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Old 11-20-2013, 02:19 PM   #1
Tricia McMillan
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Belt tensioner help

Hey guys, I've been having some belt/pulley issues this week. Had a friend help me out and look at it, and so I bought a new serpentine belt and tensioner pulley. I went ahead and tried to do the job myself (I'm not THAT great working on engines, but my friend made it sound simple enough).

I'm a little confused, and I think I'm missing a part, or may have the wrong part. Let me show you what I've got and where I am in the work:











I'm missing something. Could be an end user configuration error (i.e. I have no idea what the hell I'm doing) or I'm missing a part I need. I checked the thread with the belt diagrams, which leads me to believe the latter.

What am I doing wrong?
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Old 11-20-2013, 02:24 PM   #2
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Tricia,

I made a thread just for people like you!

http://www.e46fanatics.com/forum/sho...d.php?t=974746

Once you do the job per my link, flick your ponytail and drop it in drive. I assume you have a ponytail AND drive an automatic transmission. Am I right?
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Old 11-20-2013, 02:25 PM   #3
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All kidding aside ...(but yes that appears to be the correct pulley) though honestly you should replace all three. (at least the upper two)

EDIT: you're also missing pulley dust covers
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Last edited by Mango; 11-20-2013 at 02:25 PM.
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Old 11-20-2013, 02:27 PM   #4
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If it helps my '98 328i (M52 type engine like OP's) only had two pulleys and also had mechanical tensioners. If in doubt pull the tensioners off and show them to your favourite parts counter.
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Old 11-20-2013, 02:31 PM   #5
Tricia McMillan
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I think I see my problem.



That is the inner track of the ball bearing of the old pulley that ... well, apparently broke completely. I found the bolt inside that I need to pull off.

I don't have any socket wrenches and my stupid pair of pliers can't get a grip on it. Son of a...

How easily should that actual tensioner move?

And, I have neither a ponytail nor an automatic transmission
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Old 11-20-2013, 02:40 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Tricia McMillan View Post
I think I see my problem.



That is the inner track of the ball bearing of the old pulley that ... well, apparently broke completely. I found the bolt inside that I need to pull off.

I don't have any socket wrenches and my stupid pair of pliers can't get a grip on it. Son of a...

How easily should that actual tensioner move?

And, I have neither a ponytail nor an automatic transmission
It doesn't move easily. You need leverage and a torx socket. The pulley came off because it was neglected. It needs to be replaced every 60,000 miles with quality parts and it must have dust caps on it at all times during operation.

As for the lack of ponytail, what a shame. It looks cool blowing in the wind

As for the manual, great job. Impressed. Some of the guys here can take some notes on that! Unless you are a guy with painted fingernails
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Old 11-20-2013, 02:40 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tricia McMillan View Post
I think I see my problem.



That is the inner track of the ball bearing of the old pulley that ... well, apparently broke completely. I found the bolt inside that I need to pull off.

I don't have any socket wrenches and my stupid pair of pliers can't get a grip on it. Son of a...

How easily should that actual tensioner move?

And, I have neither a ponytail nor an automatic transmission
Please get a good quality 1/2" socket set!

The tensioner should move firmly with a 16mm socket (see Mango's thread!)

If you fail this task you have to grow a pony tail!
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Old 11-20-2013, 02:43 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by David McMahon View Post
Please get a good quality 1/2" socket set!

The tensioner should move firmly with a 16mm socket (see Mango's thread!)

If you fail this task you have to grow a pony tail!
the 16mm socket only works on mechanical tensioner. it appears the one OP needs help with is a hydraulic unit. That will require a torx socket (self explanatory when OP looks at the bolt that needs removing)

Find a harbor freight around you OP and get a 3/8" ratchet and torx socket set. Use a big open ended wrench as leverage on the ratchet.
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Old 11-20-2013, 02:48 PM   #9
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Found something else too, looks like I'm going to need a new tensioner arm as well:



Well, damn.
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Old 11-20-2013, 02:50 PM   #10
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Found something else too, looks like I'm going to need a new tensioner arm as well:



Well, damn.
Careful, videos like that might turn on a member called DMAX.

