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Getting the serpentine belt on

L48

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Jun 16, 2005
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247
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Wadsworth OH
Anyone have problems getting this belt back on?
Is there a technique or trick to it?

Again I am trying to help a friend of mine on his 90 - I was by his place the other day and we took off the alternator as it stopped charging. He is trying to get the belt on after the one was installed. It was tight coming off, but he now has a 1/2" drive ratchet to release the tensioner but still can't get it back on. It's a half hour drive to his house and I will go there if I have to - I am hoping a friendly C4 owner knows the trick and I can relay it over the phone.

Thanks
 

korvettekarl

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Nov 24, 2003
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468
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Las Vegas, NV
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2017 Grand Sport 90 ZR1 57 Bel Air
I use a $25 tool from pep boys. It really makes difference. It's about 2 feet long and really helps.
 

juggernaut

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Aug 20, 2005
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34
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torrance, so cal
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1988 white coupe
Don't use a 1/2 inch ratchet because when you install the belt you can't get out the ratchet. If you have a big screw driver you stick it in between the roller on the tensioner and its armature and just push down away from you on the passenger side. It works great. It should take 10 seconds to get the belt on. good luck
 

larry bud

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Jan 21, 2002
Messages
234
Location
Rochester, MI
Corvette
1986 "Speed Yellow" Coupe
L48 said:
Anyone have problems getting this belt back on?
Is there a technique or trick to it?

Again I am trying to help a friend of mine on his 90 - I was by his place the other day and we took off the alternator as it stopped charging. He is trying to get the belt on after the one was installed. It was tight coming off, but he now has a 1/2" drive ratchet to release the tensioner but still can't get it back on. It's a half hour drive to his house and I will go there if I have to - I am hoping a friendly C4 owner knows the trick and I can relay it over the phone.

Thanks

Whatever accessory has the smallest pulley (I think it's the alternator) should be the last device you pull the belt over. If he's pulling the tensioner to it's limit, there shouldn't be any problem.
 

93*Corvette

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Jan 20, 2006
Messages
66
Location
Colorado
Corvette
1993 White Coupe
My 93 was a early model that had a double sided belt. GM had a Technical Service Bulletin that converted it to a single sided belt (for 92-93 models).

1. GM has plenty of double sided belts (24 in Denver alone). GM part number 10186198. Had I known this I probably wouldn't have converted mine. But then again, I already purchased the parts.

2. The Dayco belt I purchase pn 5060670 (67 inch long) appear too small. So I went and purchase a Dayco 5060675 (67 1/2 inch long). The 5060675 was way too loose. So I had to make the 5060670 work. After working hours trying to get the tensioner positioner into place, I quit.

3. I found that if you bolt the tensioner into place, place the belt over the AC and Alt, (basically everything on except the Power Steering pulley), you can use a small flat piece of strong metal (mine was a Autozone Tension pulley loaner kit), you pry the belt around the power steering pulley. The belt easily streched. I sure wish I knew this before spending 5 hours screwing with the tensioner pulley.

4. Most people don't realize that the Tension pulley tool as designed doesn't work since it only loosens the tension pulley wheel, unlike most cars which moves toward the tighten way. Also the AC and Alt must be install 1st since they have lips on the edges which make it hard to get over.
Here is a picture...

 

G Winter

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Aug 21, 2004
Messages
2,177
Location
NW Iowa
Corvette
1990 red convert 6 sp
if I remember right, I used a 1/2 in breaker bar.Can't say I had that much problem. It was a bigger problem getting the new belt routed around the waterpump area.

Glenn
:w
 

Low drag - High speed

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Oct 24, 2003
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201
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Okla-Frikkin'-Homa
Corvette
1995 and 1984 Red Coupes and grey 2007 GMC Sierra
Same here ... I used a 1/2 inch breaker bar on the tensioner and then a large flat-tip screwdriver to feed it over the lipped pulleys. Went in pretty easy.
 

93*Corvette

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Jan 20, 2006
Messages
66
Location
Colorado
Corvette
1993 White Coupe
Low drag - High speed said:
Same here ... I used a 1/2 inch breaker bar on the tensioner and then a large flat-tip screwdriver to feed it over the lipped pulleys. Went in pretty easy.
Just curious how you did it. You have to pry against something. On mine
the tensioner pulley is released when it goes up. The pressure is on the belt when the tensioner is pushed down. My question is how do you push down in the tensioner? You have nothing to pry against.

You can't use the normal tensioner tool (free rental at Autozone) because what happens is it looses the tensioner pulley, unlike most cars when you set the tensioner it tighten the nut and has something to push against. (i.e. Lefty loosey, Righty tightey"

The way I found is to tighten the tensioner to the normal position and get all the belts into place, except for the Power Steering pulley. Then pry it over with a thin piece of flat, stong, metal.... I'm just seeing what you guys are doing that I'm not....

