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NG900 & OG9-3 Workshop NG900 (1994 to 1998) & OG9-3 (1999-2002) & '03 Convertible Technical Forum

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  #1  
Old 24th August 2005
PMI PMI is offline
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Default Aluminum idler pulley replacement

After two idler pulley failures and one near failure on my car, I replaced my upper idler with an adapted Mustang pulley sold by Wazee Pulleys. The aluminum pulleys have a standard size 2603-type replacable bearing which you can get online or in any bearing shop for less than $5.



The pulley shown above has been on my car for about the last 10k miles, and the belt is in the "short" configuration with only the upper idler.

I am posting this again now because a couple people from the SN board have persuaded Mike from Wazee to make a direct replacement for the Saab stock upper idler, including mounting hardware for less than $40. That is only a few dollars more than the Saab oem price for the plastic pulley (which is made in Hungary)

Before someone tells me this is overkill for a Saab (aluminum pulleys w. replacable bearings are used mostly on higher power engines like Mustang, Vette, and older street rods) I spent several hundred $$ having my car towed and repaired after the two pulley and belt failures. The hose to the evap purge valve on my car was damaged by a shredded belt, and a couple other people have posted here about problems following pulley failures. Not to mention if it happens someplace where you cannot pull over, overheating the engine is a real possibility.

Wazee only stocks parts for Mustangs and Vettes on a regular basis, and makes other parts in lots of about 20 (I think), so the number of Saab pulleys may be limited until and if another lot is made.

ebay item # 7993712659
Wazee web site: http://www.wazeepulleys.com/
Previous SC thread:
http://www.saabcentral.com/forums/sh...ad.php?t=52637

My notes on NG900 pulleys, with pics, sizes, and part numbers:
http://www.geocities.com/ng900set/Se...r_pulleys.html
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  #2  
Old 4th December 2005
Leoworth Leoworth is offline
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I bought one of these wazee pulleys for my 97 Saab SE Turbo 2.0. It doesnt fit right out of the box. Do you have any suggestions?
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  #3  
Old 4th December 2005
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Very nice post PMI.


I'll try and get my "rear bushes change" post up to the same standard.
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Old 4th December 2005
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Wow, that's pretty cool. We've seen a lot of posts here about how the idler fails before the belt or anything else, and the price is great. I just put a new plastic one last summer - I kindof wish I'd gotten one of these instead.
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  #5  
Old 4th December 2005
Leoworth Leoworth is offline
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buyer beware they dont fit...they are off about an 1/8th an inch
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  #6  
Old 4th December 2005
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Thx, Hunt!

Leo, "off 1/8 inch", in which dimension?

I originally bought the one designed for the Mustang (in part because of the larger diameter), but that one does NOT fit w/o creating some extra clearance between the pulley and the bracket it is attached to. (I had it machined to make it fit, easy if you have access to a lathe).

I believe the pulley Wazee is now selling for the Saab was supposed to be a very close fit, and with hardware that did not require any adjustment.

The new pulley kit was put together with the help of a couple people from the SN board, includes a shoulder bolt to fit the standard bearing inside diameter, and was reported there to be a good fit with no problems. A lot of about twenty were made and sold originally, after that I did not keep track. This is the first I heard it might not fit.

It is not difficult to find a replacement for the stock Saab pulleys, with one exception: The inside diameter of the bearing is much larger than the stock bolt used for the upper idler. A bearing insert of some type is required. An insert with a shoulder is ideal, but hard to find. An insert w/o a shoulder (basically a hollow cylinder which fits snugly inside a standard 2603-type bearing) is easy to find, but requires a washer to keep the pulley in place. The Wazee kit was supposed to save the trouble of the three trips to the h/w store it took me to get it together.

The Wazee pulleys have the advantage of a replacable bearing, which only costs $3-5 in the 2603 size.
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  #7  
Old 5th December 2005
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nice post PMI. looking at my idler pulley right now makes me a bit nervous of failure. i've also wondered about doing the smaller belf mod. now i think i'm gonna go with both. thanks for the tips, you are an asset to this forum...
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  #8  
Old 5th December 2005
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Damn it, I just replaced that one last week.
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  #9  
Old 5th December 2005
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The trouble with the OEM Saab plastic pulley is that it was engineered to be good for 100K miles, I think -then it is a crapshoot..

But QC enters the picture and that 100K figure really means 75 to 125K, and a failure can occur at 50K.

The engineers do not seem to know how long these cars can last , the old number was 100K(a long time ago), now I believe it is 250K..

And with that in mind, a aluminum pulley with the inexpensive bearing should have been used.
Saab is supposed to be a medium priced car and should NOT have low priced components..
Both GM and Saab should know better, particularly GM....

Funny thing is; I think the more expensive pulley will NOT last any longer..But I think it would stay together, whereas the plastic would melt!!
Bearings do have a finite life and when going bad will give plenty of warning via grinding and rumbling - the noisier the better ! The car owners then has adequate time to replace the worn bearing.
And metal is better of course with its far superior heat transfer ability..
Cast aluminum would be best, and the largest possible diameter as well..
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  #10  
Old 5th December 2005
Leoworth Leoworth is offline
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i will take photos tonight and show you what I mean
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  #11  
Old 5th December 2005
Leoworth Leoworth is offline
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Just installed the pulley again.... if I had done the short belt method you wouldnt see the pulley being off at all. Anyway, I put the long belt on and its not really an 1/8th of an inch, more like 1/16th left to right with the belt hanging on the non-engine side. It is pulled off the useless center pulley by the new idler pulley. I drove it to the carwash to get the grime off and it worked fine... If you get his pulley, switch to the short belt method as well...
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  #12  
Old 5th December 2005
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Leoworth
... more like 1/16th left to right with the belt hanging on the non-engine side. It is pulled off the useless center pulley by the new idler pulley. I drove it to the carwash to get the grime off and it worked fine... If you get his pulley, switch to the short belt method as well...
I had already done the SB mod, so I probably did not notice. Also, because the replacable bearing is held in place by a snap ring, the bearing may be recessed more on one side by the width of the ring. 1/16 of an inch should not matter, especially if the belt displacement is away from the engine head... Good catch, though.
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