That looks like a dead bushing within the tensioner assembly. Remove the assembly and look at it. That arm/bracket is pretty expensive and you may not need to replace it. Just the tensioner itself (it's all in my thread)
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Old 11-20-2013, 03:01 PM   #11
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Careful, videos like that might turn on a member called DMAX.

That looks like a dead bushing within the tensioner assembly. Remove the assembly and look at it. That arm/bracket is pretty expensive and you may not need to replace it. Just the tensioner itself (it's all in my thread)
I actually don't have the tools to, unfortunately.

I found this, though (friend referred me to rockauto for cheap prices): http://www.rockauto.com/catalog/more...057&cc=1352618

That looks like the whole assembly that I'd need. Just want to check if it's worth it to just order that since it's $35.
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Old 11-20-2013, 03:07 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mango View Post
the 16mm socket only works on mechanical tensioner. it appears the one OP needs help with is a hydraulic unit. That will require a torx socket (self explanatory when OP looks at the bolt that needs removing)

Find a harbor freight around you OP and get a 3/8" ratchet and torx socket set. Use a big open ended wrench as leverage on the ratchet.
As info, my hydraulic tensioner pulley requires an 8mm hex key. Some are torx and others are hex. But as you say, it is self-explanatory once you look at whatever is under the hood.
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Old 11-20-2013, 03:10 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by Tricia McMillan View Post
I actually don't have the tools to, unfortunately.

I found this, though (friend referred me to rockauto for cheap prices): http://www.rockauto.com/catalog/more...057&cc=1352618

That looks like the whole assembly that I'd need. Just want to check if it's worth it to just order that since it's $35.
That's just the tensioner. The bracket that holds it is a whole 'nother part. If that's broken, you'll need that too. To remove all of this, you need to remove your alternator. Get to wrenching! buy some tools
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Old 11-20-2013, 03:25 PM   #14
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Tricia, first, if I help you in any way, will you promise to attend one of my shows...perhaps help with some of the introductory preparations. I'm kind of delicate and need help!

You probably don't need anything but the proper bit for your ratchet. $100 at sears will get you more than you need for this one job, but they'll be all the tools you'll (mostly) ever need for your old POS BMW...like all of ours are.

It might be a T-50 bit that you need, or the hex bit. In any case, you could get just a 1/2" breaker bar (14" long at least) and the bits individually...shouldn't be more than $30-40 total...especially at Harbor Freight.

Since it's a tensioner, it might be made to wiggle a bit at the end you're at...if that's not just the bearing wiggling (loved how you did that, btw! )

When you remove that bolt...check first with inspection mirror and good led flashlight (100 lumens or so...available at HD for $15. That flashlight alone, you know, will make you twice as mechanically inclined as you seem to be...immediately. Check the bolt and make sure the bit you use is the proper one. Since manual, you can remove the fan in 5 secs., you know...think you still had it in...maybe not.

In any case, if any of the kids here give you a hard time, let me know...I'm old and they all listen to me or know I'll write embarrassing things that I know about them! I'll protect you...and all you really need to do is post another vid of when you get your car running...I'll give you details on that shoot later!
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Old 11-20-2013, 03:48 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tricia McMillan View Post
Hey guys, I've been having some belt/pulley issues this week. Had a friend help me out and look at it, and so I bought a new serpentine belt and tensioner pulley. I went ahead and tried to do the job myself (I'm not THAT great working on engines, but my friend made it sound simple enough).

I'm a little confused, and I think I'm missing a part, or may have the wrong part. Let me show you what I've got and where I am in the work:

I'm missing something. Could be an end user configuration error (i.e. I have no idea what the hell I'm doing) or I'm missing a part I need. I checked the thread with the belt diagrams, which leads me to believe the latter.

