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View Full Version : Idler pulley, tensioner, belt service interva


bg101
12-07-2013, 04:42 PM
What mileage is suggested for changing the idler pulleys, belt and tensioner?
I heard of stories that the pulleys fell apart at around 180,000.


I think to replace them at 190000. Any recommendation?

Vehicle: 2008 Sprinter 2500 170"

FlyingBreadBox
12-07-2013, 04:56 PM
I replaced mine at 105,000 . Loud squealing from tensioner was the reason.

wraII
12-07-2013, 05:17 PM
I've been carrying all those parts plus altenator since my sprinter had 60,000 miles. It now has 284,850 and I STILL keep thinking I'd rather change them while weather is nice, but then I wouldn't know just how much use I missed out on.

hulagun
12-07-2013, 05:34 PM
I've been carrying all those parts plus altenator since my sprinter had 60,000 miles. It now has 284,850 and I STILL keep thinking I'd rather change them while weather is nice, but then I wouldn't know just how much use I missed out on.

I'm just heading out to change the belt on my van because at 120,000 miles... it looks really aged and bits are missing out of the fine ribs. I would bet it's original or perhaps last replaced many years ago. If you got 224,000 + miles on your serpentine belt, it must be down to the cords by now! :wtf:

Wish I'd done it sooner, when the temp was above 45... but at least the sun's out.

lindenengineering
12-07-2013, 09:58 PM
:thumbup:Guys
The rule of thumb is to replace the tensioner, idler pulleys and belt at 100K miles if you haven't done so already.

The serp' belts used these days do not crack they simply wear down the grooves and then slip causing heat propagation into accessory pulleys & bearings. Gates actually has a guage for checking the groove depth. Its usually supplied FOC to anyone that wants one.
http://www.gatesprograms.com/beltwear

A special mention must be made regarding the stretch belt driving the fan of the V6 diesel.

First the fan support is NOT THE WATER PUMP but a bracket in which is mounted a bearing and shaft with a threaded end to accept the fan hub.
When the bearings wears the stretch belt pulls down the pulley to take up the wear and the belt residual tension masks the wear which might have been detected by the "rock method" in other instances.
In fact you can sometimes detect the wear by observing the fan spinning at idle then rev it to about 2500 r/m and then watch it wobble and smooth out.

But the best way is with your ears.
Essentially if the bearing is worn it will make a vibration sound at around 2000 r/m much like a heat shield loose and vibrating, it can even be heard in the cab.
As a quck test I remove the fan and do the "rev test'!
If the vibro racket is gone sans fan arr', the most likely culprit will be the idler shaft bearing!'

In these instances I usually toss the fan and viscous clutch in the trash at $175 a pop, its well worth the "insurance'!

The idler shaft bearing /bracket assy is about $110 and stretch belt $25.

Of course a cooling system service isn't complete without a flush at about 60K and a core external clean out including the A/C condenser.

The precautions ensure peace of mind on a long road trip in your Sprinter , and reduce the possibilities of being stranded out on some lonely part of 1/90 in Montana, or 1/25 Chugwater Wyoming for example in the middle of the night.
You don't want to be doing/singing this:-

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oLkzz2miaog

p.s.
I actually met this bloke in Laramie at a hotel check in. I/80 was a sheet of ice and even my Landrover didn't like it!
One good slide and I would have been walking in Wyoming as well :rolleyes:

For my Brit bretheren on this forum this is where you meet REAL Americans--The northern tier of the USA. That's why I feel at home here :thumbup:
(No offense though to other forum members just my preference. )
Cheers Dennis

PLUMMER
12-08-2013, 03:21 AM
You have that spot on there linden engineering.

