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Thread: Serpentine belt tensioner problem Reply to Thread
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Topic Review (Newest First)
11-06-2014 09:34 AM
amc49 Not at all, commonly they are a stand alone unit that can vary greatly. I was not aware that any dealer did that on these though since the cars need to be integrated with computer control, adding a/c can even mess up emissions now if motor pulls too low with no idle compensation.

And, a two inch difference in belt won't even get you up and running. The tensioner is out of range to tear up things at one HALF inch difference. You have to stay right on top of that length, some brands vary belt as much as one quarter inch while still calling belt the same part. Why some belts getting old then show tensioner problems, they pretty much all will eventually stretch 1/4".
11-06-2014 05:32 AM
emsvitil Why would factory AC be any different than dealer?

The dealer should just be bolting on the factory unit........
11-06-2014 02:41 AM
citizen127 There a couple of belts for the 2000 Ford Focus Zetec DOHC. Make sure you have the right one. One is for the factory AC, and the other for the dealer AC. One is a couple of inches shorter than the other. If it's bigger than what you're supposed to have it will rattle. That happened to me. If it's too small, I'm guessing that it will put extra wear and tear on your tensioner.

11-05-2014 05:23 PM
amc49 The tensioner arm cross-sectional area is figured for a certain load and the give of the SPRING lowers that ultimate load. Once the arm begins to seize up from trash and dirt getting into the pivot point the load goes WAY up to then break the arm off. Look at the arms now and the older arms on old school cars that positively bolted down on belt adjusters, the older ones will be made of steel and more material there to take that ultimate load, which is present all the time on those. The weak-assed parts live now simply because the spring takes much of the load. Take the spring out when arm stops working and all load then goes to the arm alone. Break city there.

The problem with belt tensioners is that all the important stuff one would 'look over' to determine the quality is all buried inside where you can't see it. You have to remove the pivot to get inside to see how crappy virtually all of them are made. If they just machined a bit more and added a positive OD seal between the arm and the case then the parts would easily last twice as long, they will ALL have dirt in them in varying degrees to seize up the swing shaft to lock the part up to break.

They won't put more money into them as they WANT the parts to break quickly so you buy more. How more and more our throwaway society works, we fell for it and now coming back to haunt.

Ford leads the way in new revenue streams made up of parts with planned obsolescence, common to see it instantly on brand new parts now. Common also to package the breaking part up in a bigger subassembly that costs you for several things you don't need to get that one part that broke.

How cars with engines that can go 300K miles are in the junkyards at 100K because they have fifty other low priority things broken, any one is not enough to dump the car but added up they frustrate owner to let the car go just so he can buy another money pit. Have a look at the yards now, one half the cars there now have not been wrecked..............
11-05-2014 08:44 AM
Originally Posted by stealthzx3 View Post
sorry to hear about that. the tensioners are very common to go bad. i don't know if you bought the brand new, but i never heard of them snapping in two. the only thing i could think of is your belt is too tight, but that's controlled by the tensioner.. odd, very odd indeed.
We just had a ford motorcraft tensioner snap in two last night. (I'd post an image, but I don't have any way to do that at present)...

Luckily, it's an easy fix.
10-12-2014 01:19 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 12:37 PM

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 06:35 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 07:50 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 01:14 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?
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