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How to Replace Coolant Elbow 96-05 Buick LeSabre

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How to Replace Coolant Elbow 96-05 Buick LeSabre

Created on: 2013-07-02

If the coolant elbow or heater hose elbow is broken or leaking, watch this video and learn how to replace it yourself

  1. step 1 :Disconnecting the Battery
    • Disconnect the negative battery cable with an 8mm wrench
    • Push the negative battery cable aside
  2. step 2 :Removing the Serpentine Belt
    • Loosen the serpentine belt tensioner with a 15mm socket and ratchet
    • Pull the belt off the alternator pulley
    • Remove the belt
  3. step 3 :Removing the Alternator
    • Remove the three 13mm nuts from the front of the alternator
    • Remove the nut from the front alternator bracket
    • Remove the front alternator bracket
    • Remove the 13mm nut from the back of the alternator
    • Remove the 13mm bolt from the front of the alternator
    • Remove the 10mm nut from the back of the alternator
    • Lift out the alternator
    • Disconnect the alternator wiring harness
    • Pull out the alternator
  4. step 4 :Draining the Coolant
    • Have a drain pan ready
    • Remove four 10mm bolt from the driver’s side of the splash guard
    • Remove the 7mm bolts from the splash guard
    • Remove the plastic drain plug from the radiator with needle nose pliers
    • Allow the coolant to drain
    • Reinsert the plastic drain plug
    • Put the splash guard into place
    • Insert the 7mm bolts into the splash guard
    • Insert the 10mm bolts into the splash guard
  5. step 5 :Removing the Belt Tensioner
    • Have a drain pan ready
    • Remove two 8mm screws from the coolant pipes
    • Pull the upper hose off the tensioner
    • Pry the lower hose off the tensioner with a flat blade screwdriver
    • Remove the two 13mm bolts from the tensioner
    • Pry the tensioner away from the engine block with a flat blade screwdriver
    • Remove the tensioner
    • If any of the coolant hose elbow has remained in the engine block, pull it out with a hook tool
    • If you can’t get it with a hook tool, loosen it with a hammer and a screwdriver
  6. step 6 :Installing the New Belt Tensioner
    • If you are replacing the elbow alone, remove the old elbow from the tensioner
    • Then install the new elbow into the old tensioner
    • Otherwise, proceed with a new tensioner, including the elbow
    • Clean the surfaces where the gaskets connect
    • Push the tensioner and the elbow into place
    • Insert the 13mm bolts into the tensioner
    • Remove the old seals from the hoses with a pick tool
    • Put new seals onto the hoses
    • Connect the hoses to the tensioner
    • Insert the 8mm bolts that hold the hoses to the tensioner
  7. step 7 :Reinstalling the Alternator
    • Put the alternator into place
    • Insert the 13mm bolt into the alternator
    • Reconnect the wiring lead to the alternator
    • Insert the 10mm bolt into the back of the alternator
    • Put the front alternator bracket into place
    • Fasten the 13mm bolts into the alternator
  8. step 8 :Reinstalling the Serpentine Belt
    • Familiarize yourself with the belt diagram
    • Loop the belt around the alternator
    • Bring it around the tensioner pulley
    • Bring it around the water pump
    • Bring it around the crank pulley
    • Bring it around the A/C compressor
    • Bring it around the Power steering pump
    • Pull the tensioner clockwise with the15mm socket and ratchet
    • Pull the belt over the idler pulley
    • Release the tensioner
  9. step 9 :Refilling the Radiator
    • Remove the radiator cap
    • Add coolant to the radiator
  10. step 10 :Reconnect the Battery
    • Reconnect the negative battery cable using the 8mm wrench

Tools needed for replacement

  • General Tools

    Drain Pan

    Pick

  • Pliers, Cutters & misc Wrenches

    Needle nose pliers

  • Ratchets & Related

    Ratchet

  • Screwdrivers & Related

    Pry Bar

  • Sockets - Metric

    13mm Socket

    15mm Socket

    8mm Socket

    10mm Socket

Installation Video
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Brought to you by 1AAuto.com, your source for quality replacement parts and the best service on the Internet.

Hi, I'm Don from 1A Auto. I hope this how-to video helps you out, and next time you need parts for your vehicle, think of 1AAuto.com. Thanks.

In this video we're going to show you how to replace the coolant elbow that comes out of the serpentine belt tensioner and goes into the cylinder head. It's going to be basically the same operation for a 97-99 LeSabre with a 3.8 liter engine. The items you're going to need are a new belt tensioner coolant elbow from 1A Auto, 10, 13 and 15mm sockets and socket wrench, pry bar, 8 mm wrench, a hook tool and a coolant drain pain.

I'm using an 8mm wrench to remove the negative terminal on the battery, pushing it off to the side. The belt tensioner pulley is right below the alternator. The alternator being here, here being the belt tensioner. I'm going to use a 15mm socket and socket wrench to loosen up the tension on the belt. Once I've got that, slide it off the alternator pulley and the rest of the pulleys. Here I'm pointing out the nuts and bolts that hold in the alternator that we're going to remove. Those are 13 mm. There are three of them and then on the back side of the alternator there's a 10 mm bolt that holds there the bracket to the alternator.