On my 07 100k showed lots of wear on the large belt, the fan belt was in great condition. Lucky so far on the idler, last check at 96k I think it was said good.

wraII
12-08-2013, 05:02 AM
Are ya all saying I should do preventive maintenance. If the parts last another 100,000 it will be likely to cost me nothing (because it won't be me doing it) . If I let a shop do it, it will probably cost 600 dollars just for labor. If the parts last longer than me working, I can turn around and resell the new parts to the new owner. Ps the belts still look new and no squealing. I will check to see if the fan blades move with revs increasing.

lindenengineering
12-08-2013, 02:12 PM
Are ya all saying I should do preventive maintenance. If the parts last another 100,000 it will be likely to cost me nothing (because it won't be me doing it) . If I let a shop do it, it will probably cost 600 dollars just for labor. If the parts last longer than me working, I can turn around and resell the new parts to the new owner. Ps the belts still look new and no squealing. I will check to see if the fan blades move with revs increasing.

All I am saying is that as an owner/operator you should do the PM schedule per the manufacturers recommendations and inspect the vehicle (any vehicle you own for that matter) for impending/potential failures in the short term. If the vehicle is developing a potential fault, investigate it before it becomes a real issue and strands you on the roadside.

Over the years (decades) manufacturers have increased their maintenance / docking schedules out to 100K plus on most component parts that traditionally would have had attention at 40K.
Of course you pay for this type of objective, oils and fluids cost more and when it DOES come time to do the PM it in turn costs more.

This as always is driven by customer demand and price pointing.
For the most part vehicle sales in the US are driven by leasing and free scheduled maintenance for the lease period. The least maintenance work the dealer needs to do on the vehicle during its capture period the less the overhead. This is where manufactures go head to head these days on different platforms in an effort to get increased market share and customer CSI ratings.

The Sprinter and its newcomer competitors like the Dodge and soon to arrive Ford Transit will all do similar "battle" in the near future to gain market share.

Now all professional mechanics can site incidences where neglectful PM adherence causes expensive repair bills.
I will highlight one in my shop recently because it is fresh in my mind!

Ex
A 2009 (139000 miles) Range Rover with Jag 4.4 litre V8 blown head gaskets.
Engine had glowed in the dark, but the owner insisted he stopped the engine when the needle hit the red!
Dealer price quote to fix (new engine) $16750 plus 22 hours of labor--well you know the story!

I was able to salvage the short block (piston/crank etc) and install some in house recon heads salvaged from a blown engine.

Dealer price heads $6000 new $3000 recon EACH and gasket set $640. (gives you an idea of parts pricing)

Manufacturer's recommendation is flush cooling system and change out the thermostat at 60,000!

Doing a "post mortem"--radiator partially plugged up; slugged coolant (replaced at $395) and the new thermostat $67 stuck partially closed--or partially open if you are an optimist.:idunno:
Job ticket as a healthy $6750 quotation.

The part that caused the problem were deteriorating coolant say $32.00 and thermostat ($67) all on the PM schedule at 60,000 but ignored.
So what would have cost $250 to maintain, but this hapless customer had to grasp a charge of $6750 plus towing and the inconvenience of being off the road.
Still after the test run he jumped into it with his family & luggage and a full tank of gas and tore off to Branson Ms at 90 mph. Via con Dios:laughing:

(At least he had the forethought to call next day and give thanks for the "economical repair" OMG and tell me how nice it was running! )

What's the old Fram saying?
Pay me now or pay me later!

In the end there are no free rides.
Dennis

wraII
12-08-2013, 06:49 PM
Guess my wifes Christmas present will be a repair bill for the sprinter.

hulagun
12-08-2013, 07:06 PM
Guess my wifes Christmas present will be a repair bill for the sprinter.

I'm looking for work so cannot afford to gamble on skipping preventative maintenance. I just replaced the obviously well worn serpentine belt and one iffy idler pulley on my Sprinter myself. Mileage 122k. Cost under $75 and maybe 2 hours of my time. As a bonus, doing the work myself educates me, and I know it was done right.:thumbup:

pauli
01-29-2015, 05:18 PM
Hi, I am just about to replace tensioner plus small and large pulleys, my question is what is needed to change the large pully, is it easy to remove from the bracket? as it is 80 extra for the bracket & pulley, thanks Paul.

kendall69
01-30-2015, 04:28 AM
pulley and belt dropped out at 103K. My advice change the pulley & belt at 100K it's CHEAP insurance. Why drive the ticking time bomb bomb not knowing when it will drop out and break.

