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General E46 Forum
This is the place to get answers, opinions and everything you need related to your E46 (sedan, coupe, convertible and wagon) BMW!

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Old 02-02-2012, 09:44 PM   #1
antman x7x
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Hydraulic or mechanical tensioner pulley?

How do I tell which one I have? I have really bad squealing almost all the time so I am going to replace the tenioners and pulleys for the wp and a/c
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Old 02-02-2012, 11:02 PM   #2
flashmeow
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you just have to look at it or go browse the web to see the difference between the hydraulic or mechanical tensioner. A great website that has BMW parts pictures is ecstuning.com
It is hard to explain it so your best bet is to look up the pictures and compare it to your setup. Basically, a hydraulic has a 2-3 inch hydraulic shaft/tube (looks simiiar to your hydraulic hood latch).

there is a debate which one is better. I had a mechanical but upgraded to hydraulic. however, there are plenty of guys with hydraulic but switched to the mechanical. the good news is that both version is available.

i hope this helps. good luck
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Old 02-02-2012, 11:16 PM   #3
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If your 2003 is low miles then it's probably mechanical. The only reason it would be hydraulic is if it was replaced at some time.
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Old 02-02-2012, 11:17 PM   #4
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My 2001 is hydraulic... Easiest way (only way) to find out is to look
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Old 02-02-2012, 11:28 PM   #5
antman x7x
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Alright I will have to look in the morning thanks guys
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Old 02-02-2012, 11:37 PM   #6
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Not so easy to look. It's down in there.
My 2004 came with spring tensioner for A/C belt and hydraulic for the long belt tensioner. Deflection pulley is a spring.

Quote:
Originally Posted by antman x7x View Post
Alright I will have to look in the morning thanks guys
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Old 02-03-2012, 06:25 AM   #7
325i'02
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02 325 here. I have them both. Hydraulic on main belt and spring tensioner on the AC belt. I doubt the squeeking is coming out of the tensioner though - a bad pulley could be doing it.
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Old 02-03-2012, 07:36 AM   #8
antman x7x
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02 325 here. I have them both. Hydraulic on main belt and spring tensioner on the AC belt. I doubt the squeeking is coming out of the tensioner though - a bad pulley could be doing it.
So just a bad pulley since I was in there I was going to do the tensioner but if it's not needed I guess I won't.
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Old 02-03-2012, 07:36 AM   #9
antman x7x
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Wheres the best place to purchase pulleys from?
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Old 02-03-2012, 07:39 AM   #10
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I would go OEM on them bc something that small can really mess your car up. I usually compare ecstunning and rockauto. There was a thread here recently on a guy that made a website that pulls up the information about part numbers from all the major BMW parts websites and gives you lowest prices. Look around for it.
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Old 02-03-2012, 08:08 AM   #11
antman x7x
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Yes defiantly going oem. I'll prob try ecs tuning is there a difference in the pulleys how there is in the tensioners?
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Old 02-03-2012, 08:10 AM   #12
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Question: does the hydraulic tensioner ever go bad? Most of the DIYs and questions revolve around replacing just the pulley.
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Old 02-03-2012, 08:16 AM   #13
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http://realoem.com/bmw/showparts.do?...90&hg=11&fg=18

I suppose the AC pulley is the same as 06 ADJUSTING PULLEY but i havent been able to take it off as of yet. I need to change it though bc its going out.
Hmm, or i might jsut take the belt off - i doubt i would need the AC in the next few months.
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Old 02-03-2012, 08:19 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by LeMansteve View Post
Question: does the hydraulic tensioner ever go bad? Most of the DIYs and questions revolve around replacing just the pulley.
I suppose it could go bad.That is when there will be squeeking from the belt not being fully extended over the pulleys. This will also %100 make the belt slip from them and you overheat.
I havent heard of a bad tensioner yet but i have also been here for not too long.
Mostly pulley examples.
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Old 02-03-2012, 08:36 AM   #15
antman x7x
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Alright just the pulleys then. If it still doesn't fix it then I'll get the tensioners
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Old 02-03-2012, 08:44 AM   #16
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Always replace pulleys in pairs. The idler and tensioner pulley should be replaced at the same time, when one is about to fail the other is usually right on its tails.

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Old 02-03-2012, 08:44 AM   #17
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I have never played with a bad tensioner but i believe if it is bad (hydraulic or spring loaded) and you have the belt off, you will be able to move it without any resistance from it. If you need a lot of power on that ratchet - the tensioner is working fine.
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Old 02-03-2012, 09:05 AM   #18
antman x7x
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Originally Posted by SpoonerDee View Post
Always replace pulleys in pairs. The idler and tensioner pulley should be replaced at the same time, when one is about to fail the other is usually right on its tails.

That is what I'm intending to do. I'm only finding the idler pulley on esc tuning. Could someone lead me the right way to the other pulley
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Old 02-03-2012, 09:10 AM   #19
325i'02
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http://www.ecstuning.com/BMW-E46-325...e/Drive_Belts/
Last section is for the tensioner pulleys.

It does say for hydraulic tensioners only. However, my AC tensioner is springloaded and has the centered whole pulley - go figure
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Last edited by 325i'02; 02-03-2012 at 09:11 AM. Reason: Correct the information.
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Old 02-03-2012, 10:29 AM   #20
antman x7x
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 325i'02 View Post
http://www.ecstuning.com/BMW-E46-325...e/Drive_Belts/
Last section is for the tensioner pulleys.

It does say for hydraulic tensioners only. However, my AC tensioner is springloaded and has the centered whole pulley - go figure
Alright so I'm going to need a tensioner pulley and an idler pulley I'm confused on this. Lol. Isn't there one for the a/c also?
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