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Repeat serp belt tensioner failure

Help, Advice and DIY Tutorials on Volvo's extremely popular car line -- Volvo's 1990s "bread and butter" cars -- powered by the ubiquitous and durable Volvo inline 5-cylinder engine.

1992 - 1997 850, 850 R, 850 T5-R, 850 T5, 850 GLT
1997 - 2000 S70, S70 AWD
1997 - 2000 V70, V70 AWD
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Repeat serp belt tensioner failure

Post by turtle1615 » Thu Oct 19, 2017 1:07 pm

My 98 v70 t5 had a bad serpentine tensioner when I got the car, it would jump around a lot and make a knocking type noise. I replaced it with a meyle unit and it was smooth and quiet. About 1000 miles later I'm having the exact same issue, the tensioner is jumping around and knocking. I thought i had spun a bearing its that loud. I can stick a screw driver down there and make the noise and jumping go away. Any ideas what would cause a repeat failure so quickly? All the other pulleys look and sound great. Maybe a stretched belt? It's not new but looks good.

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Re: Repeat serp belt tensioner failure

Post by misha » Thu Oct 19, 2017 2:51 pm

You allready answered your question...MEYLE.
Meyle HD is excellent for suspension parts and engine mounts...the story ends there...but regular Meyle products are in the bottom of quality range for suspension parts.
'97 850 2.5 20v / fully equipped / Motronic 4.4 from the factory / upgraded with S,V,C,XC70 instrument cluster / polar white wagon
'91 Citroen XM 2.0 SI /fully equipped/mandarine red metallic
History of Volvos in the family:
'71 144 S
'73 144 De Luxe
'78 244 DL
'78 244 DL
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'85 340 GLS

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Re: Repeat serp belt tensioner failure

Post by scot850 » Thu Oct 19, 2017 3:36 pm

Only brand of tensioner I would use is OE Volvo. Too expensive if the part breaks! Once spent 3 hours trying to get an aftermarket tensioner (the later manual type and not the hydraulic as in 98 and earlier) to align the belt correctly and everytime I turned the engine over by hand for a couple of revolutions it would adjust itself out of alignment.

Fitted a Volvo one and worked first time no problem.

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Re: Repeat serp belt tensioner failure

Post by erikv11 » Thu Oct 19, 2017 3:44 pm

Neil its a serp tensioner here, not a timing belt one. So to OP: there are only "manual" (spring) types, not hydraulic.

I agree with misha the Meyle could be failing already due to poor manufacturing quality. When the serp tensioner gets noisy I've been putting on used ones until just this year I started buying new ones if/as I find failures. Have only replaced one this year. The tensioner part isn't usually a problem on an old used one, you can just buy replacement pulley(s). I bought Volvo on those, I just don't want to deal with failing aftermarket parts. Too many cars in the fleet right now for that.
'95 854 T5-R, Motronic 4.4, 185k
'96 855 NA, 145k
'98 S70 NA, 220k (living out west)
'98 V70, T5 tune-injectors-turbo, LPT engine, 285k
'06 S60 R, 160k
gone: '96 NA 850 210k, '98 NA V70 182k

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