Timing Belt Tensioner – Signs Of Bad Timing Belt Tensioner

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Timing Belt Tensioner is not working, What should I do? You will find out all you need to know about the timing belt tensioner, including signs of the faulty timing belt tensioner, and how to fix it, in this post. The timing belt, also referred to as the drive belt or cam belt – needs to operate in perfect synchronicity, which is the responsibility of the timing belt tensioner.

Timing Belt Tensioner

However, the timing belt connects lots of the engine’s main components, like the alternator, water pump, power steering pump and air conditioning compressor. And also, the belt needs to run at a constant tension to ensure that the alternator is producing enough power to move the pulleys which drive all these individual components.

So, tension helps to keep all these disparate parts working together, you can imagine what will happen if it doesn’t work properly.

Timing Belt Tensioner

It                                                                                                              has four main components  they are;

  • The Base
  • Tensioner arm
  • Spring
  • Pulley

The base is simply the mounting for all the other parts, while the spring ensures that the belt is kept pulled tight.

The pulley then makes sure that the belt moves as it should. While the tensioner arm, located on the bottom of the tensioner, is designed to counter the spring, and so allow the timing belt itself to be removed or adjusted.

Timing Belt, Tensioner and Idler Failure

Timing Belt, Tensioner and Idler failure include;

Noise from a timing belt, tensioner and idler

What You Should Do:

While the engine is running, listen to hear if you can hear any noise from the timing cover or front assembly. If there is noise, and it is coming from behind the timing cover, you should do the following;

Take out appropriate components in order to remove the timing belt. Check the idler pulley for failure. The idler pulley accounts for most tensioner failures.

Misalignment of the timing belt can lead to premature failure of the idler pulley or the pulley on the tensioner, including the belt. This mostly indicates that the tensioner or idler is not attached to the mounting location on the engine correctly or the bearings for the tensioner, idler or both, have worn and have excess “play”.

So, it is important that the belt and bearing alignment is correct. Do not reuse the timing belt, tensioner or idler if misalignment is found. Kindly replace them with new components to avoid engine damage or failure.

With the timing belt taken out, check for side-to-side play or “rocking” on both the idler pulley and tensioner pulley. Replace if any movement is detected. And also, check both the idler and tensioner pulleys for roughness when rotating the bearing. Replace bearing(s) if the roughness is determined.

Signs Of Bad Timing Belt Tensioner

Here are some of the most common signs that it has failed and needs replacing.

  • Check engine light

If the timing belt is loose due to a bad tensioner, then the timing of the valves will be off. This means problems in the engine, which will then result in the check engine light illuminating on the dashboard. So, you can use scan for any trouble codes through a car scanner to confirm the issue.

  • Grinding Sounds

If the belt doesn’t have a firm grip on the pulleys, then it will cause the pulleys themselves to make grinding or rattling noises. This will surely happen if the pulley bearing goes bad.

  • Engine Misfires

If the valves of the cylinder open or close too prematurely, it will lead to an engine misfire. This will happen if the timing belt is not rotating the camshaft and crankshaft at the same time.

  • Knocking Sounds

When the timing belt is loose, it will begin to knock around and hit the timing cover and the other parts inside of it. However, if it does not sound exactly like knocking, then it might be more of a slapping sound instead.

  • Engine Fails to Turn Over

That is when the Car won’t start. The camshaft and crankshaft cannot function well when you have a loose timing belt caused by a bad tensioner. So, due to this, you won’t be able to ignite the fuel and air mixture in the chamber. You might hear the motor after you turn the key in the ignition but you won’t be able to turn the engine over.

Timing Belt Tensioner Replacement Cost

The replacement cost of the timing belt tensioner can be between $150 to $500. However, parts can range from $60 to $350 depending on the vehicle and whether the tensioner is OEM or aftermarket. So, you can expect to pay around $90 to $150 for labour. Taxes and fees may be added to these prices.

Nevertheless, the replacement cost can only be determined by factors like car make, model, Mechanic shop, location etc.

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