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How to Change a Belt Tensioner on a Ford Ranger

by Allen Moore

The serpentine belt tensioner presses its pulley against the serpentine belt, which provides the tension to hold the belt on the various pulleys in the system. The tensioner has an internal spring that provides this tension. The spring itself or the bearings in the tensioner pulley can fail. If the tensioner fails, you will know immediately, due to a lost serpentine belt. When the time comes to replace your tensioner, you'll probably spend less than an hour on this task.

Step 1

Put your safety glasses on, raise the hood and locate the belt routing diagram sticker. The sticker is white, with black ink showing a diagram of the serpentine belt and how it routes around each pulley. If the belt is still on, move to step two; if the belt is gone, skip ahead to step three.

Step 2

Put the belt tensioner tool into the tensioner and lever it back to release the pressure from the serpentine belt. Slide the belt off the tensioner pulley with your free hand. Remove the tensioner tool and set it aside.

Step 3

Use the socket set to remove the bolt or bolts holding the tensioner body to the front of the engine. In some Rangers, you may have to unbolt and remove the idler pulley to get at the tensioner mounting bolts. If so, do not forget to put the idler pulley back on after you have replaced the tensioner.

Step 4

Pull the bolts out by hand after loosening them and set them aside. Then, take the old tensioner out and put the new one in its place.

Step 5

Slide the bolt(s) through the tensioner mount holes into the engine and start the threading by hand before finishing it with the socket and socket wrench. Put the idler pulley back on if you had to remove it in step three.

Step 6

Put the tensioner tool on the new tensioner and lever it back away from the belt path. Once it is pulled back, slip the belt back over the tensioner pulley and let the tensioner move back to its natural position. Pull the tensioner tool back out.

Step 7

Verify the belt is routed properly by comparing the routing to the diagram you located in step one.

Start the engine and watch the belt travel to make sure the tensioner is working properly before closing the hood and driving the Ranger.

Items you will need

  • Safety glasses
  • Belt tensioner tool
  • Socket set

About the Author

Allen Moore's career includes awards in poetry and creative fiction, published lyrics, fiction books and nonfiction articles as well as a master certification in automotive service from the Ford Motor Company. Moore is a contributing writer for and various other websites, a ghostwriter for Rainbow Writing and has over a dozen works of fiction currently in print.

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