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Old 10-15-2010, 07:23 PM   #19
DavidJames
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Join Date: Aug 2010
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Happy Re: Tensioner rattle is back -- even with new AC Delco tensioner and belt!

Here are the facts and the fix.

Use the Gates replacement (model 38112) with the metal pulley. It is the best match for Saturn OEM belt tensioner, maybe even better. The Saturn belt tensioner included a plastic seal for the spring compartment that can break up and allow corrosive contaminates to enter the spring compartment. You can pick this item up for at O'Reily for $10 more than the only product available form Advanced, Autozone and Pep Boys, which is that cheap Dayco tensioner that damaged my car (see previous posts). You can also go to NAPA and pay them almost twice as much for the same part.

The Dayco part may be repackaged under someone else's brand and packaging. That is the way it is at Autozone. It can be identified by the 1-2 inch portion of the spring wrapped in plastic being exposed that is crimped around the spring enclosure. The Dayco product I purchased had a plastic pulley. If you have this product installed on your car, replace it with the Gates product. Get the money back on your warranty, if you were lucky enough to catch the problem in the first year. Tell them it rattles when you turn the AC on, while you have it stopped in drive.

FYI: The Dayco makes good belts. Their Poly Rib Belt Item 5050780 is not part of the problem. That is what I have installed on my vehicle. I mentioned the Goodyear belt earlier, because I forgot that I got it first, then took it back because it cost more money and it had no warranty.

FYI: Tightening the upper bolt is not part of the problem. It just needs to be snug. There are no torque specs published for attaching the tensioner other than those published for the OEM bolt, and where else it is used on your engine block.

Since I could not get a mechanic to give me an estimate to drop the engine and tap new threads, I got creative, and JB Welded a M8x1.25 stud in place of the bolt. Keep in mind there is not much room to work, maybe 3 inches, and you need leave enough room to get the tensioner bracket over the stud. So check the assembly of your solution before applying the epoxy.

I used a stud 35mm long (tip-to-tip) that roughly matched the original bolt length, which was 38mm long (tip-to-tip). Note: A 40mm stud like those I got for my Suzuki's exhaust manifold could actually work better. That way you could use a regular bolt with a lock washer. I was forced to use a thin nut that included a washer, built on.

As for Advanced Auto Parts, their manager per the DM, refused to share the Certified Mechanics report, claiming a conflict of interest, which suggests just one thing, they do not have your interest at heart, as they do not want to share the results of their investigation, as they continue to sell the faulty part as their only solution.

Autozone response was an unsigned form letter which attempted to absolve them of any wrong doing by revealing their supplier for their product that was branded under their Duralast label. So in turn, I also got an unsigned form letter from Dayco, which had been copied several times as evidenced by number of page edges that appeared on the paper, indicating that there was nothing wrong with the failed tensioner Autozone sent back.

As for the ASE Certified Mechanic on my block, they said the problem was with Saturn's design. When Autozone requested an estimate, they wrote one to replace the timing cover. Anyone wonder why he doesn't get any work from me?

I am a software engineer, the kind of person who has a real head for numbers, who remembers the price for every item I put in the cart, and catches the grocer making mistakes to get my food for free. That is small potatoes. This is big stuff people. It stripped out the bolt hole on the engine block, by hammering on the bolt until it fatigued the metal in the block. Tell all your friends, not just Saturn owners. The problem exists on other vehicles, and with most suppliers. Make sure they get the right part for the job.

Last edited by DavidJames; 10-15-2010 at 07:35 PM..

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