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DIY: Do It Yourself
Post here to share or improve your wrench turning skills! All BMW E46 DIY tips, tales, and projects discussed inside. Learn to work on your car and know the right BMW parts you will need!

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Old 12-06-2009, 07:23 PM   #1
blacksport325
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DIY: Idler pulley

Had a squeak coming from my engine at idle, not much of a difference when it was cold or warm and figured it out to be the idler pulley. If you have the same sound as the video below, its a good chance its either the idler pulley or the tensioner for the alternator/ Power steering belt.




Onto the DIY, I am not responsible for any harm caused due to this simple DIY...

1. Remove part of the intake over the fan and radiator, this is done by taking a flathead screwdriver and prying the middle pieces out of the clip, the removing the rest of the clip as highlighted in the picture below.



2. Removal of the fan was easy on my car, some other people have to wiggle it a bit to get it out, remove the T-30 torx screw on the left side as highlighted, the the right side has another clip, similiar to the ones removed on the intake. Un-plug the power on the left side of the fan as highlighted in the picture



3. I highlighted the labeled the pulleys on the picture below, these are with the dust covers taken off, which basically pop off when pryed lightly with a flathead screwdriver. to de-tension the belt, you need to turn the bolt inside the tensioner pulley clockwise with a 8mm Hex bit, I used an extension bar to get more leverage when putting the belt back on.



*Before taking the belt off, its a good idea to make a drawing of how it goes back on*

You can now take off the idler pulley, this was on extremely tight on my car so I had to use an extension (basically a breaker bar) to get it off. You can put the new one on, dont forget the washer on the back of the pulley as this fell off mine into the engine compartment when I took it off.

4. Make sure the new pulley is tightened very well, I couldn't find torque specs but since the bolt was almost impossible to get off for me, I tightened it with a good amount of force.

5. Put the belt back on as it was before, if you forgot to make a diagram you can try to follow the picture above or find another picture on here (there's quite a few I found to put mine back on)

6. Don't forget to replace dust covers,and slide the fan back into place, tighten the torx screw and put the clip back in the other side then push the middle rod into the clip to secure it (i had to use a rubber mallet to get it in). Also you can plug it back in at this point on the left side.

7. Put the front of the intake back on with the clips and re-attach it to the intake box and you should be good to go.

Total time was about 2 hours because I had to run out for the hex bit and I took a few breaks, I'd consider it an easy DIY, this can obviously also do as a power steering/alternator belt change DIY as well, hardest part for me was getting the bolt off the idler pulley. Enjoy the squeak free car.

Last edited by blacksport325; 12-06-2009 at 08:03 PM.
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Old 12-06-2009, 07:46 PM   #2
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Nice write-up
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Old 12-07-2009, 12:10 PM   #3
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Quick Question on the idler pulley bolt; which side to turn loose?
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Old 12-07-2009, 01:29 PM   #4
blacksport325
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Turn it the normal way to loosen the bolt, counter-clockwise, it took me a ton of force I actually had to use a breaker bar, not sure if everyone's is on that tight.
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Old 12-11-2009, 03:32 PM   #5
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----

Last edited by RideZERO6866; 12-11-2009 at 04:27 PM. Reason: question moved to a more traffic area
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Old 12-12-2009, 12:11 AM   #6
doit659
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Needed breaker bar for idler pulley too

Quote:
Originally Posted by blacksport325 View Post
Turn it the normal way to loosen the bolt, counter-clockwise, it took me a ton of force I actually had to use a breaker bar, not sure if everyone's is on that tight.
I was surprised how much force was required to loosen this bolt. I also needed a breaker bar. The bolt is very long and is threaded at the end about 3-4", so there is a lot of resistance.

Since the bolt runs through the alternator housing, there is a 2" open gap where I blasted it twice with PB Blaster and waited 15 minutes in order to help reduce the likelihood that I snapped the bolt with the breaker bar.

