: Changing the Serpentine belt on a VIN Y Northstar V8

03-22-13, 08:08 PM
I don't have any pictures, but I have details, so that should help. Here goes.

Before you start, make sure you have access to a 1/2 ratchet. Get the proper serpentine belt for your vehicle, and try to do this when the engine is cool. The last part will save your hands from complete annihilation.

Park the car and engage the parking brake. Turn the steering wheel all the way to the right. This will allow for access to the harmonic balancer when the time comes for threading the new belt. Pop the hood.

One the hood is open, take a good look at the belt tensioner (below the big power steering pulley at the top of the right side of the engine). On the front end there is a square in the tensioner frame. This is where the 1/2 ratchet goes. Adjust the ratchet so that you can apply full force in the downward direction. When inserting the ratchet, be careful as the air conditioning system has a big line that will be in close quarters with the ratchet. Gently move the A/C line to allow full ratchet installation.

Once the ratchet is in, push down. This will release tension from the tensioner, and it will allow you to pop the old belt off the top of the PS pulley. Do that. Once the old belt is off the PS pulley, remove the ratchet (or it will get in the way. Ask me how I know) and thread out the old belt.

Once the old belt is gone, get your new one and start threading it through the pulleys. Be patient. Curse words will help in this step :sneaky: Just a heads up, there is little room, so your hands may get a little beat up, but it's nothing terrible. The belt routing is conveniently located on the black plastic shroud that goes over the top of the radiator and headlights, so that can be used for reference. If that is missing, the diagram is available in Submariner409's albums, on the internet, or it may be on the back of the package like mine. Make darn sure it is threaded right, and on the pulleys properly.

Once you finish threading, the belt will be on all of the pulleys except for the PS pulley. Reinstall the 1/2 ratchet into the tensioner frame, push down, and slip the belt over the PS pulley. Make sure the belt is on all the pulleys securely, and that the grooves are in the tracks on most pulleys. For the tensioner pulley and one other pulley, the smooth side of the belt will contact the pulley. Make sure it is properly seated. Start the car, and make sure there are no issues. Well done. :thumbsup:

03-22-13, 10:00 PM
Nice write up. You should mention to check the tensioner and related idler pulleys while you have the belt off.
I bought a serp belt tool kit from Napa a zillion years ago and it is way easier using it than 1/2 ratchets. The thin design and the fact that you can articulate it to avoid obstructions has proven to be invaluable. It comes with a variety of adapters as well.

03-23-13, 12:00 AM
Lucky man, I had to change my '97 SLS's serp belt on the side of the road about a month ago with NO tools... It can be done.
GearWrench makes a fantastic ratcheting serp belt tool I bought about 10 years ago. Best 50 bucks I ever spent, and although the price has risen since, I believe it's still a good deal. When I worked in transmission shops it was strong enough to break loose torque convertor bolts in tight spaces.