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  1. #1
    Mike S
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    Tensioner and idler pulleys

    03 530 - While changing the acc belts last summer noticed that a couple of pulleys were a bit noisy. Cleaned and re-lubed them, they got me through the winter and still seem to be fine. I'll be going on a road trip in a few weeks and as I see it I have 3 options:
    - Leave everything as-is and hope for the best
    - Take the belts off and re-lube the pulleys
    - Order new pulleys and replace
    My question is how long could I expect the re-lube job to last and how much of a risk would I be taking leaving things the way they are? I would like to avoid ordering pulleys that I don't need or doing unnecessary work.

  2. #2
    Eurodavid
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    Re: Tensioner and idler pulleys

    Mike,

    When I did all my pulleys 9plus the a/c bearing pulley (it comes off with a snap-ring tool), that was about 2 years ago, and I've not had any noise issues from there at all. Not sure what is happening with yours, but do you remove them, clean them out thoroughly (all old grease and its remains has to go), then re-grease with a somewhat heavy duty bearing grease (only fill the bearing cavity about 50-60% full, otherwise you're defeating the purpose of putting new grease in), and then remount. It's entirely possible you have had a few bearings inside the pulleys go bad, therefore you might want to go the new route and install them (new ones are fairly inexpensive).

    Also, as a hint, if you have a mechanics stethoscope (Harbor Freight sells great ones for about $11-$12), use the stethoscope and see if possible what you are hearing is coming from one of the three alternator bearings. Those suckers act and sound exactly like pulley bearings when they are in their very initial throes of going bad.

    Good luck!

    Eurodavid

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    Re: Tensioner and idler pulleys

    How many miles? My personal choice would be to replace them with new. If you had been cleaning and repacking them every 50k, then that's a different story. They seem to be made of the same plastic as the rest of the engine components that disintegrate over time. You don't want to have them squeal or worse, seize up.

  4. #4
    Mike S
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    Thanks Euro

    I re-packed the bearings exactly as you described. Although there is no noise at all from the pulleys, I was under the impression that the re-pack was a temporary solution. You have gone 2 yrs so I guess it's more that temporary - nice!

    Appreciate the feedback.
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  5. #5
    nedmon
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    Pulleys

    Mike,
    I think its best to replace the small stuff. A seized pulley would do real damage.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike S View Post
    I re-packed the bearings exactly as you described. Although there is no noise at all from the pulleys, I was under the impression that the re-pack was a temporary solution. You have gone 2 yrs so I guess it's more that temporary - nice!

    Appreciate the feedback.
    Repacking these idlers is something that I do annually, usually in the spring. I'm still on my 1998 factory original AC idler pulley but it has just about had the biscuit. Unfortunately I need to buy the whole tensioner. I think one of my others (replaced once in about 2005 or so before I started repacking) might be getting a little worse and I repacked it twice last year.

    It's pretty easy once you know what's going on and is a good idea to do regularly to keep them tight and smooth.
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