Idler Pulley wobble -
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post #1 of 7 Old 03-02-2013, 04:54 PM Thread Starter
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Idler Pulley wobble


My friend has a 97 ZJ with an I6 and his idler pulley started making a wierd sound yesterday. We popped the hood and looked at it and its almost as if it has came out of place a bit. We were going to try to replace it but it started to get dark and we figured we would take a crack at it in the morning. I guess what I need to know is whether its a simple as it looks? I understand you need to remove the tensioner pulley to release the serpentine belt and then remove the pulley, but is it just a matter of replacing the pulley itself? Is there any other parts i could need? I dont think the bracket is messed up, but i will probably have to take everything apart before I find that out. Should I look into getting a new bearing as well?

Sorry for so many questions, first time repairing a serpentine belt issue. Any help would be appreciated

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post #2 of 7 Old 03-02-2013, 06:31 PM
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1997 ZJ 
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It has two idler pulleys. One on the PS pump bracket and another next to AC. First step is to loosen the bolt through the idler pulley on the PS pump bracket. then loosen the tensioner bolt on back side of PS pump bracket. Then change the idler pulley you need to change.

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post #3 of 7 Old 03-03-2013, 01:21 AM
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If the idler pulley is making a weird noise, swap it out. It's bearings are either going bad or the wheel is coming apart.


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post #4 of 7 Old 03-03-2013, 09:43 PM
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it takes minutes to swap an idler pulley.

so you should be able to handle it

07' JKUR rollin on 35s
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post #5 of 7 Old 04-14-2013, 09:49 AM
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After changing my serpentine belt a couple of weeks ago, I realized that I'd never changed the idler pulleys on my '98 ZJ 4.0L. I figured at 170K it was about time . I'm planning a trip to Baja some time over the next few months, and want to minimize the possibility of preventable breakdowns. Originally I was planning on using a Dorman part, because I like the company well enough to own some stock in it. Every little bit helps. I asked the person at the counter whether he knew where they were made, as I was comparing it with the Gates brand part. He was "pretty sure it's US made." I found out it was actually made in China, which disappointed me as a quality hound, but realized they're in a competitive field where it's basically necessary to seek out cheap Chinese labor. The Gates was made in Canada so, despite it being 2X the money, I went with it. Gates claims that they are OE designers, etc., and have actually taken Dorman to court numerous times for similarly made claims. This may be true, but the wheel casting is considerably thinner than the Mopar one I removed. I'll have to trust that the Canadian made part has a better bearing, as that's probably the most important part. Super simple job to replace it. Truly 5-10 minutes.
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post #6 of 7 Old 04-14-2013, 01:28 PM
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If i had to choose between Gates and Dorman i would choose Gates.
Because 90% of the dorman parts i have bought didnt fit or they failed after a couple of months.
But that could just be bad luck for me.
And the part they list for "PCV grommet" partnr:42344 dosent fit (hole to big for the pcv valve)
its for the breather on the left valvecover...
fun to discover that when you already have destroyed the old grommet and valve..
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post #7 of 7 Old 04-14-2013, 04:25 PM
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I guess I'm glad that I used the Gates. Early failure is not an option I'd care to explore.
The grommet is o.k. in the back part of the 4.0's valve cover, and fits fine with the PCV elbow that's made for the front of the cover. Now you've got me scared about my being able to get buy with replacing the rear elbow only, leaving the new grommet. I guess I'd better head to the parts store. Maybe it'll be a dealer run tomorrow. They appear to have the same size grommet on both the front and rear. I guess I"ll find out.
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