I can’t stress how important it is to NEVER under any circumstances use an auto tensioner from the parts store. I found out the hard way back in 2012 after doing a 6 bolt swap in my 2G.

I bought the auto tensioner from Advance Auto. After I completed the swap, I was staring at my engine bay a couple days later. Still haven’t put the upper timing belt cover on. I decided to feel the slack on my timing belt which I have done a thousand times before this swap. To my amazement, there was a lot of slack. It was so bad that I could have literally pulled the timing belt completely off of my cam gears with my bare hands.

Obviously, I decided to redo the timing. Maybe I messed something up with the tensioner pulley? Maybe it’s not tight? Wrong. I did everything right. The auto tensioner I bought from Advance Auto was CRAP. I took it off 3 days after putting it on. 3 days after walking out of the parts store with it. I could literally press the rod in with my thumb. There was no tension what so ever.

So, I made the mistake a second time. Went back to Advance Auto to exchange it for another tensioner. Went to install that one and had to take it back off because I was a tooth off in my first attempt. So I compressed the tensioner in the vice so I could insert the grenade pin. This time, the damn rod broke! (pic below)

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So, this time I said the hell with this, I am getting an OEM tensioner. I logged onto Extremepsi.com and purchased one. Installed it and never had any problems again.

If my upper timing belt cover wasn’t off, I would never have been able to feel the tension and know there was a problem. I could have destroyed my engine from the timing belt snapping/slipping or jumping timing. I hope you learned something from this.

I have since then seen countless people ruin perfectly good motors from using a parts store tensioner. Or having the same problems with tension. Luckily, some of them caught it in time as did I.

One thought on “OEM Auto Tensioner VS. Parts Store Auto Tensioner- By [SPOOLIGAN]

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