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Tensioner pulley correct?


Probationary Member
Mar 29, 2021
Hello fellow dsm’ers i just finished doing a timing job on my 6-bolt w/ 1.6MM Cometic mls head gasket and was wondering if the tensioner pulley is pointed correctly ? I’ve seen mix reviews from it having to point up (the two holes on pulley) and on vfaqs showing it being the way I did it (in the picture). I used a pry bar to tension the pulley and tighten the bolt since I did not have the correct tool. Sorry for the noob question, just want to make sure,


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Proven Member
Sep 20, 2022
Shippensburg, Pennsylvania
In my honest opinion I think the correct belt tension is a lot more important than the tensioner orientation. To be honest I would invest in the tools to properly do the job. Too much tension will destroy your oil pump. Not saying orientation isn’t important as well but if I had to choose one it would be tension.

As far as orientation I m cannot confirm as I’m 7 bolt guy and they can only go one way without interference.



DSM Wiseman
Sep 29, 2003
OKC, Oklahoma
Assuming the area of your tensioner arm that the hydraulic adjuster pushes against is flat and free of divots, as a quick check - it does not appear to me that the hole in the hydraulic tensioner body and hydraulic tensioner push rod are aligned. I.E, it does not look like you’d be able to slip the grenade pin back through both of those easily with where the tensioner pulley is currently set.

Specifically, it does not look like the spacing is correct between the tensioner arm and the tensioner body, per VFAQ step 35 noted below. Double check that measurement and re-tension as necessary.

6bolt timing belt pulley question

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Proven Member
Feb 6, 2014
Brownsburg, Indiana
You are rotating the tensioner the correct direction, but I can see the hole in the rod on the auto tensioner and it should be lined up with the holes in the tensioner body so you need to get a little more tension. The position of the 2 holes on the pulley will vary slightly. The important thing is that the tensioner holes stay lined up.

the special tool to tension the pulley broke on me once and I had to improvise. I used a small needle nose pliers and put the tips in each hole and then took a crecent wrench and grabbed the pliers as close to the tips as possible. It was a janky way to do it but did work. The engine was on the stand and not in the car so I'm not sure if it'll work for you if the engine is in the car.


Nov 14, 2013
Independence, Kansas
Try to set the tensioner holes at about the 12 - 1 o'clock position as a good start. Mine usually set around 12:30 ish for the grenade pin to slip in and out.
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