Mine went and I was lucky to pull over with no power steering, in rush hour traffic. I sat for hours on a hot day waiting for a tow, then spending 3 nights in a motel till it was fixed.

Between my time, the tow and the motel it was twice as much as just changing it out at 100K.

lindenengineering
01-30-2015, 12:50 PM
pulley and belt dropped out at 103K. My advice change the pulley & belt at 100K it's CHEAP insurance. Why drive the ticking time bomb bomb not knowing when it will drop out and break.

Mine went and I was lucky to pull over with no power steering, in rush hour traffic. I sat for hours on a hot day waiting for a tow, then spending 3 nights in a motel till it was fixed.

Between my time, the tow and the motel it was twice as much as just changing it out at 100K.

Kendall69
Thanks for posting this observation--a two thumbs up!:thumbup::thumbup:
I chirp on about tossing out belts and drive idlers /tensioners etc at 100K miles.
Your experience just reinforces what I see and have to repair all too often; the last one I had in the shop took out the fan , fan shroud, radiator and hosing, plus all the drive & accessories. Plus a $500 tow!
Not cheap!
And VOR'd the van for 48 hours.
:cheers:Dennis

ps Off the topic of Sprinters, Landrover recommends a FULL cooling system service at 80K.
Those owners who forgo this vital activity suffer in about 90% of cases experience a serious head gasket issue by 120K with cylinder liner damage!
Of course the vehicle gets condemned as crap and just like some of the comments I read about Sprinters!
Maintenance!
D

kendall69
02-01-2015, 09:02 PM
Kendall69
Thanks for posting this observation--a two thumbs up!:thumbup::thumbup:
I chirp on about tossing out belts and drive idlers /tensioners etc at 100K miles.
Your experience just reinforces what I see and have to repair all too often; the last one I had in the shop took out the fan , fan shroud, radiator and hosing, plus all the drive & accessories. Plus a $500 tow!
Not cheap!
And VOR'd the van for 48 hours.
:cheers:Dennis

ps Off the topic of Sprinters, Landrover recommends a FULL cooling system service at 80K.
Those owners who forgo this vital activity suffer in about 90% of cases experience a serious head gasket issue by 120K with cylinder liner damage!
Of course the vehicle gets condemned as crap and just like some of the comments I read about Sprinters!
Maintenance!
D
The saddest part of my story is when it was towed in the dealer said - "we don't ever check the tensioners". I was to a week earlier for an AC compressor, but missed the appointment. He said if we put in the compressor last week - you would be back this week for the belt and tensioner because we don't inspect the tensioner when we replace the AC compressor. ...so he said "see good thing you missed your appointment last week" ....YA BRILLIANT,

lindenengineering
02-02-2015, 12:48 AM
As they say in Ireland EEjits!
Dennis

glasseye
02-02-2015, 03:20 AM
It would be a good idea if Europarts or someone like them offered a maintenance kit for this job, with all OEM parts. :hmmm:

pauli
02-07-2015, 01:05 PM
Hi, I have just replaced the tensioner, serpentine belt, large and small pulleys, but I have a strange knocking type sound still when the engine is at idle as if something is loose, as soon as I rev and hold the sound disappears, any idea what the next port of call would be to sort this? thanks

lindenengineering
02-07-2015, 01:12 PM
Don't overlook the fan/pulley support arr!
Often mistaken for the water pump, this unit has a habit of wearing the bearings and producing strange knocking noises at idle.
Dennis

pauli
02-07-2015, 01:30 PM
Thanks Dennis, do you mean the pulley that is directly behind the viscous fan? I have noticed some play in the viscous fan so will look at changing this also, will I need to drain & pull the radiator for this, or is there another way of getting the fan off? thanks Paul.

