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Old 02-20-2013, 08:11 PM   #31
amc49
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X2 you two. Just make sure both studs about same height, you don't want one not screwed into the aluminum enough. I don't care how they come apart, not a problem. Correct way would be breaking nuts loose and re-installing stud alone first.

The middle pic given there is the crap tensioner and sailor killed one just as mine did, the anti-friction insert is paper thin and crap. Once it wears through or tucks under to wad up things start sticking quick. Thinking the plastic used there not the best either, it gives in to wear and distortion like lightning, there are much tougher soft plastics out there.

Gates is full of crap, a spring is a spring as long as tension high enough, the flat one is actually quite a bit more robust than the Gates springs I've seen, I like the stronger ones better. They do not bounce erratically nearly so much and that stops most noise and possibly breaking the tensioner arm in half from impacting. Lighter weight springs sometimes produce a knock on engine startup that will have you thinking dry start rod knock quick. Have someone crank car while you have a flashlight trained on tensioner and watch it go apesh-t at start, it knocks. Stronger tensioner spring stops that instantly. I have rebuilt the top Hayden/Dayco tensioner, flat spring but stout and works good BUT some come with a stupid teflon tape insert that runs between the spring rounds to prevent coil to coil abrasion, it wads up quick to DNF the part in maybe a month or two. I remove that tape and seal up the unit OD best I can with foam tape after lubing inside generously with powdered graphite, it runs forever. The front aluminum swedge is easily ground off to allow the front plate to come off and the center hole easily drilled through for a throughbolt with self locking nut on back, a couple of spacing washers and back to a viable running part. I handtest all tensioners at the parts store, I don't want it unless it takes close to everything I've got to budge the arm off its' stop, on some parts that can be moved fairly easily, not enough spring there, will cause trouble. I have one of the new Gates redesigned parts like the bottom pic, the longer center post will stabilize it better. Grind that rivet head off and drill and tap the end of shaft for hardened 1/4"-28 bolt and washers to shim tight and that one rebuilt too. Got one done like that and already running. $50+ part for say $2 and twenty minutes work again.

Last edited by amc49; 11-05-2013 at 07:32 PM.
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Old 02-21-2013, 07:05 AM   #32
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Wealth of info on this site - kinda makes me wish I'd asked first instead of taking the advice of getting a "later Gates design".

From your reply - I'm actually better with a flat spring design, but I'm not keen on disassembling a brand new part to check for and remove teflon tape.

What is your experience with the Dorman Tech Choice? - it looks like a flat spring design and is almost double the cost of the Gates and lifetime warranty - but I'm a bit leery of a tensioner with three bolt mounting lugs when the OEM only uses two bolts (I suppose it could work for multiple applications that way, though.)

Thanks again!
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Old 02-22-2013, 05:55 AM   #33
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All I was saying is that Gates is talking crap when it came to the spring. The late design they make may be fine, better looking than what they sold before.

Don't know anything about the Dorman and probably will not find out. Dorman has made so many absolutely horrible quality parts that I avoid them whenever possible. I used to have to warranty everything they sold. The three bolt thing just so they can most likely make one part serve in more than one application, you just wouldn't use one bolt position there. Lifetime warranty there means nothing at all, they make parts so cheap they actually plan on giving you more than one. A very cynical way of bringing you into the worthless parts fold, if you will. They don't care if you have to yank the part 5 times.
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Old 03-22-2013, 03:34 PM   #34
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my tensioner just cracked, i think its motorcraft, all i can see is made in china. had the hardest ass time getting the belt back on.





the belt read 98BB-6C301-CA, 6PK2120EL -- i THINK that means 2120mm or about 83.46 inches.

Just checked the motorcraft website and it says part 8620 (JK6-842-A) for 2.0 DOHC With A/C ('01). 84.2 inches?

These shops must just throw any damn thing they can monkey on there. Have I lost tension with it like that?
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Old 06-11-2013, 11:42 PM   #35
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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.
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Old 11-05-2013, 04:04 PM   #36
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Unreal...

Glad I searched hard today regarding this problem, glad I found this forum and post...unhappy that I still likely have an issue on my daughters car...

