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Discussion Starter #1
Hi,

This is my first post and not familiar with the site so please forgive any errors.
I have a 2002 F150 6 cyl. with 24000 miles (original) and having problems with noise from the engine compartment. When the air conditioner is off there is no problem. When the AC is on and I turn the steering wheel I get
a loud chatter. Turn the AC off the noise goes away when the steering wheel is turned.
I'm assuming it is related to the main belt drive and could be the belt tension bearing.
Could anyone tell me if my assessment is correct?

Tricky
 

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If the A/C clutch is starting to bind a bit then there will be additional strain on the other driven components (i.e power steering pump and alternator) which by all means can cause that kind of chatter.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Mr. Mac,

Thank you for your prompt response!
Is there a way to test the AC clutch or the belt tension bearing to determine which one is failing?
Which one would you guess to be be the least expensive to replace while trying to determine the culprit?
My first thought was the extra strain on the belt system after adding the AC would point to the belt tension bearing! Your logic is just as convincing!

Thanks again,
Tricky
 

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Your tensioner is a constant, adding the A/C causes the strain so that's why I suspect it is the culprit. If, when it is engaged, causes enough strain to make other components it may be that the bearing is starting to freeze up on you. A replacement clutch assembly should set you back about $80 and replacing it isn't too difficult a task for someone with fair mechanical abilities.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Mr. Mac

Hi Mr. Mac,

I checked the bearings on the tensioner and two idler pulleys and they did not seem dry. I did check them with a stethoscope but could not reach all of them so that's why I used a hose for 2 that were very deep and near the main belt. I decided to replace all of the bearings at the same time and see what results I get. Now the problem I have is I can't get the bolts out of the main tensioner and one of the idler pulleys. They are bolted to a large bracket along with the alternator that is made of some type of alloy. One of the 3 bolts in the alternator is also frozen so now I'm going to attempt to take the entire bracket off with everything attached. I started with a propane torch and moved up to a brazing torch without success. I spent the whole day on tha damn thing today and I'm still not finished.
Are you a mechanic by trade?
Thanks for the reply.

Rich
 

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No, Rich, not a mechanic but I did have a great teacher, my dad. Dad was a diesel mechanic and on weekends and during the summer I would go to where he worked and "help" him with certain projects. As time went on I got to do more and more on my own and got pretty good. When I got in to high school he convinced me to take auto mechanics so I could learn more about the electrical and ignition systems.

My teacher hated me because I kept pointing out his mistakes.

Now I am a voice over IP (VoIP) engineer thanks to the military.

As for the bolts, try spraying them with a penetrating oil and let it sit overnight. You want them cold as heat, while it can burn away corrosion and, at times, aid in freeing them causes the metal to expand and can actually make it tighter. The cold metal contracts and with the oil might make it easier especially if you have access to an impact wrench.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Mr. Mac

Hi Mr. Mac,
You certainly had a great teacher. I got the entire bracket off with the tension bearing & the tensioner. I tried to get the bolts off with them being cold and failed. Then tried heat and failed! I was going to replace the entire tensioner but I can't get that bolt out either, it has a star type T-45 bit head and after I broke off my bit. I purchased a new one for my set and now stripped the bolt head. I'm turning the bolts counter clockwise and now wondering if that may be wrong. Where can I find out what direction I'm supposed to turn these bolts. I also took your advice and soaked the bolts in penetrating oil overnight and failed. I made a dam around the back of the bolt with plumbers putty so I had a pool of oil. No luck. I also used my inpack tool on both bolts and now stripped the 15 MM
bolt head. Now I'm stuck with vice grips and don't know what to do. Do you think The bolts may be reverse thread?
I need you Dad right about now!!

Thanks for any advice.
Rich
 

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It is possible that the threads were reversed but it won't make much of a difference now! Now you need to either try and easy out or drill them out and use a Helicoil and new bolt.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Mr. Mac,

I managed to get the bolts out with heat. The idler pulley on the tensioner is reverse thread, the bolt on the tensioner is regular thread and the only way to get it lose was to grind the head off. Vice grips made removal very easy and now I'm back in business. I purchased another tensioner from Advance Auto that does not come with the center bolt. Beleive it or not Ford does not sell that bolt separately, they only come with a new tensioner.
Happy new year and thanks for your help.

Rich
 
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