How to Replace a Honda Pilot AC Belt Tensioner


The air conditioner belt tensioner on the Honda Pilot is designed to keep the proper amount of tension on the air conditioner belt at all times. The tensioner has two parts: a spring-loaded arm attached to the front of the engine block, and an idler pulley attached to the bottom of the spring-loaded arm. When the engine is running, the belt travels under the tensioner idler pulley. If the tensioner stops turning properly or locks up, you need to change it immediately.

Things You'll Need

  • 1/2-inch-drive breaker bar
  • Metric socket kit
  • Bungee cord
  • 1/2-inch-drive ratchet
  • Open the hood and secure it with the hood prop attachment. Locate the air conditioner belt tensioner above the air conditioner pulley.

  • Locate the idler pulley attached to the bottom of the tensioner arm. Use the bolt in the center of the tensioner idler pulley to rotate the entire tensioner with the breaker bar and a socket.

  • Rotate the tensioner idler pulley counterclockwise with the breaker bar and a metric socket. Pull the belt off the tensioner idler pulley. Carefully let the belt hang down. Release the idler pulley and remove the breaker bar.

  • Pull the belt back up and hang it to one of the top engine accessories with a bungee cord. This will prevent the belt from coming out of the other accessory pulleys.

  • Locate the two lock bolts that secure the tensioner to the front of the engine block. One of the lock bolts is in the very center of the tensioner arm, the other is a small bolt located on the side of the tensioner arm. Loose and remove both of the lock bolts with the ratchet and a metric socket.

  • Pull the tensioner straight off the front of the engine block and compare it to the new tensioner. Make sure that the new tensioner is the proper size compared to the old tensioner.

  • Position the new tensioner onto the front of the engine block. Screw both of the lock bolts into the tensioner arm and tighten with the ratchet and socket.

  • Remove the bungee cord from the belt. Rotate the idler pulley that is attached to the new tensioner counterclockwise with the socket and breaker bar. Slide the belt over the new idler pulley. Release the breaker bar. As the tensioner is retracting, the idler pulley will tighten the belt. Make sure that the belt is still inside of each accessory pulley.

  • Crank the Honda Pilot and Inspect the new tensioner as the engine is running. Make sure that the new tensioner is moving freely up and down with the movement of the belt.

  • Turn the engine off and close the hood.

Tips & Warnings

  • If the tensioner is stuck on the front of the engine block after removing the two lock bolts, use a flat-head screwdriver to pry outward on the tensioner. This should free the tensioner from the engine block.
  • Always keep hands and tools away from moving parts on the engine while it is running.

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  • Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images
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