static from alternator belt?
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Thread: static from alternator belt?

  1. #1
    Tadpole
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    Icon5 static from alternator belt?

    Here is a weird one,
    My 206 gti 140 has just had a cambelt change. Included was an alternator / air con belt including the follower pulley and tensioner. Since then I have had an intermittent (unrelated to engine speed / road speed / air con etc.) cracking / popping noise coming from the drivers side engine bay. It doesnt occur all the time and is worse when the engine is cold. Saturday morning I managed to poke my head under the car while it was happening and saw a loud and healthy blue spark occasionally jumping from the harmonic balancer to the engine. The engine earth is good, the are no warning lights, and the car is running fine. My guess is it is some sort of static - van der graaf generator - type of thing happening. It seems to be a lot less frequent after a long drive on the weekend. Has anyone heard of this sort of thing before or am i way out of line with my guess? Any random ideas by anyone would be appreciated?

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    David

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    1000+ Posts robmac's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by david77 View Post
    Here is a weird one,
    My 206 gti 140 has just had a cambelt change. Included was an alternator / air con belt including the follower pulley and tensioner. Since then I have had an intermittent (unrelated to engine speed / road speed / air con etc.) cracking / popping noise coming from the drivers side engine bay. It doesnt occur all the time and is worse when the engine is cold. Saturday morning I managed to poke my head under the car while it was happening and saw a loud and healthy blue spark occasionally jumping from the harmonic balancer to the engine. The engine earth is good, the are no warning lights, and the car is running fine. My guess is it is some sort of static - van der graaf generator - type of thing happening. It seems to be a lot less frequent after a long drive on the weekend. Has anyone heard of this sort of thing before or am i way out of line with my guess? Any random ideas by anyone would be appreciated?

    David
    Mist if with water from the hose too prove your diagnosis.

    I'd suspect the replacement "follower " pulley. Does it have conductive bearings? Fit the old one back for a test.

    If you are seeing arcing then there is definitely static charge build up happening ( or a HT leakage from a coil pack or lead, but you would expect to see a engine issue)

    I'd tackle the problem from a process of elimination standpoint.

    Hopefully some AF er with experience of the problem will assist.

    EDIT: Some conductive grease may help
    http://www.jaycar.com.au/productView.asp?ID=NA1034

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    Quote Originally Posted by robmac View Post
    Just wondering whether graphite grease might do the job -- in fact is that all that Jaycar's "Conductive Carbon Grease" is?

    Anyhow, interesting problem and probably one to solve sooner rather than later. If it's arcing like that it may be pitting the bearing too.

    Have fun,

    Rob.

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    Drill a tiny hole on each part of the harmonic balancer either side of the rubber and connect the two via a wire and small self tappers.


    2003 PEUGEOT 206 GTi

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    If you paid someone to do this, take the car back and get them to sort the issue out at no cost to you. It's an issue you shouldn't have to pay some to fix or even fix it yourself.
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    Now go make me a sandwich Hotrodelectric's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by robmac View Post
    Mist if with water from the hose too prove your diagnosis.

    I'd suspect the replacement "follower " pulley. Does it have conductive bearings? Fit the old one back for a test.

    If you are seeing arcing then there is definitely static charge build up happening ( or a HT leakage from a coil pack or lead, but you would expect to see a engine issue)

    I'd tackle the problem from a process of elimination standpoint.

    Hopefully some AF er with experience of the problem will assist.

    EDIT: Some conductive grease may help
    Conductive Carbon Grease 50g - Jaycar Electronics
    Very odd. Possibly due to a change in the belt material? You know, much as static electricity can build up if you shuffle your feet across a polyester carpet? Is there a possibility of a bad cap somewhere, or a missed ground contact in that assembly? I'm with you on the HT leakage- that would cause a pretty bad misfire.

    Just for some experimentation, clip a ground lead from the tensioner assembly to battery ground, and see what happens.
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    Probably one of those belts with the obvious exposed textile backing. Remember those tests you did at school with different materials and the plastic and glass rods? Certain combinations caused much greater static. So it's probably an unfortunate combination of the new belt backing and the type of plastic on the new tensioner pulley.

    You'd think it'd earth through one of the other pulleys though - aircon or alternator. Are these isolated (insulated from chassis)?

    Interesting problem!


    2003 PEUGEOT 206 GTi

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    Now go make me a sandwich Hotrodelectric's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stuey View Post
    Probably one of those belts with the obvious exposed textile backing. Remember those tests you did at school with different materials and the plastic and glass rods? Certain combinations caused much greater static. So it's probably an unfortunate combination of the new belt backing and the type of plastic on the new tensioner pulley.

    You'd think it'd earth through one of the other pulleys though - aircon or alternator. Are these isolated (insulated from chassis)?

    Interesting problem!
    Generally, no- they won't be shielded or isolated. The internal regulator will be, but that still leaves the rectifier bridge or diodes. I'm with Pugnut- take it back and have them sort it. Until it's fixed, the car is open to damage on rotating surfaces like bearings.
    The measure of your character isn't what you do when people are watching- it's what you do when they aren't watching.

  9. #9
    Tadpole
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    For anyone that is interested, I ended up getting some jcar wire glue and dobbing it on a couple of cleaned up points across the rubber on the harmonic balancer. I then sealed it in with a bit of spray contact glue I already had. It seems to of fixed it. I am still not entirely sure it was a static problem? It did seem to be weather related to a degree and worse when the engine was cold. The couple of times i saw it. it was a very healthy spark! If I have more problems I will post it here.

    Thanks for your help and fingers crossed

    David

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