[xj40] Accessory belt tensionner

Hi All
well, my car (XJ6 1990 Sovereign) is humbling! The accessory
belt is loose. I wanted to add some tension to it, but the
tensioner is not accessible.
So I removed the air pump, and at least I could access to a
pivot bolt, the one that fixes the tensioner to the
alternator. With this pivot bolt loosen, in theory, and by
loosening the fixation of the alternator (which is also a
pivot bolt, meaning it allows rotation), I should be able to
add tension simply by unscrewing a bolt that will move up
along the tensioner, pushing the alternator, that will
rotate in such a way as to increase tension in the belt.
The major problem I have is that there absolutely no way to
get to the damn bolt on the tensioner. I have no access, no
space unless I remove the fan or perhaps by removing the
hose fitted on the water pump (so it means draining coolant).

For the life of me, I cannot understand why this design. Now
in Haynes, things look very easy, Ok, but they had removed
the fan, radiator and condenser. Sure, with that out, my 5
years old could add tension in the belt. I have spent almost
2h, trying things, but to no avail.

Now, I have an idea I wanted to share. I may have a way to
increase tension by rotation the tensioner itself, fixed
with one bolt (acting as a pivot bolt most likely), to which
I have some access. If I loosen the bolt and rotate the
tensioner, then the end result will be to move the
alternator. However, I don’t have much room to rotate it and
the tension addition is minimal. May be enough, but not sure.
The other possibility is to actually take the tensioner out,
I believe it is possible since I have the pivot bolt to the
alternator loosened. So I would take the tensioner out, add
some tension (eyeballing or simply trial and errors), and
place the tensioner back first on the alternator, then apply
force in such a way that I can fit the bottom of the
tensioner bold on its bracket.

I’d rather do that, than yank the coolant hose to the water
pump becaude even with the hose away, I am not sure I will
be able to access the damn bolt on the tensioner.

I wanted to run it via the forum, in case someone had a
suggestion. Up to now, in my life, adding tension to a belt
has been very easy. Especially now since tensioners are
design to automatically add tension when needed via a spring.–
XJ6 Sovereign-1990 - 58,000 miles
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In reply to a message from redo-it-all sent Thu 10 May 2012:

Arent these cars fun !!

Before starting ensure that the end of the tenmsioner bolt itslef,
where it is bolted to the egnie, is loosened up - if its not then
it wont adjust - this and obviously the lower bolt

Did this one myself couple weeks ago - there are actually two ways
i have found , its very dependent upon how long the bottom
tensioner nut has been on the tensioner bolt

If its not to hard on then one way I have had success in teh past
is to bend an open ended spanner to aboiut 30 degrees from ‘true’
and then it will get on the nut howver the ‘leverage’ is not much
(hence the comment how long has it been there ?

If not possible then remove the fan cowling and fan then its a
piece of cake - I have actually found this method is by far and
away the easiset , quickest and less wearing on temper (and
knuckles)

I dont think spotfire engines were secured to the airframe as well
as the alternator (or a/c compressors) are to XJ40’s

The adjustment thread is fairly fine so tryting to adjust by use of
the tensioner bolt itself - suspect that this may not work very
well - even were it possible

Best Luck - did mine by removeing fan and rad cowling (engine
driven fan) and took about 40 mins start to finish - seems a long
time to adjust the alternator however this is a Jag

Nigel–
1987 XJ40 3.6 Auto Sov SAJJHALH3AA512874
Singapore, Singapore
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In reply to a message from Nigel Snowden sent Fri 11 May 2012:

Hi Nigel

Looking at the tensioner, it is rusted and I am afraid that
applying some force on the bolt being ‘‘unaligned’’ with just
destroying. It is quite scary. Ideally, the tensioner should
be changed.

Reading your email I looked at the fan and you are right it
‘‘seems’’ easy to remove. I think that if I remove the fan, I
should have a good access to the tensioner bolt, hoping I
can work with it. It seems quite old.

