Replace Serpentine Belt

Robbabob

Original poster
Member
Dec 10, 2012
1,096
I searched both sites and found my answer over there. Now it will be here for future generations.

How do you relieve the tension on the Serpentine Belt for removal?

Use the square 3/8" socket drive and insert into the square hole on the pulley. Then use a long cheater bar for leverage and turn clockwise. With this obviously being your first time, check out the routing on the fan shield. Use the Alternator as your last item to complete; it's a small diameter and will be much easier to finish the job (possibly the only way).

Replacing the Pulley and Bearing: you'll need a 15MM socket for both. Very handy to have a ratcheting combo wrench as the threads are very long.

Very quick and easy once you're prepared.

Have a nice day! :biggrin:
 

meerschm

Member
Aug 26, 2012
1,079
I like to slip the belt over the idler pulley last.

also, I discovered that a long 3/8 breaker bar makes the job much easier.

3/8" Drive Ratcheting Breaker Bar

I splurged and got the ratcheting one. lets you put the angle where you want it so you can release the belt, and not have the tensioner push the handle against the radiator hose too hard while the belt is off.
 

seanpooh

Member
Jan 24, 2012
461
I use my Husky 1/2" torque wrench with a 1/2" to 3/8" adapter. The handle is long enough, just like using a breaker bar.
 

CaptainXL

Member
Dec 4, 2011
2,445
meerschm said:
I like to slip the belt over the idler pulley last.

TIP: It's much easier to get on the left side of the engine so you are facing the flat side of the belt. Then push the bar/wrench forward and slip it over the power steering pump. Got it down to a science. Will add a picture in a couple days.
 

revamp

Member
Dec 22, 2011
223
Mansfield, TX
CaptainXL;153750 said:
TIP: It's much easier to get on the left side of the engine so you are facing the flat side of the belt. Then push the bar/wrench forward and slip it over the power steering pump. Got it down to a science. Will add a picture in a couple days.

I know it's been a while but maybe I can still get a reply here. My belt slipped off my idler pully. Freaked me out since I couldn't go in reverse and the shift points were almost nonexistent. When I got home I looked and noticed the belt was off the idler pully. Otherwise easy, like this thread has talked about but when I loosened the belt I still couldn't get the belt back over. Didn't matter how much I moved the tensioner I could not release enough to get it back on. I would hate to take this to a shop just for this.

Any thoughts as to why it won't fit back on? There is maybe an inch to inch and a half needed to get it over the pully.

I look forward to any replies.

Thanks!
 

The_Roadie

Lifetime VIP Donor
Member
Nov 19, 2011
9,957
Portland, OR
Perhaps the tensioner slipped so far that you need more than 90 degrees arc of the breaker bar to get it to give you the room you need. Use a ratchet with a pipe over the handle, or a shorter breaker bar you can swing more with stronger force.

ADDED: Belts shouldn't just "slip off". Perhaps some bracket involving the tensioner is broken/bent? You also shouldn't lose any shiftability unless the belt took out some harness wiring. Have you inspected everything closely? Any ideas how the belt came off?
 

revamp

Member
Dec 22, 2011
223
Mansfield, TX
the roadie;191171 said:
Perhaps the tensioner slipped so far that you need more than 90 degrees arc of the breaker bar to get it to give you the room you need. Use a ratchet with a pipe over the handle, or a shorter breaker bar you can swing more with stronger force.

ADDED: Belts shouldn't just "slip off". Perhaps some bracket involving the tensioner is broken/bent? You also shouldn't lose any shiftability unless the belt took out some harness wiring. Have you inspected everything closely? Any ideas how the belt came off?

I guess I haven't checked everything then, to your point. I have pulled the tensioner as far as it can go then it gets stopped by the big pully (spacing it's name). Is there any adjustability to allow the tensioner to mover farther?

As for the gear stuff, it was weird. I was accelerating normal out of an intersection and then something clicked and it was like it down shifted and the rpm's went way up. We went to the store and when we went to leave and I put it in reverse nothing happened I couldn't go. I ended up having to push it out of the parking spot so I could go forward. But then it would stay in 1st gear until either 6000 rpm or slightly less and I let off the gas, then it would shift to what felt like 3rd gear... I would be at 40mph and just under 2k rpm.

Open to thoughts. I will be taking it to a shop tomorrow that is open to help with the belt issue and maybe have the diagnose the other as well.
 

CaptainXL

Member
Dec 4, 2011
2,445
revamp said:
Any thoughts as to why it won't fit back on? There is maybe an inch to inch and a half needed to get it over the pulley.

Agreed with what Bill said. Do you have prior experience replacing serpentine belts? If you do and you are sure you are doing it the right way then the tensioner could be toast. Usually not a bad idea to replace all three (belt, tensioner and idler pulley) around the 90-110k mark. Same time when the spark plugs and O2 sensor get changed.
 

CaptainXL

Member
Dec 4, 2011
2,445
revamp said:
Open to thoughts. I will be taking it to a shop tomorrow that is open to help with the belt issue and maybe have the diagnose the other as well.

