1997 S-10 Pickup Belt and Tensioner

Old 09-19-02, 09:46 AM
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1997 S-10 Pickup Belt and Tensioner

I have a 1997 S-10 ZR-2 4.3 litre w/ air. 88k and it seems as though things are going wrong all of the time with it. It is starting to get expensive. My Serpentine Belt and Tension Arm need to be replaced. It looks pretty straight forward, even for a person with limited knowledge of auto repair for models after 1985. Is there any special considerations needed to purchase the parts and do the repair myself. Is their a specific range of tension that the belt needs to have? Any special tools that would be needed for the repair? One last question unrelated to the belt and tensioner, What are the thoughts on the specially formulated engine oil for higher mileage engines? Good? Bad?
Old 09-19-02, 04:51 PM
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My first question would be as to why the tensioner itself needs replacing. Occasionally the tensioner pulley or its bearing will fail, but those are replaceable without removing the tensioner itself.

Having said that, it's pretty straight forward stuff. Take tension off the belt with either a 1/2" drive breaker bar or a wrench (there's a bolt head for the wrench or a square hole for the breaker bar). Make sure you have a diagram of the belt installation (normally on a sticker under the hood somewhere) or draw yourself a sketch for referecne. While holding tension off the belt, remove belt from one or more accessory pulleys or the belt tensioner or idler and then carefully let off pressure on the tensioner. The tensioner itself should just unbolt with one bolt in the rear I believe. Installation in reverse order.
Proper tensioning is automatic; just make sure the belt is seated properly in the grooves of all the pulleys. For future reference, look on the top of the tensioner and see if you see a small arrow on one part and a couple of marks on the other. When properly installed the pointer should be between the marks. This is also a way of checking for a worn belt - when the stretch of the belt makes the pointer go out of the marks, time for new belt soonest.

Forget about the the fancy oil; mainly designed to separate you from more of your money. Besides which, I wouldn't classify a '97 with 88k as "high-mileage". Change oil and filter every 3000 miles and you'll be fine. My '94 Chevy W-4 wrecker has 320,000 miles (190,000 since it was short-blocked) and we use Sam's Club 10w-30 - the engine uses practically no oil.

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