Timing Belt Tensioner - 3.0L vs. 3.2L

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Thanks to Gary Morrell

All 3.2 SHO motors have an automatic timing belt tensioner installed. The addition of the tensioner allowed Ford changed the timing belt service interval to 100K miles. A legitimate question is whether this tensioner can be retrofit to earlier 3.0L engines. The difference between the tensioners is that the early part is spring-only; the later part uses a spring but is augmented with hydraulic pressure from the engine oil. The later tensioner is gentler on the belt and thus is the reason for the longer service interval.

The hydraulic tensioner get its oil supply from the main oil hole which is drilled lengthwise thru the block above the crankshaft. You'd have to drill some holes in the block in order to retro-fit the newer tensioner. Therefore, this is a "probably not" candidate for retro-fit.

Further thanks to Bill Staib

I believe that the info on the tensioner by Gary is incorrect. I was at Doug Lewis's shop last week and he handed me a tensioner off of a 3.2L automatic SHO. It is a self contained (not engine oil "powered" as Gary describes). This info is not to discredit Gary on this matter, only shed light on the subject. I had a Alfa GTV-6 2.5L with a tensioner exactly as Gary describes, and it leaked annually for YEARS. PURE JUNK and several factory fixes later, the tensioner still has problems. Not a Yamaha!!!!

Anyway I hope that helps clear up this tensioner riddle.

Further further thanks to Doug Lewis

Doug says the tensioners are indeed different, that the 3.2L tensioner is hydraulic, but he doesn't claim it gets its hydraulic pressure from the engine oil.