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Old 12-11-2003, 07:20 PM
MyFirstSHO MyFirstSHO is offline
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89 Alternator belt tensioner Question

I did a search on 89 alt belt tensioner, but came up with nothing. I know its a dumb question but ive never replaced belts on a tensioner car before.

So, how do you loosen the alt belt tensioner on an 89 MTX? I hear ATX's have "automatic" tensioners. I see on my tensioner, theres a little hex head bolt going straight down with a retainer clip or something. Then theres the stud with a nut on it right in the middle of the tensioner. Which one do I move? And which way?

BTW I have to replace that belt soon cuz its not looking too pretty, but amazingly the waterpump/ps belt looks alot newer than the Alternator/AC belt.

Any tips are appreciated!
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Old 12-11-2003, 07:58 PM
shobikes shobikes is offline
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First of all - the "automatic" tensioners are only for the timing belt, I think.

To loosen your accessory belt tensioners (there's two of them), first loosen the 14mm nut at the center of the idler pulley. A box-end wrench works best. This is what locks it in place. Then use a ball-end 5mm Allen wrench (as long as possible) to remove tension - lefty loosey, righty tighty.

The new belt is properly tensioned when it deflects 1/4" or less under "firm" pressure. I found I had to tighten mine a couple times with the new belt. Apply tension until the damn thing stops squealing.

Don't forget to retighten the 14mm nut when you've set belt tension.
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Old 12-11-2003, 08:12 PM
MyFirstSHO MyFirstSHO is offline
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shobikes- Thanks for the quick and accurate response thumb

I think that cleared it up for me but what about that clip around the 5mm allen bolt? Anything special i have to do with it?

And, just to double check its: loosen the 14mm nut to "unlock" the idler pulley, then loosen the 5mm allen bolt up top to releave tension. Then i have to tighten the 5mm allen bolt to put tension on the belt, then when its tensioned enough i tighten the 14mm nut to "lock" the tensioner in place?

BTW- Is there anything i can do to totally F this up? I mean like break the tensioner or something? I've been know to turn minor repairs into nightmares. doh slap headbang

<small>[ December 11, 2003, 07:18 PM: Message edited by: MyFirstSHO ]</small>
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Old 12-11-2003, 10:05 PM
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Do 'exactly' as you outlined yourself. Don't worry about that clip, it has nothing to do with removing the belt. Just make sure that the 14mm bolt is the 1st and last thing you mess with and nothing should get F'd up. slap (I just like that one) :D
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Old 12-11-2003, 10:31 PM
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Myfirstsho,

The other forum members gave you all the right information. I'll add a little additional information.

The stud that the idler pulley is attached to is threaded onto the screw that the allen head wrench is used to adjust the tension. As you turn the screw the stud goes up or down depending on which way you turn it.

If you have difficulty turning the screw it may have corrosion on it. You can spray it with some lubricant, or remove the mount, then the screw, and then clean the screw with a wire brush and coat it with anti-sieze compound.

Once you get the new belt on, tighten the nut by hand so that the pulley does not wobble, but is loose enough to allow adjustment. After you have made your adjustment the nut gets tightened to 25 to 37 foot pounds of torque.

I use 35 ft.lbs. These pulleys have been known to come off. In fact on my own car I replaced the nuts with "lock-nuts". After a few days a new belt will stretch a little so you may have to readjust it.

Hope this helps, rangerj
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Old 12-11-2003, 11:40 PM
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Hope you get it fixed sho you can come down this weekend.
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Old 12-11-2003, 11:59 PM
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SHO--ripper, an extra what? Pulley? Is it new?
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Old 12-12-2003, 09:05 AM
MyFirstSHO MyFirstSHO is offline
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TYSHO- thanks for the reassurance thumb

Rangerj- I follow your post, all the way up to the point where you say "or remove the mount, then the screw" (if its corroded). What is the mount? The metal piece that the allen head screw, screws into/rests on? I was planning on soaking the nut/screw with PB blaster anyways. Thanks for the torque specs! thumb

Chris (Sho--Ripper)- I'm going today to buy the new belt, it *should* be done today, if not ill let you know. I know I take a little tiny job and drag it out (sometimes) only cuz im a little skittish when it comes to repairs ive never performed before, escpecially on MY car. Just wait till I buy that y-pipe, it'll take me a couple months just to muster up the courage to install it. I'll keep ya posted.
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Old 12-12-2003, 09:41 AM
rangerj rangerj is offline
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MYfirstSHO,

The screw with the allen head is called a "jackscrew". It is held in place with a "C" clip and is attached to a "mount" that is attached to the engine block with three bolts. The stud is threaded to the jackscrew and rides up or down in a slot in the mount.

The whole thing can be removed by removing the three bolts. Then remove the "C" clip and unscrew the stud from the jackscrew. The reassembly is the reverse of the aforementioned disassembly.

If you do this, do one belt tensioner at a time because one of the jackscrews is reverse threaded, and you do not want to get them mixed up.

You would only want to do this if you need to clean the jackscrew threads to remove rust. I have seen some of them that are rusted so bad that it is near impossible to adjust the belt tension.

So if you have difficulty turning the jackscrew, and are affraid you might strip out the allen head, then consider taking it apart and cleaning it up.

