Bad Belt Tensioner - Taurus Car Club of America : Ford Taurus Forum
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post #1 of 6 (permalink) Old 09-15-2016, 01:21 AM Thread Starter
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Bad Belt Tensioner

Just wanted to give you guys a tip out there in case my experience matches anyone elses or maybe can help you out...

A few months back I replaced my water pump and a couple other things. The drive belt is pretty new, but while I had the belt off the engine I figured I should replace the tensioner too, as it was original, and people say it is a wear item. I have a parts car that was mine and got totalled, and on my parts car I had a Gates tensioner with less than 10,000 miles on it, so I figured why not just pull that one off and pop it on my car.

After everything was all back together, it seemed like the engine ran louder and a bit rougher than before. Also, I could tell something was definitely different because in the past, whenever I started the car and the idle was high, I would often give it a little gas and let go, and the idle would quickly drop down to normal. After this job, it would not drop down quickly, but much more gradually.

I suspected the tensioner, but didn't really know for sure, as the car wasn't exhibiting signs that indicated bad tensioner, at least based on my search results for bad tensioner. It's just that the engine sounded a bit loud or rough, and if not for my prior familiarity with the car, or if someone is a bit of an expert with how engines should run (which I'm not), it's very possible that nothing would seem so "off" about it.

Anyway, today I FINALLY got around to putting a new Motorcraft tensioner on the car. Well, good news. Back running the way she used to. I'm guessing that maybe the tension from the Gates tensioner was too tight? Now regardless of that, I don't know if the problem was because that Gates part failed prematurely, was poorer quality, or perhaps even whether it somehow got damaged when that car was totalled (?) but the Motorcraft part in this case did the trick. Not sure if anyone else might have a similar situation to mine where there is nothing else clear to suspect, but I'm happy that I solved it and it didn't just turn into throwing parts at a problem.
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post #2 of 6 (permalink) Old 09-16-2016, 05:29 AM
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The Gates Tensioner could have been a culprit, but I'd bet belt if you replaced that too. I have noticed my Bull, which a family member now drives, runs like crap if the battery gets low. But when that thing gets charged- it runs NICE. It gets short tripped a lot which is why it goes down.

I also noticed the car ran better after I replaced the tensioner. For the same reason. If the alternator isn't getting good belt contact- it's not going to output the greatest.
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post #3 of 6 (permalink) Old 09-16-2016, 07:53 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by noluck4 View Post
The Gates Tensioner could have been a culprit, but I'd bet belt if you replaced that too. I have noticed my Bull, which a family member now drives, runs like crap if the battery gets low. But when that thing gets charged- it runs NICE. It gets short tripped a lot which is why it goes down.

I also noticed the car ran better after I replaced the tensioner. For the same reason. If the alternator isn't getting good belt contact- it's not going to output the greatest.
I drive short trips and my bat stays up. Need a good bat and Alt giving at least 13.8V when running. As to tensioner, each time I am under the hood, I take the belt in an open gap and give it a pull and let it return. It should pull with significant resistance and return in a smooth action. At static, it should be taunt. Belts get hard and slip, but the last time I had that, under warrenty the PS was the first to show problems. Same for my daughter's '98 which lost PS when water splashed up.

If you use brand X belt it might look like mine in the pic. House brand, maybe a year in use on DOHC which is only 5 pulleys. Easy application. Gatorback fixes a lot of issues.

If my battery was not up to volts due to low use, I would use a charger on it maybe once a week. I would charge through the power port. Small charger, lost of time is best.

-chart-

Last edited by chartmaker; 10-08-2016 at 03:26 PM.
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post #4 of 6 (permalink) Old 09-16-2016, 02:35 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by noluck4 View Post
The Gates Tensioner could have been a culprit, but I'd bet belt if you replaced that too.
It was definitely the tensioner; the belt was replaced months ago. The only thing I changed the other day was the tensioner.
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post #5 of 6 (permalink) Old 09-17-2016, 09:41 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chartmaker View Post
I drive short trips and my bat stays up. Need a good bat and Alt giving at least 13.8V when running. As to tensioner, each time I am under the hood, I take the belt in an open gap and give it a pull and let it return. It should pull with significant resistance and return in a smooth action. At static, it should be taunt. Belts get hard and slip, but the last time I had that, under warrenty the PS was the first to show problems. Same for my daughter's '98 which lost PS when water splashed up.

If you use brand X belt it might look like mine in the pic. House brand, maybe a year in use on DOHC which is only 5 pulleys. Easy application. Gatorback fixes a lot of issues.

If my battery was not up to volts due to low use, I would use a charger on it maybe once a week. I would charge through the power port. Small charger, lost of time is best.

-chart-
For mine its short trips constant. It never gets time to fully charge except if I drive it. I define a short trip as being under 4 miles round trip. I ditched the bull a couple years ago as a daily driver. I needed reliable transportation to and from work 6 days a week, 52 weeks a year, and it was not going to be up to the task. Now a relative gets to drive it, and I take it out maybe once a month. More when the weather is bad since if I wreck it, I'd likely celebrate. I don't charge it because it's not worth the time, effort, or expense to do it. It doesn't die, and it's fixable with a drive.

The Goodyear Gatorback belts are now called Continental Elite Poly V.
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post #6 of 6 (permalink) Old 09-22-2016, 09:18 PM Thread Starter
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And by the way, the car seems to have more power (better pickup) than it did with the bad tensioner. Could be my imagination, but I don't think so.
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