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Thread: Tensioner Pulley noise easy and cheap fix

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    Post Tensioner Pulley noise easy and cheap fix

    EDIT: Important new information added

    Thanks to Bishop we now know that Gates pulley # 38008 is not correct for Mazda 3. He confirmed that it is too narrow and will cause belt squeal pretty much right away, which means the belt can be damaged.
    The correct Gates pulley # is 36326.
    It is also worth mentioning that this pulley is metal.

    Just to keep the important info on top, here are the correct pulley numbers:

    DAYCO: 89015
    GATES: 36326

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

    OK guys and gals, I have found a very cheap and easy fix for noisy serpentine belt tensioner pulley.

    My tensioner pulley started making slight squeaking / squealing noises about 3 years ago (car is 2006), so basically about 1 to 1.5 years after purchase. It was very faint and only during cold morning starts and at certain RPM's. I brought it to the dealer and of course they said it's normal.

    I decided to just keep driving and keep an eye on it while the car was under warranty. Since then nothing really happened, I am out of warranty as of last year, but the noise is getting louder and louder and doesn't go away when the car is warmed up anymore.

    I know the bearing in the tensioner pulley is shot, I removed it early this year to re-pack the bearing with grease, it was dry and had side to side play, but re-packing it with grease seemed to help a bit and got me up until this point. I knew from the beginning that it was only a band aid fix.

    Well, the temps are getting lower and lower and that tensioner pulley was making me feel uneasy, I don't want the pulley to seize when it's -25C outside and take out the belt with it when I'm stuck in traffic. So I started looking for other solution.

    First I called the dealer and they only sell the whole tensioner assembly, which is about $140 +tax. Not my coup of tea, since the tensioner itself is perfectly fine. Lucky, when I originally removed the pulley to re-grease it, I measured it. The dimensions are 70mm OD, 17mm ID and 28mm wide, flanged with 6 grooves.
    DAYCO # 89015 and GATES 36326. match these dimensions. I went to Dayco website and it turns out that they have tons of part stores across GTA that carry their products. They even have a handy store locator on their website.

    Anyway, I called few places in Mississauga and most have the pulley in stock or can easily order one for you. The best part... it's about $27+tax.

    The pulley is very easy to change in your driveway and will take about 10-15 minutes.

    I changed mine yesterday and with -14C this morning the belt and tensioner pulley were dead quiet.
    I will keep you posted how it goes for the next few weeks or months, but I don't expect any problems at all, since the pulley uses exact same bearing as the OEM one.
    I took some pics while I was doing the work and if you guys want me to post a short How To or just the pics, let me know, I can do it in few weeks.


    Again the numbers are:

    DAYCO: 89015
    GATES: 36326
    Last edited by cwp_sedan; 02-22-2012 at 12:58 PM. Reason: Updated info

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    Sr Member Noisy Crow's Avatar
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    Default Re: Tensioner Pulley noise easy and cheap fix.

    Sticky!!!!!!!!!
    2008 Carbon Gray GT Sedan 5 Speed

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    Moderator cwp_sedan's Avatar
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    Default Re: Tensioner Pulley noise easy and cheap fix.

    Definitely post some pics and a How-To. I will sticky this once you do and give us some feedback with the results over some time..

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    Default Re: Tensioner Pulley noise easy and cheap fix.


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    Default Re: Tensioner Pulley noise easy and cheap fix.

    is the new pulley plastic or metal? plastic sucks!
    2005 Mazda3 SP23 hatchback (auto)

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    Default Re: Tensioner Pulley noise easy and cheap fix.

    Quote Originally Posted by TheMAN View Post
    is the new pulley plastic or metal? plastic sucks!
    IIRC both peices are plastic, but better design and quality over the OEM plastic pulleys
    2007 Mazda 3 GS sedan - Arctic White / Tan cloth

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    Default Re: Tensioner Pulley noise easy and cheap fix.

    The pulley is plastic, but it's not an issue at all, the issue is with the cheap bearing that has plastic dust shields. They don't seal well and eventually all grease squeezes out as the pulley spins, leaving the bearing dry.

    A metal pulley would be nicer in a sense that the bearing would be easier to upgrade. In the metal pulley the bearing is pressed in, you could easily press the junk bearing out and replace it with a better option.

    In the plastic pulley, the bearing is molded into the pulley, so you can't simply press it out.

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    Default Re: Tensioner Pulley noise easy and cheap fix.

    Im probabley experisncing the same exact noises. I have had this for a good 3 years now only when the winter kicks in. Only at 1500 rpm's i get a gurgling noise. I had the tensioner replaced and it went away, but soon came back, then had the belts replaced and went away until the next winter which brings me to now. I had the belts replaced again for the second time in less than 11 months and now theyre dead silent hopefully it doesnt come back. If it does, then ill give the tensioner a go.

    The tensioner that you bought is it a SELF TENSIONER or does it have a bolt so you can manually tension it?

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    Jr Member Nick's Avatar
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    Default Re: Tensioner Pulley noise easy and cheap fix.

    sweet i have an '06, something to worry about =] subscribed!
    2006 Mazda 3 GS

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    Sr Member JonsMazda's Avatar
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    Default Re: Tensioner Pulley noise easy and cheap fix.

    Quote Originally Posted by Noisy Crow View Post
    Sticky!!!!!!!!!
    +1

    STICKY!!

