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1G 7-Bolt Hydraulic Tensioners, R.I.P. (Mitsu Kills another one...)

DSSA

Supporting Vendor
596
398
Jul 26, 2002
Hatfield, Pennsylvania
I'm starting to feel like a parrot in here with posting up bad news about parts being killed off by Mitsu---please don't kill the messenger. :-(

Mitsu has officially disco'd the MD308586 timing belt tensioners.

We have the last one coming in over the next day or two, but after that we'll be removing them from the site. I'm looking into any worthwhile replacements, but so far it's not looking good.

There are some to be claimed available from overseas at the typical places that claim to have parts, but the pricing starts well over Mitsu's U.S. MSRP, plus international shipping costs.
 

pauleyman

DSM Wiseman
7,989
2,603
Nov 19, 2011
oklahoma city, Oklahoma
How are people able to keep old...like REALLY old car running? Say an MG or get crazy...model T or something? Or do they just have buckets of money and stuff is all custom made?
Serious question.
I remember coming across a website that had reproduction stickers for like 1970s snowmobiles, but we can't get the fade dots for a 1ga talon?
 

DSSA

Supporting Vendor
596
398
Jul 26, 2002
Hatfield, Pennsylvania
The fade dots thing---can be easily made by almost anyone willing to put the investment in to having them made.

That said, that brings us into one aspect with these cars. Should you go out and have them made and they start selling like hotcakes, you can rest assured that you'll have 3 competitors by years end selling them and trying to under-cut you out of the market. We gathered, and had made replica badges/stickers/etc. for these cars back around 2007-ish. Shortly after, we started seeing more and more of them pop up from other places---including the place we had make them for us. I remember one of my guys telling me "We just got an order for almost every sticker we have made--should we cancel it?". At that point, I just let it go. It was happening already, better to take the guy's money who was trying to join in, and pull out of the market.

There are about 20 different Chinese knock-offs of these tensioners. Would I choose to run one? No. We've pretty much seen what's down that road, but that doesn't mean that other people wouldn't.

I met a local customer a while back (local, as in I could actually walk to his place if i wanted), who just bought another DSM after being out of the game for a decade or two. Great guy, and I've tried to help him out when I can. The car made something like 650 to the wheels on C16, but after seeing it a few times, I said "You know--with everything else on this car being half-assed, we should probably pulling the timing cover and see what's actually in there....".

Sure enough, it was the typical "parts store special" under there. Here's a car with "go-fast" parts on it to the tune of putting down well over 500whp, but with timing belt/waterpump parts that I wouldn't use on a stock daily driver--not to mention the cracked stock cam gear and parts on the engine held down with Home Depot bolts.

If Mitsu doesn't see these moving in high volume, they're not going to both getting another run made. I'm not defending them, but it's simply how they calculate keeping/axing a lot of these parts.

Jaguar guys are happy paying $160 for a timing tensioner that looks like it was built by a kid playing in their dad's garage, that's why you can still buy one for an almost 70 y/o car, but we as DSMers (collectively) will buy a sketchy part to save $50 "because it doesn't add power" :

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The above said---I have been seeing the market change in the last year or so.

I've been getting a lot of customers who are trying to restore these cars who actually want the factory parts if available, or the best non-factory unit. It seems to be moving backwards from the Evo IX guys being the most common, while a lot of old-school DSM guys are popping back up and going through their old cars.
 

