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How to Change a Serpentine Belt on a Duramax

by Christian Killian

The Duramax diesel engine is a 6.6-liter engine used in the Chevy trucks with a production run from 2001 and is currently still in use. The serpentine belt drive system on the front of the engine turns all the accessories on the engine and has a spring-loaded tensioner to keep the belt tight. The engine has a reputation for durability and reliability as well as being a stout workhorse. Any home mechanic can change the belt in about an hour and save himself a costly repair bill from a repair shop.


Open the hood of your truck and locate the negative battery terminal on the battery. Remove the retaining bolt that secures the negative battery cable to the battery using a wrench, then remove the cable. Set it aside for now.


Locate the tensioner on the front of the engine. It is on the passenger side front of the engine. There is a hole in the arm of the tensioner. This hole will accept a ½-inch drive breaker bar. There is a small black pulley on the end of the arm, making it easier to identify.


Insert a ½-inch drive breaker bar in the hole on the tensioner and rotate the tensioner counterclockwise until the belt is loose. Remove the belt from the engine and discard it. Slowly rotate the tensioner back to the home position and allow it to sit there while you install the new belt on all the pulleys except the tensioner pulley.


Rotate the tensioner counterclockwise, then install the belt onto the tensioner pulley. Slowly rotate the tensioner clockwise. Do not let it snap back or you will damage the tensioner. Once the belt is tight, remove the breaker bar from the tensioner and out of the engine compartment.


Install the negative battery cable on the negative terminal of the battery, install the retaining bolt and tighten it with a wrench. Close the hood and drive as you normally would, rechecking the belt in a few days.

Items you will need


About the Author

Christian Killian has been a freelance journalist/photojournalist since 2006. After many years of working in auto parts and service positions, Killian decided to move into journalism full-time. He has been published in "1st Responder News" as well as in other trade magazines and newspapers in the last few years.

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Photo Credits

  • Zedcor Wholly Owned/ Images