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dumb question, im going to a 1700 km trip. i rly want to change my belts before going but i really dont think ill have time to rebuild the tensioners with SDB's guide. here in mexico parts are hard to get and i have less than a week to get them from USA and i dont even have money for paying 2 many shippings and taxes. so i was wondering. What could happen if i just dont change the tensioners? i have no clue if those need to be replaced but if they need to like if they had some freeplay or something. what could happen ?
 

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I have never heard of a catastrophic failure of a tensioner. They give plenty of warning with noises well before anything bad happens. If they feel reasonably tight and you spin them near your ear and they sound smooth you should be ok....
 

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William,

A tensioner is simply a bearing (with a size increaser) that allows the belt to stay within side to side free play limits and thereby stay on the cams and crank pulleys without hopping teeth on the cams or crank pulleys.

A bad bearing will usually chatter for a while before it fails so you should be able to hear some rattly chain noises down below if they are getting bad. To come free, there has to be enough wear on the balls or rollers to allow the bearing to seperate.

However a bearing can lock up before that too.

If the belt gets too loose and hops a gear tooth or two it's game over for the heads.

If the pulley stops and either burns off the belt by friction or more likely cause the belt to turn and slide down beside the tensioner where it would be quickly ground up and broken, with the same head valve crashing results.

But bearing deterioration is usually a slow process when heavy loads are not present (as in this case) which includes a lot of warning noises. So if they are quiet now, I would just go enjoy the trip and not worry about it much at all.
 

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William, what Rudy said.


If you can't hear any noises from them now, I doubt seriously there is a problem with them.

Even if you begin to hear noises, that condition can go on for a long time before they suddenly stop turning.

Just think of all the idler pulleys you have heard squealing on cars. I never saw one of them come off. If ignored, I have seen them freeze up and stop turning, but that is after a very long period of folks ignoring the noises.
 

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All of above...

If they are not noisey enough (right now)to cause you some concern, then another 1000 miles is not a big deal....

but I will say, when I first put new belts on, mine old tensioners got more noisey... maybe because Imight have beena little tight in the tension.. but it went away after a while... point is, don't get them too tight...

Not that my opinion matters, but I personally don't believe the stories that you can actually cause good bearings to fail by making the belts too tight. (The belts would fail first.) I suspect in these reported cases the bearings were actually bad to start with. [If anyone has ever ruined a new set of tensioners by over tightening the belts, let me know.] Butworn bearings could become very noisey if over tightened, and make you more aware of the issue.

SDB/Jim
 

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i cant hear any ugly strange noise down there. i got a little scared/concerned because i just bought a full helmet a week ago. and been it using it since then. with the helmet the deep notes of the exhaust and engine are gone and i can only hear the whine sound of the transmission and the belts. just i dont have experience on belts so i cant hell if the whine wants to tell me something but it just sound like a smooth whine that goes up and down with the rpms. i went for a ride with my old open helmet and everything sounds normal.
 

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Just inspect your tensioners. I replaced the tensioners on my '93 when it hit 100,000 miles but it really wasn't necessary. The new tensioners and the old ones had the same amount of play and sounded the same when spun by hand. Just take them off the engine and feel for free play, there should be very little motion when trying to rock them on the shaft. When you turn them by hand they should turn smoothly and run quietly when you spin them. If they pass these checks don't replace them, they're not likely to cause you any trouble for at least a couple more years. I've seem some pretty old 'Wings with original tensioners that are still in good condition, these things don't go bad often.
 

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William__86, If you are not used to the full face helmet then the different sounds will drive you nuts for awhile. Good luck and ENJOY your trip.... Jim
 
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