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How to Replace the Serpentine Belt on a 1998 Oldsmobile

by Mark Robinson

Most four-cylinder and six-cylinder engines used in the 1998 Oldsmobile lineup feature serpentine belts. These are one-piece belts that run the alternator, A/C compressor, power steering and water pump. These belts are easier to remove and last longer than ordinary V-belts. Always check the condition of your serpentine belt every 6,000 miles or at least twice a year. A serpentine belt that is showing cracks, fraying or other signs of wear should be replaced as soon as possible.

Removing the Old Serpentine Belt

Disconnect the black negative battery cable with a wrench. Note the serpentine belt path before removing the belt. Most Oldsmobiles have a diagram located near the radiator or fan belt shroud with the proper routing for the serpentine belt. The owner's manual may also have this information included within.

Release the tension from the belt tensioner pulley. Move the pulley away from the belt by inserting either a belt tensioner tool or a 3/8-inch socket wrench into the square hole at the top of the belt tensioner pulley.

Slide the old belt off of the pulleys while holding the belt tensioner pulley in place. Release the pulley after removing the belt.

Installing the New Serpentine Belt

Compare the old serpentine belt with the new one. The new belt may be up to an inch shorter than the old one due to stretching.

Route the new belt onto the pulleys according to the routing diagram. The belt tensioner pulley will be the last pulley to place the belt on.

Move the belt tensioner pulley out of position with the belt tensioner tool or socket wrench. Slip the serpentine belt onto the pulley and slowly ease the pulley back into position. Make sure the belt is properly routed and aligned.

Start the car and observe the serpentine belt in action. Make sure the new belt is running along the pulleys properly.

Tip

  • With the serpentine belt removed, you can also check the state of your alternator, belt tensioner and A/C compressor pulleys. These pulleys should spin freely with no noise. A grinding or metallic noise indicates a bad bearing or lack of lubrication.

Warning

  • Always disconnect the black negative battery cable when working on an engine. This will prevent accidental shock and serious injury.

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About the Author

Mark Robinson is a freelance graphic designer and writer. Since 2008 he has contributed to various online publications, specializing in topics concerning automotive repair, graphic design and computer technology. Robinson holds a Bachelor of Science in graphic design from Alabama A&M University.

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