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VW MKIII-A3/B4 TDIs This is a discussion about MKIII-A3/MkIII Jetta/Golf (<99.5) and B4 Passats (96,97) TDI's. Non TDI related postings will be moved or removed.

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Old Today, 06:33   #91
Veteran Member
Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: NJ 08002
Fuel Economy: Dismal

I didn’t notice the orientation, but if the nut isn’t loose, how would it move? Even if the tensioner is defective, the nut locks the position. I’ll need to look at the new tensioner I have... I never really questioned how they work.

Perhaps the nut was loose and allowed the OP’s slippage?

'96 B4V: Kerma tune and PP520s
'97 B4: Stock
Rabbit build
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Old Today, 07:14   #92
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Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Lompoc, CA

What would result it different orientation of the center with the same parts other than winding it in different directions?

Indicators not quite lined up in the first pic? Not enough off to account for the hub position.

Different belt path? Not likely.

Belt not seated in a sprocket? Would've settled in when motor was rotated and showed up as something out time and the indicators would be way out of alignment.

Belt stretch? They don't stretch that much.

Also note in the pichers that the tensioner appears lower and to the left against the background. Doesn't look like parallax can account for it since the camera positions seem pretty close.
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Old Today, 07:37   #93
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Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: NJ 08002
Fuel Economy: Dismal

Thinking about it, the center is eccentric and belt tension is taken up as it rotates. The only difference between this style and the earlier style is the addition of the spring loaded tension gauge. If wound in the opposite direction, the gauge would likely not register properly.

If wound in the opposite direction upon installation, this could be why the belt was loose and the indicator was close, but not accurate.

'96 B4V: Kerma tune and PP520s
'97 B4: Stock
Rabbit build
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Old Today, 07:39   #94
Join Date: Mar 2015
Location: Versailles Missouri

The way I had it explained it that it can loosen up the nut when it's the wrong direction. Even you think about it, it's pulling the nut to loose, instead of the other direction well be pulling it to tight. I always make sure that it'll be tightening the nut I'd it works loose.

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Old Today, 08:51   #95
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Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Sacramento, CA
TDI(s): 98 Jetta

I wish I had paid closer attention when I loosened the tensioner to advance the IP pulley - I can't say with certainty how loose or tight it was. Certainly not loose enough to be finger tight, but it didn't require much effort to loosen it either. I wouldn't expect to use a lot of force to loosen it though, given that the spec for that nut is only 15 ft-lb.

If it's unlikely that I have a bad tensioner, then my best guess is that the nut came loose enough for the tensioner to move. Did I fail to tighten it adequately when i first installed the belt? Perhaps, but if it only takes 15 ft-lb then I'd say it's more likely that I overtightened it. I know that I didn't put any loc-tite on the threads - is that standard practice?

As far as winding it the wrong way at installation, I guess it's possible, but I highly doubt it. Unfortunately I have no way to confirm one way or the other, but surely if I'd wound it the wrong way I wouldn't have been able to drive 16K miles without incident? I'll have to play around with it when I go to replace the belt and see how i can make it look like it does in that picture.
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Old Today, 14:14   #96
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Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Nobleboro, Maine
Fuel Economy: And the miles just keep ticking away

I’ve seen cars go 50k with it being tensioned the wrong way, and I’ve heard of them grenading within 1k. It’s a crap shoot.

I’ve never used Loctite on the bolt and the Bentley doesn’t call for it.

This is a properly tensioned tensioner:

And this was tensioned backwards, note how new it was:

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