This seems a better idea than using the tensioner itself and
move it because the problem with that is that I would
probably need 1 or two other hands to help to make sure the
alternator is not pulled by the belt in the opposite
direction while I try to adjust the tensioner.

If I can get the fan out, then I can use the tensioner the
way it is supposed to, and since it supports the alternator,
it can only move in the right direction.

So I will try that. Now why did you remove the cowl (pastic
shroud)? It seems the fan can be taken out without removing
it, if its angled properly? Was it necessary for better
access to the tensioner bolt? I think it is just two clips
though.

OK, so I had to remove the air pump to access one pivot
bolt, now the fan. I will also have to loosen the pivot bolt
that fixes the alternator to the frame, I haven’t tried and
hope this will go with no surprise. The bolt is fairly
accessible.

And as you say, yes these cars are fun! I am just always
concerned because I really want to avoid any damage. I love
the car and haven’t driven it yet.
Thanks a lot Nigel–
The original message included these comments:

If not possible then remove the fan cowling and fan then its a
piece of cake - I have actually found this method is by far and
away the easiset , quickest and less wearing on temper (and
knuckles)


XJ6 Sovereign-1990 - 58,000 miles
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In reply to a message from redo-it-all sent Fri 11 May 2012:

It is not possible to remove the fan without also removing
the shroud - but the latter is easy, just two clips at the
top and the bottom has a couple of prongs which drop in to
some slots. Make sure you centre the shroud over the fan
when refitting.

One thing to note, you need to remove the fan hub nuts
progressively, each a little at a time, otherwise they foul
the back of the fan and you can’t get them off the studs.

I have to admit that the only time I have adjusted the
alternator belt, the fan/shroud happened to be off the
engine so I didn’t notice any particular problem. But, there
again, UK cars of that era do not have an air pump! :-)–
The original message included these comments:

So I will try that. Now why did you remove the cowl (pastic
shroud)? It seems the fan can be taken out without removing
it, if its angled properly? Was it necessary for better
access to the tensioner bolt? I think it is just two clips
though.


Bryan N, '91 Sovereign 4.0 L, RHD
Cambridgeshire, United Kingdom
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In reply to a message from Bryan N sent Fri 11 May 2012:

Hi Bryan

Ah, well OK and thanks for the tips. Now I can remove the
shroud with the fan in, because the fan is in the way.
Basically I have to take out the shroud and fan out at the
same time. Is that what you mean when you say ‘‘you can’t
take out the fan without the shroud?’’, because it seems, you
can’t take out the shroud without the fan as well (unless
you remove something else)–
XJ6 Sovereign-1990 - 58,000 miles
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In reply to a message from redo-it-all sent Fri 11 May 2012:

Fan and shroud both together.–
The original message included these comments:

Basically I have to take out the shroud and fan out at the
same time. Is that what you mean when you say ‘‘you can’t
take out the fan without the shroud?’’, because it seems, you
can’t take out the shroud without the fan as well (unless
you remove something else)


Bryan N, '91 Sovereign 4.0 L, RHD
Cambridgeshire, United Kingdom
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In reply to a message from Bryan N sent Fri 11 May 2012:

OK,
so like you said Bryan, got everything out. One bolt on the
fan really hard to undo, and with the clutch spinning as I
try to apply force on it, that was a fun difficult The fun
part is that I have access to the bolt on the tensioner now,
but once my tool is on the bolt, I can not rotate it, too
bluky and it bumps against the edges of the alternator on
one end and the water pump on the other.
I dont want to remove any of those because the purpose is to
add tension to the belt.
So I either have to move the tensioner up and down and see
if I can get a better angle. Otherwise, perhaps, the belt is
too lose and getting a new one (should be a tad shorter
since new), may allow me to get the tensioner bolt within
accessible range.
So these are my two last options.
The accessory belt seems in very good condition, but is
there a way to know when the length of the belt is too
important meaning that the belt is to be changed, without
removing the belt? . There is still space on the tensioner
to increase tension (aside from the bolt not being accessible).

