Just bought one of these Kits a few weeks ago when my alternator took a crap on me. Finally got around to installing the alternator and the belt tensioner kit the other night but could not complete the job because there was no way in hell that I could de-tension the tentioner. The "pocket" that the end of the wrench goes into is potitioned perfectly between the tensioner and the frame of the car. It is nearly imposible to get the wrench into the tentioner. Then if you are able to get the wrench in, it is extremely difficult if not impossible to move the tensioner because of the lack of space and the spring effort. I battled for at least an hour but failed.....I couldn't move the tensioner arm because I'm weak . But when I added length to the wrench (more torque) by slipping some pipe over the end of the wrench, the pipe would hit the suspension arm and the tensioner wouldn't rotate/move enough.
I ended up having to go out and buy a pivoting head type socket wrench (also slightly longer than my normal socket wrench) in order to get more torque and clearence to be able to move the tensioner enough to slip the belt on. It worked! It's finally on now and seems to work great, but man what a PITA it was to complete that final step. Of course now that I have the right tool and the experience it will be much easier the next time I have to remove the belt. Plus I'm hoping the spring tension will loosen up a bit after use, making it easier to rotate the arm.
It is nearly imposible to get the wrench into the tentioner.
If you took five minutes (or less) to drop the "skirt" an inch or so in the wheel well (or drilled/cut a hole through that soft material), you could've put a 3/8" extension right into the square tensioner hole with the ratchet positioned outside of the wheel well. Piece of cake.
There is another method to "de-tension" the tensioner.
On the top of the tensioner by the idle pulley there is a square boss (Look at the pictures on the first page, version 2 - second photo down). On mine a 3/4 inch open end wrench fits perfectly over that. From above I found I can reach down with the wrench and lever back the tensioner and put the belt on. No parts to remove, no going under the car, no modifications. If there are two of you (one on the wrench, one slips the belt on) it will take less than 60 seconds.
My Fiero is an '85 V6 SE and I have one Dodgerunner's Version 3 tensioner on my Fiero. I found that my method above was much easier than trying to get the 3/8 drive in and out of the pocket and try swing the wrench around. The method from above also gives greater mechanical advantage because the lever works out to be longer.
[This message has been edited by W Scott (edited 05-12-2010).]
I just put one on my 85 GT. Let me say this kit is 5 of 5 stars in every respect. I bouthg the whole "kit" and it had every nut and bolt and part I needed to do the job. Not a single run to the part store for the "overlooked" item. It went in in about an hour with no pain (well, my knuckles are bleeding on my right hand, but that happens no matter what I do on my Fireo...!) With the engine off, I turned on lights, radio, stereo, and let 'er sit. 10 minutes later I fired it up and NO SQUEAL! Wow why did I wait even this long to put this kit in!??? This is a necessity for all V6 owners! Thanks Dodgerunner for designing and making this kit available. I took a few minutes to sit back and look at the installation- you are a heck of a designer and fabricator! Very impressive. Thanks!
Thanks guys! I'm behind on getting brackets built at this time due to helping a friend with his house. Like several areas we have had a lot of rain and flooding around the area. I hope to have some available by next week. I'll contact those interested as soon as I have some ready.
I would sure do one for the early 4's but don't have access to an engine to design one. I only have an 87 duke which already has the factory one. Of course would need an engine out of a car. Have thought about buying one from a salvage yard so I'd have one of each.
[This message has been edited by Dodgerunner (edited 07-02-2010).]
Okay, I'm begging now... The tail end of Hurricane Alex poured on Houston yesterday and I got let out early to get home before expected street flooding. Trouble was, several hundred thousand other drivers apparently had the same idea. The freeway was jammed...and the access roads flooded...so it was just slog home through the traffic as best I could. When it rains in Houston, driving becomes a submarine adventure. So I crawled home with belts screaming, turning various current-drawing devices on and off to lessen the load on the alternator - the slipping belt on which caused it to lose it's ALT altogether several times. AC was at least an occasional necessity to permit me to actually see out, so I juggled switches, had to restart the engine when it stalled, and just generally had a MARVELOUS drive home. Clearly, Pontiac finally decided the sensible thing to do was add a belt tensioner, and BOY would I like to follow suit!
Hey, Dodgerunner...would it be possible to adapt the later Duke system to the earlier engines? I've never seen an '87 or '88 Duke, so I have no idea if the changes were too extensive to allow that. Are there later Dukes in the junkyard from other vehicles that could be donors if it's possible?
