How Do I Bypass an Air Conditioning Compressor with a Serpentine Drive Belt on a Ford F-150?

by Justin Cupler

Sometimes a problem with your air conditioning compressor can cause it to actually lock up. When this happens on your F-150, you may think you need to completely replace the compressor even though you don't use it. There is a way around this problem however; you can actually bypass the compressor all together with a different serpentine belt.

1

Locate the serpentine belt at the front of the engine. It is a rubber belt that goes over all of the accessories of the engine.

2

Draw a diagram of how the belt is routed around the engine components, including the air conditioning compressor.

3

Loosen the tension of the serpentine belt using a ratchet and socket to turn the tensioner. This varies depending on the year of your F-150--some have a manual tensioner that needs turned like a screw; newer models have an automatic tensioner that you simply turn and hold.

4

Pull the serpentine belt from the pulleys on the front of the truck.

5

Weave the string over all of the pulleys, just as the old belts was, but skip the compressor. When the two ends of the string meet, make a mark on the string with a marker.

6

Take the marked string to the parts store and advise them that you need a belt of that length. Serpentine belts have varied sizes; the last four digits of the part number are the length of the belt in centimeters. Get the next available size up and down to make certain you find a good fit.

7

Weave the belt over all of the pulleys, just as the old belt was. When you get to the compressor, do not put the belt over the pulley. Simply run it under the pulley.

8

Apply tension by either releasing the automatic tensioner or tightening the tensioner bolt using a ratchet and socket.

9

Start the F-150 and allow it to run, listening for any squeals.

Tip

  • check Take the old belt to the store with you so that they can match up the correct number of grooves.

Items you will need

About the Author

Justin Cupler is a professional writer who has been published on several websites including CarsDirect and Autos.com. Cupler has worked in the professional automotive repair field as a technician and a manager since 2000. He has a certificate in broadcast journalism from the Connecticut School of Broadcasting. Cupler is currently studying mechanical engineering at Saint Petersburg College.

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