How to reset the serpentine belt tensioner - or change tensioner and pulley on Ford Windstar?

already exists.

Would you like to merge this question into it?

already exists as an alternate of this question.

Would you like to make it the primary and merge this question into it?

exists and is an alternate of .

The serpentine belt tensioner / pulley is on the front of the engine, and part of the belt 'routing'.

Its job is to put tension on the belt as it drives the other devices like the power steering pump, water pump, air conditioning compressor.

It is an aluminum casting that mounts with a single bolt to the engine. The pulley is attached to the arm.

There are a few ways to move / pry the arm inwards, thus releasing the tension on the belt for removing/installing: grab on the pulley bolt (15mm?) with a wrench, or some later models have an opening for a 3/8th socket wrench to attach to directly without a socket.

"Screaming"/whining that goes up and down with engine speed is a key symptom of a bearing wearing out - one of which of course is the tensioner pulley bearing.

The serpentine belt tensioner / idler pulley is preset at the factory. If it is worn out, it will need to be replaced.


NOTES:
  • The belt is recommended to be replaced around 60,000 miles
  • There is a wear indicator (minimum vs maximum) on the face of the tensioner arm to let you definitively now when it's time to change the belt.


 To remove the tensioner and/or pulley:
  • loosen the pulley bolt while it is still on the engine - it is easier this way than when the tensioner is off the engine

  • loosen and remove the tensioner mounting bolt - try an 18mm socket first, it's the most common size.

You can also just replace the pulley if that is the problem and save about $25.
Price reference:
  • Tensioner/pulley assembly - $40
  • Pulley alone - $17-20
 
I just replaced the alternator on my wife's 2003 Windstar. It may not be applicable to your 97. I put the car up on ramps because the tensioner is the bottom-most pulley, nearest to the passenger compartment and almost directly below the power steering pump pulley. You need a 13mm wrench. I had a helper (my wife) working topside to put the belt over the alternator pulley, etc while I took the tension out of the tensioner pulley. I had to use the full allowable travel of the tensioner in order to get the belt on all of the pulleys properly. A younger stronger person could probably do it by himself by leaving the belt off of the balance wheel until last. There are likely spring clips that could be removed from the tensioner and then replaced as the final step, but there's not much room and my way dodged some skinned knuckles. Hope this helps.  
The "official" way to release the belt tension is to rotate the tensioner about 110 degrees counter clockwise, and press a flexible metal leaf on its side into a holding slot. Doing this does away with the need to pull hard on the belt. On at least some pre-2002 Windstar models, this was rather easily done with a long screwdriver or pry bar because the tensioner and the front idler pulley were one unit. But on the 2002, Ford decided they should be 2, and moved the tension into an impossible-to-access from above location. On the 2002, you can't even get a socket on the tensioner pully bolt to rotate it that way, because there's less than 1 inch of clearance between the bolt head and the vehicle frame. You'll have to decide if it's worth getting under the vehicle to save some pulling effort.
Follow serpentine belt to pulley that is not connected to any engine component
Follow the serpentine (drive) belt into the engine compartment. Now go down. See that pulley that is farthest away from the front grill? That is the tension adjustment pulley. Put a wrench on the center bolt (on the pulley) and apply counter clockwise force. This relieves the tension on the belt. I'd recommend a friend be present to place the belt while you are holding the pulley in the retracted position. Hope this helps.
Remove the belt, and the tensioner pulley just unbolts. You will need a flat type wrench. Can be purchased at local auto store. If I remember correctly the bolt is a 15mm.
All the way in the bottom back of the belt. It's easier to access it from under the car with a 13 mm wrench. If you're replacing it jack and support the car and remove the pulley (left hand threads) from under the vehicle. Then you can easily access the 3 mounting bolts. (The pulley has to come off to completely remove the bottom mounting bolt anyway) A long tensioner wrench does not relax the pulley enough to install a new belt from the top because of the AC, etc. hoses and the limited travel of the wrench. This is how I did it for my 3.8 engine, don't know about a 3.0 liter.
pretty simple.. remove the serp belt by rotating the tensioner, then remove the bolt(s) the hold the tensioner inple. reverse to install. make a note of belt routing before you take it off, although there should be a sticker under the hood indicating belt routing.