That's a very good question. Unfortunately most of my experience is with V6's. I just acquired my first 4 late last year (an 87). Wish I had access to various years of 4's. Use to see a lot of Fieros show up at the pull-it yard to frequent but they have dried up over the past year. I thing Omaha had a policy to get abandoned vehicles out of yards so a lot showed up. Apparently they have succeeded in cleaning cars out and hence less and less Fieros. (shedding a tear.)
just want to say i finally got around to installing this and everything went well and it works great.
though while wrenchin around i managed to hit one of the steel brake lines over there and now it leaks. it was pretty badly rusted anyway. so just a heads up for anyone working on the front of the engine.
I'm working on installing my kit onto my car and I have one small snag. I installed Rodney's Power Pulley kit last year with smaller OD crank and alt pulleys as well as his idler. Although I'm sure its decreased the belt squeal, I still have some on start up and in the rain so I thought I'd give this a go.
I'm leaving the smaller OD pulleys and after I installed my belt its too long. Rodney's kit comes with a 47 inch belt. I shredded mine a while back when I replaced my harmonic balancer (tecnically I think its a crank dampener) and didn't get it on right. So I replaced it with a 42 inch belt that still worked fine with the adjustment at the alternator w/ rodney's kit.
However, that same 42 inch belt seems to go on over the tensioner just fine but its barely too long to allow the tensioner to engage the spring on it to do its job properly. I turned the motor on and although everything spins, I get the belt squeal.
So... since I'm at the bare minimum of tension on a 42 inch belt, should I go with a 41.5 or a 41 inch belt? I'm leaning towards 41.5 right now to set the tensioner roughly in the middle of travel but I'm not sure if it would be long enough to allow for stretch.
So, suggestions for 41 or 41.5? I thought I'd ask this here in case any one else runs accross this in the future.
So I went ahead and rode my motorized bike down to the parts store with my old belt to select a new one. The guy at the parts counter was reading the OC number (outside circumference) instead of the length in the part number though and kept trying to tell me a belt with a part number of K050405 was a 41.25 belt. The K number is the number of ribs (05) and the next 3 numbers are the length in inches (040") and the last number is a decimal (.5). Therefore its a 5 ribbed belt thats 40.5 inches long. I kinda thought the parts guy would know that but whatever...
Anyway, they didn't have a 41 inch belt in stock but they did have a 40.5 inch belt so I took it. Its a bit of a tight fit to get it on, but it seems to be just fine from just letting the motor idle. With the 40.5 belt, the tensioner is using up about 2/3's of its total travel which I think is OK and as the belt stretches it will use up a bit less. I think the 41 inch belt would actually be the better choice, however, as it would take up a little less tension travel to pull it closer to center and it would be easier to put on.
The only problem is that I used a 3/8 ratchet wrench to pull the tensioner back and now there isn't enough room to get it back out so it looks like I'm going to have to find out what size the square boss on the top of the tensioner is and pull it back with a wrench to retrieve my ratchet before I go on a test drive.
So in closing:
-With Rodney's power pullies use a 41 inch belt. -A half inch in either direction of 41" would probably still work OK but YRMV. -Don't use a ratchet, use a wrench on the boss on top of the tensioner or you'll not be able to get the ratchet back out of the recess in the side of the tensioner arm.
Just thought I'd bump this with an update. So far, no squalling whatsoever despite running the car quite a bit in the rain and in the morning with everything covered in dew!
However... my 1-year old AC Delco alternator died on me. The rear bearings failed.... I *think* this was caused by running the 40.5 inch belt at almost full swing on the tensioner and it was just too much pressure. Time for new alt bearings and a 41 inch belt with Rodney's power pulley set
Or.... I could have killed the bearings when I was still trying to adjust the alternator the stock method and over-tightened it and the bearings just didn't fail till just now. Dunno.
Bump, Dodgerunner are you still making these? I need one pretty bad, the belt on my '88GT won't stop squealing, its so bad it makes it so I don't even want to drive the car. I'll need a few days to get the money for it, I can probably order and pay by this weekend.
Quick Review: BEST PRODUCT EVER! Thanks DodgeRunner!
Two years back I purchased Rodneydickman's Idler Pulley, and while it did cut down on the belt squeal a little bit - it was still there... The RD idler pulley just wraps the belt around the alternator wheel a bit more, without providing tension. So last year I purchased DodgeRunner's Belt Tensioner and I haven't heard the belt squeal once sense.
That belt squeal was the most annoying part of my car, now if only I could get rid of that hunting idle - life would be great. =)
[This message has been edited by cloaked (edited 04-17-2011).]