Serpentine Belt Tensioner

Old 09-17-07, 01:02 PM
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Serpentine Belt Tensioner

I just replaced the serpentine belt on a 1994 GMC Van, G2500 with 5.7l engine (w/ A/C). The tensioner cannot be made to apply any tension on the belt.

Is the tensioner "stuck"? If so, can it be disassembled and fixed? OR, is there a "secret" to getting the tensioner to uncoil its spring and put tension on the belt?

Dave the confused
Old 09-17-07, 01:05 PM
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You probably have the belt on the wrong side of the tensioner. It take a BIG tool to move the tensioner. You might want to get help from someone that has done it before.
Old 09-17-07, 03:25 PM
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You should have a map on the fan shroud that shows the proper routing of the belt. Like mentioned before, it sounds routed wrong. Don't try to take a tensioner apart 'cus they have a really big spring under tension just waiting to remove a finger or something.
Old 09-17-07, 04:07 PM
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IF you have the belt on the right side and the tensioner is still not all it should be, it may be fixable.

as hopkins posted, do not disassemble the tensioner. The spring can hurt you.

I have had a tensioner do the same thing. What I did (that was successful) is; without the belt installed, take whatever wrench is required to move the tensioner. Then, spray the spring liberally with WD-40 or other lube and work the daylights out of the tensioner,moving it back and forth as far as you can.

What happens is modern belts stretch very little so the tensioner stays in the same place for a long time. They do freeze up sometimes. Working it like I suggested USUALLY frees it up. If that does not work, it is time for a new tensioner.
Old 09-17-07, 05:18 PM
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Okay, let's answer the what-if's here.

1) I figured the spring could be dangerous, that's why I asked.

2) It's routed correctly.

3) I left it overnight drenched in "Liquid Wrench'.

4) The guy helping me has done this before.

5) I WILL get a great big long pipe on it tomorrow.

6) Failing all that... Just buy a new one?

Oh, and the point about it staying in the same place a long time is a good point. Thank you to everyone for their input. The long pipe sounds like the most likely solution. I just wanted to find out what i was doing first.

"Don't force it. Use a bigger hammer."

PS Oh, the pulley actually in contact with the belt is running loose and freely.
Old 09-18-07, 05:09 AM
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Unless you know it doens't have many miles on it, just replace the unit. Be a shame to wrestle with it for this long and two weeks from now have the tensioner fail, take out the belt, throw chunks into the fan and radiator, etc.
Old 09-18-07, 06:35 PM
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belt tensioner

A 24 inch pipe wrench fit over the hub very nicely. RW

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