I'm removing the 13 mm nuts that hold the alternator to the engine. I'm going to fast forward the video while I remove those three nuts and bolts that hold the alternator in. Underneath the coils there's another nut that holds this bracket into place and we need to remove that nut so that we can access the nut and stud right here. Once you get that nut loose you can either let the bar hang, kind of keep it out of your way or you can completely remove it. On the back side of the alternator I'm going to remove this 13mm nut. The harness that goes to it, I'm just going to rest it out of the way. Remove the 13mm nut here. Now we're going to remove the 10mm nut on the back side. We can go ahead and lift out your alternator and on the back side you'll see a clip with the wire harness. Disconnect that. Pull your alternator out.

Under the front spoiler you're going to find the splash pan and several 10mm bolts that hold the splash pan in and remove a few of those, like three or four of them to get access to the underside of the radiator where the coolant drain is. I'm going to fast forward as I remove those. Once you have the 10mm bolts down and you can gain access. If you feel like you need further access there's a couple 7 mm screws that are held here and just by removing these and getting it totally out of the way it might benefit you in that the coolant doesn't get splashed against the pan before it gets into your container. Here I'm feeling around for the plastic drain plug. You're going to want to turn it. You can use a pair of pliers if you need too. When the coolant comes out it's going to come out that hole at the bottom of the radiator where we're looking and you're going to want a coolant catch pan or something to catch the coolant as it's coming out. I'm going to go ahead and fast forward while I drain the coolant out. With our coolant drained out we can go ahead and put the splash pan back in place and secure it with the 10 and 7 mm screws we took out.

On the tensioner, there are two 8mm screws that hold the coolant pipes in. We're going to remove those two 8mm screws. Wiggle your pipe back and forth, pulling it up at the same time and pull it out and set it aside. Do the same for the bottom and the other hose. I need to use something for leverage to kind of free it up. Once you get the pipe free and out go ahead and rest it to the side and make sure that you've got a drain pain underneath to catch any leftover coolant. The two 13 mm bolts, one is down here and the other is back behind here. Here I'm pointing out the coolant pipe that goes into the block. This is actually part of the casting of the tensioner so we've got to work that free. Using a screwdriver in between the tensioner and the block, just work it free. As you pull the tensioner out you'll see how the coolant flows through the tensioner casting through the elbow on the right hand side and down through the bottom. In this case you can see that the elbow is cracked and still a portion of it is inside the head so we're going to have to get that out with a hook tool.

It's tough to see but down inside of here you can see where the elbow broke inside. I'm going to use a small hook tool to pull it out. There's the O ring. The hook tool wasn't enough to get the broken piece from coming out. It's kind of seized in there, seated. I'm going to use a small flat blade screwdriver and a little hammer and give it a little tap to try and free it up. Then we go back in with the pick tool and pull that out. This was just an FYI, you may or may not experience this issue with the elbow.

If you find that your tensioner is fine but it's just your elbow that you need to replace; because, the seals have gone bad or it's cracked we can do that. 1A Auto stocks a new elbow. It's just as simple as pulling it out and putting a new piece in. Here's the old part and the new part from 1A Auto. The new part comes with a new elbow and for the sake of this video we're going to show you the installation with the new part, but if you're just doing the elbow by itself it's the same.

I want to make sure that the surfaces where my seals are going to be sitting is clean, so run your finger inside and make sure that that's okay as well as in here with this elbow. On your new tensioner you're going to want to make sure that your gasket is on and you've got your elbow with the two gaskets. You can go ahead and put in one side of the elbow, seat that and go ahead and put the tensioner back inside, in place. Line everything up and press in. In here, I'm going to reinstall the first of the two 13mm bolts that hold the tensioner in place. I'm going to go ahead and fast forward while I reinstall and tighten up those 13mm bolts.I 'm going to reinstall the other 13mm that goes on the bottom right underneath the tensioner here. Now I'm going to replace the seal on the end of the top hose and on the bottom hose. I'm just going to use a pick tool to pick them out. Here, I'm using a small pocket flathead screwdriver to run it through the groove on the pipe so that the seal sits nice and flush. Fit your new seal on the other side. Press it in. Reinstall the 8mm bolts that hold the coolant pipes to the tensioner. I'm going to go ahead and fast forward while I reinstall those bolts. I'm reinstalling the alternator. Go ahead and start your bolts. I'm going to put the cable on the back, secure that. Reinstall the 10mm on the back side of the alternator. Reinstall your bracket. We took it off and secure it. We left it hanging. Then plug your harness back in back on the back side of the alternator.

Before you get to putting the belt back on here's just a quick look at the belt diagram. If your belt has fallen off the pulleys, this will just help you get it back on their correctly. Line your belt back up on the pulleys, put it over the alternator. Leave it off of the idler pulley and then proceed to pull up and snake the belt back onto the idler pulley. Here you see the belt up over the alternator, tensioner pulley, water pump, crank, AC compressor and power steering pump. Remove your radiator cap. Refill your coolant. Reconnect the battery.

We hope this helps you out. Brought to you by www.1AAuto.com, your source for quality replacement parts and the best service on the Internet. Please feel free to call us toll-free, 888-844-3393. We're the company that's here for you on the Internet and in person.

Tools needed for replacement:

    General Tools

  • Drain Pan
  • Pick

  • Pliers, Cutters & misc Wrenches

  • Needle nose pliers

  • Ratchets & Related

  • Ratchet

  • Screwdrivers & Related

  • Pry Bar

  • Sockets - Metric

  • 13mm Socket
  • 15mm Socket
  • 8mm Socket
  • 10mm Socket

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