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Discussion Starter #1
My idler pulley came off of my 1998 900 SE during a drive a few weeks ago and I've gotten everything I need to replace it. I'm following this guide to do everything. I've come to the part where I need to remove the tension and then lock it with a hex key on page 4.

It mentions that the square hole that the extension shaft can fit in can break, and it looks like mine was broken before somehow. I could still push/pull from the firewall towards the front of the car to release it but, in my efforts, I couldn't make it move one bit. I didn't want to break what I had left of the hole so I decided to ask you knowledge folks for advice.

However, the guide seems to be using a 9-3 as the car being repaired. So, I think my tensioner is a bit different too. There seems to be a metal button lock on it, here is a picture that shows:


Is this a problem or am I just not putting enough force into the tensioner?
 

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Egads, not sure how they broke the tensioner. Take an 8mm hex socket to the tensioner bolt itself to remove and replace the whole assembly. They are only $80 at eeuroparts. It will come pre-tensioned so all you have to do is put the belt on and then pull out the key on the side of the tensioner.

I would replace all pulleys once every 100k so you never have to worry about this. I lost a pulley and it made a terrible mess in the engine bay as well as the belt slowly shredded.
 

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I also recall the vise grips approach. I think this was in a alternator removal thread.

Not sure how well it works, but it might be worth a shot.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks for the advice guys. Any idea how I'd be grabbing and pulling this thing with those vise grips, just around the square socket? And what about that little button sitting in the small square cut out in front of the square socket?
 

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Thanks for the advice guys. Any idea how I'd be grabbing and pulling this thing with those vise grips, just around the square socket? And what about that little button sitting in the small square cut out in front of the square socket?
That is the spring end. Try two needle nose Vise Grips on the remnants of the socket, this might work. slip a 2 to 4" ten foot long cast iron pipe over the grips for added leverage:cheesy:
The real vise grips are great tools ($10 each).;ol;
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks Earthworm, I'll go pick up some vise grips then. Sorry to ask about that spring end again, but I just want to clarify that I don't need to worry about it and the tensioner will release with the spring end in that position. Is that correct?
 

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If the tensioner pulley failed, the tensioner is already released. You will need to rotate it forward when replacing the serpentine belt.

Did you happen to read the post where the guy drilled a hole onto the broken square hole?... Ron
 

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Discussion Starter #9
How can I tell if it failed? The idler pulley seems to be the only obvious issue in the serpentine belt area. I do have an anti-freeze leak that I'm going to focus on after this fix, but I have no idea if it's related.

I did read the post about the drill, and it's a great idea. However, I do not have power tools at my disposal.

I'm about to go out there and put some force into that tensioner, hopefully the spring end thing yields to me.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Thanks Jeremy, I've gone ahead and put the extension bar through that broken side of the square horizontally and tried pulling it towards the front of the car. My friend and I both tried, and he's significantly strong than I am but we still couldn't manage to make it budge.

Is there a lock for the tensioner or should I try some carb cleaner to loosen it up? I'm starting to think I missed a critical step.

And I'd definitely love more tools but I am a college student who's semi-independent, I'll have to remember to fit tools into my future purchases soon.
 

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You don't have to be that strong to do this.

Have you tried moving it both ways? I don't remember which direction is the correct one.

And there's no lock on the tensioner - you need to put a drill bit or other strong, rod material into the locking holes to hold the tesioner slack. I suppose it could be seized, so that it can't be moved.
 

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Which direction? He had it correct; that is, towards the front of the car.

The socket for the extension is a real boon and allows one to get the proper leverage to move the tensioner but when it fails, a real problem presents itself.
I think the absence of the socket/extension feature requires one to be overly strong compared to the lucky guy with the 1/2" socket extension. It's just simple physics and the mechanical advantage of a lever.

Good luck on this. I was wary about ruining the socket on mine just 2K miles ago when I changed my serpentine and idler pulley. ;ol;;ol;;ol;;ol;
 

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Discussion Starter #15 (Edited)
Hey guys, thanks a TON for the help! I hit the tensioner with some carb cleaner and let it set for about an hour, then I kept on with my attempts and found that the extension bar worked even with the broken piece of the square. It eventually striped what was left of the available grip, though. Instead, my buddy gave me the idea of using the socket wrench and a slightly smaller socket to fit in further than the extension bar would and give me a better pulling angle (If someone is doing the same job and wants to know the size of said socket, it was a 5/16. It fits well enough into the hole and just angle the wrench to point towards the rear of the car and pull back on it). With him pulling back on the socket wrench, I threw a 5.5mm hexkey in and had it down. Note, using the socket wrench might actually break the adapter that fits the small sockets, depending on how long the stress is on it. When trying to release the hexkey, mine broke; just take caution if it's your favorite tool in your box, otherwise it's not the biggest deal.

So far, I've got the belt on and tensioned back again. Everything seemed lined up correctly. My battery currently has no charge and our other roommate last had the jumper cables so I'm just waiting on him to return. Next up, the anti-freeze leak! It looks like it's under the belt system, hopefully and easy patch up job.

Anyways, thanks again everyone, I'll update on how it runs tonight once the battery is charged.
 

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I've been meaning to pass this little gem along. When helping a fellow Saaber, we discovered that a piece of 1" steel tubing about two or three feet fits over it and works just fine. Use it just like an extension. It looks like it's a little late in this instance but you can put that in your toolkit when you get one.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
I've been meaning to pass this little gem along. When helping a fellow Saaber, we discovered that a piece of 1" steel tubing about two or three feet fits over it and works just fine. Use it just like an extension. It looks like it's a little late in this instance but you can put that in your toolkit when you get one.
Thanks, yeah that is a good idea. I'll be doing the short belt mod soon enough and replacing the belt so that is definitely something I'll pick up.

Car is running great after a battery recharge.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
I thought I'd try updating this thread instead of posting another thread.

Tonight I replaced the battery, which was reading bad, under it's warranty. This improved the performance of the car compared to the old battery, obviously. I decided to let the alternator charge and left the car on for about 10 minutes. As I sat in the car, around the 10 minute mark or so I saw plumes of white smoke or steam (or both) coming from the engine bay. Shutting off the engine immediately, I check it out with a flash light and see water thrown across the bay and on the front passenger side, in front and below the airfilter box (roughly, it was dark and lots of steam in my face), there was a small puddle of coolant.

Some searching on the forums has led me to believe it's the head gasket and the water pump. I want to see if this is a project I can do, but I haven't found very detailed instructions anywhere and my Haynes book doesn't seem to have anything either. Does anyone happen to have links to a guide or can advise me on what to do (and if I'm correct on the problem?)

Thanks again.
 

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If you didn't overheat the engine when the idler pulley came off, it's probably the water pump and not the head gaskek. But you need to determine this visually. If it's leaking that bad, it should be pretty obvious. You might need to loosen/remove the three nuts and pull the air cleaner box to get a good look at the water pump... Ron
 
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