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relsoc 01-25-2010 09:56 AM

Belt Tensioner & Idler Pullies...
Dropping the Tribeca off at the dealer tonight. The Belt Tension and Idler Pullies are both making horrible noise. Just hit 65,000 and have Gold Extended warranty that covers them. Anyone else have this issue? Just curious. I need to get it back for the 60K service as soon as the tax refund hits the bank. :)

legandrex 01-26-2010 09:30 AM


Originally Posted by relsoc
Dropping the Tribeca off at the dealer tonight. The Belt Tension and Idler Pullies are both making horrible noise. Just hit 65,000 and have Gold Extended warranty that covers them. Anyone else have this issue? Just curious. I need to get it back for the 60K service as soon as the tax refund hits the bank. :)

I hear some noise at startup(few minutes) but it goes away. Same thing? We have 56,000 miles on ours.

relsoc 01-26-2010 10:35 AM

Anything is possible. When you start the vehicle cold, take some WD40 with the spray nozzle close to the tensioner pully and zap it with some lubricant. If it stops and then comes right back then its that pully.

nuKe 04-28-2013 12:48 PM

3 Attachment(s)
Replaced the belt tensioner idler pulley bearing yesterday. Was grinding but not bad enough to seize yet. Thought it would be a good idea to save my belt or being stranded somewhere upon the battery dying. Actually thought it was the alternator with a bad bearing but a listen through a mechanics stethoscope narrowed the source.

After some reading over at went out and bought a bearing from NAPA.
Part number on original bearing: NSK 6203DUL1
NAPA part number: SKF 6203-2RSJ
Considering subaru list the part a complete assembly @ $100 and the replacement bearing was $8 i think the direction was clear.
Knocked out the old and CAREFULLY knocked in the new, wasnt pressed in too tight!
Remember to be careful not to use the inner sleeve or the rubbers to install, only the outer sleeve (see pics) i actually used a combination of the old bearing and a socket to get the new one in.

As mentioned in the thread link above, make sure you dont lose the nut which is at the back of the idler when removing it from the tensioner.
Also, the washer needs to be reinstalled the same way around because it is slightly flanged (also has some nubbs outward facing). If installed the wrong way it will freeze the idler and then you be up for a serpentine belt aswell.

Another $90 savings! BONZA!!!!

avk 04-28-2013 02:55 PM

subaruoutback also has a mention of Dayco 89007 pulley, which is a little smaller in diameter but works fine, and costs only around $10.

nuKe 04-28-2013 03:29 PM

Yes I did see that and am sure it would be fine. The diameter of the pulley wouldnt matter much unless overly or underly only applies pressure to the belt to take up the tension.
I opted for the bearing because I could get it the same day and it wasnt pressed in with a huge amount of force.
Reading that thread is beneficial though to give someone alternate options.

tribecadean 05-05-2013 11:36 AM

I have bearing noise
mine Sounds noisy in the pulleys.

1- I dont know where to start,as I dont know which one it is.

2- access is seems like a knuckle buster as its so close to the rad.

I would like to do it myself, but I need some guidance. any pictures or steps out there?
thanks for any help

tribecadean 05-05-2013 11:41 AM

I saw the link on directions: So I will go study that.

nuKe 05-05-2013 11:58 AM

To narrow down which or where it is coming from you can use a LOONG screwdriver. With the engine running and the noise present, hold the tip on the pulley bolt (or any non-moving part for that matter) and put your ear on the rounded handle end.
Yes it is tight but the main problem was the radiator hose, luckily it is flexible enough not to be that big of an issue.
Remove the plastic cover at the top of the grille for better access.

tribecadean 05-05-2013 04:17 PM

replaced the idler and tensioner pulleys for $40.
bad tensioner pulley- once i got the belt loose ,it had wobble and a rough spot in the bearing,I went ahead and replaced the idler ,next to it.

on the outback forum, they said a dayco 87009 steel pulley/bearing assembly from advanced auto parts will fit, $20 each and 40 for the pair.

I put a pair on, it was pretty easy. i will post photos.

as nuke said: dont get the flanged washer flipper that holds the idler ,or your idler will bind.

also: somebody said: stuff a rag behind the tensioner bolt hole/bracket to hold the nut in.I did that and the loose nut on the back of the bracket stayed put.

you need a short 14mm socket and 18inch breaker bar to loosen the belt and to also remove the two bolts.