Waowwwww. All that for increasing tension on an accessory belt.–
The original message included these comments:

Fan and shroud both together.


XJ6 Sovereign-1990 - 58,000 miles
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In reply to a message from redo-it-all sent Fri 11 May 2012:

Which ‘bolt’ can you not get a wrench on? Or do you mean the
nut(s) on the adjustment tensioner?

It’s been a long time since I did it, but can’t you get a
socket on the bolt through the eye of the tensioner to get
that out so that you can then pivot the alternator towards
the engine to remove the belt and then pivot it away from
the engine to gain free access to those nuts to get them loose?–
The original message included these comments:

part is that I have access to the bolt on the tensioner now,
but once my tool is on the bolt, I can not rotate it, too
bluky and it bumps against the edges of the alternator on
one end and the water pump on the other.


Bryan N, '91 Sovereign 4.0 L, RHD
Cambridgeshire, United Kingdom
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Hi Redo. Did we ever get a real name :slight_smile: ?
If you are going to this extent personnaly I would bite the bullet and
replace both (read all) belts while you are in there. Especially if you do
not know the previous history of the car.
If the tensioner is rusty as you say then a good spray with CRC or for the
states I think PB blaster? Should assist in freeing things up.
One good test with a multi groove belt once it is off the vehicle is to turn
it inside out. Bend in the opposite direction that it is normally running.
If it due for replacement you willl see small cracks running across the
inverted ‘V’

One trick I used to use to get the majority of the slack out of a belt was
to use a pry bar against the side of the alternator, with the adjuster nut
free you can spin it up to the lower face of the adjuster block and then use
the spanner to take up the final amount.
Regards Robin O’Connor
'92 XJ40 4.0 Ltr
Auckland NZ----- Original Message -----
From: “redo-it-all” m.errami@gmail.com
To: xj40@jag-lovers.org
Sent: Saturday, May 12, 2012 8:38 AM
Subject: Re: [xj40] Accessory belt tensionner

In reply to a message from Bryan N sent Fri 11 May 2012:

OK,
so like you said Bryan, got everything out. One bolt on the
fan really hard to undo, and with the clutch spinning as I
try to apply force on it, that was a fun difficult The fun
part is that I have access to the bolt on the tensioner now,
but once my tool is on the bolt, I can not rotate it, too
bluky and it bumps against the edges of the alternator on
one end and the water pump on the other.
I dont want to remove any of those because the purpose is to
add tension to the belt.
So I either have to move the tensioner up and down and see
if I can get a better angle. Otherwise, perhaps, the belt is
too lose and getting a new one (should be a tad shorter
since new), may allow me to get the tensioner bolt within
accessible range.
So these are my two last options.
The accessory belt seems in very good condition, but is
there a way to know when the length of the belt is too
important meaning that the belt is to be changed, without
removing the belt? . There is still space on the tensioner
to increase tension (aside from the bolt not being accessible).

Waowwwww. All that for increasing tension on an accessory belt.


The original message included these comments:

Fan and shroud both together.


XJ6 Sovereign-1990 - 58,000 miles
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Line Books and more !

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In reply to a message from redo-it-all sent Fri 11 May 2012:

You really need to get the tensioner bolt which secures it to teh
engine block loose before you do anything - if this is still not
undoen then please be assured that the tensioner will not work -
have tried that and been there - the tensioner bolt has to be able
to move itslef as well as the adjust nut -

Spray bolt with WD40 or similar and leave for an hour then try
again - it has to come loose otherwise you are wasting time.

Getting the spanner onto the lower nut is a little difficult,
however it sound to me like the spacer which is supposed to be
between the adjustment sleeve and the adjust bolt may
be 'missing’in which case the nut will be very close to the
alternator body as you describe.

