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Discussion Starter #1
Hello,

I've been getting a more and more annoying grinding/whining noise while driving - after checking most of the more accessible bearings, it turns out it was predictably enough the tensioner pulley bearing. I took the other idlers off and regreased them but the inner race of the tensioner pulley was too badly pitted to be recoverable, and a new oem one (in my case 074145278C manufactured by INA) is around £20 if you look around in the usual places.

Just posting this in case anyone else is looking to find a solution to such a noise and is using search - it's very tempting to think it's the power steering pump as it sounds very similar but unless it gets worse on full lock or is sticking a bit then it's unlikely and more likely a tensioner/idler pulley bearing - here's what mine looked like when I dismantled it... that's what was causing the noise

 

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Discussion Starter #4
Was the wine constantly there and did the noise increase with acceleration?
I'm more of a beer drinker, but good point ;-) The noise was always there getting louder and proportional to rpm - didn't matter which gear or the load.

As I work on the van on the road I couldn't hear a noise from the bearing when I span it, and it was only when I took it off that I realised it was rough - it's in such an inaccessible place that it's hard to make a judgement on its condition when on the tensioner arm. The only clue was that it span a bit too freely - usually a sign of the grease getting dirty.

Here's a picture of one of the idler pulleys (074145278E), which I regreased by carefully removing the plastic cover.

 

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Discussion Starter #6
It's a bit fiddly to get the tensioner pulley off but not too bad. Once you've removed the aux belt, you need a 13mm spanner and a long 6mm allen key to counterturn the bolt. The idlers need just 13mm sockets - one is very fiddly - I dropped the engine a bit but there's probably a better way.

Other things to eliminate are the alternator bearings and the ac compressor pulley (if you have one). If you put a long screwdriver on the body of the alternator and listen with the other end to your ear you will hear the whine if it is an alternator bearing. Power steering pump too but if the steering feels ok and doesn't get louder on full lock then it probably isn't that.
 
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