Removing the Serpentine Belt

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The serpentine belt needs to be removed in order to remove the alternator. Learn how to remove a serpentine belt with expert car maintenance tips in this free auto repair video.

Part of the Video Series: How to Change an Alternator
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Video Transcript

In this clip we are going to talk about the proper way to remove your vehicle's serpentine belt. On any vehicle that has a serpentine style belt, it is going to have on it what is called an automatic tensioner or a surf belt tensioner. In order to figure it out how it works for the particular vehicle you are working on, you are going to want to refer to the pulley and belt configuration diagram. That is this large picture here. What this is is a snapshot out of your engine. It is going to list the various components on the vehicle that is driven by the belt. In order to figure our how it works for the particular vehicle you are working on, you are going to want to refer to the pulling and belt configuration diagram. That is this large picture here. What this is, is a snapshot picture of the front of your engine. It is going to list the various components on the vehicle that are driven by the belt. It is also going to have a picture of the belt tensioner and a description of how it operates. The belt tensioner is a spring loaded device that holds the belt automatically tight for the given load on it. The belt needs to be a little tighter if you are running the AC and it can operate a little looser if you are not. There will be a description on the belt or on the diagram of how the tensioner operates. On this particular vehicle, it rotates clockwise to remove the tension. This is your belt tensioner here. It is going to rotate down this way clockwise. That will free up some slack in the belt and allow us to slip it off the alternator pulley. You want to be careful because once the belt is off, it is going to spring load to the automatic fully tight position. You just want to be careful to avoid busting your knuckles or getting your ratchet stuck. Most of the time it will indicate by this square what kind of drive will fit for your particular vehicle. This Ford Truck happens to be a half-inch drive socket driver. If you can see, I will slide it into the picture for you. That is your half inch drive. That square is going to fit directly into that square there. Some of them may be a nut, some of them may be a 3/8's drive. What you want to do is refer to this pulley configuration chart to determine the proper way to remove your serpentine belt. Like I said they vary widely from vehicle to vehicle, locations are sometimes easy and sometimes very difficult. Once you locate where the operating lug is for your serpentine belt tensioner, I happen to be underneath the truck right now with my ratchet installed in the lug. You are going to want to push it in until it bottoms down and rotated in the proper. Our pulley configuration chart said we are going to rotate kind of counter clock wise so we are going to go ahead and as you can see the belt will get looser as I rotate. Once we've got it rotated, just pretty much pick a point and flip the belt off of it and there we go. The belt is now removed so we can get it off our alternator pulley. As you can see once we've released the tension on our serpentine belt tensioner and slipped it off a pulley, we were able to then remove it from our alternator. Now this procedure is going to vary widely from even gift make or given model.. Some are very easy and some are very tough. You are going to want to keep the belt in kind of the same shape that was kind of the same general routing. If you pull the belt all the way off, you are going to have to refer back to your configuration chart for the proper installation. If you are only going to want to slip it off, the necessary pullies.

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