How to Install a Serpentine Belt on Vehicles

by Contributing Writer; Updated June 12, 2017

The Vehicles comes equipped with a serpentine belt that runs all of the pulleys on the front of the engine. Instead of having three or four different belts to run the engine pulley process, the serpentine belt wraps around all of the pulleys to fit perfectly and run all of the pulleys Vehicles one time. A serpentine belt needs to replaced whenever there are more cracks per square inch than there are ribs across the serpentine belt.

Under The Hood:

 How to Install a Serpentine Belt on an Oldsmobile Intrigue

Locate the belt tensioner pulley, which is directly below the alternator on the passenger side of the vehicle. It is a shiny, metallic pulley with the serpentine belt running across it.

Insert the socket wrench into the square hole in the pulley. Apply downward pressure on the wrench to move the pulley and remove tension from the belt.

Remove the belt from the pulley and then the other components. Release the socket wrench.

Wind the new belt through the components as indicated by the belt diagram in the engine compartment. Apply force to the wrench to move the pulley and put the belt on the pulley last. Release the wrench, and tension will return to the belt.

Items you will need

  • Socket wrench

 How to Install a Serpentine Belt for a 2003 Ford Taurus

Locate the serpentine belt tensioner on the front of the engine. The tensioner is what keeps tension on the belt and keeps the belt from coming off. The tensioner will have a bolt head in the middle of it that a 15mm socket will fit.

Look on the hood base where the hood lock attaches to the base and see if there is a belt diagram. This diagram will give you the exact instructions for properly routing the belt across the pulleys. If there is no diagram there, you will need to write down the exact routing of the belt on the pulleys on a notepad.

Put the 15mm socket onto the ratchet and put the ratchet onto the bolt head on the belt tensioner.

Turn the tensioner clockwise to relieve the tension on the belt and remove the belt from all of the pulleys.

Route the new serpentine belt the same way that the old one came off by following the belt routing diagram instructions. Do not put the belt across the tensioner until last. keep in mind that the belt will only go on one way and be right.

Put the ratchet with the 15mm socket back on the belt tensioner and rotate the tensioner clock wise to give you enough room to slide the new belt across the belt tensioner pulley. Slide the belt onto the belt tensioner pulley and release the belt tensioner. Look over the belt and double check to make sure that the belt is running across all of the pulleys correctly.

Crank the car and inspect that the belt is secure and is staying in the grooves on all of the pulleys.

Items you will need

  • New serpentine belt

  • Ratchet

  • 15mm Socket

 How to Install a Serpentine Belt on a 1994 Ford Ranger 4 Cylinder

Open the hood of the Ford Ranger and locate the tensioner pulley. The tensioner pulley pulls the serpentine belt tight around all of the accessory system pulleys. You will find seven pulleys in the Ford Ranger engine.

Place a socket wrench on the bolt in the center of the tensioner pulley and rotate the pulley up to relieve tension in the belt. The tensioner pulley is located in between the water pump and air conditioning compressor pulleys.

Pull the belt off of the tensioner pulley and rotate the tensioner back to its original position. If you remove the wrench before the tensioner is in its original position the tensioner will snap back into place and damage parts of the pulley.

Slide the belt off of the other pulleys and discard the old serpentine belt.

Wrap the new serpentine belt around all of the pulleys except the tensioner. Refer to the belt diagram under the hood or in the link found in the Resources section for the proper belt routing. The belt should sit in the groove found on all of the pulleys. Hold the belt tight so it doesn't slip off of any of the pulleys.

Pull the tensioner pulley up with a socket wrench, slide the belt onto the pulley and return the tensioner to its original position.

Check that the belt did not move from the groove in the pulleys.

Items you will need

  • 1/2 inch breaker bar

  • Socket wrench set

 How to Install a Serpentine Belt on a Chevy S10 Pickup

Open the hood and locate the serpentine belt tensioner. The belt tensioner is what keeps the tension on the belt so that the belt does not come off of the pulleys. The belt tensioner is located directly below the alternator. The tensioner has a 3/8-inch square opening right below the pulley on the tensioner.

