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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I want to set the tension in my '94 YJ serpentine belt and the only information I've been able to get requires a belt tensioning guage. Nobody seems to have one, so I'm wondering if there's a good way to set the tension.
 

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I go by feel, it's better to have it too loose than to tight. If it's to tight you will wreck bearings in your alternator water pump and steering pump. If it's too loose your belt will squeal and you can just tighten it up a bit more till it stops. A new belt will stretch a bit and you will need to snug it up again anyways.
 

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I try to keep it around a 1/2in deflection in both directions, i just use a tape measure and My fingers
 

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A quick way to get it close without the gauge is to tighten it till you cant twist it 90 degrees.
Don't want to buy a gauge, but I'm confused on what you're saying can't twist 90 degrees.

Just tightened my belt a few weeks ago and after reading this thread I want to make sure I didn't tighten it too much.
 

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A quick way to get it close without the gauge is to tighten it till you cant twist it 90 degrees.
I do it the same way. I usually twist it between the idler pulley and (I think) the power steering pump.
 

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I ordered the Gates gauge from Amazon for $18+ and got it in 2 days. I never would think I would tighten a belt so tight but this gauge is great...fairly quick and no guessing. A good tool for my tool box.
 

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I changed out my idler pulley's that where screaming, so obviously I replaced the belt. about a week goes with no squeals but now I think my Power steering pump is beginning to squeak. Could it be I put the belt too tight? I didn't use a gauge but I have a pretty good feel for the tension and I don't feel like its too tight?
 

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I changed out my idler pulley's that where screaming, so obviously I replaced the belt. about a week goes with no squeals but now I think my Power steering pump is beginning to squeak. Could it be I put the belt too tight? I didn't use a gauge but I have a pretty good feel for the tension and I don't feel like its too tight?
DREDnot suggests tightening until you can barely make a 90 degree turn between the idler and power steering pulleys. This is exactly what I do.

If you have coolant and other junk on your belt, even if it's new, you probably ruined it. I'd suggest spraying the belt with silicone lubricant (safe for the rubber). Try not to get it anywhere else. If the squeal stops, your belt is the source.

If the squealing continues, spray pulleys individually until the squeal stops. Then you know the culprit.
 

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DREDnot suggests tightening until you can barely make a 90 degree turn between the idler and power steering pulleys. This is exactly what I do.

If you have coolant and other junk on your belt, even if it's new, you probably ruined it. I'd suggest spraying the belt with silicone lubricant (safe for the rubber). Try not to get it anywhere else. If the squeal stops, your belt is the source.

If the squealing continues, spray pulleys individually until the squeal stops. Then you know the culprit.
I appreciate the input. The belt is brand new. I'll look into the proper tension.

Sent from my SM-G920V using Tapatalk
 

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I appreciate the input. The belt is brand new. I'll look into the proper tension.

Sent from my SM-G920V using Tapatalk
I've had a belt last a week because my water pump gasket starting leaking like Frosty the Snowman on the hood of a 4.0L. Coolant ruins belts much faster than you'd like to think, even greases/oils/cleaners. Silicone is all I'd put on a belt (only for diagnostics).
 

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I ordered the Gates gauge from Amazon for $18+ and got it in 2 days. I never would think I would tighten a belt so tight but this gauge is great...fairly quick and no guessing. A good tool for my tool box.
That sounds too tight regardless of what the gauge says. I've blown bearings on two water pumps having mine set too tight (according to spec in the manual) so I keep it much looser now -- No squeals but not super tight. It might feel good now to have it to 'spec' but I'd bet you're going to have problems with a leaking water pump before long. Just a word of caution...
 

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Update I loosened my serp belt quite a bit and still have a squeal while running. Not audible while idling. I'm actually leaning towards one of the new pulleys that I installed. I'm gonna try to get a mechanics stethoscope in there and try to pin point it.

Sent from my SM-G920V using Tapatalk
 
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