It takes a significant amount of force to release the tensioner - very difficult for one person to put the belt back on and release the tensioner at the same time. Use a 15mm wrench or ratchet-socket combo (I used the ratchet and it just barely fit... a wrench is probably the better way to go, but all my wrenches are in English, not metric... 5/8 was too big, 9/16 was too small).
Once you have the tool attached to the tensioner, pull so that the tensioner turns clockwise (if you were standing on the passenger side of the engine... if your tool is mostly head-down and handle up, pull towards the front of the van). Again, it takes a lot of force to move it, and it doesn't stay moved - if you release pressure, it brings the tension right back to the belt.
I was able to succeed by pulling on the tool with my right hand and using my left hand to slip the belt under the upper-middle part that it spins.
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Fig. Fig. 11: Accessory drive belt adjustment-3.3L and 3.8L engines
All of the belt driven accessories on the 3.3L and 3.8L engines are driven by a single serpentine belt. The belt tension is maintained by am automatic tensioner.
Disconnect the negative battery cable.
Raise the front of the vehicle and safely support it with jackstands.
Remove the right front splash shield.
Release tension by rotating the tensioner clockwise.
Remove the belt and install a replacement.
Proper belt tension is maintain by the dynamic tension.
Install the right front splash shield. Lower the front of the vehicle.
Included on the Diagrams are the Instructions on "Rotating" the Automatic Tensioner. See Below for additional Instructions to make your job easier.
"HOW TO": I professionally prefer the Serpentine Tensioner Tool. Standard Rules to Removal the Serpentine Belt with an Automatic Tensioner: 1. Find the Tensioner(s). 2. Using a Serpentine Belt Tensioner Tool, Or Wrench OR Ratchet, Rotate/Move the Tensioner USING THE AVAILABLE NUT (located on the Pulley or Arm Base) OR the OPENING (3/8ths or 1/2 inch square opening located on the Tensioner Arm) rotating the Tensioner Pulley/Arm - moving it away from contact with the belt and towards the area where the belt is not in contact with the Tensioner Pulley. The Tensioner is spring loaded, and is hard to rotate/move. 3. Remove the loosened belt off one of the other more easily accessed Pulleys. 4. DO NOT quickly release the Tensioner, but gently allow the Tensioner to rest in its closed position.
Standard Rules for Installing the Serpentine Belt with an Automatic Tensioner: a. Pick a Pulley that is most easily accessed. This will usually be on top. This will be the last Pulley that the belt will go on. b. Using the Diagram: Install the new Serpentine Belt on the remainder of the Pulleys....over, under, left right. c. Using a Serpentine Belt Tensioner Tool or Wrench or Ratchet Tool: Rotate/Move the Tensioner Pulley/Arm "away" from Belt contact area on the Tensioner. This spring is pretty hard and with a new belt, it will be even harder to install. Rotate/Move this to as-close to the maximum allowed inorder to have enough slack in the belt to get it up and over the last pulley. d. Using your other hand - Pull the Belt up and over the Last remaining Pulley. e. Before releasing the pressure on the Tensioner, visually inspect the remainder Pulleys and the Belts' Positioning on them.
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There is a bolt in the tensioner, loosen that some and you will notice more play it it, lift on the tensioner, or if you have a serpatine belt tool use that, there will be a arrow on the tensioner on what way to push. Make sure you tighten that bolt back up when putting the new belt on, and to double check the belt is tight afterwords. there should always be a little play in the tensioner, just not much.
A simple bolt on assembly, the tensioner for the serpentine belt may need replacement if it fails to smoothly pivot and maintain tension on the belt.
Using a half inch breaker bar, release tension by rotating against the spring, remove the belt from the tensioner. Unbolt the tensioner (one bolt may be so diffucult to reach that you might want to use a racheting open end wrench by Alden.
Install the new tensioner by reversing these steps.
I usually replace the belt at the same time.
What engine do you have? The 3.3 and 3.8 engines have a single serpentine belt, and a belt tensioner, so no adjustment is needed. Did you replace the tensioner, and want to know how much to torque it? countrycurt0