Saturday, June 11, 2016

Idler Pulley & Belt Replacement

 Okay... car started a random squeek about a week ago.  After some research, was led to the idler pulley and belt.  The car does have 113K miles on it, so makes sense.  Video of the sqeek, etc is here.

Went and picked up the parts for $50 and began the process. Well, let's just say after doing many pulley's and belts on cars over the years, this ended up taking A LOT more time then I would have hoped.  You need to loosen up the upper bolt on the alternator, and then loosen the adjustable tensioner on it about as far as you can without removing it.  Then take a pry bar, etc and push the alternator forward relieving tension off the belt.   Next you have to go under the car, move/remove some of the plastic pieces underneath, and then you can reach the belt and pull it off it's path.  Then use a flat wrench (no room for sockets, etc) to get on the bolt holding the idler pulley in place and get it loose.  Once loose get back under the car and turn it by hand (actually finger) to get the bolt and outer spacer off.  Then the pulley will come loose.  Was easiest to pull the loose pulley out the top with a magnet.   Putting the new pulley in I needed 2 people for.  One to hold the pulley in place with a magnet from above, while I was below with the spacer/bolt putting it in place on the pulley and getting it started by hand.

Had a problem with even the quality after market pulley's that we tried (3 of them from different companies).  The factory pulley has a front and rear spacer as well as a water/dirt shield over the bearing.  These parts aren't included with the new pulley, which isn't a problem.  BUT... the problem was that each of the pulley's I tried were not built properly to have the shield installed without putting pressure on the pulley itself, thus preventing it from turning.  

Proper fitting shield on proper pulley

Inproper fitting shield on inproper pulley

Back side of pulley with factory spacer in place


The answer was replacing it with a pulley from NAPA, part 38011 for $25.50.   This had the proper offset for the factory parts & shield to work correctly.  Once it was installed, went to install the new belt.  Well, after quite a few attempts, could never get it on ... too short.  Ran back to NAPA and looked at longer options, and the only one that was in stock was NAPA 25-050459 for $17.50.  It was about 1" longer, so it went on easily.   The alternator tensioner had about 1/4" of adjustment left once I got it tight, so it worked fine.



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