I have a 97 dakota with about 80000 miles.
About 1000 miles ago (although that's more than a year because my truck
sits while I fly around) I was told (during a routine oil change) by my
dodge dealer that I need a serp. belt. OK, do it...i said, without
looking at it. Now, during another oil change, the dealer (service
rep...a different guy and different techs) says "you need a serp. belt
and tensioner". WHAT? I you just sold me a S-belt 1000 miles ago.
He looks up my records and says..OK, "actually you just need a
tensioner, but the belt and tensioner are usually done as one job, but
you can just get the tensioner". I said I'm suspicious: didn't i need
a tensioner 1000 miles (one year) ago (in which case I would hardly
have to pay extra for it)? He didn't know. Did anyone check the
tensioner back then? He didn't know. So I ask you all: What is the
most likely scenario here. and how likely is it that I would need a
tensioner only 1000 after getting a new Serp. belt? I think he quoted
a price around $150. I don't necessarily trust the service dept.
because there is alot of turnover...new reps, etc. Everytime I go in
for an oil change lately, they seem to always find something I
need...recently it was "throttle body cleaning" and "injector flush"
and "brake fluid flush". Anyway, how important is this
tensioner...does it just reduce the life of the S-belt if its 'bad'?
The tensioner is what keeps, well, tension on the serpentine belt. The
spring inside it can wear, reducing the tension, and allowing the serpentine
belt to slip (which will cause it to glaze over, which will cause a tech. to
look at it and say it needs to be replaced). The bearing that the pulley
rides on can also wear, allowing the pulley to wobble back and forth,
causing squeaking, and slight belt misalignment, which will also wear the
80,000 miles is about par for the course on a tensioner, and yeah, it
probably should have been checked/changed the last time. Then again, it is
a year later, and it may have just gotten worse over that year (most moving
parts on a vehicle don't like it when they sit for long periods of time).
Are you relatively handy with tools? The tensioner itself can be had for
about $50 (Gates part# 38116), and shouldn't take more than 30 minutes to
change out (just remove belt, unbolt tensioner, bolt up new tensioner,
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