Locate the serpentine belt-routing diagram on the top of the fan shroud above the radiator. The diagram will be a drawing of the serpentine belt being routed around the pulleys. If you cant find a serpentine belt diagram, take a pen and notepad and draw out the exact direction that the serpentine belt is routed across the pulleys and the tensioner.

Slide the 3/8-inch drive pull bar into the square opening on the belt tensioner. Turn the belt tensioner counterclockwise to relieve the tension off of the belt.

Slide the belt off of the belt tensioner with your other hand. Let the tensioner go back to its normal spot. Finish removing the serpentine belt from the remaining pulleys. Pull the belt out and set it to the side.

Slide the belt in and put the belt around the crankshaft pulley first. Then, follow the belt-routing diagram for routing the belt across the remaining pulleys. Be sure to leave the belt tensioner for last. This is so it will be easier for you to slide the belt on the tensioner while holding the tensioner over.

Slide the 3/8-inch drive bar back into the square opening on the belt tensioner. Turn the belt tensioner clockwise. Slide the belt over the top of the belt tensioner. Release the belt tensioner so that it tensions against the belt. The tensioner will hold the proper tension against the belt.

Inspect the belt to make sure it is routed the exact way that the diagram shows. Also, inspect to be sure the belt is completely seated into the pulleys.

Crank the engine. While the engine is running, go back and inspect the belt again to make sure that the belt is running evenly over the belt tensioner and that the belt remains seated inside of the pulleys.

Turn off the engine and close the hood.

Items you will need

  • 3/8-inch drive pull bar

  • Notepad

  • Pen

  • New belt

 How to Install a Serpentine Belt on a 1993 Chevy Truck

Refer to the serpentine belt routing diagram printed near the radiator, and locate the tensioner pulley. It is usually located on the passenger side of the engine. For Chevy models without the routing diagram on the radiator support, refer to the owner's manual for proper routing of the serpentine belt. Some Chevy models may also require removal of the air intake duct so you can access the tensioner pulley.

Feel the tension on the old serpentine belt to understand how much to tighten the new belt once it is fit into place.

Fit the ratchet into the hole on the tensioner pulley. Push down to release tension on the serpentine belt. Slide the serpentine belt off not only the tensioner pulley, but all other pulleys on its course.

Refer to the routing diagram on the radiator support or in the owner's manual to install the new serpentine belt. Each rib of the belt must fit into a groove on the pulley, otherwise the belt will tear during operation and continue tearing until it snaps. Improper installation also results in an overheated engine due to loss of power steering, stalled circulation of coolant within the water pump, and the inability of the alternator to charge the battery. Driving under such a condition is possible but dangerous; be careful when installing the new belt to avoid missing any groovers.

Use the ratchet wrench to rotate the tensioner pulley and wind the new serpentine belt into place. Feel the serpentine belt for the correct tension and double check that each groove of the belt is in place on the pulley.

Items you will need

  • Serpentine belt

  • Ratchet-wrench set

 How to Install a Serpentine Belt on a 2000 Ford Ranger

Pop the hood to the truck. There is a sticker on either the core support or the hood of the truck, with a belt routing diagram. Locate that sticker, or alternatively, locate the diagram in the owner's manual. Keep that handy so that you know how the belt should go on your vehicle.

Locate the tensioner on the front of the engine. This is in the middle of the engine, between the water pump and power steering pump, and has a square slot on it. Insert the breaker bar into the square slot and turn the tensioner counterclockwise to release the tension on the belt. Pull the belt off of the engine and release the breaker bar slowly.

Install the replacement belt onto the crankshaft pulley at the bottom of the engine and route the belt counterclockwise around the pulleys according to the belt routing diagram. Once the belt is wrapped around as much as possible, pull up on the tensioner again with the breaker bar then route the belt around the tensioner. Slowly release the breaker bar which will press the tensioner against the belt and keep it tight.

Verify that the belt is not twisted or kinked in any way prior to starting the vehicle. Once you've made sure that the belt is centered in each pulley and that everything is straight, then you can start the vehicle.