I bought a $9 breaker bar and a $12 kit of short sockets. so I fixed the car for $75 total.:D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D

thank you ALL! engine sounds sweet!

tribecadean 05-05-2013 07:07 PM

steps from other site- subaru outback forums
5 Attachment(s)
here is my install of pulleys.
1- tie down belt , loosen with a 14mm short socket aand breaker bar bar pulling towards drivers side.
2-i looped loose belt up thru a dowel rod to keep it in place.
3- STUFF Rag behind tensioner- DAMN GOOD TIP!!!
4- take off pulleys and look for washers on floor.
5- put on new TWO dayco 89007 pulletys from advanced auto parts
6- make sure pulleys spin freely when tight.
7- reinstall belt- as you pull on breaker bar.

hope this helps for beginners like me.

tribecadean 05-05-2013 07:48 PM

helpful post on tensioners
2 Attachment(s)
here is some help. Stuff that helped me.

nuKe 05-06-2013 05:09 AM

Awesome! Glad it worked out for you and both jobs done for less than the subaru listed tensioner assembly itself. + you have some tools for the next job :D

Esoobee 12-24-2014 08:56 AM

Hi, getting going on this job and trying to do something good before I do something baaad. Do the bolts that mount the idler pulley (not the tensioner pulley), and the tensioner pulley assembly to the engine have standard thread orientation? I know that the tensioner pulley is threaded reverse. Just don't want to twist anything off on Christmas Eve, except a Champagne cork!

avk 12-24-2014 09:03 AM

There are no left-handed threads anywhere.

Esoobee 12-24-2014 09:09 AM

boom. thx. And Happy Holidays!

rickst29 01-10-2015 08:27 PM

I just replaced the entire Tensioner Assembly in my 2007,
at 80K miles, using "Delco 38489" (the exact same part as OEM for $38), along with a compatible (but not identical) idler pulley for about $30, and a new V-belt (just over $20). The bearing inside the Ilder Pulley was pretty bad, causing a bit of wobble and a lot of noise, and the bearing inside the Tensioner Assembly Pulley was even worse.

I'm planning to do the next swap-out at 140K (just 60K miles more). So Subaru's 105K schedule seems very risky to me - and you can't really judge the pulleys until you've removed the belt, at which point you might as well replace both Pulleys anyway. The belt is only about $20.

Now comes the interesting part of my post:

This first replacement leaves me with a "spare" OEM Tensioner Assembly (consisting of a spring assembly, plus the spring-loaded "pulley mounting assembly" portion, which includes a nut to accept the pulley bolt, plus a pulley assembly (bolt, washer, pulley, and replaceable bearing) which is 100% identical to the idler pulley. The "Tensioner spring assembly" base and the "pulley mounting assembly" (on the other end of the spring) both seem pretty good after 80K miles.

The OEM Pulleys, bolts "T4", and "pulley cover" washers appear to have enormous lifespans - if you simply change the bearings. So... with the new parts and V-belt installed, I just used an 18mm socket and sledge hammer to "press out" (err, with slight violence) the old, worn-out bearings. Then I cleaned the gunk of the bearing sockets in the pulleys, and used the socket and sledge hammer to (slightly more gently) "press in" new bearings to full depth. (I bought USBB "premium" 6203RS bearings with pretty blue seals, at $10.98 for a 4-pack off EBay, at the same time I ordered the a new V-Belt, replacement Idler pulley assembly, and new Tensioner "assembly" with everything.)

Next time, instead of buying $15-30 Idler and Tensioner "pulleys", I'll just re-use the removed pair of my old ones - with new bearings each time. About $26 total for new V-belt and bearings on each future "Pulley and V-belt replacement" job. It's about 30 minutes total, as long as you're not wrestling with the "T2" bolts on the Tensioner Assembly "base". A lot less time than writing this detailed post. :) With my relatively low-RPM driving, I feel pretty good about the risk of running the Delco Tensioner spring "assembly" through AT LEAST two generations of pulley bearings replacements, up to age 120K (maybe even 180K) on the Tensioner spring before I buy another Tensioner "assembly". YMMV, of course.

Esoobee 01-11-2015 06:47 AM

Great post and prep for the next round Rick. My job went well and the car runs great. We had been noticing hesitation on acceleration and passing for a while. That is completely gone and the car has a lot more pep than before. Guess there may have been some belt slipping or something going on.

I just made the job easy on me (although more expensive) and purchased the oem parts out of the box. I'm going to do it the more cost effective way next time.



tribeca09 02-16-2015 12:07 PM

40k mi. and pullies toast. WTF!
The title says it all. With all I've read about these parts failing at such low mileage, they should be issuing recall and at a minimum a TSB.

My wife's '10 Forester also went in for the brake line "coating" "repair" -- actually more like a band aid solution, and they told her to come back in because they didn't apply the coating correctly the first time.

I can now say I tried it, and I'm done w/ Subaru. :mad:

The pulleys I'm using for replacement are NAPA/Gates 36330 (idler) and 3849 (tensioner assembly). The idler is a nicer piece than OEM. Nobody lists the tensioner pulley alone and I'm not about to use anything other than what's listed in the off chance Subaru would claim I've ever used incorrect parts. The original idler and the tensioner pulleys are NOT the same size as one another, contrary to what it seems some people have suggested.

avk 02-16-2015 12:29 PM

The two factory pulleys are both 80 mm in outer diameter.

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