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Old 11-03-2006, 08:42 PM   #41
Uzzy
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Default Re: Serpentine Belt Tensioner Replacement

Quote:
Originally Posted by SonnyD
90% of ours our made by Gates(Canada), the other 10% say "made in Korea"............but, we still seldom get a return.
The tensioners are only assembled in Canada, we don't have a tensioner plant in Korea, only Windsor, Germany, Brazil, and now in China. Only Windsor makes the tensioers, but the casting could be done in Korea.

As for fit, I heard that the cavity that the tensioner mounts into is larger on the '98+ engines. It's very likely that Dayco makes another version that does fit, but supposedly their OE one won't fit the older cars. I don't know for sure.
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Old 11-16-2006, 09:27 AM   #42
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Default Re: Serpentine Belt Tensioner Replacement

Hi Sonny,

You got me thinking about why people might not be returning these things. I know that my Gates aftermarket unit was clicking from the start, but that's when my automatic tranny is in drive and the lights are on. Otherwise, the engine is running a bit faster or smoother and the noise is not present. SOO... I bet because so many S-series cars have manual trannys that they will never hear the clicking the way I do, even though their tensioner is just as "bad" as mine is! Or maybe they have the stereo on too loud!
...
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Old 01-16-2010, 07:11 PM   #43
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Default Re: Serpentine Belt Tensioner Replacement

I just replaced my Serpentine Belt and Tension Pulley on my 1998 Saturn SW2 DOHC with 125K.

The belt had been squealing for a couple of years; I waited because I thought it would be a very difficult job. It wasn't.

Of course I did not replace the belt because it squealed; I replaced it because the Battery went dead from the belt slipping, and my wife barely got the car home. The belt was so loose it nearly fell off. Oddly enough the belt was still in good condition and really did not need replacement.

But the original 12 year old Tensioner was shot.

I bought a Duralast Tensioner and a Gatorback Belt at Autozone. The pulley is black plastic and the tensioner housing is bare aluminum. Unlike the original pulley which has a 14mm central nut the Duralast uses a 15mm nut. Could that mean a larger, better bearing ?

I went thru the Wheel Well and also through the top. The upper Tensioner Mounting bolt was 10mm, and the only tool that could fit in the tight quarters was a 10mm Combination Wrench.

Getting the upper bolt in is a job requiring patience. It took a while, for sure.

The lower Tensioner Mounting Bolt was best accessed using a 10mm 6-point socket and a long Extension attached to a 3/8 Ratchet.

I released the tension on the Tensioner using a 15mm Combo Wrench with the closed end on the bolt and the open end slipped into a 1/2in Drive Breaker Bar (I actually used both a 8" Bar and a 12" Bar at different times). It was not hard at all, and I had no help.

Getting the upper bolt in is a job requiring patience. It took a while, for sure.

I wear Nitrile Gloves, and went thru a few pair. They keep my hands clean; I don't get nearly as pissed off if my hands keep clean.

I also was very lucky; the weather was amazing for January in the Witch City (Salem, Massachusetts). Little wind, sunny, in the high 40's.

AllData recommends removing the Upper Motor Mount, while giving support under the Lower Strut with a 1X1X2 block of wood. I cut up a block of wood just in case, but at no time did it seem to me that removing the Upper Motor Mount would help me in any way. I'm still mystified why they would recommend doing that.
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Old 01-16-2010, 09:04 PM   #44
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Default Re: Serpentine Belt Tensioner Replacement

There is no scheduled service interval for the two pulleys. But the sealed cartridge bearings on both the idler and the tensioner will wear and fail. I've had to do both SL's over the years. On the 95, I waited until a squeaking bearing SANG to me. LOUDLY. You needn't wait that long. If you need to replace the tensioner, you can find that individual pulley. Not easily, but possible. The cartridge bearing and its bolt are one size larger than the idler pulley. Didn't want to try my luck with the plastic pulleys.

On belts- I'm running the Dayco brand on both cars. Replaced OE belt on both last year for peace of mind. No problems. All the ad copy says that the Dayco is supposed to run cooler and quieter. I've heard differing opinions on that.
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Old 03-02-2010, 07:02 PM   #45
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Default Re: Serpentine Belt Tensioner Replacement

In spite of seemingly expert advice given here, I'm still befuddled.

