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Re: how do I release the belt tension pully to replace...
You can run down to your local auto parts store and buy a serp belt tool. Or you can take a 3/8 drive ratchet, locate the 3/8 square hole in your tensioner and put the ratchet in the hole. For more leverage I put a deep socket over the ratchet handle and put a long 3/8 extention in the deep socket. This will provide ample leverage and will save buying more tools you do not need. Simply move the tensioner to the direction that takes pressure off of the belt.
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I would just release tension on the belt with a breaker bar. And put the new belt in by weaving it through the various pulleys, smooth side, followed by grooved side, and so on until the belt is on every pulley except the tensioner pulley.
Again, release tension on the tensioner pulley with the breaker bar, and then put the loop of the belt on that pulley and you're done.
1. Loosen the alternator, and pull it back until the tension is released.
2. There will be between the various pully's (belt runs around) a tensioner. This is holds the belt tight. With a rachet and socket, pull (push) the tensioner until the belt has slack - pull one part of the belt off (any pully) and release the tensioner back to it's position. (It will go further than when the belt was on - this is normal.
When installing the new belt, if using the tensioner, the belt will need to be placed on the tensioner last - get the belt around all other pully's in it's correct configuration, then, pull back (push) tensioner *(while holding the belt tight with other hand, and ready to be pushed over tensioner) and slide belt into place over it.
Also note: a serpentine belt will only go on one way (grooved side down).
Please let me know if you need further assistance.
You will need a breaker bar to release the tensioner. A breaker bar is a long ratchet that doesn't ratchet. The breaker bar size for your car is 1/2".
You will see a square hole on the tensioner and that is where the breaker bar goes. Put the breaker bar in there and pull on it until it gives you enough slack to pull the belt off. Make sure to pull the right way to release the tension. IF it wont release the tension don't yank on it try going the other way, It will help to have two people to do this job. You only need to pull it off one pully then slowly let the tensioner go back.
To put the new belt on make sure you run the new belt the exact same way as the old. Again you will need to release the tension from the tensioner and slip the belt over the last pulley.
There should be a square1/2 inch hole most likely on the bar that leads to the tension pully, where you can put a 1/2 inch breakover bar or ratchet to depress the tension bar/spring, alowing the removal and replacement of the belt.
That pulley is the tensioner pulley. It is either manual or automatic. If it is a manual tensioner, the bracket that it is attached to it should have a square hole located on it bracket somewhere. This whole will look inoculous, but will be offset from the pulley. If you have a 3/4" socket wrench, you'll notice it fits nicely into this hole.
You use this hole (and the wrench) to twist the whole bracket and apply tension while you tighten the bracket itself down.
An automatic tensioner will have a spring inside and would pretty much work by itself when a belt of the proper length is installed. Your Hanynes manual would have already alerted you to how to adjust an automatic tensioner.
I hope that helps.
BTW, the tensioner pully usually rests on the back (flat) side of the belt and has no device attached to it.
You will have to replace your serpentine belt tensioner. Call local auto parts store and ask them if you can get just the pully or if you have to by the whole tensioner. Call around and don't be surprised if you can't get what you need from your local auto parts store because some do not carry after market belt tensionrs. In this case you will need to order it from a GM dealership's parts department.
Look at your tensioner pulley it will have a squre cutout that accomodates a 1/2 inch drive ratchet or a 3/8 drive, most likely 1/2 inch. Just insert your ratchet and release in same manner as on the older models....Good Luck