Belt Removal - Defeated...

majorxlr8nOctober 29, 2008

I had to change the serpentine belt on a 1996 Buick Skylark with a 2.4 liter engine. Should have been a cake job. NOT. I purchased the belt removal tool ($60) with the crow's foot wrenches - 13mm. was used. I could not get the tensioner pulley to budge and release belt tension, and it began to round off the pulley bolt so I stopped. What went wrong here besides my inability?


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Usually there's a square hole in the tensioner that a 1/2 drive ratchet or breaker bar will fit. An extension might be needed too. If it has to be turned by the hex head on the pully, it seems like you'd need a box end wrench. I don't see an open end wrench or crow foot working. Don't know what belt removal tool you're talking about, but I'll admit I'm behind the times.

    Bookmark   October 29, 2008 at 11:20PM
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heres the tool, from Napa:

This tensioner does not have the 3/8" square hole, the center stud for the pulley is supposed(?) to be used for removal. Yes - the crow's foot did not work at ALL. I tried using a regular 13mm socket with the removal tool bar but there isn't enough room. Now, I wonder if a flare nut type crows foot would work. I also wonder if the tensioner is seized? No matter - I'm done with it, MIL is taking it to the shop. I wasted an entire day off monkeying with it & I'm done. I just would like to get some feedback in case I encounter another stubborn one such as this PITA...

Thanks - Marty

    Bookmark   October 29, 2008 at 11:32PM
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I don't have nay experience with the Buick engine, but have changed the serpentine belt on a 4cy Saturn. The belt tensioner for this engine does not have the square hole, but makes use of a hex head at the center of the tensioner sheave (pulley). I have attempted to relieve tension using a box end wrench, and yes, getting enough space is a problem. (I was working from the topside. A repair manual indicates easier access from underneath the car.) I found that a special tensioner tool made this job much easier. The tool that I purchased consisted of a two flat bars with appropraite details for fitting the second bar as an extension. Standard sockets are too deep to apply in the cramped quarters. The tensioner tool came with a set of shallow scokets and details to fit into a hex hole in the flat bar, a very compact arrangement.

Make sure that you turn in a direction to move the sheave away from the belt, not toward it.

Some belt tensioners have a hole to insert a pin to hold the tensioner in a cocked position. This makes for easier belt assembly since the tensioner tool can be removed. It is almost impossible to put the new belt on unless you can "park" the tensioner. However, the tensioner is a dangerous item in its cocked position. If it should let go, it can smash and/or break fingers. be very careful where you put your hand/fingers when working around a cocked tensioner. After the belt is in place, appply the tensioner tool and remove the pin.

    Bookmark   October 30, 2008 at 4:00AM
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The belt is best done from below, with the RF wheel off, and the splash shield removed.

As far as the tools? Imagine needing another 500+ just for servicing serpentine belts.

    Bookmark   October 30, 2008 at 4:01PM
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Gary, Jemdandy & John G - thank you for the insight on this. Next time I might be more prepared to perform this task.

Regards - Marty

    Bookmark   October 31, 2008 at 1:55AM
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