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Old November 26th, 2018, 07:57
Black1990jeep Black1990jeep is offline
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Join Date: Apr 2018
Location: california
Posts: 580
Failed Idler Pulley!

On my Death Valley trip, part way up the Lippincott Trail my idler pulley went bad! We saw smoke, and when we opened the hood and restarted, sparks flew from the pulley. DEAD! fortunately there was a place to pull off the trail, just barely, steep and rocky. My friends in their XJ took the failed pulley and drove to BigPine to find a replacement. Six hours latter they arrive with a brand new pulley. Daves NAPA in Big Pine had one left! ten minutes later I was up and running, but we lost six hours and had to alter the trip plan.

Back two days prior, just before the Tioga pass, the belt made noise. it was not tight, new belt the week before, properly tensioned had become loose. we tightened it without determining why it had become loose. I hind sight, we should have investigated it more.

the pulley bearing had lost 1/3 of the balls, and they were blued with heat damage, only 10% of the cage was left, and it was melted! there was no sign of the grease seal anymore.

Oh how I dislike serpentine belts. one failure in any of the auxiliary pulleys and you loose water pump and alternator functions. I think old school separate vee belts are more fail safe, at least for multi vee belts, the non critical pulleys can fail ie AC compressor, steering pump. and you still have a functional water pump and alternator if they are on separate belts.

Anyway, lesson learned, if belt gets loose, INVESTIGATE THE CAUSE!

many many thanks to Rob and Leslie for making the six hours part run, and thanks to all who stopped to ask if they could help!

Anyway a 1500 mile first trip in my new to me XJ was fun, despite the breakdown. My ring and pinion that I installed worked fine, we literally where putting my jeep together two days before the trip.

Keep a Jeeping!
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Old November 26th, 2018, 08:43
devildog0's Avatar
devildog0 devildog0 is offline
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Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: Hunt County Texas
Posts: 870
Re: Failed Idler Pulley!

Did you at least have a nice view in your break down spot?
1995 XJ Country/4.0L/AW4/231/UpCountry Suspension
2004 Suzuki DL650 VStrom/1978 Suzuki GS1000E/2003 Yamaha TW200
1982 Suzuki GS850G (barnfind project)
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