Focus Fanatics Forum banner

1 - 4 of 4 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
7 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I'm about to replace the belt tensioner on our '03 SE with the 2.0 Ztec. The old one was the OEM and the pulley mounting arm snapped clean off at the edge of tensioner spring housing (I'd post a nice photo but I don't' presently have a means of doing so).

Oreily's and Autozone both sell various brands of these... is there one that lasts more reliably than the rest? I wanted to get a motorcraft but no one has them in stock... I'm leaning towards the "Gates" brand right now. Opinions???

Are there stretch bolts holding this unit onto the engine block? Neither Oreilys nor Autozone list any hardware for this unit which I thought was odd...

-Johnny
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
17,155 Posts
No stretch, you can use them over and over and you'll be doing so, as there is no such thing as a decent tensioner on these that lasts and lasts. Gates as good as the others, they all are not hermetically sealed to then let fine dirt enter until it seizes up the tensioner arm to make them break off. Common. I had nothing but trouble with official Ford Motorcraft tnesioners and consider them pretty lowlife parts. But then I take them apart to rebuild them and can see what's inside and how they're made. The Motorcraft has a cheap flimsy anti-friction insert that wears like lightning, 40K miles and it's dead.

Stay away from Dayco or Goodyear or Hayden, all same part that wads up internal teflon tape to bring tensioner down in as little as a week. BTDT.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
739 Posts
No stretch, you can use them over and over and you'll be doing so, as there is no such thing as a decent tensioner on these that lasts and lasts. Gates as good as the others, they all are not hermetically sealed to then let fine dirt enter until it seizes up the tensioner arm to make them break off. Common. I had nothing but trouble with official Ford Motorcraft tnesioners and consider them pretty lowlife parts. But then I take them apart to rebuild them and can see what's inside and how they're made. The Motorcraft has a cheap flimsy anti-friction insert that wears like lightning, 40K miles and it's dead.

Stay away from Dayco or Goodyear or Hayden, all same part that wads up internal teflon tape to bring tensioner down in as little as a week. BTDT.
I've heard of problems with the Gates tensioner as well though in that the pulley rubs on something (can't remember what). I ended up just going with the Motorcraft one for my car because I knew I wouldn't have any problems. Has that not been your experience?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
17,155 Posts
Nope, they wear out too early, the bushing inside is only like .020" in thickness and once worn through the arm starts shifting out of flat plane to begin to lock up. Reason being that it is rubbing aluminum on aluminum once the bushing is gone; two soft materials rubbing like that are seizure city. The Motorcraft if it does not lock up will commonly wear a hole completely through the side of the case. As well, depending on the belt you are using, when short enough the belt will swing tensioner arm up enough so that the belt then rubs against the pivot post, won't last long like that. To be fair the Gates will do that as well, the Dayco won't because there is no post extending to rub. It extends the pivot backward rather than forward. The Dayco is actually a good piece if you remove the teflon tape between the spring windings, it gets wadded up pretty quick to lock the spring action up. I rebuilt one and got a very good life out of it. Longer than many new ones in fact.

So much of this is tied to belt condition, once belt stretches enough to get out of tensioner range to be at the end, breakage is only a short time away. Having what is supposed to be the correct belt is only the beginning, you have to be 100% sure the belt is running in that range like intended. There ARE tensioner/belt combos that use the correct per parts catalog parts and will still break pretty quick as they don't do that.
 
1 - 4 of 4 Posts
Top