First of all, you will need to locate the drive belt tensioner and the drive belt tensioner pulley. There should be a belt routing map under the hood.
If you have a 6 cyl 3.0L engine: the drive belt tensioner is located between the crankshaft pulley and the water pump pulley and the drive belt tensioner pulley is located between the alternator (or generator) and power steering pump.
If you have a 6 cyl 3.8L engine, the drive belt tensioner is located at the very back of the engine (if you follow the belt back from the alternator, the first pulley you come to will be the drive best tensioner) and it's very inconvenient to get to. The drive belt tensioner pulley is located between the alternator and the power steering pump pulley.
Per Chilton's manual, use a 15mm wrench on the bolt of the drive belt tensioner and rotate the tensioner clockwise to release the tension. Remove the belt from the drive belt tension pulley. When installing the new belt, make sure that the drive belt is routed correctly and note the position of the indicator mark on the tensioner.
NOTE: The above, is mostly correct, with the exception that the tensioner pulley is NOT between the alternator and power steering pump on the 3.8 litre. The power steering pump is located on the forward most portion of the motor, on the passenger side of the vehicle. The only pulley close to being in between both of those pulleys is the idler pulley, not tensioner. The tensioner is however the furthest towards the firewall of all the pulleys, as stated above.
To state that the tensioner pulley is located in an area that is "inconvenient" is an understatement to the extreme. There is barely enough room to get your arm in there and if your a big man, forget it. Find someone with thinner proportions. Or, get a REALLY long 15mm wrench. When I say that, I mean something along the lines of 3 ft. in length. That does not have an angled box end.
Failing that, and as an aside, I would like to share a "mechanics technique" for applying leverage, when you don't have enough, and are working with limited space that do not allow for sockets, and you don't have a breaker bar that will fit over the end of the wrench, as I discovered mine would not.
What I did, in this instance, for releasing the tension on the belt pulley's, as I needed to replace the alternator in this case, was I placed the 15mm wrench on the tensioner bolt. I feel it is important to note, that I was using an angled box end to do this portion of the job, which is NOT the best choice, but it was what I had. I had the open end facing up, and the angle head was placed in such a manner as to have the open end leaning towards the distributor. I then took a large (1" open/box end) wrench, which so happened to be about a foot long, and placed open end horizontal and slid it into the open end of the 15mm. There was no room to do this in the traditional manner, which is to actually hook the box end around the open end, in such a way as to make two wrenches extend and become one. The hood sill is in the way. So I placed the two open ends together.
When I pressed downwards on the box end of the 1" wrench, it gave enough extra leverage, that I was able to rotate the tensioner and release the belt. You MUST push down on this enough to come close to the alternator itself, for this to work, but the combination of wrenches is a viable solution, if you can't just go out and purchase a crowbar, or don't have the proper length of 15mm to give you the leverage that you need. This technique will also allow you to work with your free hand to remove the belt from the alternator. When you release your tension again, the end of your 15mm should rest against the A/C hoses at the firewall. This is fine, as the tension this creates will keep the tensioner pulley available and you can remove the larger wrench from the equation temporarily, until you are ready to place the belt over the final pulley. Or when you are done replacing the alternator.
As a note of caution, if you are using this technique, do be aware of your angles. If the leverage wrench slips, the belt will snap instantly back into place. KEEP YOUR FINGERS CLEAR OF THE PULLEYS and be MINDFUL of your steadiness when working this leverage technique. It ISN'T the most stable. The tensioner clamps down with enough force, that you CAN lose fingers... Or at least have them crushed. I don't want that happening to you.
I people with a creative solution to tensioner pulley leverage issues. It is simple and very effective, but caution is warranted.
The forum is working! The info provided for changing serpentine belt on 95 Ford Windstar was invaluable to my success, albeit I have a 3.8L 1996 Windstar. Thanks for participating people! As an addendum that someone might find of use to remove/replace belt as the solution was different from anything I found�
Pulley locations: Looking across engin from passenger side(Failed to maintain formatting of poor man's diagram. Check on hood for belt ID and layout; found one on Internet as well:
Refer to above link for pulley IDs as I reference them by number.
Finally determined the drive belt tensioner pulley (#4) gave up the ghost causing belt to pop off. As of Sept 05, Ford dealer: ~$33.00. Internet: ~$16.00, but when you can�t wait for delivery�Ford dealer (tried Pep Boys & AutoZone, didn�t have).
1)Replaced #4 pulley (comes w/mounting bolt) using an 18mm ratcheting combo wrench made by GearWrench and purchased from Lowes (~$10). Chose this as the ratchet side is as thin as the crescent side (too small a space for normal ratchet w/socket).
2) I routed belt per drawing on vehicle leaving belt off #4 and using someone�s forum suggestion, I taped belt to #6 pulley w/only masking tape which worked well enough to hold belt in position.
3) Purchased a 14 inch crowbar (called a �construction tool� by Lowes) for $9.00. One end flares out at ~45 deg., other end heavily curves to 90 deg. in opposite direction of 45 deg. flare. The key to success w/this tool is the curvature providing excellent torque/rotation through a smaller distance than anything straight. I placed the 45 deg end in a notch on the right side of drive belt tensioner (mounted to the engine block and attached to #7. Applied downward force on crowbar until 90 deg. end barely made contact w/generator. I was then able to hold in position w/one hand and slip remaining belt on pulley #4. Belt placement took 5 minutes!!
4) Final note: #7 along w/attached part (not sure what this is called: spring loaded idler pulley?) to engine block is a self-adjusting tensioner. It naturally wants to rotate toward firewall so rotating it toward the front of the car releases tension and when released automatically tightens belt aligning markings on �spring loaded idler pulley�. I originally tried to use #7 as others suggested, but I found the work space too tight. I also slid an extension pipe over the 15mm wrench to increase torque, but the pipe I used was too long such that when I relieved belt tension the pipe prevented easy access to the belt on #4 as the two pulleys are aligned.
Oh thank you. I had success using the crowbar technique. I had to replace the idler pulley (item #4) on my 1996 Windstar as the old one lost all its bearings and was sparking. The replacement was plastic and not rounded making it difficult to slide the belt on. I almost ran to a different parts store to shop for an identical replacement. 60 seconds to replace the pulley. 60 minutes or more fighting to get the belt on. What finally did it for me was the crowbar. I found that pushing the crow bar down past the alternater, it put pressure on the belt. I had to start with the crow bar through the belt, into the notch of the tensioner. It was a tight fit, but when I cranked the crow bar down, the last time (of course the 30 times before it wasn't just right), the belt slid on. Good luck to the next person who reads this. Hope this helped, or at least encourages you, even more.
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