Pretty straight forward. There is nothing complicated here and you are more than likely going to slap yourself when you find out the problem from a mechanic. Would hate to see you get a bill for over $100 for a $30 job. What is the part number on the belt? I am thinking it is too small. Other than the tensioner being bad that is the only thing I can think of. Is the belt original Dayco?
 

RayVoy

Member
Nov 20, 2011
939
You have probably noticed the belt sometime rides on a smooth surface and some pulleys have groves. I'd check the groves to ensure the belt is properly seated. Let's look at it this way, same belt, same pulleys, if it fit once, it should still fit.

But, why did the belt come off?

There is one possibility to answer both questions. Do you have the long wheelbase belt on a short wheelbase truck.

The long wheelbase belt is shorter than the belt for the short truck. It is hard to install and probably won't stay on.
 

revamp

Member
Dec 22, 2011
223
Mansfield, TX
View attachment 31448



View attachment 31449

Sorry if they are upside down, sorry. But this is what is in there now. I haven't been able o figure out actual length of this belt.

This belt may have been changed over a year ago. The tensioner is original. Based on what I have read with the different belt sizes it is possible I have the shorter one. I would not be opposed to replacing all three, bekt, tensioner, and idler pully.
 

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CaptainXL

Member
Dec 4, 2011
2,445
OK. You have the EXT belt on there. I checked Gates website and the K060915 is the proper model belt. Might want to go back to the shop and have them replace the belt, tensioner and idler pulley for free. They screwed up.

View attachment 31450
 

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revamp

Member
Dec 22, 2011
223
Mansfield, TX
CaptainXL;191195 said:
OK. You have the EXT belt on there. I checked Gates website and the K060915 is the proper model belt. Might want to go back to the shop and have them replace the belt, tensioner and idler pulley for free. They screwed up.

<img src="http://gmtnation.com/attachment.php?attachmentid=18494"/>

You rock. Thank you for checking! I know exactly where it was done.
 

Wooluf1952

Member
Nov 20, 2011
2,663
Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Forcing that short belt on could also have messed-up the bearings on other parts.
But as Roadie said, the belt slipping off should not have any effect on the transmission. You may have lost some of the power steering, but unless the engine over heated causing the trans to over heat I don't see a connection. As long as no wiring got disconnected.
 

Robbabob

Original poster
Member
Dec 10, 2012
1,096
revamp said:
As for the gear stuff, it was weird. I was accelerating normal out of an intersection and then something clicked and it was like it down shifted and the rpm's went way up. We went to the store and when we went to leave and I put it in reverse nothing happened I couldn't go. I ended up having to push it out of the parking spot so I could go forward. But then it would stay in 1st gear until either 6000 rpm or slightly less and I let off the gas, then it would shift to what felt like 3rd gear... I would be at 40mph and just under 2k rpm.

I'm replying only to bump this up. I don't remember the cause of this, but I do remember you can use the gear shifter from 1st to 2nd or 1st to 3rd, one of the two. That will help reduce the revs to 6,000, I think.

The actual solution will be described by the more experienced, shortly.
 

filthyfingers

Lifetime VIP Donor
Member
Apr 7, 2012
103
Was replacing the power steering pump today and when I tried to slip the ratchet onto the tensioner pulley to remove the belt, it wouldn't go on. No tool I had would go on. I found a mirror and examined the "square" hole - it was round, undamaged, smooth, not threaded. I guess by the external configuration of the pulley a special tool is needed. I don't get it. I've replaced the belt before, no problem. I'm going senile:confused:

Brute force got the job done in twice the time. I still don't get it. I must have replaced the tensioner and got a cheap replacement.
 

CaptainXL

Member
Dec 4, 2011
2,445
filthyfingers said:
I found a mirror and examined the "square" hole - it was round, undamaged, smooth, not threaded.

There is one hole that is round and another that is square. Methinks you are looking at the wrong hole. Look carefully:smile: If there is no square hole after an exhaustive search then the tensioner needs to be replaced. You could go to a parts store and look at one to see where the square hole location is as well just to verify.
 

filthyfingers

Lifetime VIP Donor
Member
Apr 7, 2012
103
CaptainXL said:
There is one hole that is round and another that is square. Methinks you are looking at the wrong hole. Look carefully:smile: If there is no square hole after an exhaustive search then the tensioner needs to be replaced. You could go to a parts store and look at one to see where the square hole location is as well just to verify.


Of course you're right. I looked at that pulley all day - just not where the square hole was. How could anyone suck that much? Thanks Cap:thumbsup: for broadening my perspective about 2 inches to the left. Definately going senile:crazy: The good news is that the power steering pump works great and sounds soooooo quiet.
 

revamp

Member
Dec 22, 2011
223
Mansfield, TX
So it was confirmed the wrong sized belt was put on but not by the shop I thought. So I will get the parts and do it myself. On another note, my transmission is fried. Now looking for an 03 or 04 transmission and motor I can replace mine with... I have an 02 with 260k miles.
 

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