DIY, 1st Gen Belt Tensioner - Scion xB Forum
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post #1 of 7 Old 04-15-2015, 05:31 PM Thread Starter
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DIY, 1st Gen Belt Tensioner

As with all good DIY projects, here is the standard disclaimer. If you build and use this device, be aware that you will now be able to easily over tighten your drive belt and possibly damage alternator or water pump bearings. Use at your own risk, I am not responsible for any damage done.

Parts Needed from Ace Hardware
1 ea Rod End Male Left 5/16-24 H#883539
1 ea Rod End Male Right 5/16-24 H#883531

Parts from Bolt and Fastener store
1 ea 5/16x24 right hand tap and couple of nuts to fit
1 ea 5/16x24 left hand tap and couple of nuts to fit.

Scrap piece Hex Shaft from machine shop.
Piece of 1/2" Hex Shaft to use as the adjuster.

I came up with this after hearing a friends 1st gen with the squealing belt issue. It was really bad. A quick measurement from bolt to bolt on her car was 4-3/4" C-C, (Center to Center). This gave me a distance to work with. I went to Ace Hardware and found 5/16" Rod Ends with 5/16"x24 male threads. I got 1 of each, left hand and right hand. They were $9.29 each. Then to a Bolt and Fastener supply for the right hand and left hand taps and nuts. Each 5/16"x24 tap and 6 nuts was $15 each. Remember you need a right hand and a left hand for this to work. I found a scrap piece of 1/2" Hex shaft. Got it for free. I cut a piece of hex shaft 2-5/16" long, smoothed each end on a lathe at work. Finished length was 2-1/4" long. Then drilled all the way through with a size I (size eye) drill bit. That is correct size for 5/16"x24 threads. I threaded one side of the hex shaft with the right hand tap as deep as it would go and used the left hand on the other side as deep as it would go. Once this was done, I cleaned out the the threaded hole a good spray of WD40. Now would be a good time to clean and paint the hex shaft to a color of your liking. I placed a jam nut on each Rod End and I then started them into the hex shaft at the same time. With the unit tightened all the way together, it gave me a C-C distance of 4". With it opened up and leaving 3/8" of thread still in the hex shaft for support, it gave me 5-1/4" C-C.
Using a 12mm wrench I removed the nut from the stud on block that holds the alternator mount. Then removed the bolt that holds tension on alternator to bracket. With the bracket out of the way, I adjusted the tensioner to fit on the stud and for the bolt to start into the alternator. You might want to put a drop of Lock Tite on the stud threads before tightening the nut. The bolt is then tightened without Lock Tite. Now spin your jam nuts in the same direction. They will either tighten onto the hex shaft or move away from it. Now by turning the hex shaft, you can either spread the Rod End which tightens the drive belt or pull them together which will loosen the drive belt. REMEMBER the bolt at the bottom of your alternator for bottom mount needs to be loosened before adjusting your belt tension. Once adjusted to your liking, then snug the jam nuts against the hex shaft, followed by tightening the bottom mount bolt.
Hope this is helpful.
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post #2 of 7 Old 04-15-2015, 08:10 PM
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Re: DIY, 1st Gen Belt Tensioner

beautiful idea!!!

Steve
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post #3 of 7 Old 04-16-2015, 06:18 AM
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Re: DIY, 1st Gen Belt Tensioner

Brilliant!

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post #4 of 7 Old 04-20-2015, 06:15 PM
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Re: DIY, 1st Gen Belt Tensioner

Glad to see this made it into the DIY section. My response from the original thread below for those who might not have all the necessary tools to pull of wagonbldr's design...

This post isn't to take anything away from Wagonbldr's post or method, because I think it is a great contribution. Just wanted to offer an alternative for those that might not have the ability to deal with the hex shaft properly.

If you don't have the resources to do any of the customization, another option would be to order everything you need from some place like McMaster-Carr. Below are some links of an option using all stainless parts and threaded rod with female rod ends. You could use standard steel pieces, but corrosion would be more of an issue.

Stainless Steel RH Female Rod End - $12.14
McMaster-Carr

Stainless Steel LH Female Rod End - $12.14
McMaster-Carr

Stainless Steel 5/16"-24 Jamb Nut (25 pack) - $5.25
McMaster-Carr

3" Stainless steel Threaded Rod (5 Pack) - $6.50
McMaster-Carr

This alternative would give you a usable range of 4 3/8" - 5", so definitely less range than wagonbldr's method. If you measure and need a little additional length, you could always pick up a 4" threaded rod and cut it down to the length required. A bit easier than drilling and tapping a hex shaft.
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post #5 of 7 Old 07-10-2015, 11:57 PM
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Re: DIY, 1st Gen Belt Tensioner

I'll be installing mine this weekend.

Thank you sir!!

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post #6 of 7 Old 07-18-2015, 05:13 PM
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Re: DIY, 1st Gen Belt Tensioner

Thanks Jim for the piece. Here is my completed setup with a 220A Mechman Alt freshly painted and new pulley installed. I still have to finish the wire harness with the exposed wires showing. Had to unmodify the harness to use the stock alt temporarily until my Mechman came back from the shop. Thanks again!

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post #7 of 7 Old 08-07-2015, 07:01 PM Thread Starter
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Glad it's working out for y'all.
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