<The belt leaves the idler on the tension to travel to the power steering pump.>
You know that the belt leaves the ribbed pulley and travel either down under the centerpulley to it's way to the powersteering pump, ( or in your case straight to the powersteering pump ) and that the ribbed pulley is NOT the tension pulley.
When you say that the belt leaves the "idler on the tension" that means to me that you have bypassed the ribbed pulley too.
The ribbed pulley is a stationary pulley. And in the 9-3 case, less than a 1/4 part of the ribbed pulley is in contact with the belt. But in the NG900 configuration WITH the centerpulley, about 1/2 of the ribbed pulley is in contact with the belt.
Saab did use the older ribbed pulley on 98 and early 99 9-3 but later superseeded it for the pulley with higher ridges, that to me is also an indication that they found out something that wasn't up to their standard.
And they also didn't bother to superseed the old one on NG900, ( which is usually the case when a newer part is just as good on the older models.
posted by 66.134.55...
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