View Full Version : What's your opinion, tensioner

09-26-06, 10:18 AM
What is your opinion on which option is better. I am changing the timing belt at 112,000 miles. Tensioner/belt recall was done at 40,000.

Option 1 - Keep the tensioner from the recall. Should be more robust than the original. Just replace the belt.

Option 2 - Buy the Gates kit from Rockauto $294 (belt,tensioner, idlers). Seems almost too cheap. Are these as good as the GM replacement on the vehicle now?

Option 3 - Buy new GM stuff. Belt $65, tensioner $427, idlers not sure but probably at least $150.

Thanks for the input.

09-26-06, 11:35 AM
On the metal parts I would probably do a careful examination and mic everything up. Would be looking for two unrelated things:

1. Wear. Stuff I could measure or even just wear I could see. Would have to judge the criticality of any wear found and make a decision.

2. Design. The issue you raised. I agree with you it would probably not be prudent to replace metal parts well designed and clearly heavy duty with lighter, cheaper parts. This would have to be factored in with the wear analysis prior to your buying decision.

On the belt (only):

Gates makes damn good belts and is a well-established brand name that's been around for years. They might even make 'em for GM! But I think any brand name belt is going to make you happy.

I'll tell you what I know about Cat belts, though it's not likely to help you:

The really early belts had a design problem. It was not a dimensional problem AFAIK, it was a composition problem which led to early failure. They (GM) brought this problem under control within a couple of years, so by now it's been under control for circa six years, give or take.

When buying a Cat belt it's important to buy one built to the new standard. Thing is, at this late date, I suspect ALL Cat belts today are up to the new standard. This would be true unless you found some NOS belt somewhere. That's not likely. You want a fresh brand-name belt, manufactured in the last few years.

Two things work against Cat belts:

1. Time. I'd install a fresh belt rather than one four years old, EVEN IF both were built to the new standard.

2. Temperature. Cat belts do not like to be flexed when very cold. It cuts their life. This does not impact your current situation.

A bottom line final ingredient in your buying decision is this:

How much longer do you see yourself driving this Catera? I realize you have had a good experience with your car so far. If it's a cream puff you hope and expect to drive another 100,000 miles then you want to go first cabin on the belt and other parts; spare no expense.

If the car is a short timer, well, then why put in more money than the minimum the job requires.

Regardless what you decide, good luck!:thumbsup: