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Old 08-16-2011, 03:34 AM   #1 (permalink)
Tahoe Diesel
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New Tensioner Over-Stretching New Serpentine Belt!

Installed a brand new AC Delco tensioner with a brand new Gates 'Micro-V' serp belt that I bought at CarQuest for around $30, so not exactly a cheap belt. I did some research on here and found a lot of reports of the cheaper chinese rubber belts over-stretching, so I went for the mexican made Gates, which was recommended in a thread here somewhere.

Upon installation the belt wear indicator marks on the tensioner registered the the RHS of the scale, where it should be. Now after just over 200 miles it's stretched out past the LHS of the wear indicator scale...WTF

The new tensioner was noticably more difficult to leverage than the old one and the Gates belt looked and felt like quality, so I'm inclined to think that the spring in the new tensioner is just too strong.

The pulley bearings in the old tensioner were on the way out and I could have just replaced the pulley. But the old tensioner appears original so I figured the spring might be getting tired and could possibly break, so I opted to replace the whole unit. Now I'm either gonna have to swap out the new pulley onto my old tensioner and buy another belt, or return complete tensioner for credit and just get a new pulley and belt...I'll probably do that because I hate taking it in the a$$ for crap parts

But I still want to buy an additional tensioner to carry as an emergency spare. So, any experienced recommendations on a QUALITY tensioner and belt combo?

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1996 Tahoe 2Dr 6.5L Turbo Diesel 4x4
- S Vin.
- z71 Package.
- Tow Package.
- Barn Doors.
- 3.73 G80 Gov-Loc.
- Escalade Rims, 265/70-17 Yokohama Geolandar A/T-S @ 215,325 miles.
- Vacuum Pump 'SS Diesel Supply' @ 217,750 miles.
- New Bill Heath PMD Relocated behind front bumper @ 218,265 miles.
- 8 new Bosch Fuel Injectors balanced to 150 Bar @ 218,680 miles.
- Replaced faulty thermo-elec switch on front diff w/'Posi-lok' cable system @ 219,700 miles.
- Installed 'Lubrication Specialist' braided steel oil lines and oil cooler @ 220,090 miles.
- Fluidampr.
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Old 08-16-2011, 08:28 AM   #2 (permalink)
racer55
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I prefer to use the GM belts.

In the past I had a 90 chev that got 7 years from the original belt,when I first replaced it with a gates belt I only got 1 1/2 years-the next belt was GM again and lasted another 7 years and was on the truck when I sold it.

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Old 08-16-2011, 06:49 PM   #3 (permalink)
Tahoe Diesel
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By "GM" I assume you mean AC Delco? 7+ years is an awesome service life for a serp belt. I hope today's GM belts have the same quality. It looks like Gates are making alot of AC Delco parts these days. The new tensioner is supposedly AC, it came in an AC box but there is no branding on the part itself and the part# on the box is 38118, which happens to be the same part# for a Gates tensioner which looks identical to the AC tensioner in online sample pics - Hmmm...

I guess I should just go to the dealer and inspect a belt. If it's not a Gates I'll take a chance on it but I won't be surprised if it over-stretches because It really feels like this new tensioner is too tight. Which brings me back to my question; Anyone else have any success with a non-AC/Gates tensioner?
__________________
1996 Tahoe 2Dr 6.5L Turbo Diesel 4x4
- S Vin.
- z71 Package.
- Tow Package.
- Barn Doors.
- 3.73 G80 Gov-Loc.
- Escalade Rims, 265/70-17 Yokohama Geolandar A/T-S @ 215,325 miles.
- Vacuum Pump 'SS Diesel Supply' @ 217,750 miles.
- New Bill Heath PMD Relocated behind front bumper @ 218,265 miles.
- 8 new Bosch Fuel Injectors balanced to 150 Bar @ 218,680 miles.
- Replaced faulty thermo-elec switch on front diff w/'Posi-lok' cable system @ 219,700 miles.
- Installed 'Lubrication Specialist' braided steel oil lines and oil cooler @ 220,090 miles.
- Fluidampr.
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Old 08-16-2011, 10:34 PM   #4 (permalink)
JMJNet
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Have you used search??? I have read some of this issue before but I forgot whether it is here or tts forum. IIRC, they are using Dayco tensioner and have same issue.

Have you tried to exchange the belt and see if it is bad belt or old stock belt?
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Heath Turbo-Master
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Last edited by JMJNet; 08-16-2011 at 10:35 PM.
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Old 08-17-2011, 12:07 AM   #5 (permalink)
Deezel
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We never, ever use Gates. Those things stretch like rubber bands. Dayco or Genuine stuff is the best.
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Old 08-17-2011, 12:18 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Deezel View Post
We never, ever use Gates. Those things stretch like rubber bands. Dayco or Genuine stuff is the best.
i would never use dayco, i had 1 belt that when i put it on had a hard spot and would not flex right causing the tensioner to bounce every time it hit it
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Old 08-17-2011, 08:37 AM   #7 (permalink)
97gmc1500
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I have a Terex TS14 Scraper (6.5L QSB Cummins), Rear motor does the same thing to OE Belts. Gotta run Delco on it. Unexplained.
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Old 08-18-2011, 02:04 AM   #8 (permalink)
Tahoe Diesel
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JMJNet View Post
Have you used search???
Did you read my OP???