lindenengineering
02-07-2015, 02:42 PM
Pauli
Yes the support which is an alum casting with a bearing and shaft arr' inside it.
To get access to need to remove the fan shround, so detach the top radiator hose..
Take a wrench to the fan nut and whack it to the RIGHT facing the vehicle to break it loose.
Spin off the nut part of the viscous fan and then remove it with the shroud from the vehicle.
Now you will have full access.
The short belt is stretch to fit so a challenge to install and remove for that matter .
Simply by removing the bolts from the pulley will cause detachment. The main accessory belt is held tight by the tensionser.
Rebuild is a reversal of dis assembly and if you are carefull you can re-install the new stretch belt by judicious nstall, of the pulley fixing bolts and rotating the assembly to align the pulley and the belt onto the engine. There is in fact a special tool from Napa to do this!
Hope that helps
Dennis

pauli
02-07-2015, 02:57 PM
Paul
The short belt is stretch to fit so a challenge to install and remove for that matter .
Dennis

Not sure what you mean by the short belt? I have one main serpentine belt held by the tensioner 651 engine

sprintguy
02-07-2015, 10:08 PM
As according to MB, the belts should be replaced at the 4th service interval or 2nd "B" level service. This is stated in the service sheets. During replacement is when the inspection of the pulleys and tensioner is performed. If you have rear A/C then you should replace that tensioner with the A/C drive belt.



Carl

pauli
02-07-2015, 11:30 PM
Yes sorry got what was meant, no air con on my van, thankyou for your help guys it will make the job a lot easier now :cheers:

obie
02-08-2015, 12:19 AM
Check your harmonic balancer real good. That's what mine was. Only at idle, and not constant, and no set pattern.

obie
02-10-2015, 03:44 PM
any updates?

pauli
02-11-2015, 10:02 PM
Hi Obie, sprintguy & all, yes update is, I have changed `deep breath` the serpentine belt, tensioner, large & small pulleys, both idler pulleys, I noticed play in water pump so today have also changed water pump, viscous fan & thermostat, but after that I still have the strange knocking something loose type sound that goes once revs above 1000rpm and still a squeal from the belt, The reason I changed the thermostat is I noticed the top hose from red to thermostat was not getting hot (still isn't) at present I am having to drive with fan in cab on hot and on full to keep the temperature on the dash reading to around 80 degrees if I turn it off it will keep going up & up, got 700 mile to do in next 2 days, most likely be the only one with window open to cool ma down in the British winter, real snowball effect, any help please guys, thanks.

obie
02-11-2015, 11:31 PM
No play in the harmonic balancer?

pauli
02-12-2015, 12:00 AM
Couldn`t feel any in harmonic, looks like it may have to be that and power steering pump as well, just to be on the safe side.

chads
02-12-2015, 01:35 AM
How abou your alternator clutch?
Chad

glasseye
02-12-2015, 02:09 AM
It would be a good idea if Europarts or someone like them offered a maintenance kit for this job, with all OEM parts. :hmmm:

On further research, I found that the do offer such a kit. :hugs:

http://europarts-sd.com/item.asp?PID=2307

pauli
02-12-2015, 08:02 PM
No, alternator good, think it`s the power steering pump, will update.

Markthelark
03-07-2015, 07:01 AM
I have similar problem , suspect either Tensioner or Alt clutch. Bought all new pulleys, belt and tensioner , except Alt clutch from MB 170 incl Vat. Hope to do this weekend. If it still has the same problem then will take Alt to local repairer to check out , and change the clutch pulley.
Can the job be done without removing Radiator ??????????

lindenengineering
03-07-2015, 11:57 AM
Yes!
Just remove the fan cowl if you need more room!
Dennis

vitola231
03-07-2015, 01:25 PM
Dennis, out of curiosity. Why do all these bearings not last long? Is it due to excessive belt tension? Environment? One of my buildings has base mount pumps from the 50's that are original, front and back bearing in motors and in this case bearings front and back in seal bearing assembly. These 8hp pumps run 24/7, when I got into this boiler plant the pumps surely haven't been greased for ages and you could't touch the cases near bearings they were so hot, now they run cool and smooth with touch of grease. Even large triple belt blowers with pillow block bearings holding back 30" blower would last forever (relative to ones perception) if greased and likely an easy ten if not. Or is it simply a matter of the "sealed for life" life being relative to ones perception, not owners perception likely. I have seen this in my market, recieved motor with no oiling holes etc that was sealed, decided to take apart before installation expecting to see bearings and what I saw was bushings. I din't install motor as one could imagine and returned it with a no thank you :)

