How to Change a Serpentine Belt on a Ford Windstarby Dan FerrellUpdated November 07, 2017
Items you will need
Serpentine belt tool
Ratchet and socket, if necessary
Screwdriver, if necessary
The serpentine belt on the Ford Windstar has a better construction and tends to last longer than traditional V-belts. Unfortunately, newer belts normally wear out from the inside out, showing no signs of belt weakening. For this reason, most vehicle manufacturers recommend replacing your serpentine belt every four years or 50,000 miles or whenever the belt begins to show signs of wear. The time frame for inspections allows you to replace the belt at your convenience instead of waiting for it to break and leave you stranded.
Remove the Serpentine Belt
Park your Windstar in a safe place and open the hood.
Disconnect the ground (black) battery cable using a wrench. This will prevent the cooling fan from activating if you recently drove your vehicle or someone from cranking the engine by accident while you are trying to remove the belt.
Look for the serpentine belt diagram. This is usually located on the radiator support cover. Compare the diagram with the routing of your installed belt and make sure it runs the same way. If not, or your minivan is missing this label, make a note on a piece of paper for later reference.
Install a serpentine belt tool on the square hole in the side arm next to the tensioner pulley or, if your particular model has no side arm, the pulley center bolt. Alternatively, you may use a 1/2-inch drive breaker bar or ratchet on the side arm; or a ratchet and socket or long-handled wrench on the center bolt.
Pivot the tensioner pulley clockwise or away from the belt to release the belt tension, keeping your fingers away from between the belt and the pulleys at all times.
Slide the belt off the tensioner pulley with your hand or a screwdriver.
Let the tensioner pulley carefully pivot back into position.
Remove the belt from the rest of the pulleys and the engine compartment.
Install the New Serpentine Belt
Compare the new belt to the old one. The new belt might be slightly shorter but the configuration should be the same.
Run the new belt through all the pulleys except the belt tensioner pulley. Use the serpentine belt diagram or your own notes as a reference, if necessary.
Pivot the belt tensioner pulley clockwise using the serpentine belt tool.
Slide the new serpentine belt over the tensioner pulley and carefully release the tensioner pulley.
Remove the tool from the engine compartment and run your fingers over the pulleys to make sure the belt is properly seated on the pulley ridges.
Connect the ground (black) battery cable using the wrench.
Start the engine and check that the belt is operating properly.
Turn off the engine.
- Chilton's Ford Windstar 1995-03 Repair Manual; James Marotta, Jay Storer and Jeff Kibler; 2004
- Modern Automotive Technology; James E. Duffy; 2003
Since 2003 Dan Ferrell has contributed general and consumer-oriented news to television and the Web. His work has appeared in Texas, New Mexico and Miami and on various websites. Ferrell is a certified automation and control technician from the Advanced Technology Center in El Paso, Texas.