Here's a picture, please explain....

 

korvettekarl

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Messages
468
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Las Vegas, NV
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2017 Grand Sport 90 ZR1 57 Bel Air
There should be a hole in the tensioner. Don't use the bolt that holds the pulley on. The hole is usually square.
 

Low drag - High speed

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Messages
201
Location
Okla-Frikkin'-Homa
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1995 and 1984 Red Coupes and grey 2007 GMC Sierra
Okay ... I'm a little confused or you have different setup on your engine.

The tensioner is mounted on a fixed bracket and keeps tension on the belt with a strong coil spring inside a housing. That housing includes an arm that has the roller wheel on the end. On the face of the roller wheel is a square, 1/2 inch drive socket hole. By mounting the breaker bar in that hole, I have a firm lever that allows me to rotate the arm against the coil spring and move the roller wheel completly out of the way, easily and quickly with a single pull.

While the wheel is retracted, I simply slip the belt off or put it on with the other hand. This is even easier if you have someone else rotate the tensioner and hold it for you. If the new belt is hard to feed over the pulleys, the big screwdriver helps in the same way you feed a tire bead over a wheel rim.

You don't need to unbolt anything to replace the belt and it only has tension in one direction. It's supposed to push itself back down when you stop pulling on the bar and only stays up while you are holding and pulling the bar. I have to wonder if yours has the spring in wrong or it popped loose inside the housing ... or something.
 

93*Corvette

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Jan 20, 2006
Messages
66
Location
Colorado
Corvette
1993 White Coupe
korvettekarl said:
There should be a hole in the tensioner. Don't use the bolt that holds the pulley on. The hole is usually square.
Here is a pic of my 1993 tensioner. The only hole I see is the one that mounts the tensioner. I don't see a square hole... Am I missing something?
Also, a 1/2 or a 3/8 inch doesn't fit in the thin cells located around the bolt mounting hole.
(I know someone will suggest that)

http://i4.tinypic.com/23hnh9c.jpg

 

Hrtbeat1

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Nov 24, 2002
Messages
923
Location
MS Gulf Coast
Corvette
'90 coupe (gone) '96 CE LT4 Z51
5/8" "short" socket & Breaker bar

What everyone else has posted is correct ... except in the case of the LT1/4. I just changed my belt when I installed a new waterpump. When I saw your pics I thought something was wrong ... I went and checked my LT4 and it is the same. The trick is getting a socket short enough as to give you clearance between the tensioner and the frame rail. It seems I put the socket on the bolt then attached the breaker bar, from the drivers side pull toward you and the tensioner should rotate toward the passenger side releasing the tension. Installing the new belt you should start with the crank pulley, by the idler pulley, over the A/C pulley, over the alternator pulley, leaving the PS pump pulley for last. Once you rotate the tensioner fully upward the belt should just about fall into place. A 5/8" box end wrench and a cheater bar should also work. If all else fails you could try the guaranteed knuckle buster ... put the box end over the tensioner, then using a 3/4" box end, wedge the 3/4" box end on to the 5/8" open end and carefully pull back. Be forewarned I already told you this was a guaranteed knuckle buster ... just let those two wrenches slip. :cry

:w
G
 

93*Corvette

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66
Location
Colorado
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1993 White Coupe
Hrtbeat1 said:
What everyone else has posted is correct ... except in the case of the LT1/4. I just changed my belt when I installed a new waterpump. When I saw your pics I thought something was wrong ... I went and checked my LT4 and it is the same.
:w
G
Now you know what I had gone through. I'm a little confused buy you directions.
If you use the pulley bolt as a place to attach the serpentine belt tool, the tool will loose the bolt. By this I mean, if the bolt got tight enough, then the pulley would be forced to move. But since the pulley is setting at the 5 oclock position when installed correctly, you have to release it by making the pulley go counter-clockwise toward the 3 oclock position. The tool only causes the bolt to loosen up (again, tightening would force the pulley to move, loosing will cause the pulley bolt to loosen).

 

Hrtbeat1

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'90 coupe (gone) '96 CE LT4 Z51
Don't use the belt tool .... I don't believe it has a 5/8" box end wrench on the end. The ones I've seen have a 1/2" square drive ( I think I see it in the pics). The big spring on the mount part is what you are trying to compress. The bolt in the middle of the tensioner is where the 5/8" box end goes, the mount part is the pivot. An 18 to 24 inch breaker bar works real nice, gives you plenty of leverage to compress the spring. Get the socket on the tensioner bolt, attach the breaker bar (start with it vertical if possible) then pull toward you (standing on the drivers side) ... the spring will compress and the tensioner will rotate upwards toward the MAF. Even with a 24" breaker bar it takes quite a bit of effort. The PS pump pulley is smooth, but it does have a lip, the belt should ride on the outer side (smooth side of the belt NOT the ribbed side) around the PS pulley. Same for the tensioner.