1990TSIAWDTALON

Moderator
9,139
4,970
Nov 14, 2013
Independence, Kansas
Josh......next time, give us some GOOD news ROFL
I'm not shooting the messenger! We all appreciate you and JNZTuning, keep up the good work!
Marty
 

pauleyman

DSM Wiseman
7,989
2,603
Nov 19, 2011
oklahoma city, Oklahoma
I'm aware you could make the fade dot thing. I was just using an example. I'm not happy about the parts but like the jag guys I'm willing to pay for a quality part if it exists. I'm guessing eventually it will boil down to a handful of owners and hopefully a handfull of vendors that are crazy enough to support those owners. I'm also thinking many people who have "classic" cars also have 2 or 3 other parts cars to support another car. I did and the car wasn't even that old.
 

jakelandry

Proven Member
965
148
Oct 13, 2009
Minden, Louisiana
From a restoration perspective, all these discontinuations are upsetting but the appeal of these cars has always been in their modification potential. Imo we can make better parts than mitsu for 95% of the things that are discontinued. When you look at it, their original tensioner wasn’t the best design to begin with. We could probably come up with something much better today if we just had enough die-hard enthusiasts around who weren’t too cheap to pay for a quality redesigned part.
 

Dericsh

Supporting Member
1,085
399
Nov 25, 2002
Pearl River, Louisiana
If Mitsu doesn't see these moving in high volume, they're not going to both getting another run made. I'm not defending them, but it's simply how they calculate keeping/axing a lot of these parts.
Can I ask? I’m curious about this process, can an order be placed for backorder to see if another batch gets made? Or has that already happened at this point when they officially decide the part is finished?
 

DSSA

Supporting Vendor
596
398
Jul 26, 2002
Hatfield, Pennsylvania
Are the 2G 7 bolt ones still being made? Or are the 1G units identical? I always assumed the gates version of the tensioner was okay. Is it not?

Not challenging, genuinely curious/want to educate myself.
In my opinion, the Gates stuff is worth about as much as it costs.

Back in the day, people would be all over anyone who ran a Gates belt setup and then complained that it ate itself. They really haven't changed much, except the kit no longer comes with the OEM supplier idler pulley, and all of the water pumps are now Chinese (they used to be Chinese & Japanese).

Now, some people run the Gates belt setup, but the consensus is to only use the OEM tensioner.

We sell it, as many people don't want to pay for the OEM stuff. That noted, to this day I have never installed a Gates belt on any of my cars, nor do I reccomend them to customers. If someone wants to buy one, we had to add them to keep up with the market, but that doesn't mean we'll reccomend them. I used to (and still do so long as I can help it) only sell parts that I'd actually allow onto my own personal cars. Unfortunately, that's not a possibility these days, but I still try to limit those parts on our site as much as I can.

Can I ask? I’m curious about this process, can an order be placed for backorder to see if another batch gets made? Or has that already happened at this point when they officially decide the part is finished?
Surely, ask anything!

They cannot be back ordered at this time as they are officially discontinued.

That does not mean that there is 0.00% chance that Mitsubishi may take a second look at it down the line and reverse their decision.

This *RARELY* happens, but I have seen it from time to time. One example is M/T input shaft bearings. They were discontinued back around 2006-2008 for something like 9 months, then became available again...just in time for everyone to stock up on the best aftermarket solutions we could find at the time.

There have been a few more items like this, but it's exceedingly rare.

Josh......next time, give us some GOOD news ROFL
I'm not shooting the messenger! We all appreciate you and JNZTuning, keep up the good work!
Marty
I'm trying!

We can still get MD326059s and the 1145A038s are only a few dollars more for a reinforced belt! :D
 

CrackedDSM

Proven Member
1,896
560
Dec 17, 2009
Pensacola, Florida
In my opinion, the Gates stuff is worth about as much as it costs.

Back in the day, people would be all over anyone who ran a Gates belt setup and then complained that it ate itself. They really haven't changed much, except the kit no longer comes with the OEM supplier idler pulley, and all of the water pumps are now Chinese (they used to be Chinese & Japanese).

Now, some people run the Gates belt setup, but the consensus is to only use the OEM tensioner.

