answersLogoWhite
Serpentine Belts
Ford Taurus
Mercury Sable

How do you remove the belt tensioner on a Taurus or Sable?


Top Answer
User Avatar
Wiki User
2015-06-03 06:56:42
2015-06-03 06:56:42

You remove the belt tensioner simply by unbolting it. It is a 15 mm bolt. These do tend to fail often and the bearing itself is available for less than $10 at shops like Kaman Bearings or other bearing wholsalers. Ford do not sell the bearing, only the whole tensioner for about $35.


User Avatar
Wiki User
2014-08-05 21:33:28
2014-08-05 21:33:28
There are wear indicator markings on the side of the tensioner - if it shows a worn out belt even when you have a new belt, that's a good indicator the tensioner spring is no longer doing the job.The belt tensioner maintains a constant pressure on the serpentine belt, which is the wide, ribbed belt that drives all the front end accessories. The simple answer is to remove the belt, then remove the belt tensioner. Of course, nothing is that simple.

Before starting any work around the serpentine belt, disconnect the ground cable from the battery just to be safe. The working space around the belt and pulleys is pretty restricted, so you you may want to unhook and unbolt the coolant expansion tank for better access.

While the belt is still in place, be sure you have an accurate diagram of the path the belt takes around all the pulleys and idlers. This will save you a lot of time and aggravation later on. If there isn't a diagram on the fan shroud, draw it out yourself.

To remove the belt, you first have to release the pressure from the belt tensioner itself. The manuals recommend using a 15mm wrench on the pulley bolt to rotate the tensioner arm. (Some older models have a square hole in the tensioner arm itself that fits a 1/2" drive.) If your engine is a 3.0L OHV (the most common), turn clockwise, towards the front of the car. If your engine is a 3.0 OHC, turn counterclockwise toward the back of the car. A deep offset box end wrench will work, but you may have to put a length of pipe over the handle end of the wrench to get enough torque to move the arm. A better choice is a serpentine belt tool, available from most automotive supply stores. It costs about $25 and is basically a long, flat breaker bar with an assortment of sockets and a 1/2" extension bar. Its low profile makes it easier to do the job without rounding off the bolt head, which is a danger with the "make-do" alternatives.

CAUTION: If the tensioner spring is seized, too much torque on the pulley bolt may round off the bolt head or even shear off the bolt. If the arm doesn't move with reasonable pressure, try gentle pressure with a flat prybar on the pulley itself, being careful not to damage the belt or whatever you're prying against.

With the pressure off the belt, slide it off one of the pulleys (the idler pulley is a good choice because it doesn't have ribs or a shoulder that may damage the belt. With the belt out of the way, removing the tensioner is a matter of removing one mounting bolt. Unfortunately, on some Taurus models, Ford chose to use a T50 Torx head cap screw for the job, so be sure you have the right bit because this isn't a place to improvise. If you round out the Torx head, you're looking at chisel and torch work.

The question doesn't state why the belt tensioner is being removed. If it's a question of bearing noise from the tensioner pulley, it's possible to replace just the pulley rather than the whole tensioner assembly. If the tensioner is seized, it may be possible to free it up and reinstall it, but be conservative. Carefully inspect the serpentine belt and the idler pulley, too. None of these parts are that expensive to replace but failure in service can cause extensive damage to accessories or the engine itself, particularly if the water pump doesn't operate, since the engine can overheat to the point of causing damage.

Installation is the reverse of the above, taking care to route the belt correctly around all the pulleys and idlers. Be careful not to over-torque any fasteners as you put everything back together.

Once things are back in place, look everything over again carefully. Make sure there is nothing obstructing the path of the belt or rubbing on any of the pulleys. Check the alignment of all the components and make sure the belt is centered in all the pulleys and idlers. The last step is to reconnect the ground cable to the battery, check that everyone is clear of the front of the car and start the engine. After it's been running a minute or so, do a visual check that the belt is running straight and true and that there's no obvious slap or play, or smoke that might indicate the belt is rubbing against something. Also make sure that all the pulleys are moving properly, and not seized. Take a test drive and be sure that all the components (alternator, power steering, A/C, and water pump) are working properly.

Your first step is to remove the washer/coolant tank assembly so you can get easier access the area of the tensioner and belt. Then remove the serpentine belt. I usually do this by inserting a pry bar into the tensioner casting and pushing down or forward to relieve tension on the belt.

Once the belt is removed, simply remove the center bolt from the tensioner housing. The tensioner will come right off.

If the idler pulley is noisy, but the tensioner is strong, you may want to just replace the pulley.

Change the belt too if it looks worn or old.

First remove the belt tension utilizing a serpentine belt removal tool available for purchase or rental at parts stores. Rotate the bolt on the tensioner clockwise on OHV, or counterclockwise on OHC engines, then remove the drive belt. Check both the tensioner and idle pulley by spinning. If replacement is needed, remove bolt and replace tensioner and idle pulley. Reinstall belt.

Put on a heavy pair of gloves and get a 2x4 piece of lumber. With your hands, pull up on the belt (this will take quite a bit of strength) bringing the weighted hup towards the front of the car. At this point slip the wood behind it to hold it forward. Now you can pull up again and slide the belt off the top pully, and you might need a screwdriver to get it started.

Related Questions

User Avatar

First, remove the coolant tank, then the belt. Unscrew the one bolt holding the tensioner in place. Installation is the reverse...

User Avatar

To re-install a belt tensioner for a 1987 Ford Taurus, tighten the bolt when the tensioner pulley is holding the serpentine belt tight. The belt tensioner sits in a slot and can be adjusted to hold the belt tight.

User Avatar

The tensioner has a spring in it that provides the correct tension for the belt. If it is too loose, replace the tensioner.

User Avatar

You will insert a breaker bar into a 1/2" square hole in the belt tensioner. You will either pull up, or push down, and the tensioner will move enabling you to remove the belt. Be to see "Related Questions" below for much more about serpentine belts and alternator trouble-shooting & replacement

User Avatar

Remove the serpentine belt and remove the alternator. The belt tensioner bolts are under the alternator.


Copyright © 2020 Multiply Media, LLC. All Rights Reserved. The material on this site can not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, cached or otherwise used, except with prior written permission of Multiply.