What am I doing wrong?
Hmm! Manicured finger nails!

Tricia, You have a hydraulic tensioner. It looks like the black plastic part of pulley is gone, and what is left is shiny bearing housing held by either allen or torx head bolt.
Use a small make up mirror pointed to the center of the shiny part to see what kind of bolt it has. You need to remove that part to install the new pulley.

What happened to the belt and pulley before you tacked the job?

Last edited by dslboomer; 11-20-2013 at 04:52 PM.
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Old 11-20-2013, 05:13 PM   #16
Tricia McMillan
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Hmm! Manicured finger nails!
I need to touch them up.

Quote:
What happened to the belt and pulley before you tacked the job?
No idea what happened to the pulley. Presumably fell out of the engine compartment and dropped onto the road I was driving on at the time.

As for the belt, it didn't actually snap, but, well, a picture paints a thousand words:

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Old 11-20-2013, 05:19 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by Tricia McMillan View Post
As for the belt, it didn't actually snap, but, well, a picture paints a thousand words:
It looks better than expected.
Did you find out what type of bolt head was holding the left over pulley?

Last edited by dslboomer; 11-20-2013 at 05:20 PM.
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Old 11-20-2013, 05:29 PM   #18
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For the shot tensioner: It looks like you have the hydraulic tensioner. There should be a hydraulic "strut" of sorts that you can replace. See # 8 in the diagram. Save money by rebuilding with a new hydraulic piece instead of having to buy the whole assembly. Edit: It looks like you've got that figured out. Diagram for reference

For the pulley, I just did this job on mine. Your bearing imploded and left its remains on the tensioner. You'll probably need an 8mm hex bit for a socket wrench. I've heard of some people having a T50, worth shining a flashlight or a cell phone camera (useful tool) down there to see what it is. A T50 fits in the 8MM hex bolt but its the wrong tool. Set is under $10 at HF. Loosen and then be careful, theres a washer between the pulley and the tensioner that might try and drop out. Note how its oriented.

Last edited by compcrasher86; 11-20-2013 at 05:33 PM.
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Old 11-20-2013, 05:32 PM   #19
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Just lucky when that thing broke off it didn't do other damage.

The tensioner is also damaged and should be a lot stiffer than being able to jiggle it in your hand. I believe that you will have to order the complete tensioner. Stick your cell phone down there and take a picture of the complete assembly to see it is hydraulic or not. The alternator comes off easy enough to get the bracket out.

Also which no one recommended here (and frankly I'm shocked) get a torque wrench. Everything has to be put back together according to torque. (About another $100 but will be used every where when you work on this thing.)

Also ordering parts:

Some of my favorites, AutohausAZ.com, ECStuning.com, getBWMpart.com. Lately I'm not too thrilled with AutohausAZ, they used to have better prices but you need to shop to make sure.

Edit: More than likely if you are able to get the tensioner part only without having to get the complete assembly, you probably going to have to get that from a dealer. or someone that can get parts from BMW. I'm pretty sure a place like AutohausAZ won't carry the pieces only.

Also since you are in AZ, BMW on North 101 parts department is more money than Chapman on Camelback. However, you can haggle with them over the prices, but they will only go so low. I have never got them to a point where they would match directly other internet prices but they have come down. I throw that in there since it sounds like you may need this thing up and running sooner than later. Only bad thing about ordering on line is the delivery time. However if desperate and have to pay expedited shipping then the local dealer can be cheaper. Just my 2 cents.
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Old 11-20-2013, 05:34 PM   #20
Tricia McMillan
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Really appreciate all the help and info today everyone.

I'm done for the day, since I'm out of transportation, I need some more parts and tools that I don't have. One of my friends has the day off tomorrow and can cart me around though, and I also don't work again until Friday.

Cheers!
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