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Thread: '01 Z3 3.0l belt replacement

  1. #1
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    '01 Z3 3.0l belt replacement

    is it necessary to replace tensioner and idler just to replace serpentine belt? the shops all want $600 to do this. $386 in parts. They say its so important to replace everything. I looked up a kit for $160, and labor doesn't seem too tough, but I cant bend over too long to do it myself. the belt only has cracking in ribs but is not posing any problems.
    looking for opinions

  2. #2
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    How many miles? A bad tensioner can cause enough issues to need a rescue tow, but if it's not bad, you can have the belt changed without the tensioner.
    -Abel

    - E36 328is ~210-220whp: Lots of Mods. RomRaider self-tune work in progress.
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  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by 328 Power 04 View Post
    How many miles? A bad tensioner can cause enough issues to need a rescue tow, but if it's not bad, you can have the belt changed without the tensioner.
    it has 105k, Im not original owner so dont know if it was ever done, Im having no issues, just noticed cracking on belt.

  4. #4
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    I just changed the tensioners on mine (2002 3.0, 86k miles). You DO NOT have to change tensioners to change the belts, and in fact you can change the belts without removing the mechanical fan (it's tricky with the fan in the way, but I did it that way the first time).

    The tensioners on my car were both mechanical (they have a surprisingly large coil spring inside that provides tension which I doubt ever goes bad, but the bearings on the pulleys are known for eventually going bad). 100k miles is probably a good time to replace them...

    That being said, I think they are charging you way too much... Tensioners are easy to do, just a few small bolts, but I also removed the mechanical fan a long time ago. I think you might have to remove the fan to get to the alternator belt tensioner... That's a pain, worse than the tensioners unless you have the tool and technique to get it off of there properly. If you DON'T do it properly, like whacking it with a hammer, you could kill your water pump bearings and make your water pump fail. That's a much bigger problem than belt tensioners I think... So make sure you (or they) remove the fan correctly. For what it's worth, my 3.0 works just fine in Texas heat without the mechanical fan.

    Also, my 3.0 does not have an idler pulley! Realoem.com says it does, and the kit FCP euro said fit my car came with it (was about $160, is this the one you looked at? It has a hydraulic alternator belt tensioner rather than mechanical, which is supposedly more reliable somehow. Supposed to be an upgrade). I should have looked at my car before ordering, I had to send the idler pulley and the bolts etc for it back. Make sure you look at your car first to verify. Don't let them charge you for an idler pulley if you don't even have one...

    Do you know anyone that could help you for half an hour? I understand your situation, but as you suspect it's really easy...
    Last edited by raubritter; 07-01-2019 at 06:38 PM.

  5. #5
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    Correct, You do not have to replace the tensioner and idler with the belt.

    You can do it next month when they fail.


    /.randy

  6. #6
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    Look at it this way: if you're going to own the car for a few years, it's likely you'll replace those pulleys/tensioners eventually,... one at a time. So why not do it all now and be done with it for years? It's not expensive. I agree, they are charging you a lot. Anyone with basic mechanical skills can do it.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by shfty View Post
    it has 105k, Im not original owner so dont know if it was ever done, Im having no issues, just noticed cracking on belt.
    I replaced my pulleys and tensioners last year when doing a cooling system refresh with only 58k. Your at 105k. It would be prudent to replace them. The old pulleys are plastic, I upgraded to aluminum. Try Ed at BimmerBum. He has fair prices.

  8. #8
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  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Henway View Post
    alright - i risk embarrassing myself, but here goes:

    i have never gracefully been able to get the AC belt off in accordance with any instructions i've ever seen online or in a manual.

    alright - i said it. go ahead and scratch your head and ponder how this could be... laugh at me if you need.

    every time, i go to pelican or any other site, i see:
    Locate A/C drive belt tensioner (yellow arrow); use 16 mm hex boss (red arrow) or remove dust cap to access Allen bolt, if 16mm hex boss is not present. Using a ratchet with a long handle and an 8mm socket or a 16mm open end wrench (depending on style of tensioner), rotate A/C belt tensioner clockwise to release tension and slide belt off pulleys.


