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E36/7 Z3 (1996-2002)
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Old 11-04-2012, 08:32 PM
ColinCazza ColinCazza is offline
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Location: Sebastopol, Ca
Join Date: Oct 2012
Posts: 1
Mein Auto: Z3 1.9L 1997
Z3 Tensioner pulley replacement


I have a new-to-me 1997 Z3 (M44) with 127K miles that has lived a very unloved life. The body is perfect but wear items are all, well, very worn. The list so far is Control arms (bought Myle HD), Rear shocks and mounts (Going with Bilstein Touring) Timing cover oil seal, rear wheel bearings and some vacuum leaks that had it failing smog. (the smog issue probably warrants a dedicated thread).

I have a definite intermittent squealing due to the tensioner pulley. I took off the belt and verified that the bearing is shot and can set up a nastly unbalanced squeal when I spin it.

I was wondering if just the pulley on the mechanical serpentine belt tensioner assembly is replaceable? Seems like an unnecessary cost to replace the whole assembly if it's just a bearing in a pulley, but I dont see it listed anywhere. It looks the same as the idler, but....

If I have to replace the whole assembly, I am seeing prices from a low of $9.02 (Partstrain) to $150 (Dealer). Any recomendations??

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Old 11-05-2012, 07:12 AM
babyZ babyZ is offline
Location: Dandridge, TN
Join Date: Dec 2011
Posts: 62
Mein Auto: 1997 BMW Z3
Had the very same issue a few months ago (bearing wiped and tensioner spring age). As far as I could tell, you have to replace the whole tensioning unit. I'm still unsure as you are about it.

My advice is to replace the assembly as a whole.
I figure it better to get it all out of the way first rather than replace one part and the older remnants follow close behind in breakage.

I bought a duralast belt tensioner from autozone for 44.99. Installation was easy.

Hope this was some help!
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Old 11-11-2012, 09:12 AM
IgotBMW's Avatar
IgotBMW IgotBMW is offline
Location: So Cal
Join Date: Jul 2010
Posts: 886
Mein Auto: 98 540i, 03 X5
Contact Max at oembimmerparts.com. You'll need part #11281432104.

Just ordered mine for $55. Mine is squeaking also.
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