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E39 (1997 - 2003)
The BMW 5-Series (E39 chassis) was introduced in the United States as a 1997 model year car and lasted until the 2004 when the E60 chassis was released. The United States saw several variations including the 525i, 528i, 530i and 540i. -- View the E39 Wiki

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  #1  
Old 01-17-2013, 12:27 PM
Mikes530 Mikes530 is offline
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Hydraulic belt tensioner upgrade?

03 530
Last Fall I replaced my belts and tensioners (OE INA). After a couple of weeks the mechanical alt tensioner started rattling (at the pivot not the bearing). Tried lubing the pivot but the noise persists.

The part is under warranty but rather than risking a direct replacement, I'm thinking of upgrading to the hydraulic version. I've done a few searches and came across a reference to an adapter kit. Is this necessary or can I just bolt on a hydraulic replacement?
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  #2  
Old 01-17-2013, 01:04 PM
cn90 cn90 is online now
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Old 01-17-2013, 01:46 PM
Mikes530 Mikes530 is offline
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Thanks cn90, that clarifies things. There's a problem, my Canadian on-line sources just show either the mechanical or hydraulic versions, no mention of an installation kit. When I called my friendly dealership they said that their instruction is to sell the kit only in conjunction with the tensioner not separately. The dealer price for the tensioner is huge.

I'll do some more searching but at this point it looks as if I'm screwed.
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Old 01-17-2013, 02:22 PM
cn90 cn90 is online now
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Autohausaz ships to Canada, call them to verify.
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Old 01-17-2013, 02:25 PM
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Fudman Fudman is offline
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I bought the Ina hydraulic tensioner and the assorted longer bolts and pulley as an upgrade for my cooling system overhaul last spring. But after taking everything apart, I could not, for the life of me, figure out how to install the hydraulic tensioner. It does NOT fit into the existing mechanical tensioner mounting holes. I ended up reinstalling my mechanical tensioner. After some research, it appears that you must mount the hydraulic into different mounting holes on the block (which I did not find). Bottom line, this is not a simple one for one replacement. Do some research before attempting this. I, for one, will simply replace my mechanical tensioner with another one this spring.
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Old 01-17-2013, 03:27 PM
Mikes530 Mikes530 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fudman View Post
I, for one, will simply replace my mechanical tensioner with another one this spring.
Make that two.

Many thanks guys. This is one of those situations where there's no substitute for what this board offers. Problem is that I've just missed the joy of getting the hydraulic tensioner and kit, finding it didn't fit, returning it, re-installing the current tensioner, then ordering and installing a replacement mechanical tensioner. All of this on a DD. Oh the humanity!!

Thanks again, if you're ever in Toronto, the beers are on me.
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Old 01-17-2013, 05:25 PM
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King 5 King 5 is offline
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Just yeaterday I went to my local parta store which had the pulley/tensioner (mechanical) combo and bought just the pulley for $35 because they dont make just the pulley anymore
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Old 01-17-2013, 07:03 PM
cn90 cn90 is online now
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I thought the E46 DIY was used by the E39 crowd (same engine) with success, am I missing something?

http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthread.php?t=410372
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  #9  
Old 01-17-2013, 07:09 PM
cn90 cn90 is online now
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Also,

The BMW TSB is attached.
Attached Files
File Type: pdf hydraulic.pdf (111.8 KB, 50 views)
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  #10  
Old 01-18-2013, 04:14 AM
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Fudman Fudman is offline
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I had the e46 DIY and all the proper parts but I could not find that third bolt hole on my block. I should've taken pictures.
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Old 01-18-2013, 04:52 AM
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bluebee bluebee is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fudman View Post
I had the e46 DIY and all the proper parts but I could not find that third bolt hole on my block. I should've taken pictures.
I'll cross reference to the canonical set on the hydraulic tensioners:

- How to tell if you have mechanical or hydraulic belt tensioners (1) & how to switch from mechanical to hydraulic (1) and what is the difference between the two types (1) (2) & how to rebuild your hydraulic tensioners (1) & how to re-grease your pulleys and rollers (1) & the answer to the question of adjusting the 540i hydraulic tensioners' belt tension (1) (2)
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Each repair should invariably add to our knowledge base by the process of inexorable incrementalism.
Your job, in return, is to read the suggested threads, where the best people will always add value to those threads, either by pictures or by descriptions, so the next person with the same problem stands on your shoulders.
See also: E39 Bestlinks & How to easily find what you need

Last edited by bluebee; 01-18-2013 at 07:56 PM.
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  #12  
Old 01-18-2013, 12:37 PM
Mikes530 Mikes530 is offline
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I'll be replacing my old tensioner with a new one in the next couple of days. I'll make sure to check if I can find a 3rd hole and post pics.
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  #13  
Old 01-18-2013, 09:06 PM
cn90 cn90 is online now
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The more I think about this.....maybe you should stick to the mechanic stuff and simply replace the mech tensioner if and whenever it wears out.
Upgrading to hydraulic seems like a political debate in the Capitol Hill LOL.
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  #14  
Old 01-23-2013, 07:22 PM
Mikes530 Mikes530 is offline
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See attached pic, the indicated holes all have the same thread so I probably could have installed the hydraulic tensioner upgrade. The large hole on the right is where the idler lives.

Hope the replacement mechanical tensioner stays quiet, I REALLY don't want to do this job again any time soon.
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