Funny, drove wifes LR3 a couple weeks ago and found she lost her toe. Had her bring into land rover and they said it needed inner tie rods and they normally do new rack at the same time, sounding like a bit of a racket ;) to me, I brought it to my Indian dessert mechanic to put up on hoist and I did find significant play in inners and they were as dry as an upper class dinner party, guess no one greases these. $200 later plus the few hundred I always give my dessert mechanic for watching me work on his hoist as he always seems to greatly enjoy (rather give it to him than anyone else) and she drives like new. Funny world where inner tie rods would justify new rack.

Odd how vehicles are, land rover is supposed to be awful and unreliable yet this unit never lets us down. 2 years ago a headlight bulb suddenly failed and needed replacing, thats been our only surprise emergency failure. So impressed with the machine that I'm selling my sprinter and buying one, just can't decide between 2010/11 LR4, 2008 LR3, or 2008 RR full size supercharged. $3,000 difference between 2008 LR3's and full size ranges, don't know why though. The kid in me wants the RR supercharged :), the adult in me says the LR has more cargo capacity.

lindenengineering
03-07-2015, 02:11 PM
Dennis, out of curiosity. Why do all these bearings not last long? Is it due to excessive belt tension? Environment? One of my buildings has base mount pumps from the 50's that are original, front and back bearing in motors and then in this case bearings front and back in seal bearing assembly. These 8hp pumps run 24/7, when I got into this boiler plant the pumps surely haven't been greased for ages and you could't touch the cases near bearings they were so hot, now they run cool and smooth with touch of grease. Even large triple belt blowers with pillow block bearings holding back 30" blower would last forever (relative to ones perception) if greased and likely an easy ten if not. Or is it simply a matter of the "sealed for life" life being relative to ones perception, not owners perception likely. I have seen this in my market, recieved motor with no oiling holes etc that was sealed, decided to take apart before installation expecting to see bearings and what I saw was bushings. I din't install motor as one could imagine and returned it with a no thank you :)

Funny, drove wifes LR3 a couple weeks ago and found she lost her toe. Had her bring into land rover and they said it needed inner tie rods and they normally do new rack at the same time, sounding like a bit of a racket ;) to me, I brought it to my Indian dessert mechanic to put up on hoist and I did find significant play in inners and they were as dry as an upper class dinner party, guess no one greases these. $200 later plus the few hundred I always give my dessert mechanic for watching me work on his hoist (rather give it to him than anyone else) and she drives like new. Funny world where inner tie rods would justify new rack.

I suppose to answer the first part, I would say that many items have been over engineered to last a lifetime. In the MV world stuff is made to fail at a certain point. So it has enough durability to last for specific period.
Overall this follows the Vincent Motorcycle saga--don't make it so that you don't need another! You will go bankrupt!

As for the LR3 --well it has its foibles too alignment and tyre wear is legendary. Ideally to get it "right" you have to lock down the air suspoension to neutral mode using a scanner then set the alignment.

Yes the tie rods never get greased in fact I don't think there is provision for it.
Dealers don't unit repair anything--- LR dealers included !
Hence the policy to install new!
It ranges to engine as well !
Head gasket gone! Change the engine!
I have recently fixed a big body RR with Ford/Lincoln based 4.4 engine.Owner made it glow in the dark warping the heads beyond redemption.

Dealer wanted to change out the engine--reason no heads in the USA!
I had a pair of re-conned ones but needed to set the bucket lifter clearances.
Again no-one has the skill nor patience inclination to do it in a dealership 'cos it makes no money!