If I understand it correctly, the Gates made unit available at dealers is a good part for any year. If I buy a dealer unit and tell them it's for a 2002, I'll get a Dayco made tensioner, right?

But the Gates tensioners available through Rock Auto are aftermarket cheapies to be avoided? So scratch that then.

Are the Dayco units available through Rock identical to the Daycos sold through Saturn dealers? For that matter the $40 Dorman unit pictured at Rock Auto sure looks an awful lot like the Dayco one. Same thing? Anybody?
Sure hate to pay $100+ for a dealer Dayco if I can get the same stinkin' thing at Rock for $40.....
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Old 03-02-2010, 07:06 PM   #46
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Default Re: Serpentine Belt Tensioner Replacement

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In spite of seemingly expert advice given here, I'm still befuddled.

If I understand it correctly, the Gates made unit available at dealers is a good part for any year. If I buy a dealer unit and tell them it's for a 2002, I'll get a Dayco made tensioner, right?

But the Gates tensioners available through Rock Auto are aftermarket cheapies to be avoided? So scratch that then.

Are the Dayco units available through Rock identical to the Daycos sold through Saturn dealers? For that matter the $40 Dorman unit pictured at Rock Auto sure looks an awful lot like the Dayco one. Same thing? Anybody?
Sure hate to pay $100+ for a dealer Dayco if I can get the same stinkin' thing at Rock for $40.....
The units made for the dealer are different than the units they make for the aftermarket. Dayco/Gates are merely suppliers that make products to certain specs. The ones for the OE side (at least when it comes to belts) tend to be better.
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Old 03-02-2010, 07:59 PM   #47
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Default Re: Serpentine Belt Tensioner Replacement

The $57 Belt Tensioner I bought at AutoZone for my 98 SW2 came in a Dayco box.

It's been a couple of months, and so far, so good.
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Old 03-02-2010, 08:39 PM   #48
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Default Re: Serpentine Belt Tensioner Replacement

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Originally Posted by Uzzy View Post
You're lucky. They'll probably last several years, but I know the OE is better. Mine was a fluke that crapped out in a few miles, but I know some of the guys that tested them in development, and they've never been performers. But they are much cheaper.
Yeah, I bought my tensioner from Napa for my 96.. It seemed cheap. I think it was Gates. It's still working but I doubt it would last as long as OEM.
Its got about 20k kms on it.
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Old 03-03-2010, 05:00 PM   #49
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Default Re: Serpentine Belt Tensioner Replacement

Anyone know if there will be a source for the OE tensioners once all the Saturn dealerships close?
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Old 03-03-2010, 08:35 PM   #50
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Default Re: Serpentine Belt Tensioner Replacement

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Originally Posted by theunpaidBill View Post
Anyone know if there will be a source for the OE tensioners once all the Saturn dealerships close?
I thought RockAuto had an ACDelco - they list 4 others now. The Gates Part # 38112 is $58.79
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Old 08-10-2010, 12:14 PM   #51
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Default Re: Serpentine Belt Tensioner Replacement

I thought I could offer some help on this topic. I'm the Director of Marketing for Dayco Products in the US. Dayco and Liten (supplier to Gates) are the OE suppliers to Saturn as far as I know. If the tensioner is designed different, its usually because the aftermarket version was improved due to some discovered weakness. Usually the same tooling is used to create both parts.
Plasic pulleys are used because they run cooler for some applications and less stress on the bearing.

One thing that was disturbing here. Dayco does NOT manufacture the Dorman part. These tensioners are made in Chine and 98% of Dayco's tensioners are made in the USA. Dayco does make the tensioners that AutoZone sells.

Also, what I know is that misalignment and worn components are the #1 cause for belt noise.
I'd be happy to help further, send me a message with additional details and we can have our engineers help with a solution.
Great site.
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Old 09-30-2010, 06:44 PM   #52
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Default Re: Serpentine Belt Tensioner Replacement

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I thought I could offer some help on this topic. I'm the Director of Marketing for Dayco Products in the US. Dayco and Liten (supplier to Gates) are the OE suppliers to Saturn as far as I know. If the tensioner is designed different, its usually because the aftermarket version was improved due to some discovered weakness. Usually the same tooling is used to create both parts.
Plasic pulleys are used because they run cooler for some applications and less stress on the bearing.

One thing that was disturbing here. Dayco does NOT manufacture the Dorman part. These tensioners are made in Chine and 98% of Dayco's tensioners are made in the USA. Dayco does make the tensioners that AutoZone sells.