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    Default Re: Tensioner Pulley noise easy and cheap fix.

    The new belt tensioner that is offered (OEM) has been updated and the pulley itself is metal. Issues in the past with the plastic pulley grenading are common

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    Default Re: Tensioner Pulley noise easy and cheap fix.

    Great plan! A how to guide or at least some pictures would be amazing.

    Luckily I think my pulley is ok, but now I know what i'll do when i have problems.

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    Default Re: Tensioner Pulley noise easy and cheap fix.

    Subscribed.

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    Default Re: Tensioner Pulley noise easy and cheap fix.

    well done stock3!

    I find it very impressive that you were able to find such an inexpensive replacement for a rather common problem.

    I took my car to Street Performance due to the gurgling/screeching noise coming out from the tensioner pulley area, and after a 5 minute test-drive, Jim confirmed it was the tensioner pulley, however it is rather on the low/quieter side of things, so he recommended that I make more use of the tensioner for now.

    Having said that, I am interested in purchasing the part and keeping it just incase, but I noticed that the one on my engine is metal, whereas the one from DYCO and GATES look plastic? is that a downgrade? or not necessarily?

    Interesting that even metal tensioner (for my Mazda 3) doesn't seem to fix the common issue.

    Can't wait for pictures! Would make a great sticky

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    Default Re: Tensioner Pulley noise easy and cheap fix.

    The pulley was updated to metal to stop it from grenading as has happened to some/many of the 04/05 cars.
    2006 Winning Blue MZ3 Sport GT

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    Default Re: Tensioner Pulley noise easy and cheap fix.

    OK guys, thanks for the thumbs up!!!
    I did not post any updates as I was really busy.

    Anyway's here you go:







    zmz3 mentioned that his pulley is metal. I searched for the metal equivalent, but could not find any from Dayco or others. However if you look at the last pic of the old bearing, you can clearly see that a metal or plastic pulley has no effect on the bearing. In this case the bearing just looses the grease and starts making noises, eventually it will have enough play that it might loose the bearing balls and sieze up. Both, the metal and the plastic pulley will be prone to this as the bearing is just too cheap.

    Plastick pulley will not just disintegrate on its own, the RPM is just too smal, however if the bearing siezes, that's a different story. If the metal one freezes it wil at least stay together, however the slipping belt will eventually get too hot and break as well.

    I really don't care about the pulley, but the bearing is really cheap and small, that's why it goes prematurely.
    Last edited by cwp_sedan; 10-20-2011 at 01:26 PM.

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    Jr Member zmz3's Avatar
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    Default Re: Tensioner Pulley noise easy and cheap fix.

    Great work!!!

    stock3,

    Thank you for looking into the metal replacement, but if it means that I will need to spend $27+tax every 2-3 years for the plastic one, then thats a small price for sure.


    This calls for a great sticky !

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    Default Re: Tensioner Pulley noise easy and cheap fix.

    Thanks Stock 3, I just did this today and it worked like a charm! $20 fix for a car problem is unheard of, so thanks a bunch for putting this up on the web!

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    Default Re: Tensioner Pulley noise easy and cheap fix.

    Hi All,

    Any update as to how this is holding up? With all of this rain, it is embarrassing when I start the car in the morning...so much squeaking!

    Thanks!
    2009 Mazda 3 Sport GT
    Luxury Package | 5-spd Manual
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    Default Re: Tensioner Pulley noise easy and cheap fix.

    Assuming it's the same thing I'm hearing, this noise drives me crazy. Gonna give this a try asap, thanks for the info and guide.
    2008 Mazda3 GT Sedan, 34K
    Sharkfin Antenna | Gunmetal Badges | Gunmetal RX-8 Rims | Road Magnet Springs (1.25" drop) | Koni Sport/Yellows Shocks | Progress RSB

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    Default Re: Tensioner Pulley noise easy and cheap fix.

    The pulley is doing just fine, I have a slight chirp from the belt on rainy or damp days, like today, but no squeaking or groaning at all. I'm planning to change the belts this summer, so chirping should stop as well.

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    Default Re: Tensioner Pulley noise easy and cheap fix.

    Thanks for the update! Has anyone sourced the Dayco part online (and had it shipped at a reasonable price)? Does Partsource carry it?

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    Default Re: Tensioner Pulley noise easy and cheap fix.

    Does this fix a squealing fanbelt in heavy rain? My girlfriends Mazda5 (2.3l), AND my 2.0l Mazda3 do the same thing.

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    Default Re: Tensioner Pulley noise easy and cheap fix.

    Quote Originally Posted by bueller20 View Post
    Thanks for the update! Has anyone sourced the Dayco part online (and had it shipped at a reasonable price)? Does Partsource carry it?


    Here you go, they ship to Canada, but I don't think it will be cheaper than picking one up yourself. There are quite a few stores in Mississauga that carry Dayco products.

    http://www.rockauto.com/dbphp/x,cata...yco_89015.html

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    Default Re: Tensioner Pulley noise easy and cheap fix.

    Quote Originally Posted by stock3 View Post
    Here you go, they ship to Canada, but I don't think it will be cheaper than picking one up yourself. There are quite a few stores in Mississauga that carry Dayco products.

    http://www.rockauto.com/dbphp/x,cata...yco_89015.html
    Thanks! Probably best I pick one up locally

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