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How to Replace a Drive Belt on a 2006 Mazda Tribute

by Allen Moore

Mazda introduced the Tribute crossover SUV on a shared platform with the Ford Escape in 2001. The only major difference in the two small SUVs was the sport-tuned suspension on the Tribute. Aside from that, and minor cosmetic differences, the two are virtually the same. Both share the same drivetrain, with engine components reliant on a serpentine drive belt system. This system uses one singular drive belt to transfer engine torque to the various accessories to drive them. To prevent unscheduled roadside stops, inspect the belt at every oil change and replace if necessary.

Slide under the right front section of the Tribute. Remove the lower splash shield from the area just behind the front bumper using the socket wrench and 8 mm socket in order to expose the lower engine pulleys and belt.

Open the Tribute's hood. Find and study the serpentine belt routing diagram, adhered to the fan shroud. This decal illustrates proper belt routing as well as engine component locations for your specific Tribute.

Rotate the serpentine belt tensioner counterclockwise using the serpentine belt tool to remove tension from the belt. Slip the belt off the power steering pump pulley before slowly rotating the tensioner back into place. Remove the serpentine belt tool.

Slip the old belt off the engine component pulleys and the crankshaft pulley. Depending on your size and dexterity, you may need to access the lower pulleys from underneath.

Pull the old and new belts out to their full length to ensure you have the proper replacement belt. The new belt should be approximately 1/2-inch shorter than the old one, due to the old belt stretching during its service life. If the length variation is greater than this, or the new belt is longer, take both belts to your parts retailer to match the old one to a proper new replacement.

Loop the new belt, ribbed side in, around the bottom of the Tribute's crankshaft pulley. Feeding the belt down from the top, then placing it on the pulley from the bottom will save time.

Route the belt around each of the remaining pulleys until you reach the serpentine belt tensioner pulley. Rotate the tensioner counterclockwise with the serpentine belt tool once more.

Slip the belt onto the tensioner pulley and hold it in place with your free hand while you carefully rotate the tensioner back into place. Inspect the belt at each pulley to make sure it sits on the pulleys properly and that it routes exactly as illustrated on the belt routing diagram. If it's not, rotate the tensioner off the belt just far enough to allow you to adjust the belt as necessary.

Remove the serpentine belt tool. Reinstall the lower splash shield with the socket wrench and socket. Close the Tribute's hood.

Tip

  • The belt can go on in several different ways, but only one proper way. Improper belt routing can lead to severe engine damage, personal injury or both. Always route the belt exactly as illustrated on your Tribute's belt routing diagram.

Items you will need

References

About the Author

Allen Moore's career includes awards in poetry and creative fiction, published lyrics, fiction books and nonfiction articles as well as a master certification in automotive service from the Ford Motor Company. Moore is a contributing writer for RF365.com and various other websites, a ghostwriter for Rainbow Writing and has over a dozen works of fiction currently in print.

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