I just replaced the 7th belt and 2nd tensioner in less than 18 months...I am a pro at it to say the least, did the job in a parking lot Friday night in just at an hour from hopping out of my truck to road testing after complete R&R of everything. No joke, I'm good at it, don't even need to know or guess which tools anymore...LOL

I've pulled my hair out (I'm bald/shaved) trying to figure this damn car out and why it craps so many belts, no rhyme or reason to date that I can figure out until reading this post and some other issues, makes sense now that the tensioner is wearing and getting everything out of whack and then eating the belt.

I have a commercial account at AutoZone so I get all my parts there, just put on a new Duralast/Dayco tensioner pn# 305318 and belt was a warranty replacement Duralast pn# 835K6. Sweet part is I started it up and immediately the tensioner was jumping around and the car was cold, AC was on full, etc. to see how everything was working...'clack - clack - clack' goes the tensioner or the belt slapping on the tensioner pulley, I couldn't really tell which it was to be honest...but the tensioner was jumping around pretty good. Took it for a test drive and rechecked, running smooth w/o any issues and true/straight on all the pulleys...so, seemed ok, no more 'clack-clack' noises and revved the throttle multiple times w/o issues. Funny how this issues of crapping belts always seems to happen to my daughter when the car is cold or just starting and leaving somewhere...

So, after reading everything here, guess I have to check again which tensioner assembly I actually got, see if it is a 'failure prone' one with the exposed el cheapo nylon seal and decide whether or not to replace again with a better version (this one funny enough had a beefed up arm where the other failed/broke), fairly certain the seal was exposed though...bummer. That and I should more than likely check the belt length as the only reason for that 'clack-clack-clack' is the darn belt being too long and slapping around, bummer again...

So I guess at this point my best questions are - what is the correct or best 'new' tensioner to purchase as it seems most of them are junk - the Gates #38188? And what is the correct belt length or estimated length? I know there are three belts recommended for the 2000 ZX3 DOHC engine and the funny part is the most expensive belt is too wide for the pulleys, found that one out on the very first failure when it shredded it after 5 min on the car...the computer at AutoZone says its correct, but you take all three out of the boxes/sleeves and compare them and they are all different widths...the expensive one being about a rib too wide which equals instant failure.

I'm pretty fed up being 'roadside' service on my daughters first car every 2 - 4 months and this darn thing had me pretty baffled until now and she is scared to drive the damn thing anywhere out of the town as it's unreliable and I can't blame her. Til I found this forum today I was ready to fix it once more and take it directly to the Kia dealership and trade it in on a new car for her...LOL Not much of a Ford guy as EVERY one I have ever had has been a PITA like this one...

Thanks!
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Old 11-05-2013, 04:43 PM   #37
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Quote:
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 Motocraft tensioner did take care of the clacking sound. No problems since installing it months ago along with a Duralast 6pk2115 belt.
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Old 11-05-2013, 04:45 PM   #38
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Get an original Ford tensioner. My local Ford dealer came close enough to price I found online (~$60).
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Old 11-05-2013, 07:43 PM   #39
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Unless they have changed the design the Ford tensioner is flat out one of the fastest wearing ones there is. The pics above show what it does fairly quick, or wears through the thinnest anti-friction washer I've seen then wears like lightning through the aluminum case underneath to break out of it. They also are not shielded very well from dirt at all. Dirt is what causes the fast wear. I'm having good luck with the fairly new Gates one, no trouble at all. If the tensioner has range notches molded on it to show where arm needs to ride then use them, your best guarantee of where the belt length needs to be. Get length such that tensioner mark is in the range and good things happen.
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Old 11-06-2013, 07:40 AM   #40
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re

The Dayco/Duralast tensioner I just installed looks just like the Hayden...fairly thin and exposed nylon washer in there, just inspected it on my daughters car this morning...sux :(

Will be looking to find a parts store here local that actually stocks the newer Gates one and then find a belt of the correct length...need to solve this issue so my kiddo has some reliable transportation and I'm not playing roadside service all the time...lol
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