolutely terrified of that.

I saw one certain water pump that everyone tries to idiotically draw up flush with the mounting bolts, it was pretty much all emptied out chain wide, there were plenty of them but every one in every store was broke, broke, broke. The customers can't help it, the defective brain DNA there.
10-12-2014 11:37 AM

X2. One has to look over the quality part versus the trash. Once bought a brand new water pump that had a crack in the casting. So bad you could see light through it. Caught it before mounted, never used that supplier again. Truly he was embarrassed when the part was returned for refund.
10-12-2014 05:35 AM
amc49 You gotta find it first, and why the big auto chains hide that often now on the box, you have no idea who made it other than country of origin which is worthless. The box while spitting out a worthless name like Duralast or Masterpro could come from as many as ten or more different makers of same part. All vying to make it cheaper than the last guy. They know you have no recourse other than swapping for more crap part. The big chains are actively forcing the old school names to join in that or no contracts signed. The well-known names are having to give up their own names on boxes now. Or die to keep the honor. I watched line after line give up and cave in while at the part store, every month there were line changes made reflecting that process. The store chains want to be able to say THEY are making the parts alone.
10-10-2014 06:50 PM
coldbear I know that every manufacturer tries to keep his operations in the USA. But eventually they'll cave to China and import the junk. Why can't it be like the 1950's? When you get a part over the counter, one has to look it over very thoroughly for workmanship. I'll pay 20% more for an American part.
10-10-2014 12:14 PM
mikeBart Has anybody had overheating problems prior to tensioner pulley failure? I've noticed that when my car overheats even a little, I will change the tensioner about a few months later. Anybody?
10-09-2014 08:58 PM
coldbear I used a FMC tensioner simply because of the difficult installation. My first one[Gates] was destroyed while jacking up the engine to change a motor mount. I was so pi@%ed but as they say, Experience is a ruthless Witch. She gives the test first and her lesson later. You learn something new everyday.
10-09-2014 03:12 PM
amc49 Beginning to apparently get into some tensioner issues with NEW Gates parts. One broke a spring outright about one month on car. It was installed for sure not at either limit, rather running in the middle of the tensioner range. The replacement clicks like hitting end limit but it's not, rather I'm thinking the internal damper is not working. Again in the middle of belt range. At idle a/c off the tensioner is very steady but when a/c goes on it then increases the runout like 3X and then the click/rattle. Not hitting end stops. Same click on startup, it does it like 2-3 times and stops. Take them apart and there is a spring loaded damper that damps when it gets way out, if that damper not working then range increases from simple exaggerated bouncing off of the spring. So, it can make noise without hitting on the ends. Could be snapping the spring end in its' receiving slot maybe. Pretty loose fit there. Something in a/c load makes it go into that 'syncopated pandemonium', not sure what, the a/c works fine and no unusual friction when turning it over by hand. ?????? it did this once before, a new tensioner (same belt) fixed it. The Gates parts may be going the way of all things China.................
10-09-2014 03:04 PM
mikeBart Thank you for the quick reply. Yes, I'm all too familiar with your faulty list, I hate the car. I hate Ford because of it all. I'm getting rid of the car and will gladly watch it get flattened. But first I think I'll take a bat out on it. No more Fords.

Hope all is well.
10-09-2014 03:02 PM
Originally Posted by chadr View Post
On my 03 zetec 2.0 I went with a 2115 mm belt (83.27") when I replaced the tensioner a few months ago because the recommended size was way too loose. Also, today I just replaced the few month old Gates 38188 tensioner with a Motorcraft one to hopefully stop the clacking sound during a stop with the car in gear and AC on.

There is still a good bit of travel left on the tensioner so I'll try the next smaller belt size (2110 mm perhaps) if the tensioner clacks around in the same way.
The Motorcraft tensioner has been holding up just fine for me.
10-09-2014 02:36 PM


My daughter traded the car in on a Toyota Rav4 and the dealership chose to crush the car, literally. Too many problems with the belts - I did tensioner and belts 4 more times, no matter which I used, most expensive to cheapest, they all failed, some sooner than others.

Personally I gave up, between the fuel pump issues, belt & tensioner issues and multiple other problems with the car, a cheap starter car for my daughter turned into yet another FORD crappy car problem. Out of 3 Fords I have ever owned, every one had issues, new, used, didn't matter. No more Fords for this household, stickin to Dodge, Chevy, GMC, Toyota or Freightliner. :-)

Good luck with your Ford, personally I would unload it if you're having these belt/tensioner issues...
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