:w
G
 

Hrtbeat1

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923
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MS Gulf Coast
Corvette
'90 coupe (gone) '96 CE LT4 Z51
I just went back and looked at your pics. There may have been a change in the tensioners between '93 and '96. Yours has ribs, mine is smooth. Maybe the belt routing is different also. :confused My belt is routed the same as is shown in your belt routing diagram posted earlier.

Sorry I can't be of more help.

:w
G
 

Hrtbeat1

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'90 coupe (gone) '96 CE LT4 Z51
93*Corvette said:
since the pulley is setting at the 5 oclock position when installed correctly, you have to release it by making the pulley go counter-clockwise toward the 3 oclock position. The tool only causes the bolt to loosen up (again, tightening would force the pulley to move, loosing will cause the pulley bolt to loosen).



AAHH HA! When installed correctly and looking from the front of the engine to the rear the tensioner pulley should be at 7 o'clock roughly. It needs to rotate CLOCKWISE to about 9 o'clock (up towards the WP and MAF) to compress the spring. Yes you are correct ... righty tighty, lefty loosie. So if the tool has a 5/8" box end (or open end for that matter) it should work.

:w
G
 

93*Corvette

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66
Location
Colorado
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1993 White Coupe
Hrtbeat1 said:
I just went back and looked at your pics. There may have been a change in the tensioners between '93 and '96. Yours has ribs, mine is smooth. Maybe the belt routing is different also. :confused My belt is routed the same as is shown in your belt routing diagram posted earlier.

Sorry I can't be of more help.
1992-1993: Service Bulletin: Noisy/Fraying Accessory Drive Belt
Subject: NOISY/FRAYING ACCESSORY DRIVE BELT (INST. SINGLE-SIDED BELT)
Model and Year: 1992-93 CORVETTE WITH 5.7L (LT1) ENGINE
Source: Chevrolet Service Bulletin
Bulletin Number: 93-273-6A

THIS BULLETIN IS BEING RE-PUBLISHED TO ADD THE LABOR TIME FOR LABOR OPERATION NUMBER E7310.

VEHICLES AFFECT HAVE TILT STEERING COLUMNS (ROUNDS STYLE) WITH THE EXCEPTION OF THE "W" SERIES (SQUARE STYLE).

CONDITION:

Some owners of 1992 and early 1993 model year Corvettes with 5.7L (LT1, VIN P) engines using the double-sided accessory drive belt may experience a noisy or fraying belt condition.

Cause:

Inherent stresses and/or processing of the double-sided belt.

CORRECTION:

To correct this condition a change was made from the double-sided belt system to a new single-sided belt system. Starting the week of March 22,1993, VIN breakpoint #1G1YY23P4P5113150 Corvettes with LT1 engines were built with the new single-sided belt. To repair older units with the double-sided belt to a single-sided belt, the following parts must be installed:

NEW PART NO. DESCRIPTION
----------- -----------
10230259 Belt
10227507 Tensioner
10227069 P/S Pulley
10105355 Idler Pulley


Hrtbeat1 said:
AAHH HA! When installed correctly and looking from the front of the engine to the rear the tensioner pulley should be at 7 o'clock roughly. It needs to rotate CLOCKWISE to about 9 o'clock (up towards the WP and MAF) to compress the spring. Yes you are correct ... righty tighty, lefty loosie. So if the tool has a 5/8" box end (or open end for that matter) it should work.

:w
G
You just clicked the light bulb on in my head.... After reading you 7 oclock statement, I went and looked at mine again. Yes mine is a 7... I was getting wacked out because I'm on the side next to the battery looking at it. I was in a different time zone.
Now I understand why it wouldn't work. I was using the tensioner pulley tool from the top down to the nut (ie no leverage). I should have added onto the tensioner nut so I had more leverage (ie making the tensioner appear longer).
God, I can't beleive it, I FINALLY UNDERSTAND!!!!!
Thanks everyone getting me on the same page as you again.....

 

Hrtbeat1

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Messages
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MS Gulf Coast
Corvette
'90 coupe (gone) '96 CE LT4 Z51
Coolio

I had a feeling you were looking at it bass ackwards.

Glad to be of assistance.

:w
G
 

L48

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Jun 16, 2005
Messages
247
Location
Wadsworth OH
Thanks for all the replies. The original problem was solved using a pry bar on the tensioner following the "long screwdriver" suggestion. The reason he had trouble in the first place was the ratchet in the 1/2" hole on the tensioner was hitting the frame rail limiting travel of the tensioner.
 

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