How to Put a Serpentine Belt on a Chevy Tahoe

by Jody L. Campbell

The Chevy Tahoe began production in 1994, following the full-size conversion of the GMC Jimmy to a Yukon in 1992. Throughout its tenure, the Tahoe has come featured with four types of engine and is available in two- or four-wheel drive. The type of engine and electrical options available will dictate how to replace a serpentine belt by routing it correctly. For the most part, no matter what engine is in the Tahoe, the procedure to replace the belt is somewhat standardized.

Be sure the keys are not in the ignition of the Chevy Tahoe to avoid accidental start-up during the procedure. An added safety precaution is to disconnect the negative battery terminal.

Locate the belt-routing diagram on the front radiator frame rail. Other locations for the diagram may be near the engine displacement label or the underside of the hood. In the event that the belt-routing diagram is missing or indecipherable, illustrate one of your own displaying all the pulleys and how the belt wraps around or alongside them.

Locate the belt tensioner just below the alternator. Place the drive-belt removal tool with an appropriate-size adapter onto the tensioner and turn it clockwise to relieve tension from the belt. With the tension relieved, slide the belt off the alternator pulley. Allow the belt tool to recoil the tensioner and then remove the tool and the belt. It may be necessary to tuck the belt in through the bottom of the fan shroud and pull it up over the fan to remove it, depending on the engine in the Tahoe.

Compare the length and rib count of the old belt to the new one to ensure you have the right belt.

Insert the new belt onto the crankshaft pulley first. If you have to wrap the belt around the fan to remove it, you'll have to reverse the procedure to install it before wrapping it around the crankshaft pulley.

Follow the belt-routing diagram and work the serpentine belt from the crank pulley upward around the other pulleys. Be sure the ribs of the belt insert into the grooves of the applicable pulleys and the smooth pulleys; the idler pulleys contact the smooth backside of the belt. Do not wrap the belt around the alternator pulley at this time.

Reinsert the belt tool onto the tensioner pulley and relieve tension by turning it clockwise again. Wrap the remaining belt around the alternator belt. If it will not allow you to, recheck the belt routing around the other pulleys. If the belt is not properly installed on one pulley, you will not have enough slack in the belt to allow you to fit it onto the alternator.

Do not force the belt onto the alternator pulley. A properly installed belt will allow you just enough room to slide the belt onto the last pulley---the alternator pulley---without having to exert yourself.

Remove the belt tool and then start the engine to test the belt for operation once it's on securely.

Items you will need

About the Author

Jody L. Campbell spent over 15 years as both a manager and an under-car specialist in the automotive repair industry. Prior to that, he managed two different restaurants for over 15 years. Campbell began his professional writing career in 2004 with the publication of his first book.

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