    and i'll be perfectly honest, my tensioner looks nothing like what they picture and i can find absolutely nothing to drive under the dust cover. i can never fit under it sufficiently to put eyes on the target, but there is no allen, no bolt, nothing - i can feel a circular indent. there is no 16mm boss, there is nothing like what they describe in that text. i recall that even my Bently doesn't seem to agree with what i see.

    i end up grabbing the top bolt on the big spring-like piston dude (has a corrugated rubber surround) and using that to torque the tensioner clockwise. i'm certain that bolt is now way too tight, but i've only gone through 2 or 3 belts in... approaching 14 years or so... so it'll be OK.

    at the end of the day, figure out how to get the tensioner to move the way you need, and do so.
    Cheers,
    Phil

  10. #10
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    Sounds like you have the hydraulic tensioner on the A/C belt... My car came with 2 mechanical tensioners (with the 16mm 'nut' you turn clockwise to take the belt off). I recently got a kit to replace mine and put the new hydraulic tensioner on the alternator belt, mechanical on A/C belt. My Bentley manual shows the hydraulic one on the A/C, mechanical on alternator. I'd like to see some arguments for mechanical vs hydraulic and in which position... but I haven't bothered to search I read that the hydraulic one is more reliable so I put it in the more important spot, for the alternator.

    Anyway, the Bentley way is to take the cap off the pulley of the hydraulic tensioner, and use a T45 (I'm pretty sure that's what it was) torx bit on the pulley bolt, and turn that clockwise to release tension. So that's one more tool I'm going to have to keep in the car. Also it's hard to get at the pulley cap, and I don't want to destroy it to take it off.. I like how straightforward the mechanical ones are with the 'nut.'

  11. #11
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    If you go to this page you can see a picture of the components of the hydraulic tensioner:

    https://www.fcpeuro.com/products/bmw...1287838797-1-2

    The torx bolt on the right is the one that holds the pulley on, which according to Bentley you apply clockwise pressure to release belt tension. Not sure but Bentley might have said it's an allen head bolt, so that might explain why you couldn't get a tool into it.
    Last edited by raubritter; 07-04-2019 at 08:55 AM.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by pwhitt View Post
    ... i can find absolutely nothing to drive under the dust cover. i can never fit under it sufficiently to put eyes on the target, but there is no allen, no bolt, nothing - i can feel a circular indent. there is no 16mm boss...
    You might be able to see better by shining a flashlight into a mirror. Could the indent be a hexagonal recess for a 16mm allen key like on my 1.9?
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by Vintage42; 07-04-2019 at 04:00 PM.
    BMW MOA 696, BMW CCA 1405

  13. #13
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    thanks for your input. I have been going round and round with "specialized" BMW garages who want $600 for the job,($380 for parts), I've found a Dayco kit on Pelican Parts for $160 so I'm also asking anyone if this brand is reliable vs $380 at the shop. All I want them to do is replace the belt and maybe examine or spin the pulleys for signs of wear, only then to replace them. But these shops wont let me bring in my own parts and the claim you must replace the tensioners at belt replacement. I think I will try it myself but everything is working fine just now, just a little cracking in the little ribs.

  14. #14
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    haha thanks, I think I get the sarcasm. However, everything is smooth and tight right now, just curious about the little cracks in the belt ribs which shouldn't affect the strength of the belt (or does it?)

    - - - Updated - - -

    thanks, good point

    - - - Updated - - -

    thanks,duly noted.

    - - - Updated - - -

    first, "whats a Henway? about 2-3 pounds", second, yes I saw that and appreciate their instructions, which is what brought my question here regarding shops charging $600 to do this!

    - - - Updated - - -

    I feel I would encounter something similar, which is why I am reluctant to start this process only to end up having the bank robber garage take over.
    I feel your pain.

  15. #15
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    I had the same experience as Raubitter with a kit from FCPEuro; did not need the idler pulley - FCPEuro allowed me to return it. At the time, the kit was the exact cost of the individual parts so no advantage buying a kit from them. This job is not difficult - recommend pulling the viscous fan. Autozone will loan the 32mm wrench and holder to accomplish this easily (deposit of $30 if I remember correctly).
    Brad Cushman
    2002 Z3 3.0
    1973 450 SL
    1967 Camaro SS/RS

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