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Old 02-07-2018, 10:56 AM   #1
Nekomimi
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1996 SL1
Default Worn in grooves on idler and tensioner pulleys

I was poking around and noticed substantial grooving on them, I was curious what the cause would be and I can't search to save my life right now. I'm going to be replacing them soon. Could it be my oil soaked belt that I'm already planning to to swap or is it just normal wear and tear?

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Old 02-07-2018, 01:44 PM   #2
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1998 SC2
Default Re: Worn in grooves on idler and tensioner pulleys

Oil soaked belt picks up dirt and that dirt is abrasive and the oil causes the belt to slip slightly so the steel and plastic pulley go away slowly. When worn they must be replaced and the new plastic has advantages over the steel stampings.

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Old 02-07-2018, 02:58 PM   #3
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Default Re: Worn in grooves on idler and tensioner pulleys

Ohh, thank you that makes sense. And there are new plastic ones? What are the advantages over the Steel?

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Old 02-08-2018, 11:09 AM   #4
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1998 SL1
Default Re: Worn in grooves on idler and tensioner pulleys

There are plastic and steel ones available, but I'd recommend the steel. When looking at reviews I saw a few where the plastic ones eventually broke apart.

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Old 02-08-2018, 04:08 PM   #5
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1998 SC2
Default Re: Worn in grooves on idler and tensioner pulleys

The plastic one has a lower mass so it has a lower inertia, less violent bouncing. They also absorb shocks. As has been mentioned they do have to be replaced periodically but so do the grooved steel pulleys. The one on the tensioner will outlast the tensioner so it is not an issue but the bearing will fail on the idler. The plastic is an improvement on balance.

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Old 02-09-2018, 11:00 AM   #6
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Default Re: Worn in grooves on idler and tensioner pulleys

Ooh, gotcha. Should I worry about the 10mm difference between the tensioner pulley and idler pulley? RA only has one in the tensioner section and eBay is difficult to find the actual deminsions.

Also speaking of which, I remember reading on here a long while ago that it was better to put the larger 100mm idler pulley on the tensioner, something about it being OEM size, plus keep the tensioner from bumping into it's stop.
Is there any truth to that?

...
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My Mug is filled with the lost souls of imports.

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Old 02-09-2018, 04:41 PM   #7
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1998 SC2
Default Re: Worn in grooves on idler and tensioner pulleys

All of the pulley diameter issues come in when dealing with the SOHC belt routing or the DOHC without PS and/or A/C. For the normal DOHC it should not be an issue. The pulley RPM is lower with the smaller diameter. Just checked the 98 and there are only steel idler pulleys and Dayco has a plastic tensioner. The tensioner will be fine with either size but the tensioner diameter will change the belt length requirement. As to the tensioner 100mm vs 90 mm will not cause a significant angular change.

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