Quote:
I did some research on here and found a lot of reports of the cheaper chinese rubber belts over-stretching, so I went for the mexican made Gates, which was recommended in a thread here somewhere.
__________________
1996 Tahoe 2Dr 6.5L Turbo Diesel 4x4
- S Vin.
- z71 Package.
- Tow Package.
- Barn Doors.
- 3.73 G80 Gov-Loc.
- Escalade Rims, 265/70-17 Yokohama Geolandar A/T-S @ 215,325 miles.
- Vacuum Pump 'SS Diesel Supply' @ 217,750 miles.
- New Bill Heath PMD Relocated behind front bumper @ 218,265 miles.
- 8 new Bosch Fuel Injectors balanced to 150 Bar @ 218,680 miles.
- Replaced faulty thermo-elec switch on front diff w/'Posi-lok' cable system @ 219,700 miles.
- Installed 'Lubrication Specialist' braided steel oil lines and oil cooler @ 220,090 miles.
- Fluidampr.
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Old 08-18-2011, 02:16 AM   #9 (permalink)
Tahoe Diesel
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 97gmc1500 View Post
I have a Terex TS14 Scraper (6.5L QSB Cummins), Rear motor does the same thing to OE Belts. Gotta run Delco on it. Unexplained.
Delco or Dayco?

---------------------------------------------

I picked up a new 'GM' belt from the stealer; $89.47 + tax - I'm pretty sure it's a Gates even though it's GM labeling

The upper belt is the $30 one from CarQuest, that stretched. CarQuest branded belts are made by Gates, according to counter clerk.

The middle belt is a Vac-Pump-delete 100" spare that I carry in case of vac pump failure. It is also CarQuest (approx $30) and clearly shows 'Gates' logo.

The bottom belt is the new $89 'GM', which has markings and patent #'s suspiciously similar to Gates.




After just over 200 miles, the tensioner was all the way to the over-stretch stop, so it was no longer providing much in the way of tension. Slippage was bound to happen sooner than later - Tensioner with stretched belt:



Tensioner immediately after new GM belt install, but before start-up:



Tensioner after 15 mile test drive:



I will post additional photos if any excessive stretch occurs. Once I've verified which new part(s) are substandard (tensioner/belt) I will be returning for full refund. On the positive side, I will also post back with the good news, should the GM belt hold up.

Got an interesting opinion from the GM parts guy; he thinks that the CarQuest belt is not strong enough for the new AC Delco tensioner because aftermarket belt specs are 'averaged' to conform to multiple cross-brand applications, i.e. the belt might be made to run on the tensioners of GM and any other brand; Ford/Dodge/Toyota, etc, that requires a 101" 6 ribbed serpentine belt, and therefore is not designed to specifically run on a GM tensioner - Interesting theory, no?
__________________
1996 Tahoe 2Dr 6.5L Turbo Diesel 4x4
- S Vin.
- z71 Package.
- Tow Package.
- Barn Doors.
- 3.73 G80 Gov-Loc.
- Escalade Rims, 265/70-17 Yokohama Geolandar A/T-S @ 215,325 miles.
- Vacuum Pump 'SS Diesel Supply' @ 217,750 miles.
- New Bill Heath PMD Relocated behind front bumper @ 218,265 miles.
- 8 new Bosch Fuel Injectors balanced to 150 Bar @ 218,680 miles.
- Replaced faulty thermo-elec switch on front diff w/'Posi-lok' cable system @ 219,700 miles.
- Installed 'Lubrication Specialist' braided steel oil lines and oil cooler @ 220,090 miles.
- Fluidampr.

Last edited by Tahoe Diesel; 08-18-2011 at 02:19 AM.
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Old 08-18-2011, 10:08 AM   #10 (permalink)
JMJNet
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JMJNet View Post
Have you used search??? I have read some of this issue before but I forgot whether it is here or tts forum. IIRC, they are using Dayco tensioner and have same issue.

Have you tried to exchange the belt and see if it is bad belt or old stock belt?
Tahoe, did you search TTS???? It must be at TTS. I remember TurbineDoc have the same issue.

I am flip flopping between the 2 forums, sometimes I am not sure where I read things.

If you are not a member there, sign up and a lot of the people here from the beginning is now there.

__________________
1995 GMC Suburban:
PMD in Bumper
Leroy Diesel Flight System PMD
Leroy Diesel Oil Cooler Line
4" Warpspeed Exhaust
Kennedy Diesel LP/OPS Harness
Bosch Duraterm GP
Heath Turbo-Master
AD244 Alternator

Last edited by JMJNet; 08-18-2011 at 10:10 AM.
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