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Old 09-24-2010, 11:01 PM   #1
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Tensioner Assembly

My mechanic told me my tensioner assembly needs replaced. He quoted me about $150 to do this work. I am not sure exactly what this is but assume it is tied to my serpentine belt.

Does anyone have a picture of where this is and how hard it might be to change. I like to try and do as much of the work on the Jeep myself just to learn plus I enjoy doing it.

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Old 09-24-2010, 11:11 PM   #2
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It is a pretty simple job to replace them. It should have a square hole on the opposite side of the bolt that holds it. Insert a ratchet into the hole then turn to remove the tension off the belt so you can remove it. Then undo the bolt and pull the tensioner assembly off. Reinstall the new tensioner making sure to line up the dimple on the back so it mounts straight


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Old 09-24-2010, 11:17 PM   #3
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It is a pretty easy job, the tensioner is about $50-60 bucks maybe a bit more. Here is a diagram of the layout. The tensioner is part number 3.
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Old 09-25-2010, 08:09 PM   #4
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Cool. That looks like a pretty simple job that I should be able to handle.
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Old 12-30-2011, 09:45 PM   #5
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Tensioner Assembly Update with Pics

So I start my '02 Jeep Wrangler yesterday morning and within moments of starting it - a nice high-pitched squeal starts. From the sound it appears to be a worn-out bearing of some sort. The question is which one? Alternator, serpentine belt idler pulley, serpentine belt tensioner pulley? I open the hood but cannot determine which one. Well my Jeep has 104K miles so I'm figuring it's probably the idler pulley. I go to the O'Reilly parts store and buy a new idler pulley and serpentine belt. After the Jeep cools down I remove the belt and check both the idler and the tensioner pulleys. I'm not surprised to find that both of them are worn-out. So I go back O'Reilly's and buy a new tensioner assembly. The pictures below detail the repairs. Total parts cost under $100.
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Old 12-30-2011, 09:59 PM   #6
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Tensioner Assembly Update with Pics

The aftermarket idler pulley comes with a spacer that you may or may not have to use. That will depend on your particular situation. I didn't use it because you can see in the pictures that it would have allowed the idler pulley to wobble. So I used a 5/16 inch flat washer which worked for me. The only problem is that dirt or mud that gets slung into the bearing may shorten the bearing life.
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Old 12-30-2011, 10:02 PM   #7
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Tensioner Assembly Update with Pics

These 2 images show the new idler pulley and washer ready to be installed.
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Old 12-30-2011, 10:07 PM   #8
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Tensioner Assembly Update with Pics

And now on to the tensioner...
You will need a Torx T40 drive to remove the tensioner from the engine.
It's going to be a tight fit if you don't remove the radiator, the shroud, and the fan. If you take your time and work around the fan you can probably get it done.
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Old 12-30-2011, 10:15 PM   #9
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Tensioner Assembly Update with Pics

And now the last 2 pictures from the project.
You'll notice that in the last picture the bolt is smashed down or "staked". This is to keep the bolt from backing out all the way in the event that it gets loose.

If you plan to reuse the tensioner and only replace the tensioner pulley
, you will need to grind down or drill off the end of the bolt. If you don't you'll have to force the bolt through the tensioner assembly and you will likely destroy the threads which will make the tensioner assembly useless. So keep that in mind
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Old 12-30-2011, 10:16 PM   #10
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Reverse the process to install the new parts.
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Old 01-01-2012, 12:30 PM   #11
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When did they switch to the automatic tensioner? Can an older one be retrofited with the auto style?
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Old 01-02-2012, 01:31 PM   #12
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Talking Tensioner Retrofit

Quote:
Originally Posted by bardb View Post
When did they switch to the automatic tensioner? Can an older one be retrofited with the auto style?
I suppose that if you are good at metal fabrication & machining anything is possible. It simply depends on how much time you wish to invest in such a project. I like that my Wrangler came equipped with an auto tensioner & if it didn't have one I might consider such a project.
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Old 01-02-2012, 03:06 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 60-Miles-From-Mexico View Post
I suppose that if you are good at metal fabrication & machining anything is possible. It simply depends on how much time you wish to invest in such a project. I like that my Wrangler came equipped with an auto tensioner & if it didn't have one I might consider such a project.
An automatic tensioner will save you about an hour every ten years. The break-even point for the mod would be a far piece down the road.
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Old 01-02-2012, 03:41 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bardb View Post
When did they switch to the automatic tensioner? Can an older one be retrofited with the auto style?
2000.... my buddy has a 99 and it has the older style, i have a 2000 with the auto...
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Old 01-02-2012, 09:35 PM   #15
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a lot changed in 99' and im pretty sure this was one of the changes. like he said ^
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Old 01-02-2012, 09:55 PM   #16
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Good write-up!! I have the auto, thank god. Makes it so easy to switch out belt (which i have done in less than about 10 min) and tensioner when it goes...
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Old 01-03-2012, 09:10 AM   #17
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Dang. I was hoping it would be a simple bolt on. Oh well. Thanks for the replies.

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