Suggest remove the top nut completely, loosen the tensioner
bolt/engine mount (do NOT remove this bolt completely as without
removing the tension on the belt then you wil damge the threads -
as below you may have to sacrifice the belt)and then swing the
alternator down then you can get at the lower adjustment nut and
get it loosened up - think you will have to howver sacrifice the
belt to do this (ie cut it away)

Best luck

Nigel–
1987 XJ40 3.6 Auto Sov SAJJHALH3AA512874
Singapore, Singapore
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In reply to a message from Nigel Snowden sent Fri 11 May 2012:

Folks
well, thanks for all the advice. Yesterday, I went ahead a
struggled a bit with everything. I ended up removing the
tensioner altogether. I loosened the alternator, moved it
around and just took the tensioner out.
Interestingly, I saw there was a shimming cylinder, (the
spacer that Nigel describes) on to the rod so that the inner
nut would be at a lower position and thus accessible.
Because as you add tension, the nut goes up the rod, but
there is a point, where it no longer is accessible, like
now for me.

So apparently, it seems that I would need to add another
spacer, to lower the nut a bit more. It would then become
accessible. So the spacer ‘‘is too short’’, which makes me
believe that the belt may be to long.

So I am suspecting tension had been increased in the past,
and at this point, I am more for changing the belts. So I
have a better understanding of what is going on.
I have all the parts loose, except for the compressor, but
everything is accessible from below, so I would not
anticipate any issue with that. I have to take the
compressor belt out if I want to take the accessory belt
out, so I may as well change both of them. Although I know
the compressor has been changed and likely the belt, but I
do not have any record for the drive belt. It seems in good
condition though, but the spacer thing perhaps indicates
that its length is a bit too much. I can always add another
shim, but again, at one point, I will have to redo it.
Although my nick is redo-it-all, I’d rather not redo everything.

So this is where I am. I will but the parts today and fit
them on this W.E. Of course, I will update you guys. I would
like to do this by Tuesday because I am going to France.

And also, my battery is dead, and my charger indicates that
it is not recoverable (I had to charge it every 3 or 4 days)…–
XJ6 Sovereign-1990 - 58,000 miles
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In reply to a message from redo-it-all sent Sat 12 May 2012:

I think I would add a longer spacer tube anyway if that
makes the lower nut more accessible. The belts don’t stretch
that much!

Off to France, eh? Vacation or business?

Enjoy anyway.–
The original message included these comments:

Interestingly, I saw there was a shimming cylinder, (the
spacer that Nigel describes) on to the rod so that the inner
nut would be at a lower position and thus accessible.
So this is where I am. I will but the parts today and fit
them on this W.E. Of course, I will update you guys. I would
like to do this by Tuesday because I am going to France.


Bryan N, '91 Sovereign 4.0 L, RHD
Cambridgeshire, United Kingdom
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In reply to a message from Bryan N sent Sat 12 May 2012:

Dear Bryan

France for vacation, almost 3 WEEEEEEEKS! Can’t beat that.
I will add a spacer to offer me more flexibility in the
future. Thanks for suggesting.

Cheers.–
XJ6 Sovereign-1990 - 58,000 miles
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In reply to a message from Bryan N sent Sat 12 May 2012:

Ok folks
I had everything out and decided to change the belts.
Everything went smoothly. I added a two spacers, nuts in
fact on the tensioner for the accessory belt. I was able to
add proper tension in all belts.
I just ran into an issue, when trying to put the fan back
on. The position of the rods, coming out of the fan pulley
was such that two rods were accessible only from beneath the
car. Given the tension in the belt, I couldn’t rotated the
fan pulley (unlike when I took the fan off as the belt was
slipping). So it was quite challenging to fit the nuts and
it took patience to do so.
Aside from this, it took me about 1 afternoon. I like to do
things slow, and make sure I don’t damage anything.

I started the car this morning, runs perfect, no belt noise.
I had forgotten how silent the engine was.

So a big thanks to all of you who help with this.–
XJ6 Sovereign-1990 - 58,000 miles
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