We sell it, as many people don't want to pay for the OEM stuff. That noted, to this day I have never installed a Gates belt on any of my cars, nor do I reccomend them to customers. If someone wants to buy one, we had to add them to keep up with the market, but that doesn't mean we'll reccomend them. I used to (and still do so long as I can help it) only sell parts that I'd actually allow onto my own personal cars. Unfortunately, that's not a possibility these days, but I still try to limit those parts on our site as much as I can.


Gotcha, gotcha. Good to know.

So are the OEM 2G 7 bolt tensioner still being made or are they the same as the 1g 7 bolt?
 

1990TSIAWDTALON

Moderator
9,139
4,970
Nov 14, 2013
Independence, Kansas
I can still get 2g tensioners from various places but if I had a 2g, I'd buy an extra to have "in stock" like knock sensors.
I bet Josh can still supply 2g tensioners (if you know which one, why did they change?) and probably stocks them. I have a 7 bolt 98 split thrust that I need to get parts from him for for another customer
 
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pauleyman

DSM Wiseman
7,989
2,603
Nov 19, 2011
oklahoma city, Oklahoma
For the duration of my ownership, I've always been in the habit of installing a new hydraulic tensioner but if these go away then what? Use aftermarket or reuse the working one I have? In my entire DSM life, I've only ever seen one go bad and I've changed at least 100 of them.
 

Cherry

Proven Member
277
60
Jun 16, 2019
Hull, Georgia
My car is just sitting there waiting for some timing belt tensioner arm bushings. Been 5 days and its still "processing". If it comes down to it I'll just have to run it until it dies and get a refund. Who knows maybe they are in my mail box by now.

But if it does get to be too hard to find stuff. I would just look into an evo engine and do something with rear engine. Been wanting to do that since I seen someone do it with a CRX. Paying 75 dollars for 2 bushings, and having my car for since I was 15 out of a junk yard, I dont want to get rid of it. Too many hours have went into it and I love driving it.
 

DSSA

Supporting Vendor
596
398
Jul 26, 2002
Hatfield, Pennsylvania
I can still get 2g tensioners from various places but if I had a 2g, I'd buy an extra to have "in stock" like knock sensors.
I bet Josh can still supply 2g tensioners (if you know which one, why did they change?) and probably stocks them. I have a 7 bolt 98 split thrust that I need to get parts from him for for another customer

We're good on the 2G tensioners for the moment. Who know with Mitsu in the long run though.

To be honest, I'm not sure what the exact difference is on the early/late 2G tensioners. The oil pumps have all superceded to the later style number, the lower timing covers don't change on the same date, tensioner & idelr pulley are all the same, and the tensioner arm is the same throughout.

I've always just used the correct one for the correct production date, but I suppose I should pull one of each off of the shelf (and the 7 bolt unit coming in on Monday or Tuesday for the customer who bought it) and actually measure them out.
 

ist dwa

Proven Member
538
297
Nov 5, 2009
Centerville, Ohio
With this news, 6 bolt tensioners are next. I have been dredging this day because I knew when we lost timing it was going to be a real problem with the car because nobody has made a solid aftermarket tensioner and I never ran anything other than OEM for 25 years. It's time we start to figure out how to make a solid tensioner work in a 4g63, it won't be perfects but 90% will work over nothing.
 

DSSA

Supporting Vendor
596
398
Jul 26, 2002
Hatfield, Pennsylvania
With this news, 6 bolt tensioners are next. I have been dredging this day because I knew when we lost timing it was going to be a real problem with the car because nobody has made a solid aftermarket tensioner and I never ran anything other than OEM for 25 years. It's time we start to figure out how to make a solid tensioner work in a 4g63, it won't be perfects but 90% will work over nothing.
BLE has made solid tensioners for a long time now. It's just not something that works well on a street car.
 

bastarddsm

Proven Member
5,430
1,262
Aug 26, 2003
Mendota, Illinois
Do the tensioners really even wear out? I am still running the original from 91 on my car. If you set the belt tension right the belt won't come off even if they fail and competely collapse.
 