Items you will need

  • 1/2-inch breaker bar

  • Replacement serpentine belt

 How to Install a Serpentine Belt on a 2000 Mustang V6

Open the hood of the Mustang and locate the serpentine belt. The belt wraps around seven different pulleys, including the crankshaft, water pump, air conditioning condenser, alternator and the power steering pump. The two additional pulleys are the tensioner and the idler.

Take note of how the belt is routed. The replacement belt must sit the same way on all of the pulleys. A belt diagram is located under the hood to help you figure out the routing. A link to the diagram is also provided in the Resources section. (Note that the correct diagram for the Mustang V6 engine is the 15th picture on the page).

Place the 15-mm wrench on the bolt in the middle of the tensioner pulley and rotate the tensioner to the left to loosen the belt. Do not release the tensioner as it will snap back into place, causing damage to the pulley.

Remove the belt from one of the pulleys and slowly move the tensioner back to its original position.

Take the belt off of the other pulleys and remove it from the engine compartment.

Wrap the replacement belt around all of the pulleys except the tensioner. Use the belt diagram as a routing guide. The belt sits in the middle of the pulley groove when correctly installed.

Move the tensioner to the left, slip the belt over the tensioner pulley and gently rotate it back into position. The belt will tighten over all of the pulleys when the tensioner is moved back in place.

Check all of the pulleys to ensure the belt is properly placed.

Items you will need

  • 15-mm wrench

  • Replacement serpentine belt

 How to Install a Serpentine Belt on a 3.8 Mustang

Open the hood. Locate the serpentine belt-routing sticker affixed to the radiator cross-member ahead of the engine fan. Make a note of how your belt is routed if your sticker is missing. Play close attention to whether the front (smooth) or the back (ribbed) side of the belt rides on each pulley in the engine bay, as this will quicken the installation of the new belt.

Locate the serpentine-belt tensioner at the top of the engine, which has a black pulley run by the serpentine belt and is mounted to a cast-aluminum base.

Insert the drive end of a 1/2-inch ratchet wrench or breaker bar into the square hole on the cast-aluminum base of the belt tensioner.

Rotate the wrench or breaker bar handle in a counterclockwise direction to release the belt tension. Be careful, as the tensioner is under great spring pressure.

Slip the belt off the idler pulley, which is at the top-center of the engine. Slowly let the spring tension raise the ratchet or breaker-bar handle. Do not let go of the handle quickly, as it will snap back. Remove the ratchet or breaker bar once the tension has been released.

Slip the belt off the remaining pulleys and work it up and out of the engine bay.

Slip a new belt over all of the pulleys by using the belt-routing sticker or the notes you made earlier. Leave the belt off the idler pulley at the top of the engine.

Release the belt tension by inserting the ratchet or breaker bar into the tensioner and rotating the handle counterclockwise. Slip the belt over the idler pulley while holding the handle down. Release the handle slowly until the belt is under tension. Remove the ratchet or breaker bar and close the hood.

Items you will need

  • 1/2-inch drive ratchet wrench or breaker bar

  • Replacement serpentine belt

 How to Install a Serpentine Belt on a 2002 Cadillac Seville

Pop the hood and locate the sticker on the core support (or in the owner's manual, which shows the belt routing diagram). Make sure you have the manual in front of you, because you'll need it when you put the belt back on. Locate the tensioner, which is just below the top pulley, and has a square drive hole at the end of it.

Insert the 1/2-inch breaker bar into the square hole on the tensioner. Pull the tensioner clockwise to release tension on the belt, then slip the belt away from all of the pulleys.

Slide the replacement belt over the power steering pump pulley at the top of the engine. Then route it down and around the generator, air conditioning compressor, and idler pulley--as far as you can get the belt around the system until it tightens up too much. Make sure to refer to the manual or sticker for proper routing as well.

Insert the 1/2-inch breaker bar into the square hole on the tensioner. Pull the tensioner clockwise to release tension on the belt, then slip the belt away from all of the pulleys. Route the belt behind the tensioner, and after you release it to tighten the belt, check to make sure the belt isn't kinked or twisted. If it is, pull the tensioner away to fix the problem.

Items you will need

  • 1/2-inch breaker bar

  • Replacement belt