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whistle tits
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Just ordered my belt and tensioner from rock auto, for about $125. My local ford dealer quoted me the belt for around $95, and the tensioner was closer to $200. Freaking ridiculous. I miss being able to buy parts at cost.
 

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Discussion Starter #22
I got my Motorcraft BT-50 tensioner yesterday (Saturday), a nice surprise.

Bottom line: As Dave sez, the genuine tensioner makes all the difference. With it:
  • The Goodyear Gatorback 8081252 belt still works, but it's clearly out of spec
  • The Gates K081223HD belt works and is in spec
  • The Motorcraft belt clearly would also work and be in spec
This makes me happy. I originally got all Gates parts because I wanted the Gates K081223HD FleetRunner long life belt. I've always had great luck with Gates rubber, and this belt is supposed to last longer than their standard belt.

Although I'm not looking forward to returning the Gates tensioner, which I ordered via eBay, I'm happy that I'm not using it. It's just a single arm tensioner, after all, and the whole point of this mod is that the dual arm tensioner is a better design and lasts longer.

I know I did some experimentation and didn't follow everyone's advice. But I wasn't able to find a good thread on this with authoritative answers all in one place, and I wanted to try to provide that as a service to this community. Many people have helped me over the years, starting with ford-diesel.com in 2002, and I'm happy to try to give back a little.

I also wanted to try the longer belts, since no one had done so before. Too bad I couldn't find anything between 122 7/8 (Motorcraft) and 125 2/8 (Goodyear). With the Motorcraft BT-50 tensioner, I think the acceptable range is 122 3/8 (Gates & others) to about 124 4/8 (unavailable AFAIK). One of the Ford tensioners should work also, since they should be identical to the Motorcraft part. Although I didn't try this, this range could be fudged with different sized idler, water pump, and alternator pulleys.

I also had the luxury of not needing to get my truck back on the road right away, and being willing to spend some extra bucks to satisfy my whims.

Here are some photos, if you're interested:

Here is the amount of tensioner loading with the Gates tensioner and Goodyear belt:


Here is another problem I had with the Gates tensioner. It didn't come with a mounting bolt, and the old T-50 cap head bolt rubbed on the belt. Also note the amount of space on the other side of the tensioner stop, compared to the previous photo.


The Motorcraft BT-50 came with a new mounting bolt with a low profile 13mm hex head


I switched out the tensioner and tried the Goodyear Gatorback 8081252 belt with the BT-50. It still gets tension on the belt and everything works, but the tensioner is not sufficiently loaded, and it would be asking for trouble to run this way. It's nice that the BT-50 has marks indicating minimum, ideal, and maximum loading -- with the Gates tensioner, it's just a guess.


Just for reference, here's the BT-50 completely unloaded. Not much different from the Goodyear belt.


So I tried the Gates K081223HD belt. It was a tight fit, but I was able to get it on pretty easily. Remember, this is the first belt I tried, and I couldn't even get close to installing it with the Gates tensioner. With the engine running, it's right on the max tension mark.


With the engine off, it's just over the max tension mark. The photo was shot Saturday, but today (Sunday) the belt has already stretched enough to put the tensioner back on the max mark with the engine off.


The Gates belt, made in USA:
 

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Terminator Nation
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Both SD truck and Van dual tensioners are the same as the Motorcraft BT-50, I have used all three. Went to the dealership one day and they had both Ford units in stock so I got to look at both of them and bought both of them.

One guy did continue using the one stationary/one moving dual pulley aftermarket tensioner after he installed the SD water pump pulley.

However, this negates the advantage of using the BT-50 dual moving pulley tensioner. The BT-50 dual tensioner gives more even tension over the life of the belt since it has more effective travel thus extending the service life of the belt as it stretches with age/use.

This case was the one that made me start thinking about just what the problem was. (The thinking was the hard part).:confused:LOL

If you want the belt routing decal, they are probably available. When I ordered mine, I had to wait 3-4 weeks since it was printed to order.
 

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Discussion Starter #24
Thanks again, for your help, Dave. Your tip about how many aftermarket tensioners are a different design got me going down the right road on this.