DSSA

Supporting Vendor
596
398
Jul 26, 2002
Hatfield, Pennsylvania
Do the tensioners really even wear out? I am still running the original from 91 on my car. If you set the belt tension right the belt won't come off even if they fail and competely collapse.
I've seen plenty of them fail over the years. I've also seen ones that have lasted many miles longer than they should have. If yours is the original, there should be an allen head set screw in the bottom of it.

That said, if you set the timing pulley perfectly (meaning no downward pressure on the tensioner from its pinned height, and no upward travel of the tensioner rod from pinned height), a failed tensioner can still allow belt tension to be slack. When they fail, they will compress further than the pinned height, allowing the arm to lower from where it was initially set.

This travel *shouldn't* be enough to have the belt jump (additional compression of about 1/4") under regular driving conditions, but "shouldn't" isn't something I like to risk catastrophic engine failure on.

Typically, if one fails, and all the above are true (perfect initial settings, etc.) you SHOULD hear it tapping and know to shut off the car.
 

pauleyman

DSM Wiseman
7,989
2,603
Nov 19, 2011
oklahoma city, Oklahoma
If we are going to be left with aftermarket parts is there any way to give some sort of quality control to any of this? I remember years ago choosing an aisin or GMB part was acceptable but who knows now? Any pulleys, tensioners etc could just be the same part off the same chinese assembly line and in different boxes. Surely we can find out who the last OEM supplier is/was?
 

DSSA

Supporting Vendor
596
398
Jul 26, 2002
Hatfield, Pennsylvania
If we are going to be left with aftermarket parts is there any way to give some sort of quality control to any of this? I remember years ago choosing an aisin or GMB part was acceptable but who knows now? Any pulleys, tensioners etc could just be the same part off the same chinese assembly line and in different boxes. Surely we can find out who the last OEM supplier is/was?

Paul,

I've been doing this for a while now and offering them up for the 6-Bolt cars ("white box" pulleys/pumps). I should probably set up another listing for later models.

https://jnztuning.com/product/timing-belt-kit-dsm-gvr4-6-bolt-build-your-own/

The biggest issue is the timing tensioners themselves--there are knock-off units out there that even put the last three of the part number in the casting, but you'll notice if you hold them and an OEM unit next to each other, the casting of the digits is different. I haven't been able to crack the tensioner "nut" yet.
 

pauleyman

DSM Wiseman
7,989
2,603
Nov 19, 2011
oklahoma city, Oklahoma
I guess my only concern is I will have a 6 bolt as well as this 97 motor. I've decided that unless something drastic changes this is still the only car I want. No other platform is supported this well.
 

XC92

Proven Member
1,383
284
Jul 22, 2020
Queens, New_York
FWIW I'm about to place an order with Amayama for various 1G Turbo parts, mostly having to do with the throttle, intake, fuel, exhaust and turbo, and when I went to check my cart this morning I noticed that several parts were gone. I searched for them and got a "No longer in production" page.

I'm talking basic things like an intake manifold gasket, fuel cap and hoses, etc. Thankfully I can get these elsewhere, but the platform is definitely fading away, and it's probably best to stock up on parts you don't need now but will probably need in the future, while they're still available.

So I guess I should order those rear wheel bearing parts even if I don't really need them now, while they're still being made and sold.
 

DSMPT

DSM Wiseman
2,000
1,553
Jun 12, 2014
Japan / Mexico, Arizona
The biggest issue is the timing tensioners themselves--there are knock-off units out there that even put the last three of the part number in the casting, but you'll notice if you hold them and an OEM unit next to each other, the casting of the digits is different.
Yeah this is super true, also knock sensors, MAF. oil filter, brake pads etc etc, there are so many. Some even copy the factory package/sticker. We should be careful. This is why I always recommend people to order through well known stores even it's a bit more expensive.
Nissan has a warning video for knock-off parts. Many knock-off parts really don't work as it should.
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