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gtookey@hotmail.com_

Belt Tensioner

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I think I got lucky. While looking things over and trying to work out why my cam belt was running against the alternator bracket I discovered the pivot pin, I think that is what it is called, was working it's self out.

post-2347-1225331951.jpg

you can also see the groove that the alternator bracket has cut into the belt and the shavings from the belt.

The belt, tensioner bearing and bushings were replaced in Aug 07 by a lotus dealer. They had some replacement bushings made out of bronze as the said the nylon ones were no longer available. Cost the PO $2k+ for the work.

I'm just glad I caught it in time. Time to call SJ's for the tensioner rebuild kit.

Edited by gtookey

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Upgrade today to remove Google ads and support TLF.

This exact thing happened to me about 3 weeks ago. The pulley had moved forward about 50mm off it's shaft and was slowly grinding into my alternator bracket.

I knew something was wrong when I was detailing underneath the car (on axel stands) and I came across a hex head bolt and washer sitting in the middle of my chassis tray.

Had no idea where it came from.

Car was due for oil, coolant, full fluid change etc. etc. so I booked it in, and the trusty mechanic (add joke here) brought this all to my attention.

He quoted me $2000 to remove engine and fix adjust etc.

After waking up from fainting, I called my local Lotus Club mechanic (40yrs exp) and he said "that admittingly it is hard to get to, but it can be done without removing the engine, or if you have to remove anything, just remove the alternator only."

He even said he will do it himself if the mechanic isn't confident or blatanly wont do it.

So I told him all that and guess what?...

Job done, labour by mech. was 6 hrs (claimed) including full service, Total cost $715.00

I was pretty happy with the price and work done by the mech. and the only reason why I went there was they had recently started advertising in our Lotus magazine and no one had any feedback on their work, so I thought I'd give them a try.

I always say mechanics should just wear a balaclava and a name badge, that should be their uniform (most are just burgulars) ... this guy was good, I'll go back.

Happy safe motoring...

G.

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Glad you have the t-belt under control, Gavin. Sorry I have been so uncommunicative lately.

- T


Tony K. :)

 

Esprit S1s #355H & 454H

Esprit S2.2  #324J

1991 Esprit SE

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Unfortunately there is no Lotus mechanic for 400 miles so I will have to do the repair myself. I only get a few days a month to play with the car which makes repairs unfortunately slow going.

@ T

not a prob, know other things are going on.

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I understand that if you want to go to a manual timing belt tensioner (as found on the later G bodied cars), you will also have to replace the A/C tensioner bracket with another version. (They are both listed in the parts manual).

Matt

1984 Turbo Esprit

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bump..

OK time to look at my other problem, belt tensioner rebuild now I have the kit to do the job.

Once I slacken the adjuster screw off how much should I be able to move the bearing? can it be moved by hand as the book says? because mine is stuck fast and has no movement in either direction. Thus I can't move the piston to insert the 4mm pin. I would image it's related to the pivot pin backing out.

If I just go ahead and undo the adjuster screw all the way should I expect the springs to come flying out?

lastly, the 2 bolts attaching the tensioner to the block, should they be the same? as mine are different. My top one is much longer than the bottom and has the alternator adjustment bracket mounted on it. ( see photo at top of thread ).

Thanks again all.

Gavin


Cheers, Gavin

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Hi Gavin,

With the adjuster backed out as far as it can safely go, you should at the very least be able to move the tensioner by using the leverage of pushing on the belt. I'm wondering if yours is stuck. And yes, if you back the "screw" out too far, yes, things will go flying. And it's not fun putting it back together.

- T


Tony K. :)

 

Esprit S1s #355H & 454H

Esprit S2.2  #324J

1991 Esprit SE

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I'm wondering if yours is stuck.

It would appear so, although the adjustment screw does + or - the tension load on the belt. So the bearing must be moving on the pivot arm. But I definity can not make it pivot by just applying pressure by hand.

I don't want to insert something against the bearing to give me leverage in fear of damaging the castings. So what to do? unbolt everything 'as is' without locking the piston in place and hope that everything stays together or back the adjuster screw all the way out and suffer the consequences.

Gavin

Edited by GavinS1

Cheers, Gavin

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Unscrewing the whole thing is no disaster. You just have to be ready for the spring to send the adjuster flying...a cloth over it with the screwdriver poked through to undo the adjuster works. I've NEVER managed to dismantle the tensioner using the approved method; first time the belt had snapped anyway! You may find it difficult to locate the hole for the 4mm pin, on mine it hides under the washer on one of the retaining bolts. Whatever, it's easier to just unscrew the tensioner, remove the adjuster and spring in situ, then undo the retaining bolts and get the whole gubbins off and on the bench. It comes apart quite easily, re-assembly needs squeezing the thing in a soft jawed vice or similar until you can get the 4mm pin in the hole. It slides into a groove in the plastic piston and can be a bit fiddly to locate...then you can fit it back (change the belt at the same time? A bit more effort but you'll be done for the next 2 years) and set the belt tension. If you've left the adjuster locknut where it was on the thread, this'll give you a starting point..a bit tighter is better than a bit looser, I find, having had a belt jump teeth in the past. Now I have a tension gauge!!


Scientists investigate that which already is; Engineers create that which has never been." - Albert Einstein

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I could never get the plunger back in far enough to get a pin into the 4 mm hole on my tensioner while it was still on the engine. I just backed out the tensioner screw half an inch and removed it. I found a piece of the casting stopped the bearing pivoting far enough away to allow the spring come out.

I too reassembled it in a soft-jawed vice to put in a pin but I also put some locking wire round it so I could get the fixing screws back in without releasing the tensioner as mine had the hole for the locking pin in one of the spot faces for the washers. My car had air conditioning so the screws had to go through the compressor bracket and then into the block. Any misalignment made it impossible to get the screw where the locking pin went into its thread. So I would remove the pin, get the tensioner bolted to the engine and the belt in place and then cut off the locking wire and pull out the bits with pliers to make sure it was all removed. Then tension the belt.


S4 Elan, Elan +2S, Federal-spec, World Championship Edition S2 Esprit #42, S1 Elise, Excel SE

 

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it's been a while....finally got round to pulling the tensioner

belttensioner003.jpg

I can find no trace of the retaining pin for the pivot pin. Which leaves 2 options: it feel out completely or someone forgot to install it.

belttensioner002.jpg

belttensioner005.jpg

belttensioner004.jpg

Wear on the left bushing is obvious. The bushings are made from bronze which I guess stopped the pivot pin from completely failing. The pivot pin will re-seat correctly in the worn pushing with about the same amount of play as the other. The bushing it's self is solid within the casing. So to re-use or replace?. I have the tensioner overhaul kit from SJs but the new bushings are plastic.


Cheers, Gavin

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