Also, what I know is that misalignment and worn components are the #1 cause for belt noise.
I'd be happy to help further, send me a message with additional details and we can have our engineers help with a solution.
Great site.
Sorry Belt Man, but you've got it a little backwards. Gates created the tensioner for Saturn. They supply Litens in this case (there is some back and forth). But Gates was the originator and Dayco took over the contract for the OE S-Series tensioner in 1997, I believe.
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Old 10-02-2010, 07:20 AM   #53
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Default Re: Serpentine Belt Tensioner Replacement

Quote:
Originally Posted by SalemCat View Post
I just replaced my Serpentine Belt and Tension Pulley on my 1998 Saturn SW2 DOHC with 125K.

....

AllData recommends removing the Upper Motor Mount, while giving support under the Lower Strut with a 1X1X2 block of wood. I cut up a block of wood just in case, but at no time did it seem to me that removing the Upper Motor Mount would help me in any way. I'm still mystified why they would recommend doing that.
I recall removing the engine mount when I did this, but it was because I was replacing the idler pulley. I really can't remember if it seemed to give better access to the pulley bolts or not, but I don't remember it being as difficult as you have indicated either!

BTW, that small block of wood under the strut technique is the best approach when compared to a jack under the oilpan, which many people say they use.
...
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Old 10-02-2010, 12:53 PM   #54
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Default Re: Serpentine Belt Tensioner Replacement

that belt is about an inch from the wheel well, so taking off the top mount makes sense for the big hands people.

unless you did it from the dirty floor with crap dripping in your eyes, which is the preferred method for mis informed losers like me,
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Old 05-12-2015, 06:40 PM   #55
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Default Re: Serpentine Belt Tensioner Replacement

I got a request from Star Lady, regarding tensioners, so I'm bumping this super old thread. Hopefully, she sees it. I've gotten a few PMs, but I'm not around the forum much anymore. Occasionally a message gets through to my email, and I'll see it.
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Old 05-12-2015, 07:06 PM   #56
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Default Re: Serpentine Belt Tensioner Replacement

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Originally Posted by SalemCat View Post
The $57 Belt Tensioner I bought at AutoZone for my 98 SW2 came in a Dayco box.

It's been a couple of months, and so far, so good.
Love these old threads ! They're a priceless reference for when I need to perform the same task again.

Five Years, Two Months, and 30K later, the Dayco Belt Tensioner is still going strong.

However, I've got three mid-90's SW2's, and rotate them like most people rotate tires. So I don't put a lot of miles on any of them.

Sadly the 98 SW2 with the Dayco Tensioner is off the road right now, due to a failed Exhaust Pipe from last month, but I hope to get it back up for the Winter. Driving my 96 SW2 in the meantime.

My 98SW2 is "sum beech" when it comes to the exhaust. The original engine failed at 35K - I'm pretty sure some dope-addled mechanic at the Dealership forget to put any oil in after an Oil Change.

I had complete records of bringing this vehicle into the local Dealership on time, for every service, and fought them tooth and nail to get a free replacement engine - and I did.

HOWEVER - only later did I realize they shoehorned a new 2000 engine into my 1998 auto - which would be fine except there is a major mismatch in the exhaust manifold area, and no Stock Pipes fit !!!

Last time I worked on it much Custom Cutting and Fitting was required - OUCH ! I did it myself, welding on my back in the driveway. As a result I am NOT looking forward to this.

(Fortunately replacing the muffler remains super easy, and like most Saturn Aftermarket parts, real cheap.)

Due to the fact I own three of these cars, and having a short commute, I'm not the best fellow to ask about parts. I just buy pretty much the cheapest, and go with it.

Last edited by SalemCat; 05-12-2015 at 07:15 PM.
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Old 05-20-2015, 01:47 AM   #57
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Default Re: Serpentine Belt Tensioner Replacement

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Originally Posted by Uzzy View Post
I got a request from Star Lady, regarding tensioners, so I'm bumping this super old thread. Hopefully, she sees it. I've gotten a few PMs, but I'm not around the forum much anymore. Occasionally a message gets through to my email, and I'll see it.
This thread is an oldie-but-goodie, and I'm sure many SF members will benefit from the information provided. I certainly have.
Thank you so much, Uzzy!
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