Addendum to above:

Note that the location of the Belt Tensioner is noted incorrectly in the Ford factory service manuals. The BT is near the firewall. Loosen the bolt that holds the BT to the engine block, put a wrench on the BT pulley bolt and, using leverage, rotate the entire assembly upward to relieve the belt tension.
If the assembly is too tight to move (mine was) thread a loop of 1" webbing around the BT arm, put a crowbar through the loop and heave. Make sure to avoid punching holes through things like your AC Compressor or manifold during this process.
...and I didn't find this simple at all
Yes - the pulley can be replaced as a separate part.

When you purchase the replacement part, it should be pretty logical on how to replace it on the tensioner arm - just one nut/bolt.

One note: you may want to loosen the pulley nut/bolt while the tensioner is still mounted to the engine - AFTER the belt has been removed!





tensioner won't lose tension unless they are bad or the belt is worn out. you can't adjust the tension.
119 people found this useful

Where is the serpentine tension pulley on a Chevy Malibu?

Answer . I believe on the passenger side of the engine (the "front" of the engine since it's a front wheel drive, it's turned sideways in the engine compartment). On the newer (not newest, per se) model Malibu, the engine must be supported while the engine mount is removed or unbolted to replace (MORE)

Why does the serpentine belt keep slipping off the bottom pulley after replacing the belt and tensioner on a 1995 Ford Thunderbird V8 4 6L?

%REPLIES%. Answer . Chances are the belt and tensioner is not the problem. Your water pump is. \nCheck the bottom of the water pump and see if there is some anti-freeze comming from the weep hole. If there is then that is the problem. \nAnti-freeze will cause a serpentine belt to come off becaus (MORE)

Where is the tension pulley for the serpentine belt on a 1998 cavalier?

Answer . Hey, If you stand facing the passenger side of the vehicles' engine compartment you'll be facing the front of the engine. The tension pulley is to the lower left. It is the only pulley that is mounted at the end of an "arm" as opposed to the rest of the pulleys that are mounted directl (MORE)

How do you loosen the tension pulley on your 1996 Ford Windstar?

Answer . I assume you are trying to replace the serpentine belt and not the tensioner. There isn't enough space to get a ratchet or breakover bar on the nut... You don't need to buy/rent the special tool. You can simply use 2 combination box/open end wrenchs. Simply put the first box end wrenc (MORE)

How do you change the serpentine belt and tensioner in a 2000 Toyota Corolla?

find the 19mm bolt on the side connected to the tension pulley. either a braeker bar or long wrench can do it. pull toward the fromt of the car (may take some effort) hold firm and remove tha belt quick. you need to remember the pattern of the belt (draw one)and make sure it fits the right way. no r (MORE)

How do you loosen the tension pulley in order to change the serpentine belt on a 1992 Dynasty 33 liter engine?

There isn't a whole lot of extra room around the serpentine tensioner pulley so here is what I do... I put a box end wrench on the tensioner pulley nut. Then I push on the opposite end of the wrench with a long piece of wood... something thin enough to fit in the space you do have. I think I use a b (MORE)

How do you change the serpentine belt tensioner?

The only possible way to replace the tensioner belt or water pump on any Oldsmobile that I know of is to lift the motor with a hydralic jack, (make sure to place a piece of wood under the oil pan to make sure not to puncture it, you will need to loosen the top left motor mount possibly take it off, (MORE)

Where is the serpentine belt tensioner pulley on a 1998 Ford Escort ZX2?

http://econtent.autozone.com:24991/znetrgs/repair_guide_content/en_us/images//0900c152/80/08/d8/38//medium/0900c1528008d838.gif here is a link to the tensioner pulley (pulley diagram #5 pulley) . Looking from the passenger side, it is the middle pulley from the right side. It is a 13mm wrench or soc (MORE)

Where is the tensioner for the serpentine belt on a Saturn?

Answer . \nThe belt tensioner is located below and in front of the power steering pump. It is accessed easiest by taking off the passenger front tire, taking the plastic panels out and looking just in front of and above the alternator. Turn it clockwise to release tension on the belt, NEVER tu (MORE)

How do you change the serpentine belt on a 2001 Highlander 4Cyl How do you take the tension off of the belt.?

\n. \n Been There...DoneThat \n. \nIt is probably the same as with the 2002 4Cyl Highlander.\n. \nFirst, take pain-staking-care in making a sketch of the relative positions of the pulleys the serpentine belt snakes around and the path the belt takes around each pulley. There is one and only (MORE)

2002 Hyundai Accent 1.5L-how do you change the Serpentine belt-how do you relieve the tensioner pulley?

Answer . \nWell, I answered this one myself. The tensioner pulley is not a standard spring loaded tension, it is a manual tension. To loosen the tensioner pulley, you have to loosen the bolt that adjusts the pulley. *THIS IS NOT THE BOLT ON THE PULLEY ITSELF* If you lay on your back next to (MORE)

How do you change the belt tensioner pulley for a 1994 Pontiac sunbird?