When you decide to take on the Y pipe, or any exaust work, you will find that the rusted nuts and bolts will come apart much easier if you clean as much rust as possible off of the nut, bolt, and/or stud you are working on as possible.

When the nuts and bolts are as clean as you can get them, then soak them with a good penetrating oil, such as P B Blaster.
rangerj
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Old 12-12-2003, 10:29 AM
MyFirstSHO MyFirstSHO is offline
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Rangerj,

So I have to take that C-clip off first before I start to move the jackscrew? And the stud you are referring to is the big stud with the 14mm nut on it in the middle of the idler pulley right?

Thanks again Rangerj thumb
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Old 12-12-2003, 11:04 AM
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No! No No No! Do NOT remove the circlip!

What rangerj was saying is that IF the 5mm allen doesn't turn easily and IF you then remove the entire idler assembly to try to fix THAT PROBLEM, THEN you would have to remove the circlip to get the jackscrew out of the idler housing to wirebrush, clean, and grease it.

You don't have to do anything but LOOSEN the 14mm center nut, then LOOSEN the 5mm allen to remove tension from the belt, then reverse the process to reinstall new belt. Keep it simple. If you run into problems with this, then run back in the house and logon to SHOForum, and somebody will be here to help.
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Old 12-12-2003, 11:34 AM
MyFirstSHO MyFirstSHO is offline
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I must be the most ignorant person alive.

I just went out a actually *looked* at the idler pulley/jackscrew and I now know how it works. I must have been spacing out when i first looked at it. I can see the jackscrew bolt threw the opening that the stud travels up and down on. It looks pretty rusty but ill just squirt mad PB Blaster in there and we will see what happens. I just got back from buying the belt from Advance Auto. On their site, it said $19.99 for part #5060455 but i just bought it in person for $29.99 i think i got ripped.

Thanks for clarifying that Shobikes, thumb
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Old 12-12-2003, 12:25 PM
SolidState SolidState is offline
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take the belt back and make them give you your $10.

And torque that 14mm mofo down. I LOST my rear tensioner pulley at about 80mph, and a few nights ago, I popped the hood to find the front tensioner pulley nut gone.

I replaced both nuts with 17mm off the shelf nuts with locking washers and we are good to go...

<small>[ December 12, 2003, 11:27 AM: Message edited by: SolidState ]</small>
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Old 12-12-2003, 01:46 PM
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Old 12-12-2003, 04:08 PM
MyFirstSHO MyFirstSHO is offline
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Ok, belt is on, everythings fine. No squeaks or noises. I tightened the 14mm nut pretty good, any more and i'd prolly strip it. Since I can't fit a torque wrench on the 14mm bolt I think its fine. I let the belt seat by running the motor 3-5 minutes then retighten the belt. It also seems that the new belt was about 1/4 inch longer than the old one. I'm gaining more and more balls for working on my SHO :D

SHO-ripper, Looks like i'll be able to make it down this weekend after all thumb
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Old 12-12-2003, 04:08 PM
Anthony1238 Anthony1238 is offline
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Nice rear end, looks kinda like mine!




<small>[ December 12, 2003, 03:51 PM: Message edited by: Anthony1238 ]</small>
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Old 12-12-2003, 04:15 PM
MyFirstSHO MyFirstSHO is offline
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Anthony1238, rant I can't believe someone else did that to there red 89!!!! But did you do the doors too like me??? Your exhaust looks nasty!!! What are those flowmasters?? Are they attached to the stock exhaust??? Looks Sick!!
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Old 12-12-2003, 04:48 PM
Anthony1238 Anthony1238 is offline
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I haven't had a chance to do the doors yet... but planning on it... the mufflers are edelbrok RPMS. I had my local exhaust shop install them to go along with the highflow y-pipe and resenator... sounds pretty damn mean... and not to loud and NO Rasp cuz of the resenators...
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Old 12-13-2003, 09:31 AM
MyFirstSHO MyFirstSHO is offline
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I went out and checked the belt this morning but didnt start the car yet cuz its still like 20 degrees outside. And the idler pulley seems to have loosened somewhat. Yesterday, after I finished i tried to spin the idler pulley with the belt on and fully tensioned. It spun a little only with some force. Now this morning it seems to spin on the belt a little too easy, easier than yesterday. Should I tighten it up? Or if it doesnt squeek should i just leave it? And if I put a locking washer on the 14mm nut will it matter? Cuz when I was loosening the 14mm nut for the first time it was pretty stuck on there, then it *snapped* loose, at first i thought i broke the nut or stud, but everything *looked* fine. Then when i was tightening the 14mm nut, it was kind of *snapping* when i was tightening it, but after soaking it with PB and cleaning it up some, it didnt *snap* as much when i was torqueing it down. Should I just throw a locking washer on the 14mm nut or just leave it? I just don't want the thing flying off or striping out under a 7000rpm "excursion" eek!
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Old 12-13-2003, 10:18 AM
rangerj rangerj is offline
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MyfirstSHO,

Press your thumb in the middle of the longest span of the belt between two pulleys. If the belt deflects more than a 1/4 of an inch it needs tightened.

The 14mm nut on the idler pulley stud can be accessed with a torque wrench easier using a "crowsfoot". Again, as I mentioned earlier these nuts can come off if not properly torqued. I firmly believe in the added insurance of "lock nuts". This is especially true if you enjoy running the engine at or near "red line". rangerj
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