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Tensioner Engine Noise 2.4L Idler Serpentine Generator

Old 11-16-2008, 01:28 PM
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Join Date: Nov 2008
Posts: 9
Default Tensioner Engine Noise 2.4L Idler Serpentine Generator

Well the car sounded like a 757 on takeoff, the engine was SCREAMING at me, my Uncle says that two shops said it was failing alternator bearings and/or failing power steering pump bearings. I took off the right wheel, all splash guards, jacked the car up high as i could and started it. I localized the noise to the alternator side of the engine.

I took off the serpentine belt, WHAT A PITA!!!! . More on that later and then started the car again without the AC or alternator connected on the belts, I did leave the power steering belt on. NO NOISE!

Hmmmm looked up what i could on the Internet about the tensioner device (other names for it are generator tensioner, serpentine tensioner, some even refer to it as an idler pulley) and not much was available on replacement/repair.

I took the tensioner off the car (see photos) and the pulley wheel could be spun for many revolutions and the bearings made a rattling noise. I went to Autozone and Napa autoparts seeking a replacement tensioner, NO LUCK. Both said it was a dealer part, I CALLED the dealer and the replacement part (which must be ordered) was 142.00 .

However the guy working at Napa put me on to something, he took the dustcap cover off the pulley, exposed a Torx screw (use either T-45 or T-50) took that off and viola now you have the squeaky bearing off the tensioner. He didn't have anything on hand that was of the same dimensions but now I was off to O'Reilley's Autoparts in search of a replacement pulley wheel. He searched high and low for a "Chrysler Sebring" pulley and none worked or matched so then he went to the back and pulled one off the shelf that looks to be PERFECT (see photo). It does not accomodate the dust cover but its much cheaper than the alternative.

Slapped the new pulley on the tensioner bought a new serpentine belt for grins re-installed the tensioner, btw - I broke the tensioner upon reinstallation but luckily just after I got the belt back on it. shattered the piece where you insert the 3/8 drive wrench into, so next time I will have to cut the belt and un-install the tensioner via the 2 13mm bolts and replace it. But I have time to look on Ebay, pick and pulls salvage, etc to find one - I AM NOT PAYING 142.00 for it!

Upon restart of the car the noise is GONE, problem with a NOISY engine fixed without having to disturb the power steering pump or alternator.


Is there an "idler pulley" on this car? For some reason i am thinking it is part of the timing belt but I could be wrong.

IF i had to replace the power steering pump on my year of car can you direct me to a DIY (guide, thread, do-it-yourself) for this because initially i thought that is what i was going to replace but I found ZERO information on many forums for this replacement.... [:-]

Thanks a bunch guys for your feedback and hope this helps others solve noisy engines and/or save money!!!
Old 11-16-2008, 04:18 PM
dcotter0579's Avatar
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Join Date: May 2008
Location: Detroit suburb
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Default RE: Tensioner Engine Noise 2.4L Idler Serpentine Generator

The "idler" for the serpentine belt is that tensioner that you have been playing with. The spring in the tensioner provides the force to keep the serpentine belt at the proper tension. To remove the belt, you rotate the tensioner clockwise to take the tension off the belt (it takes a little effort) then slip the belt off a drive pulley. Similarly, to re-install, rotate the tensioner clockwise again to get clearance to slip the belt back on.

To get the power steering belt off, jack up the car, support it on a proper jackstand, remove the right front wheel, remove the splash shield. You will have to remove the serpentine belt too. The power steering belt is tensioned by rotating the whole pump on a pivot bolt, held in place by a second bolt.To remove the belt, loosen the two bolts and rotate the pump to loosen the belt.

If you are contemplating replacing the power steering pump, you might wantto invest in a Haynes or Chilton's manual for you car. They are always a good investment. Alternatively, keep your eye peeled for a Chrysler shop manual on eBay.
Old 11-16-2008, 07:16 PM
Join Date: Nov 2008
Posts: 4
Default RE: Tensioner Engine Noise 2.4L Idler Serpentine Generator


After replacing the timing belt, the serpentine belt slips off of the pulley. It slips to the center of the engine. I have tried resetting it and increasing tension on the alternator, which holds the belt in place, but after a while it just slips again. The edge of the belt has become weak and bends on the side that kept slipping, so I turned the belt around left to right, but it continues to slip. I know the belt needs to be replaced now, and I will do it, but the same thing will happen. Does anyone know what can solve this problem? Is it pulley-related? 2.4 Liter 4cyl
Old 11-18-2008, 05:47 PM
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Posts: 120
Default RE: Tensioner Engine Noise 2.4L Idler Serpentine Generator

Look closely at the bracket that the spring-loaded pulley is attached to. There is a small pin/stud/guide on the back side that must be in a hole in the face where the tensioner mounts to the engine. It's probably not in the hole and causing the tensioner pulley to be sloped towards the engine instead of square.
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