Broken Tensioner Belt
Good evening, this vehicle has come to my shop after having the same repair performed twice at another facility. Originally the center pivot bolt broke for the factory original belt tensioner. The previous facility drilled the bolt out of the bracket and replaced the belt tensioner. Then month or so later that same bolt snapped and the other shop replaced the bracket, tensioner and bolt. The vehicle was brought to my shop for an issue of severe vibration on acceleration under load at 60 - 70 mph. While we were test driving it, the tensioner bolt snapped on us. We believe the vibration is front axles, however, we have no explanation as to why the tensioner bolt snapped for the third time. The replacement bolt appears to be a factory bolt. The other facility is a reputable one and is known for good work. I have not heard of this happening nor do I see any TSBs for the issue. Any direction would be much appreciated. Thank you in advance.
… A/C or defrost On ?… or … Off ? … Dan H. … Hobbs …
Hello Boruch, I have run into this before, and it turned out to be a worn mounting area for the tensioner. The tensioner worked rock instead of sitting flat and the bolt would break from metal fatigue.
I was thinking of that until I saw the bracket was new. I am going to check with the dealer in the morning because I think the tensioner is aftermarket. Apparently this van was equipped with 2 different engines and 2 different tensioners from reading other resources. Aftermarket may have a “one size fits all” going on here.
Also, seeing that the torque specs are different one is 33 ftlbs, the other is 54 ftlbs. I’ve done a few of these tensioners and never run into a problem though.
Yep, third failure gives a hint. I would replace the darn tensioner and bolt, put a wrench on the adjustment side to feel what is happening. Turn things on and off, change rpm until you get a bite, like catching a trout. Heat, as the tech above implied, could be a cause. Force, is the only other reason. Garbage parts… unlikely. Good luck Sir, might be worth it to p&a a compressor to prepare…
The j35a6 and j35a7 have different tensioner fastening torque specs. A6 engine is 33lbsft. A7 engine is 54lbsft. Perhaps the wrong torque spec was used. Also bolt should be oiled. I've heard of this bolt breaking if the chrome washer (with all the fingers on the ID) is missing. I always use a torque wrench on this bolt because of the problems ive heard of with it.
Got to change my input. This seems to be a common issue. Looks like replacing the tensioner, bolt, bracket that holds the bolt, and the belt with oem might do the trick. Must bleed the shock, oil the bolt, and torque to the correct spec. Way to go Honda!
Yeah 3 times, I don't think everybody missed it. I would check the belt run out. Something is moving and causing a unnecessary load.
I’m following this too bc the last shop I was at, we ran into the same issue and performed the same repairs. After the 3rd, the customer ended up trading the vehicle bc they wanted something newer. This vehicle has stuck in my head for all the same reasons.
We ran into this exact issue, seems like the issue was resolved by properly “bleeding” the shock on the tensioner. This procedure is basically just fully retracting the tensioner three times after installation. Exact procedure is outlined in most service info sources.
Does the alternator have an one way clutch pulley on it? If it does I would check to see if it is locked up.
The shaking issue is probably axle related. I noticed you listed it as an EX-L trim. I had this issue before and have discussed it with other shops in the area and they also had this issue. Assuming you have the hydrologic tensioner; it is somewhat a common occurrence. There is a special procedure in the service manual to oil the bolt and then torque. After that prime the hydrologic tensioner…
Shkoiach Reb Yid :-) I appreciate the suggestion about the Gates Tensioner.
At this point the van is going back to the original shop with the suggestions from this forum and our recommendation that they replace the tensioner with a quality if not factory part and torque to 54 ftlbs (J35A7 Engine). It is interesting that Gates is using their own, presumably redesigned, bolt. I also recommended that they follow the bleed procedure for the hydraulic tensioner. I will post…
The van has been on the road a couple of weeks. The owner brought it to us to check the torque spec and it was correctly torqued. I would like to keep this post open until enough time and mileage has passed to post that it is a confirmed fix.