I will ask my dealer about the decal. But after paying $95 for the belt, I'm afraid they'll charge me $50 for the decal. :-/
 

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Discussion Starter #26
Quick update:
  • The eBay seller (trueblueparts) agreed to take the Gates tensioner back and refund my money (less return shipping) even though the refund period has passed. That was gracious of him and quite fair, so here's a shout-out if you ever have opportunity to buy from him.
  • My Ford dealer didn't have the decal and said it is no longer available from Ford. But he did a nationwide search and founf only one still in stock at a Nebraska dealer. I called, and sure enough, they had one only. I ordered it ($5) and it should be here by the end of the week.
Since the decal I ordered is apparently the last one known in the wild, I will do a hi-res scan of it before I install it and make it available upon request. That way, you can print your own if you want and make a sticker out of it.

Hey Tom S (or other moderator), is there an issue having PowerStroke Nation host that scan file so anyone can download it when they want, or do I need to do that privately?
 

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Terminator Nation
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You probably could use a Avery clear mailing label as the sticker has a black background.

Probably could post the sticker to this thread and have Tom make a sticky of the whole thread after retitling it.
 

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Terminator Nation
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Here's a photo of the bracket mods.

Cut the lower idler pulley mount off flush with bracket.
Cut the rib 1/2" deep for Dual Pulley Tensioner Housing clearance.
 

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Discussion Starter #31
Could send me the scan when you get it?

Thanks

Billy T.
Sure! Let's see if I can post it here for all; otherwise, I'll find another way to get it to all who want it.
 

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I should be able to attach a few files types. I cannot remember right of if you guys can as well but I think you can. If you get stuck shoot me a PM.
 

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I believe it has been said elsewhere, but the cutting of the stub and the clearancing of rib is not precise. Nothing bolts to the cut face of the stub and the rib is also simply notched for clearance.

I fretted over this part. But the reality is you could use a chainsaw for this work. I chose to use a sawzall and an angle grinder.

If someone was in a situation where all they had was hand tools but no cutting tools I could cut mine and send it if you will send me yours afterwards.
 

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Discussion Starter #34
OK, I finally have the belt routing decal scan ready. Sorry for the delay -- the scanned image had lots of noise that had to be cleaned up by hand, and then it took me a while to figure out how to get it small enough to be under this site's photo limit. If someone wanted to recreate this using a vector image instead of bitmap, you could get even better quality. However, I've paid my debt to society, and I ain't a-gonna do it.



I tried to upload the TSB PDF so this thread would have everything in one place, but it told me it was an invalid file type. However, I'll provide this link to it on another forum: Article No. 98-23-14 FEAD—BELT TENSIONER WEAR—VEHICLES WITH 7.3L DI TURBO ENGINE

HERE is a link to my Dual Tensioner Mod album if you just want to see the photos.

Hope this is useful. Thanks to everyone who helped, especially old man dave.

KEY LESSON: Use the genuine Ford tensioner.
 

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Terminator Nation
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I believe it has been said elsewhere, but the cutting of the stub and the clearancing of rib is not precise. Nothing bolts to the cut face of the stub and the rib is also simply notched for clearance.

I fretted over this part. But the reality is you could use a chainsaw for this work. I chose to use a sawzall and an angle grinder.

If someone was in a situation where all they had was hand tools but no cutting tools I could cut mine and send it if you will send me yours afterwards.
I did mine with just a hacksaw and a cut-off wheel mounted on a drill. Doesn't take much.
 

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OK so we got this figured out with stock parts (great job, thank you!)

Now I want to do a variation on it. I want to install my 215 amp ambulance alternator and a super duty 7.3 fan pulley. The alternator by itself takes a longer belt, the pulley by itself takes a shorter belt. I've never seen the need for the dual tensioner, but I guess I could be talked into one!
 

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I am running the 215 alternator, SD water pump pulley and dual tensioner. I used the belt that was mentioned in the dual tensioner TSB. All works fine.

Billy T.
[email protected]
 

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I am running the 215 alternator, SD water pump pulley and dual tensioner. I used the belt that was mentioned in the dual tensioner TSB. All works fine.

Billy T.
[email protected]
Question Billy, why the SD water pump pulley?

Thanks,

jrc
 

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I have a Fluidampr which makes installing the belt on a PITA if you retain the OBS water pump pulley. The SD pulley is slightly smaller. I posted pics of this issue.

Billy T.
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Billy,

So what I'm understanding:

Installing a 215 amp ambulance alternator requires a longer belt.

Installing a 99 up Super Duty fan pulley with a smaller diameter requires a shorter belt.

Doing both together cancels out the belt issue, what ever belt was right for the tensioner set up installed will still be correct with both alt and pulley installed together.

Correct?
 
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