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Discussion Starter #1
I've been occasionally getting a check charging system message on my 08 MDX with 69,000 miles. I've checked the condition of the battery, battery connections and alternator and have concluded that it is time for a new belt and tensioner. This seemed to prove itself yesterday when I got the check charging message after flooring the gas to get around a slow moving vehicle. Later yesterday I started to hear a noise from under the hood that fluctuates with engine RPM. The noise seem to be paired to the movement of the serpentine belt tensioner watching with a flashlight with the engine idling.

I'm going to go ahead and replace these two items, and am looking for advice from the group here.

-I've done some online searching and see a wide range of belt tensioners and prices. The OEM part seems to run around $120 through the dealer web sites. Aftermarket parts run from $34 to about $56 plus shipping at Rock Auto. Local brand name parts houses have them anywhere from about $75 to over $100. While I am not necessarily wedded to OEM, I will be doing this myself and only want to do it once, so I don't want to install a low quality product that will only last for a year or two. Does anyone who has performed this repair have any advice on a specific tensioner, good or bad? One item that looked interesting was a Litens brand tensioner at Advance. It is interesting because it states that it is OEM quality, and has a lifetime warranty, and because Litens was the brand that was OEM on my 2003 Corvette.

-Does anyone have any advice on a brand of serpentine belt?

Thanks in advance!
 

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It is very rare for the actual tensioner to give out! They are usually good for the life of the car but the bearings can sometimes lose their grease and make noise.In this case you can pull the whole tensioner out and remove the bearings very easy. Once out you can use small flat head and pull off the plastic bearing cover where you will see the grease is drying up! You can use repack it in your hands with red synthetic grease which has lasted almost 5 years now! The other option is to pull tensioner and order new bearings at a cost or $12.00-$16.00 ea depending if you have a single or dual tensioner?



The engine charging system light is because the belt is worn and slipping on the alternator pulley when you accelerate, So The belt is more of the culprit and i would suspect you will resolve your issue there. However if you remove the tensioner you might as well check and repack the bearings if you see the grease is drying up and write down their numbers if you ever really need to replace them!
 

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Discussion Starter #3
It is very rare for the actual tensioner to give out! They are usually good for the life of the car but the bearings can sometimes lose their grease and make noise.In this case you can pull the whole tensioner out and remove the bearings very easy. Once out you can use small flat head and pull off the plastic bearing cover where you will see the grease is drying up! You can use repack it in your hands with red synthetic grease which has lasted almost 5 years now! The other option is to pull tensioner and order new bearings at a cost or $12.00-$16.00 ea depending if you have a single or dual tensioner?



The engine charging system light is because the belt is worn and slipping on the alternator pulley when you accelerate, So The belt is more of the culprit and i would suspect you will resolve your issue there. However if you remove the tensioner you might as well check and repack the bearings if you see the grease is drying up and write down their numbers if you ever really need to replace them!
Do you have a recommendation on a belt?
 

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I just purchased Bando as it is the brand you see alot of satisfied users. Being the serpentine belt it is easy to access and replace if one sees signs of wear so not as concerned as the timing belt which you can't access easily.
 

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I just purchased Bando as it is the brand you see alot of satisfied users. Being the serpentine belt it is easy to access and replace if one sees signs of wear so not as concerned as the timing belt which you can't access easily.
I found a Bando on rock auto for a good price even with shipping. Will probably do that.
 

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Agree that it isn't that unusual for the tensioner to go bad. My Ody went first around 180K miles and now my X is going out at 160K.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Check your tensioner as described 69000 mi is not that much! If you had double/triple that i would agree.
What about the age? It's still 11 years old.
 

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It boils down to what you see in your inspection/diagnosis and what you are comfortable in spending ? If you are unsure than for the $70.00 in cost may well be worth it for peace of mind and if it all works than its a win! Having the dealer diagnose will cost you $120.00 in labor min so you are ahead!
 

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Discussion Starter #12
It boils down to what you see in your inspection/diagnosis and what you are comfortable in spending ? If you are unsure than for the $70.00 in cost may well be worth it for peace of mind and if it all works than its a win! Having the dealer diagnose will cost you $120.00 in labor min so you are ahead!
I ended up ordering the Bando belt from Rock Auto and getting the Litens tensioner from Advance. Plan is to first change the belt and see what happens. If I end up not needing the tensioner I'll just return it for a refund or store credit.
 

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Gates is the OE manufacturer of the Tensioner System for the Accessory Belt.
I replaced my original unit with the Aftermarket Gates one and it has been great for the past +30K or so miles...
 

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Change the belt first which is way easier. In my situation I think it was the belt but I ended up changing both tensioner and belt. If you change out the tensioner, do it from the bottom NOT the top.
 

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My theory is that engineers designed tensioner and belt as a pair (at least for Gates). If one mixes belt and tensioner from different manufacturers, the result might not be good. For this example, I actually believe getting a set from Gates is better than buying OEM parts, since Acura switched the OEM manufacturer several times. I know this is kinda extremely, but it is consistent with my experience.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
I replaced the belt over the weekend. The noise is gone an I have not been re-visited by the check charging system message. Will wait and see if this is a permanent fix. If it is I will return the tensioner. If not, I'll replace it.
 

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Pleased to hear that... its easy to just throw parts at the problem and you probably would have come away with a new tensioner, alternator, battery, belt, and god knows what else plus a really nice bill for labor on top of it all had you gone to the dealer! Well done.
 

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Pleased to hear that... its easy to just throw parts at the problem and you probably would have come away with a new tensioner, alternator, battery, belt, and god knows what else plus a really nice bill for labor on top of it all had you gone to the dealer! Well done.
Excellent point. Dealt many times in the Marine Corps within the tracked vehicle and maintenance communities with the concept of throwing parts at problems to no avail.

This car has not yet been to the dealer and will not go there unless absolutely necessary. When I purchased it in June I knew it needed some things and subsequently discovered the need for others. I have taken care of all of them myself. To date, I have replaced the power steering pump as there was higher than normal effort at low speed. The service history of the car showed no evidence that the recall had been done and from what I have read it appeared I missed the boat in terms of time to get it done. The alternator began making a noise in August so I took it to a local auto electric shop. He said the stator was going bad and offered to rebuild the alternator for $80 if pulled it myself and brought in it. He turned it around in less than a day. I've done a 3x3 trans fluid change, changed the rear diff and transfer fluids, and performed two engine oil changes. I have found a really well regarded local independent Acura Honda shop who will get my business when issues get beyond my capabilities.

As long as I keep getting the kind of quality advice on this forum to my questions that I have received all along up to this point, I'm confident I can take care of most of the routine stuff myself.
 
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