Just a bit of care and some green clams on my hand (well C/C swipe!) and it ran like a Swiss watch--made in England designed by Ford/Lincoln Mercury!
Global business in action I suppose!:laughing:
Cheers Dennis

vitola231
03-07-2015, 02:34 PM
Wifes has the Ford six in it (4ltr ?), funny how familiar the start up sound is. Dirt cheap parts for motor :) and things seem to give definite results that I can recognize. It was consuming lots of gas, 19ltr per 100km in town so I said must be air filter time, $30 later and now back down to 16ltr per 100km :).

Funny story for you, brother had a Mercury grand marqui with a 302 or whatever they're calling it now in it that he bought for $500 used per my recommendation. He was having reliability issues and poor running etc, when I looked at it I pulled a plug and noted it was some fancy multi pronged thing that must been built for the space shuttle or museum. I said what are these? to which he proudly announced some platinum etc etc costing x amount of dollars each plugs. I said you can't be putting Ferrari parts in a ford, we went to ford dealer and bought the dirt cheap oem plugs and installed and wallah, runs like new again. He was kinda sad at that result actually.

vitola231
03-07-2015, 02:49 PM
Soon we will see the ultimate, lifetime spark plugs welded into heads. If they fail it will be new motor or a new car because surely you can't expect more than 150,000 km on plugs :) Friend of mine has a Mini and dealer sits you down in a waiting room like a hospital and tells you all thats wrong with the car :thumb up: makes you want to smuggle in a Kamaz from Russia, designed in the 60's, not upgraded since (pistal holders in door and all) tools needed to fix are ball peen hammer, maybe vise grips and you likely should maybe eventually change diesel filter at some point if factory actually put one in:lol:

lindenengineering
03-07-2015, 08:55 PM
Wifes has the Ford six in it (4ltr ?), funny how familiar the start up sound is. Dirt cheap parts for motor :) and things seem to give definite results that I can recognize. It was consuming lots of gas, 19ltr per 100km in town so I said must be air filter time, $30 later and now back down to 16ltr per 100km :).

Funny story for you, brother had a Mercury grand marqui with a 302 or whatever they're calling it now in it that he bought for $500 used per my recommendation. He was having reliability issues and poor running etc, when I looked at it I pulled a plug and noted it was some fancy multi pronged thing that must been built for the space shuttle or museum. I said what are these? to which he proudly announced some platinum etc etc costing x amount of dollars each plugs. I said you can't be putting Ferrari parts in a ford, we went to ford dealer and bought the dirt cheap oem plugs and installed and wallah, runs like new again. He was kinda sad at that result actually.

Oh thosee expensive four prong Bosch platinums!
What junk!
We see them almost every day causing missfires, a favourite of the Landrover DIY crowd.
Yes simply put some cooking Denso plugs in it at $6,00 a pop, and the thing runs like new.

Marketing its a wonderful thing!:rolleyes:
Dennis

bryan11
08-04-2016, 06:48 PM
What are the torque specs on replacing the fan clutch bracket, and on the pulleys etc. Or is this a non issue, just nice and tight!

edfrompa
08-05-2016, 04:23 PM
What are the torque specs on replacing the fan clutch bracket, and on the pulleys etc. Or is this a non issue, just nice and tight!

IMHO, torque specs are ESPECIALLY important when using a steel bolt into aluminum component. Too little...works loose over time. Too much...strip the threads.

Having said that, finding reliable specs has, at times been difficult. ALLDATAdiy ($16 per year per vehicle) has an extensive set of charts but the "engine" section gives only two specs you need: "upper idler pulley-28nm" and "bolt, tensioning device- 58nm". No mention of bracket you need.

I came upon several charts I believe are from CHILTONdiy that shows an extensive list of metric fastener, their markings and dry torque specs for into steel and for into aluminum. I have compared these with specific specs that are listed ALLDATAdiy and they seem to track,

Hope this helps//Ed

byaakob
02-18-2018, 07:19 PM
I have a 2013 sprinter 3500 at 51000 miles and want to change the 2 belts, serpentine and strectch. Where should I get the belts from? Do you need a special tool for the stretch belt or the serpentine belt?

Thanks