Hard for home mechanic to do. You can mess up your timing just changing it. Best for this vehicle to go to the shop. Talked to 2 mechanics that I trust about doing it myself and both said, knowing my abilities to fix cars, that I'd best leave it to them. Just got my girlfriends water pump on her (MORE)

What is the serpentine belt and Tensioner 300se?

The serpentine belt and the tensioner on a 300 SE motor is part ofthe fan system that controls all of the smaller motors on the frontof the engine. The serpentine belt helps turn the alternator, powersteering pump, water pump, and the fan. The tensioner is a pulleyon this belt that helps to keep the (MORE)

How do you loosen the tensioner to replace the serpentine belt in a 1999 ford escort?

I have a ford escort with a zetic engine 1.6 1996, the serpentine belt tensioner is the free running pully that runs the belt between the crank wheel and the higher pully.. its spring loaded, place a 14 or 15 mm ring spanner and move it has tigtenning the bolt. it must be done from the bottom as fr (MORE)

What pulley is the tensioner on a serpentine belt?

I am not sure what year vehicle you are talking about, but the tensioner should be located towards the top of the engine. You will need a serpentine belt tool kit in order to replace it because I just replaced mine and it kind of a pain with the tool. Located near the RF tire, there is one large pul (MORE)

How do I loosen the tension on the tensioner of my 2004 Hyundai Santa Fe to change my serpentine belt?

There is a 3/8" square opening on the pulley end of the tensioner. You will need a 3/8" drive wrench, a handle extension (cheater pipe) and maybe a short (1") entension depending on your wrench. There is alot of tension (which is why you will need the handle extension) and not much room to work; kee (MORE)

How do you fix or change tensioner pulley?

The tensioner pulley has a sealed bearing and cannot be serviced, it must be replaced when it goes bad. You should inspect the tensioner assembly carefully before replacing just the pulley, the mounting bolt tends to literally wear right through the arm on a lot of the factory tensioners, causing th (MORE)

What is a belt tension pulley?

Most cars now have a serpentine belt that drive the alternator, water pump, power steering unit, etc. The belt tension pulley is a spring loaded pulley that keeps the proper tension on all these units. It can be moved to release the tension in order to remove the belt.

How do you ensure proper tension on the serpentine belt of a 1998 Eddie Bauer Ford Expedition?

Belt Tensioner. All engines use an automatic drive belt tensioner. On the 7.5L engine, there are two belts; one uses the automatic tensioner, while the alternator belt requires periodic tensioning. On all belts using an automatic tensioner, no adjustment is necessary because the tensioner adjusts f (MORE)

How do you relieve tension on the serpentine belt of the Ford 150 4.6 V8?

Relieve S erpentine Belt T ension .. Before removing the belt, note its routing around all applicable pulleys for ease of installation. . Using a box end wrench on the tensioner pulley center bolt, rotate the tensioner assembly clockwise. . While holding the tensioner in this position, remove t (MORE)

Where is the Jeep Grand Cherokee serpentine belt tension pulley?

The tensioner pulley is off course located in line with all the other pulleys on the front of your engine block and will be the only pulley that isn't connected to another device such as your air conditioning compressor, alternator or fan. A large screwdriver can be used to lever tension off the bel (MORE)

How do you change the serpentine belt tensioner on a Saturn s-series?

I just did this - it's not an easy job for someone with big hands but otherwise not bad. I'm basing this on my 1997 Saturn SW, most S-series cars should be the same. Jack the passenger front side of the car up and remove the tire. There is a plastic shield that you will have to remove to expose th (MORE)

How do you change the belt tensioner pulley on your 1994 Astro van?

On the majority of vehicles, the alternator has a mounting bolt that can be loosened and then you move the alternator out away from the belt ; thus applying more tension. This tightens the belt, then while holding it in the new position , re-tighten the mounting bolt.

How do you change a belt tensioner pulley on a infiniti I30?

You will be best off safely jacking up the passenger front wheel. Remove the wheel for more work room. Loosen the 14mm nut on the pulley. Then back up top there is another 14 mm nut on the top loosen that. Now back under neath remove nut and replace pulley. Reverse for reinstall.