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Thread: I'm done with hydraulic tensioners

  1. #1
    Member verified Feedback Score 2 (100%) blindmist's Avatar
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    I'm done with hydraulic tensioners

    So what I thought was my water pump making noise, I checked it again and noticed way too much slack in the timing belt. I went ahead and tore down the timing belt side to get to the water pump and to check to see if my tensioner pulley had loosened and rolled back. I get the timing belt cover off and see that the tensioner is entirely collapsed. I fire the engine up and sure enough, the noise that I thought was my water pump was actually the tensioner pulley slapping the collapsed hydraulic tensioner. It even almost sounded like rod knock. I shut the engine off and pulled the hydraulic tensioner off. I got a good laugh when I could push the pin all the way in with just the force exerted by my thumb.

    This has been the 4th hydraulic tensioner to fail on me, and this one only had 7,000 or so miles on it. I am tired of risking my valves on these fucking tensioners. I know for A fact that i am doing nothing wrong when installing them and setting the timing. Maybe some of you guys might have an idea as to why these things keep failing. I have come to the conclusion that I am going to be using a solid tensioner. If anything, this will only be better because I know for a fact that it cannot fail, and the only thing I need to be concerned about is adjusting for slack from age and temperature changes over time. I talked to one fella that had a BLE for his DD DSM and he said he hasn't even had to adjust it once for the almost 2 years he has had it on his car. He estimates that there is probably around 24,000 miles on it by now.

    /rant

    UPDATE:

    Drilled a 5/16 hole in the bottom. Tapped it to 5/16x18

    The rest is history. $3.03

    There was a little bit of secondary modifications to fit the tensioner back to the block. There was a little bit of aluminum in the way from the oil filter housing. I took my die grinder and fixed that problem. Then I noticed the main timing belt cover was pressed up against the bolt of the tensioner. So, once again, I just took my die grinder to the cover and that was that. Just got back from driving it around for two hours, the belt has a little faint whine to it now, but only when under the hood revving it. There is no additional slack in the belt at all and everything worked WAY better than expected!!!! I must say, I am extremely pleased with my handy work today, and I urge anyone wanting a solid tensioner to try making one the way I did before spending $100+

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    Here for the party Not Verified Feedback Score 1 (100%) CoreyB's Avatar
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    Are you using OEM ? I had one from Rockauto fail really fast, like a 1000 miles or so.

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    I'm Kind Of A Big Deal Feedback Score 8 (100%) Emilie@GZP's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CoreyB View Post
    Are you using OEM ? I had one from Rockauto fail really fast, like a 1000 miles or so.
    I was going to ask the same thing. We won't use anything other than an OEM tensioner. It's just not worth the risk.
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    Member verified Feedback Score 2 (100%) blindmist's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CoreyB View Post
    Are you using OEM ? I had one from Rockauto fail really fast, like a 1000 miles or so.
    Come on now, I'm not a retard. :P


    Not saying you are for buying one from RockAuto, but with the money I had tied up in this build, a non-OEM was out of the question.

    I think I am going to attempt to braze some washers onto my collapsed tensioner after grinding the pin out just to turn it into a solid non-adjustable. I am fairly certain I can torque on that pulley hard enough with my 2-pin tool to get the correct tension on the belt. Not to mention the fact that i have only brazed once in my life, this can either work out great or go horribly wrong. Thoughts?
    Last edited by blindmist; 01-10-2011 at 03:56 PM.

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    Why not drill the hydraulic tensioner out, tap it, and run a large bolt through it- instant adjustable manual tensioner. You can also cut a portion of it off and weld a nut to it to achieve the same thing. I've been meaning to do this on my bike for a while and now I'm considering doing it on the stealth. Hydraulic tensioners are cute, but they concern me more than a little. I was inspecting the tensioner and a cold water pump squeak just the other day, found the tensioner working, but I still just don't trust it.

  6. #6
    Member verified Feedback Score 2 (100%) blindmist's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RL7 View Post
    Why not drill the hydraulic tensioner out, tap it, and run a large bolt through it- instant adjustable manual tensioner. You can also cut a portion of it off and weld a nut to it to achieve the same thing. I've been meaning to do this on my bike for a while and now I'm considering doing it on the stealth. Hydraulic tensioners are cute, but they concern me more than a little. I was inspecting the tensioner and a cold water pump squeak just the other day, found the tensioner working, but I still just don't trust it.
    I have thought about this too. The only issue is that I don't believe I have the correct tools to tap that long of a hole, and tapping cast iron isn't the easiest either. The other reason being, if I am going to have to adjust the tensioner, I am going to have to pull the timing covers anyway, and it would just be faster to put the 2-pin tool on the pulley and just loosen the pulley, torque down again, and tighten the set bolt.

  7. #7
    Member verified Feedback Score 2 (100%) blindmist's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by steve68 View Post
    Toyotas use hydraulic tensioners with their timing chains.

    Our cars use "auto tensioners"

    They're not hydraulic, they have a spring in them.
    Hydraulic tensioners pump up with oil pressure.

    Why not just fit a new one?

    Steve
    Lol. :facepalm: do I need to take pictures of all the oil that came out of the tensioner when I started to tear it apart? I don't know of any spring that small that can hold the weight of a truck and be pushed slowly back in. And that truck weighs 9200lbs. At least that's what it took to compress my last tensioner that I pulled off the engine that was good when I took it off.

    They are hydraulic, please don't argue.
    Last edited by blindmist; 01-10-2011 at 04:21 PM.

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    Here for the party Not Verified Feedback Score 1 (100%) CoreyB's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by steve68 View Post
    Toyotas use hydraulic tensioners with their timing chains.

    Our cars use "auto tensioners"

    They're not hydraulic, they have a spring in them.
    Hydraulic tensioners pump up with oil pressure.

    Why not just fit a new one?

    Steve
    Not true at all. They are full of oil and are hydrolic for sure.

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    Member verified Feedback Score 0 DocWalt's Avatar
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    There's two kinds of hydraulic tensioners, there's the kind that pumps up with oil pressure, and the ones that are full of oil already. We have the latter.

    I had an OEM tensioner fail, and needed one ASAP. Went with a Beck Arnley one from Advance. It lasted at least 6 months, and 6,000+ miles until I traded it in.
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    I just saw a thread somewhere that mentioned the ratio of bad to good factory hydraulic tensioners is fairly high, which is disappointing.

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