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Old 05-15-2012, 03:25 AM   #1
onesicksoob
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Default mechanical timing belt tensioner: is it a good idea?

I gutted a stock timing belt tensioner and made a threaded sleave so I can just tighten a bolt instead of the stock hydraulic setup.



Then this:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bansheeboy11 View Post
Thats going to wear out the belt very very fast, you might even break a plastic cam gear. The tensioner HAS to be able to move up and down with belt pressure.
Quote:
Originally Posted by -Billy View Post
Hmmm, thats something to think about. I had no plans of really cranking it down tight...just enough to have tension on the belt. I've had plenty of vehicles with manual t-belt tensioners, so I hadn't put a lot of thought into it NOT working. I've never seen a good timing belt tensioner have play in it. I will have to take a look at a few more.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bansheeboy11 View Post
Its the way our engines are layed out, if you have a motor, or know of one that runs where you can start it with the timing cover off, watch the tensioner when its running, the thing goes bat**** in there. Its the way our cams rotate with spring pressure and how it holds the belt.
I haven't seen much, if any play in the brand new tensioners I have put on in the past. Not to say it is or is not there, just I haven't noticed it. If anyone else cares to weigh in on the subject I would appreciate it.

Also, if anyone has any ideas on how to improve that would be great too. I have a few ideas cooking in the ol' noggin to make it somewhat spring loaded, but I have no idea where to source a spring strong enough.

I'm not dead set on this working. I can buy a new tensioner...but it would be nice to have something reusable.
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Old 05-15-2012, 08:28 AM   #2
onesicksoob
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Obviously I will be keeping an eye on it if I decide to use it. It doesn't take a whole lot of extra slack in the belt for it to slip. Varying tension on the belt would also mean varying timing...right? I don't see why a constant proper tension on the belt would be a bad thing.

My options at this point are:
1. Buy another stock, unreliable tensioner.
2. Throw a high grade bolt and lock nut in this and see how it goes.
3. Machine down the insert and put a spring behind it...maybe a high boost diesel wastegate spring or something?
4. Same springy idea as 3, but make a part to house it on the block, where the tensioner will hit/where the stock tensioner plunger rests.

Any other ideas and opinions are welcomed.
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Old 05-15-2012, 08:32 AM   #3
lavid2002
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Also consider this.

As a belt wears it has some flex to it, the hydraulic tensioner is made to accomodate for that wear automatically. Are you willing to pop a timing cover off the motor every so often to check?

I don't even know what the deflection for a subaru T-belt should be. I doubt most do as all that work is done through the tensioner.


I would just sack up and buy a hydraulic one. Kudos for being inventive though. The price for failure is simply too great.


_Dave
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Old 05-15-2012, 08:51 AM   #4
onesicksoob
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Just to put it in perspective, this is the evil force that makes me do unnecessary things:




I've got at least 35k in it, so I don't really mind spending another $100. It has all been done by me, with occasional help of a friend or two with the heavy bits.

I don't mind taking the time to pop the cover and see how it's doing fairly often. The belt shouldn't stretch (in relative timing belt terms) any substantial amount over a short period of time or while cycling..correct?
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Old 05-15-2012, 02:36 PM   #5
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You can convert to the pre-1996 style tensioner by swapping the bracket the tensioner bolts to and using the horizontal style tensioner piston and the rotating pivot point ilder pulley. They're easier to work with because you can compress them in a vice instead of needing a vertical press.
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Old 05-15-2012, 06:06 PM   #6
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If this doesn't work out for me I will be using the pre96 style tensioner. I've had much better luck with those than the newer style. I should have just kept my ej20g in this car.
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Old 05-15-2012, 06:39 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by onesicksoob View Post
If this doesn't work out for me I will be using the pre96 style tensioner. I've had much better luck with those than the newer style. I should have just kept my ej20g in this car.
It's busy running 11 second trap speeds in mine
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Old 05-15-2012, 06:49 PM   #8
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I know What do you think, Jake? Is this worth fiddling with or should I grab another stocker?
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Old 05-15-2012, 07:01 PM   #9
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my concern is that every EG/EJ I've had gets the wobbles on startup. I think if the tensioner isn't stiff at start up the intake gears might slip timing.

I use the modern timing but I prefer the grenade pins
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Old 05-15-2012, 07:16 PM   #10
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I think I'm going to throw it on the '95 L I'm DD'ing at the moment. There are like 8 good looking 2.2's at the u-pull right now. I can throw a "fresh" motor in there for cheaper than a stock t-belt tensioner.
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Old 05-23-2012, 03:21 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WoodsWagon View Post
They're easier to work with because you can compress them in a vice instead of needing a vertical press.
I don't understand why everybody is making this out to be a big deal. You don't need a vertical press... grab a big C-Clamp from autozone, harborfreight, etc.... and hold it vertically while you compress the tensioner. I've done it a few times with no ill effects even at 8k+ rpms. Just take your time and go slowly. There is not that much force behind the hydro ram, I think it took me about a minute or two total to fully compress it so i was able to get the retaining pin back in there.
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Old 05-23-2012, 10:32 AM   #12
69subaru360
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Quote:
Originally Posted by andrewhans View Post
I don't understand why everybody is making this out to be a big deal. You don't need a vertical press... grab a big C-Clamp from autozone, harborfreight, etc.... and hold it vertically while you compress the tensioner. I've done it a few times with no ill effects even at 8k+ rpms. Just take your time and go slowly. There is not that much force behind the hydro ram, I think it took me about a minute or two total to fully compress it so i was able to get the retaining pin back in there.
I've done it with a c-clamp at least 100 times, never had one fail.
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