How to Tighten a Vanagon Alternator Belt

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Regular replacement and proper tensioning of the engine belts is an important part of maintaining a Vanagon. If the alternator belt begins squealing, tighten it to stop the slippage. Otherwise it will eventually break. Because the same belt also drives the water pump, this will cause the engine to overheat. The alternator belt is underneath the air conditioner belt and power steering belt, so you will have to remove both of those belts to access the alternator belt. Since you are going to to the trouble to remove them, this is a good time to replace all three belts.

Things You'll Need

  • Ratchet handle, 3/8-inch drive
  • Deepwell socket set, Metric
  • Combination wrench set, Metric
  • Flat-blade screwdriver
  • Pry bar
  • New belts
  • Loosen the hose clamp, and disconnect the small coolant hose beside the oil fill tube. Loosen both bolts in the power steering pump bracket. Rotate the power steering pump counterclockwise, and remove the power steering belt.

  • Loosen both bolts on the air conditioning compressor bracket, then turn the adjusting screw counterclockwise to remove tension from the belt. Remove the air conditioning belt.

  • Loosen both mounting bolts on the alternator, and rotate the alternator housing counterclockwise to remove tension from the belt. Remove the belt.

  • Install the new alternator belt. Route it the same as the old belt. Use the pry bar to tension the belt, and tighten the mount bolts as you hold tension on the bar.

  • Install the new air conditioning belt. Tighten it by turning the adjustment screw clockwise, then tighten the mount bolts.

  • Install the new power steering belt. Tension the belt by prying on the power steering pump with the pry bar. Tighten the mount bolts while holding tension on the pump.

  • Reconnect the coolant hose and tighten the hose clamp.

Tips & Warnings

  • Don't overtighten the belts. When the mounting bolts are secured, you should be able to deflect each belt approximately five to seven millimeters, using thumb pressure.
  • Set the parking brake, and allow the engine to cool before attempting the belt change.

References

  • "Volkswagen Vanagon Official Factory Repair Manual"; Volswagen of America; 1991
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