Tip & How-To about Buick LeSabre

Replace or install a serpentine belt

This may not work for all engines but should work for most. Most engines are the same when it comes to a serpentine belt. There is a series of pulleys. Some are ribbed and some are flat. The belt will go on to match. The ribbed side of the belt will pass across the ribbed pulleys and the flat side against the flat pulleys. It is fairly easy to figure out the outermost pulleys which the belt must go around. Once you have done this you can assess which ones to put the flat side of the belt against.

One of the pulleys is the tension pulley. It is generally on a moving arm and has a spring tensioner. When the belt is off, the arm should move.

When a belt is on the engine you have to release the tension to remove it. This generally requires a fairly large breaker bar or a socket wrench with a cheater pipe to generate enough force to release the tension. There is generally a nut that holds the tension pulley on. If you are loosening the nut when you pull with the breaker bar you are pulling the wrong direction. It takes a good amount of force to loosen the tension on the belt. If you removed the tension pulley as a means of removing the belt you will have to reattach the pulley and then make sure you pull in the correct direction to allow the belt to go over the tension pulley to reinstall.

If you are replacing a broken belt you have to move the tension pulley to allow the belt to slip onto it. Pull the breaker bar to move the pulley. Pulling it far enough allows the belt to easily slip on. Again, if the nut is loosening or you aren't moving the pulley and arm you are pulling the wrong way. It takes quite a force to move the pulley.

Once the belt is on the tension pulley, make sure it is properly sitting on all pulleys and the grooves in the belt match the grooves on the pulleys.

Be careful not to pinch any fingers.

And make sure you don't leave any sockets attached when starting the engine.

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