Accessory Belt Tensioner
If normal wear has taken its toll on your accessory belt tensioner, you'd better replace it soon to avoid more serious problems than can be costly to repair in the future. Fortunately, with basic automotive tools and step-by-step how-to guides, you can now become your car's own mechanic.
Doing repairs and maintenance tasks for your vehicle can help you save a lot, considering the skyrocketing costs of a professional mechanic's services these days. Here are the steps that will help get you on your way to belt tensioner replacement:
What you'll need:
- 3/8-inch drive ratchet
- 3/8-inch drive breaker bar
- 3/8-inch drive metric socket set
Step 1: Look for the accessory belt routing diagram.
Start off by opening the hood and propping it up. Check the top part of the fan shroud or the underside of the hood for the stamped routing diagram of the accessory belt. This diagram can be of great help to you if the belt disengages from the pulleys while you're replacing the tensioner. It will help you put the belt back around the pulleys properly.
Step 2: Find the accessory belt tensioner in front of the engine.
The accessory belt is usually routed beneath the roller pulley that's connected to the tensioner. Look for the bolt head in the center part of the roller pulley. You can rotate the tensioner from the bolt head.
Step 3: Relieve tension from the belt.
To do this, you need to turn the tensioner with the breaker bar and a socket. You can turn counterclockwise or clockwise, whichever is applicable.
Step 4: Take the old accessory belt tensioner out.
Once belt tension has been relieved, slide your hand under the roller pulley and carefully pull the belt out. Let the belt hang downward as you work your way towards the other pulleys.
Then, find the bolt that holds the tensioner to the engine's front. Some tensioner devices come with a bolt head in the center of the tensioner's spring-loaded arm while others are fastened to a bracket that's held by two or three bolts to the front of the engine. Regardless of the set up of your accessory belt tensioner, you will need a ratchet and a socket to loosen and remove the bolt or bolts holding the tensioner device in place. Remove the tensioner off the front of the engine.
Step 5: Install the new tensioner in place.
To make sure that the new tensioner is of the right size, compare it with the old one. If you've got the right item, proceed to installing the new tensioner to the front of the engine. Secure it in place by tightening the bolt or bolts using the ratchet and socket.
Step 6: Allow the tensioner to bring back proper belt tension.
With the breaker bar and socket, rotate the tensioner from the roller pulley and slide the belt under the pulley. Release the tensioner little by little and remove the breaker bar. Let the tensioner retract against the belt because as it does, all the slack will be eliminated, thus bringing back the belt's proper tension.
Step 7: Test the newly installed accessory belt tensioner.
Double-check the belt to be sure that it is properly seated inside of every pulley. Crank the engine and allow it to run for about one minute. As the engine is running, check if the belt is properly moving around the roller pulley. The new tensioner must also move up and down as the belt moves. If they are now operating properly, turn off the engine and shut the hood.