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.
RS 2.0 #923
RS 7.0 #528
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