How to Replace the Serpentine Belt on a Ford Truckby Christian KillianUpdated November 07, 2017
Items you will need
3/8-inch drive ratchet
Pencil and paper (optional)
The Ford pickups have several different engine options available but since moving to the serpentine belt system, they have used the same type of tensioner and basic system design on their engine. The system uses a spring-loaded serpentine belt tensioner that moves with the belt as the belt wears and stretches. This keeps the belt adjusted at all times but even with the movement, the belt will eventually stretch beyond the limits of the tensioner and require replacing.
Locate the negative (black) battery cable on the battery of your truck. Remove the retaining bolt from the battery terminal with a wrench, then remove the cable.
There should be a belt-routing diagram in the engine compartment of the truck. If there isn't, or if the diagram is illegible, draw a diagram of the belt's routing on the various pulleys on a piece of paper, for later reference.
Locate the serpentine belt tensioner on the front of the engine near the passenger’s side of the engine. There is a square hole in the end of the arm to insert the square drive from a 3/8-inch-drive ratchet into.
Rotate the serpentine belt tensioner counterclockwise with a ratchet to loosen the belt. Remove the belt from the pulleys then carefully rotate the tensioner back clockwise. Discard the old belt.
Install a new belt around the pulleys except the tensioner, following the diagram exactly. Rotate the tensioner counterclockwise, slide the belt onto the pulley and rotate the tensioner clockwise to tighten the belt. Check that the belt is centered on all the pulleys.
Install the negative battery cable onto the negative battery terminal and tighten the retaining bolt with a wrench. No other adjustment of the belt is required.
On some Ford truck engines, you will need to remove the fan and fan shroud.
- "Ford F Series Truck Factory Service Manual"; Ford Motor Company; 1996
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.