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Belt tensioner broke!! help!!

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Old 10-11-2007, 01:15 PM   #1
xFatcatx
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Belt tensioner broke!! help!!

99 Sport 4.0 SOHC 79000miles. So i just got on the freeway and kicked it into passing gear to get around a semi and my truck started screaching really loud (louder as acceleration grew). Sounded like a belt or something. I pulled over right away and couldnt notice anything wrong, the Serp Belt looked a little loose but all pulleys seemed to be turning. I decided to limp about 2 miles to my moms where i could work on it and on my way here it was very hard to turn. The steering wheel seemed to almost freeze up on me. I pulled in the driveway screaching still there, tried to turn the steering wheel and it would go about a half turn and then stop, i didnt want to force anything so thats where im at. I have to grab my sis's car now and go to the courthouse for my wonderful divorce which i am late for now, but i do not have an extra car for picking my boys up tomorrow morning so i really need to figure this out today. If it is the PS pump i think i could replace it (although iv never done one) with my hanes manuel but any extra help or points to a thread would be great. thanks guys
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Old 10-11-2007, 03:02 PM   #2
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ok so i just got into it. its the "drive belt tensnior", the pulley that you loosen to release your serpentine belt. there is no tension on the belt, and i can move the tensioner pulley up and down with my hand. i think that would account for the power steering if the belt was not turning the PS pump appropriatly? anyways i really dont have any idea how to take the tensioner pulley off/replace/tighten etc. ill go take a picture and see if that helps, maybe someone can chime in. thanks
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Old 10-11-2007, 03:21 PM   #3
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so you can see in picture#2 i can just pull the pulley up with my hand. i just took the belt off and its just hangin there very loose. it just seems completely broken to me. from underneath i can see what i think is a bolt that holds the pulley on. im going to try and take it off but please chime in if you can give any advice. im thinkin this is probably a junk yard part i could get but ill check on that later. thanks
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Old 10-11-2007, 03:32 PM   #4
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Just get a socket on the bolt and remove it--
it isn't easy to get to-unless you remove the fan and shroud--

I feel for you and the stress you are going through. Hopefullly you can get this fixed and be dad tonight-
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Old 10-11-2007, 03:37 PM   #5
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I took the liberty of changing the title of this thread--
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Old 10-11-2007, 03:45 PM   #6
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thank you jt. i feel a little dumb now, i just got it off about 15 minutes ago. but hey if never done it before. the pulley is ok but the tensioner is audviously broken. autozone wants $50 for the part and they have one in stock. id like to run over to u-pullit and see if i can get one ther first. do you know if any year explorer with the 4.0 SOHC will work? i highly doubt ill go over there and find my exact year. thanks again
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Old 10-11-2007, 03:58 PM   #7
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im gonna assume any 95-01 with the 4.o sohc will work but ill take the part just incase. thanks
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Old 10-11-2007, 04:30 PM   #8
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Good luck-you should find one there.
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Old 10-11-2007, 04:34 PM   #9
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It would be prudent to replace the drive belt while you are at it.

Good luck ....




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Old 10-11-2007, 05:15 PM   #10
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I had to have that done last year or so and it's a dealer job. They have a special too which sets the tensioner correctly. Tried to do it myself to no avail.

The belt looks bad and after the tensioner is replaced, often the belt is stretched out anyway. They wanted another $50-60 to replace the belt. I said, "no thanks" and pulled into a Baxter Auto Parts and picked one up for $10+.

Same issue the year before when I tried to replace the alternator. A special tool is needed to get the pulley off the old unit to install the new. Would have been nice to know before I got in there and removed the old unit!




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Old 10-11-2007, 05:18 PM   #11
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I had to have that done last year or so and it's a dealer job. They have a special too which sets the tensioner correctly. Tried to do it myself to no avail.
No special tool is required. Just a ratchet and socket ( forget the size )

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Same issue the year before when I tried to replace the alternator. A special tool is needed to get the pulley off the old unit to install the new. Would have been nice to know before I got in there and removed the old unit!
No special tool needed for the alternator pulley either. Just a 15/.16" socket.




