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Old 03-27-2019, 02:38 AM   #11
Aqua Puttana
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Default Re: Serpentine belt wiggle on v6

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Originally Posted by tigerwillow1 View Post
... Is a little bit of side-to-side play acceptable, or should the tensioner pulley have absolutely no play whatsoever?
The plastic pulley is fitted to and rides on a ball bearing. A ball bearing would have no side play. I wouldn't expect that any of the other tensioner parts that are in proper operating condition would be described as "wiggled back and forth a little bit, the very slight clank-clank when rocking it side to side".

Replace the clank-clank parts. If the condition persists, further investigation will be necessary.

vic
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Old 03-27-2019, 11:46 AM   #12
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Default Re: Serpentine belt wiggle on v6

I vote replace it.
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Old 03-27-2019, 07:16 PM   #13
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Default Re: Serpentine belt wiggle on v6

Not an expert on this topic, but I would say that any visible play is unacceptable.

My serp belt and tensioner are original at >80k miles (I know, time to change them!) and the belt rides absolutely smooth, with no side-to-side play whatseover.

Last edited by sprint2freedom; 03-28-2019 at 08:24 AM.
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Old 03-27-2019, 07:40 PM   #14
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Default Re: Serpentine belt wiggle on v6

I'm going to replace the tensioner, and figure I should do the idlers too. A question about the idlers: Is it possible to replace the upper idler without removing the fan belt pulley? I popped the plastic cover loose but can't pull it out because the fan pulley is in the way. The service manual says just take the old idler off and put the new one on with no mention of the fan pulley. Either I'm a klutz or the fan pulley has to come off.
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Old 03-27-2019, 07:53 PM   #15
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Default Re: Serpentine belt wiggle on v6

Quote:
Originally Posted by Aqua Puttana View Post
The plastic pulley is fitted to and rides on a ball bearing. A ball bearing would have no side play. I wouldn't expect that any of the other tensioner parts that are in proper operating condition would be described as "wiggled back and forth a little bit, the very slight clank-clank when rocking it side to side".

Replace the clank-clank parts. If the condition persists, further investigation will be necessary.

vic
: cc agree that a ball bear will have almost no side to side play within its races.
With that said: the bearing races ride on a shaft and it's normal for bearing races to have end play on the shaft. A bearing end play small doesn't effect the bear alignment with the fan belt. The small side play mentioned doesn't necessarily indicate a bad bearing. A new one may have same play.
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Old 03-27-2019, 08:09 PM   #16
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Default Re: Serpentine belt wiggle on v6

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Originally Posted by CJPJ View Post
... A new one may have same play.
True, but not likely to clank-clank. With 2 different installed belts not running true, let's not discourage him from replacing parts. Eg. - Both my T1N serpentine belt systems run smooth, unless there's a problem.

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Old 03-27-2019, 08:13 PM   #17
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Default Re: Serpentine belt wiggle on v6

Looking at side play vs. end play, if I try to move the tensioner pulley in and out in a straight direction, there's no movement I can detect. The only movement I pick up is rocking the pulley side-to-side.
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Old 03-27-2019, 08:19 PM   #18
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Default Re: Serpentine belt wiggle on v6

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Originally Posted by mikeme View Post
I vote replace it.
I agree. If we are voting, my vote goes to replace the parts with play.
I bearing with play can seize at any time.
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Old 04-02-2019, 05:13 AM   #19
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Default Re: Serpentine belt wiggle on v6

Original poster back with a report. Took a few days to get new parts.

- Tensioner replaced with one from europarts-sd. Appears identical to original. Pulley on new tensioner has play that feels identical to the original tensioner.

- Idler pulleys replaced with idlers from europarts-sd. New pulleys appear identical except for having a dust shield on the rear (similar to the carrier bearing dust shield).

- Fan bearing replaced because it had a little end play. New one also has a little end play. New part from Mercedes has a larger bearing than the original, as seen from rear of the part.

- Measured radial and axial runout of harmonic balancer is between 3 and 5 thousands of an inch (setting up the dial indicator was fairly difficult). Maximum spec is 15.8 thousands.

- There is no visible axial runout on any of the 8 pulleys the belt goes over with the engine running.

Result: Belt still wanders side-to-side a small amount on the tensioner. I think the amount is a bit less than before replacing the parts. I don't have any way of getting a good measurement. I have possibly wasted a bunch of time and money replacing 4 bearings that didn't need replacing, worth it to me to know these parts aren't close to some sort of failure. I will be looking closely how the belt is tracking, especially early-on. If it goes a few hundred miles with no change I'm going to think a little wobble is normal. Maybe it's just a side-effect of the in-spec harmonic balancer runout.
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Old 04-02-2019, 01:11 PM   #20
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Default Re: Serpentine belt wiggle on v6

I work on a fleet of sprinters and about 20% of them have the wobble that you are describing. On average our vans see about 3.5k mi a month so we go trough a lot of maintenance repairs. Also some of our trucks run 24/7 and the only time that they come off the road is when they brake down, or 2 times a month for maintenance. When we first started noticing the wobble we literally tried everything to resolve it. One of our vans had all the pulleys tensioner, water pump, power steering pump and compressor replaced ( not all at the same time) and nothing resolved it. I believe that on some vans from factory there is a little wobble from something not being 100% aligned to the rest of the grooved pulleys and it causes the wobble. The only time that I would be concerned about the wobble is if its big enough that causes the belt to run on the edge of one of the pulleys causing it to groove and causing premature belt wear. As long as all of the pulleys feel OK and they are not making any noise and the belt tensioner is keeping the correct amount of tension on the belt I think it will be fine.
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