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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Quick question for you guys. I am going to change the Idler pulley and the tensioner/pulley. How do I tell if mine is the Hydraulic or Spring model?

thanks
 

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How I did it:

Look at pictures of both types online.

Figure out where the tensioner is.

Use your sense of touch to determine the type. (I think I had to remove the airbox)

2001 330Ci -> Spring (mechanical) tensioner.

Edit: Not sure what Mango means by "one of each". You'll have one or the other.

Edit 2: nvm, he's talking about the idler and the tensioner.. all idle pulleys are the same.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
@ Jasonbimmer: Thats perfect man! Mine has the mechanical pulley and I am going to put the same back on... have any of you guys upgraded to the hydraulic? Is it worth it?
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Ok..think I will stick with the mechanical..it has worked for 128k miles now so will replace it with the same....

Thanks for the great input!!
 

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2016 340i xD 6-spd
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If you have an automatic, you'll have a tough time seeing what you have , though probably from below, with underskirt off, you could tell.

We can't know what you have. You could have one of each or two hydraulics or two mechanical tensioners. I'm not sure whether all those combinations are factory or not, but unless you're the original owner, no telling what someone put on there in the past. You have to look.
 

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Be sure to use a brand new serpentine belt. Do not try to reuse the old belt. And, pay attention to the proper belt routing - during re-install.
(check your A/C belt while you're at it.)

Check the waterpump and powersteering pulleys while you're in there > Make sure there's no nicks/cracks.
Actually now that I see you have 128K miles, you definitely want to replace your waterpump if you haven't done it already.
 

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...
Edit: Not sure what Mango means by "one of each". You'll have one or the other.

Edit 2: nvm, he's talking about the idler and the tensioner.. all idle pulleys are the same.
No, what Mango tought (I think) was that there was one tensoner for A/C and one tensioner for alternator with their respective pullies, plus the idler pulley - total of three (3) pullies.
 

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Presuming the OP is now confused...since now I am...

You have two tensioner devices, each with a pulley attached. Each device has a different pulley that fits, so you need to know what your devices are before you can replace their pulleys.

You may have one of each or two of the same kind...we don't know what you have. Mango suggested you get new tensioners themselves, which you could do, but they seem to last a real long time so might not be necessary. The pulleys on them, though, do wear out and should be replaced.

Also, when we refer to 'three pulleys' here, we mean the two tensioner pulleys and the one idler. Idler is the same always.

But, we do also have pulleys that are replaceable on the WP, PS pump, and Alt--these pulleys are just that--they don't have integral bearings in them.

I hope I haven't made this more confusing! :lmao:
 

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Presuming the OP is now confused...since now I am...

You have two tensioner devices, each with a pulley attached. Each device has a different pulley that fits, so you need to know what your devices are before you can replace their pulleys.

You may have one of each or two of the same kind...we don't know what you have. Mango suggested you get new tensioners themselves, which you could do, but they seem to last a real long time so might not be necessary. The pulleys on them, though, do wear out and should be replaced.

Also, when we refer to 'three pulleys' here, we mean the two tensioner pulleys and the one idler. Idler is the same always.

But, we do also have pulleys that are replaceable on the WP, PS pump, and Alt--these pulleys are just that--they don't have integral bearings in them.

I hope I haven't made this more confusing! :lmao:
One pulley for the a/c belt, one pulley for the alternator belt, and one deflector pulley. Total of three. It's stickied, people. Come on.
 

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One pulley for the a/c belt, one pulley for the alternator belt, and one deflector pulley. Total of three. It's stickied, people. Come on.
What are you talking about?

One tensioner pulley for the AC belt

One tensioner pulley for the alternator belt

One idler pulley for the alternator belt

One alternator pulley

One water pump pulley

One power steering pulley

One AC pulley

2 Drive pulleys

Total of 9. I just replaced 6 of them.

Are you just trying to talk about the ones that have bearings? Because both of the composite pulleys (WP and PS) were cracked in my car.
 
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