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Old 10-11-2007, 05:41 PM   #12
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thanks for the help guys. i just got it done, new tension pulley and serp belt. its just a 3/8 drive for the pulley. the u-pullit by my place only had 1st gens, went next door to the light truck parts, da bastads wanted $45 for a used one, it cost me $41 new at autozone plus $21 for the belt. what a relief, nothings worse than pops bangs and squeels on the freeway. thanks again.
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Old 11-26-2007, 11:06 AM   #13
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I have a '99 Explorer with the SOHC and I have a similar problem. The only difference is that my drive belt tensioner broke OFF. I haven't even had a chance to look at it yet because it happened last night when I went to start my Explorer to leave work, and it was pouring down rain. All I know is that when I tried to start it up I heard a loud clank and when I went to investigate my drive belt tensioner was lying on the ground.

Any input would be helpful although I'll probably end up having it towed to a garage because I don't really have anywhere to work on it and it looks like I would have to remove the fan shroud to gain access to it. I really don't need this, especially so close to the holidays, need money for other things.




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Last edited by HUA99XLT; 11-29-2007 at 03:21 PM.
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Old 11-26-2007, 12:41 PM   #14
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A long handled 3/8" ratchet is best to move the tensioner to allow the belt to slip on. There is a square hole(3/8") in the forward part of the tensioner, where the ratchet goes in to crank the tensioner, to loosen/install the belt. All three of the pictures above show the square hole.

Just the socket to unbolt the tensioner is needed. Replace the belt and idler pulleys if you have any significant mileage on them as well. Good luck,




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Old 11-26-2007, 02:46 PM   #15
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Replace the belt and idler pulleys if you have any significant mileage on them as well. Good luck,
Excellent advice. The pulley itself is a cheap part and they can fail. I had my idler pulley bearing seize up on my '99 Sport. Luckily it happened about 8 miles from school and not in the middle of no-where in northern South Carolina (I was driving back from the beach late on a Sunday night).

I went ahead and replaced the belt while I was at it




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Old 11-28-2007, 06:08 PM   #16
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Well, my Explorer's fixed. Was only out of commission for one day. The bolt that holds the tensioner in place broke causing the whole thing to fall off. Luckily, one of my coworkers owns a Meineke and got the replacement part and fixed it for me while I was at work. Cost me $50 because I had to get a new tensioner but I could care less, especially because Jim (my coworker) changed the thing during a f*****g thunderstorm while my Explorer was sitting outside of work, just so I could drive it home that night. Talk about a nice guy and a good friend.




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Old 11-28-2007, 06:20 PM   #17
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Luckily it happened about 8 miles from school and not in the middle of no-where in northern South Carolina (I was driving back from the beach late on a Sunday night).
yea.....it sure would have sucked to have to sleep over night on the beach

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Old 01-26-2009, 07:03 PM   #18
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just to calm fears about this little tensioner swap. when i was 19 i worked as a pizza delivery guy. (killer on the x, bad idea...) any way, the casting broke around the washer of the bolt and was sitting on the frame rail when i looked for the culprit. walked 2 blocks to parts store, bought new arm and cheap socket set ($50 total). all in all, clocked back in 30 min later. relax, its never as bad as ya think.
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Old 01-26-2009, 11:24 PM   #19
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Guys~ If you didn't already, change your fixed idler pulleys. They break at the worst time. Believe me on this, and there are random posts about these things seizing up and falling off. The tensioner pulley can be changed too, but if its over 100K miles might not be an idea to get an entire assembly
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Old 02-02-2009, 02:18 PM   #20
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Guys~ If you didn't already, change your fixed idler pulleys. They break at the worst time. Believe me on this, and there are random posts about these things seizing up and falling off. The tensioner pulley can be changed too, but if its over 100K miles might not be an idea to get an entire assembly
They absolutely break at the worst times - it just happened to me . Started up the 1999 Explorer (sport) and heard a huge bang and sure enough the entire assembly and spring is laying on the ground... Time to fix...

Darrell
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