Luckily, I had no problem.
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Old 12-12-2009, 12:17 AM   #7
firefirefire90
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how much did you buy the new pulley for, and where?
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Old 12-12-2009, 12:19 AM   #8
blacksport325
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I got the new pulley at advance, it was a dayco brand, I think it was about $30, tensioner assembly was around $60 I believe. OEM might be a bit more but not too much.
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Old 12-12-2009, 12:22 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blacksport325 View Post
I got the new pulley at advance, it was a dayco brand, I think it was about $30, tensioner assembly was around $60 I believe. OEM might be a bit more but not too much.
is it important to do both?
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Old 12-12-2009, 02:25 PM   #10
blacksport325
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It's better to do both from what i've read. in some instances, such as mine, it was only the idler pulley making a noise, but it's not hard to change if you want to do one or the other at different times.
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Old 12-12-2009, 03:33 PM   #11
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What are there torque specs for the idler and tensioner bolts?
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Old 12-15-2009, 04:40 PM   #12
blacksport325
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I can't answer that but because the idler pulley was on at an insanely high torque, I did it almost as tight as I could by hand with a wrench, considering it took a huge breaker bar to get it loose, this is much less torque than what was previously on it but enough to hold it.
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Old 12-29-2009, 06:55 PM   #13
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Idler/Deflection Pulley bolt should be 45Nm.

The other Tensioner pulleys bolts should be 24Nm.
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Old 12-29-2009, 07:13 PM   #14
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For those that want to change their pulleys, keep in mind that the E46 use different types of tensioners, Mechanical and Hydraulic.

The older E46 used the Mechanical ones, the newer E46 uses the Hydraulic ones.

There are a total of 3 Pulleys that most people change when doing the timing belt. Deflection/Idler Pulley, Adjusting/Alternator Pulley, and AC Pulley.

Both use the same pulley for the Idler/Deflection (Pulley has an off center middle hole).

The other two pulley that most people change are the Alternator and AC pulley. The alternator pulley and AC pulley are identical to one another.
If you have the hydraulic version, then the dealer has a part number to replace just the pulley. No need to replace the entire tensioner unit.

But if you have the mechanical version, then the dealer only sells the entire tensioner unit, you can not just order the pulley.

If you have the mechanical version, then you will have a couple of options:
Option 1: Buy the entire tensioner units. One Adjusting tensioner (drive belt) and one AC tensioner (AC belt).
Option 2: Upgrade to the Hydraulic Tensioner unit.
Option 3: Order this BMW part number #11-28-1-435-594. Same pulley. $49.34 Retail.
Option 4: Order a Dayco Pulley #89133. Same manufacturer (INA) stamped on it as the OEM Pulley. Made in Germany $29.99
Option 5: Order Autozone Duralast Pulley #231133. Made by Dayco in a Duralast box. Made in Germany $29.99

Check out these threads:
http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthread.php?t=710564

http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthr...8#post11097848

Last edited by vsyucla; 12-29-2009 at 07:17 PM.
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Old 01-04-2010, 09:57 AM   #15
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hmm this sound is almost identical to what i am hearing from mine...at first i thought it was coming from the Alternator (since i've been getting the dimming lights here and there) but when i got on it close enough it sounds like its coming from the same pulley as you noted...i'll give this a try and see what happens. Thanks for the pics!
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Old 01-05-2010, 11:03 AM   #16
dorkus
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you know, i've had every pulley and belt on my '04 325i replaced by the dealer at some point, yet without fail the squeak comes back after another winter. is this going to be a routine maintenance item for as long as i own the car? i also have a slight dimming issue with idle speed variations, maybe i need a new alternator or regulator...
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Old 05-19-2010, 04:19 AM   #17
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Just a note to others doing this it must be different on different models. My tensioner was not in the pulley it was above it and it didn't take an 8mm hex bolt. It is some kind of torx. Also, for those who have never de-tensioned a tensioner its turned just enough to release tension and then the belt is taken off with the other hand. I didn't need a breaker bar for the idler pulley. I had a lot of difficulty getting the fan back on with the shroud over it. If anyone has some suggestions on a good way to do this that would be good.
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Old 05-19-2010, 09:02 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jeffmr View Post
If anyone has some suggestions on a good way to do this that would be good.
http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthr...ighlight=belts
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Old 06-23-2010, 01:12 PM   #19
CantW84GTR
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vsyucla View Post
Idler/Deflection Pulley bolt should be 45Nm.

The other Tensioner pulleys bolts should be 24Nm.
are you referring to part #16 & #7?

http://www.realoem.com/bmw/showparts...11&fg=18&hl=24
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Old 12-10-2010, 09:04 PM   #20
Bert336
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well i replaced the pulley 2 weeks ago, yet it didnt seem to get rid of my rattling/noise i cant pin point it for sure but its either coming from the alternator pulley? or the vanos? the sound i am hearing i can say its almost identical as the video @ 0:17-0:25
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