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How To Replace Serpentine Belt Tensioner 97-03 Ford Expedition

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Created on: 2010-07-15

In this video, 1A Auto expert mechanics will guide you through the process of replacing the serpentine belt tensioner on your 97-03 Ford Expedition

  1. step 1 :Disconnect the battery
    • Use an 8 mm wrench to disconnect the negative battery cable.
  2. step 2 :Remove the serpentine belt.
    • Locate your serpentine belt routing diagram or draw yourself one.
    • Use a 1/2 inch ratchet bar on the belt tensioner to loosen the tension on the serpentine belt.
    • Remove the serpentine belt and check the belt for cracks, frays or flaws.
    • Remove the 10 mm bolts mounting the serpentine belt tensioner.
  3. step 3 :Install the new tensioner
    • Bolt the tensioner in using your 10 mm socket and ratchet.
    • Use a 1/2 inch ratchet to install the serpentine belt.
    • Use your diagram to route the belt properly.
    • Reconnect your battery using your 8 mm wrench.

Tools needed

  • 8mm Wrench

    1/2 Inch Ratchet

    10mm Socket


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Hi, I'm Mike Green. I'm one of the owners of 1AAuto. I want to help you save time and money repairing and maintaining your vehicle. I'm going to use my 20+ years' experience restoring and repairing cars and trucks like this to show you the correct way to install parts from 1AAuto.com. The right parts install correctly. That's going to save you time and money. Thank you and enjoy the video.

In this video we're going to be replacing the serpentine belt tensioner on this 1997 Ford expedition. This procedure is the same for any Expedition, Excursion, F150, Navigator, even Blackwood; as long as you've got a 4.6L, 5.4L, or even the V10, this is the same. The tools you'll need are 8 mm 5/16 wrench to disconnect your battery, a 1/2-inch ratchet bar, and a bigger wrench to help you get your belt, and then a 10 mm socket and ratchet to remove the bolts. That size could change by vehicle but probably not.

What you want to is disconnect your negative battery cable. On these trucks it's either a this is a standard 5/16, or 8 mm's also work.

Okay, so you're obviously going to have to remove your serpentine belt. The belt tensioner has a 1/2-inch square hole in it, so basically what I'm showing you here is that's a 1/2-inch drive handle that is in the tensioner, so basically you want to take a 1/2-inch drive socket handle and get it into the tensioner. Now I'm going to take a large wrench and actually get it on that handle, which gives me more leverage, and then you pull up on the wrench, and then I'm going to fast motion here. Once you pull the wrench aside, you can pull the belt right off of the alternator. Then you basically you don't have to pull it all the way off, probably get the tensioner out, but you have to pull it at least partway out.

Your serpentine belt tensioner is right here. It attaches with three bolts: one there, one right down there, and one here. Those are 10 mm bolts. Okay, a little fast forward through the kind of monotonous stuff. Don't try to work this fast at home. Goes to here. I've got my wrench on this last one, not a lot of room to get my hand down in there to push. I'm having a lot of trouble with it, so I'm going to do here put this block of wood down in there to contact the wrench, and then use a little old-school impact here. Got it, loosen it up. Okay, and again, after that little tip, we'll go through a little fast forward. And again, do not try and duplicate my lightning-fast hands there.

The tensioner fell off and fell down, and so, there is the tensioner out of the vehicle. Obviously, our tensioners will not be exactly the same. This tensioner is fine, so I'm actually just going to mount it right back on the vehicle, which is going to be fun. The tensioner mounts in this way with the pulley facing in. So what I'm going to do is I'm going to get it down in there, and them I'm going to get this first bolt in, the easiest one to reach. So I feed it down, and I get my hand under here to support the tensioner, manage to the tensioner in place, get that first bolt in. One in place, and then the hardest one will be this right down here. I got all three bolts in place. I'll hand tighten them, and then I'll tighten them up.

Okay, we're going to some fast motion so you won't have to watch all this boring junk. I'm just using a little bit of air ratchet there, a little bit, and then tightening it with my hand.

Once those are tight, then you're ready to put your serpentine belt back on. When you're ready to put your serpentine belt back on, you definitely want to find this diagram right here. This is your routine diagram, and it's really going to be difficult for me to video putting the belt on; so I'm going to kind of show you what the best practice is.

What you want to do is curl your belt up and feed a loop down through here, and then put that loop around the AC compression. Then the same thing: take it, make a loop, feed it down in here to put around your crank, and then feed a loop down here to your power steering pump. Then make sure it's up and over your water pump, and then you basically should be able to pull your belt up, and then you put your handle back into the tensioner here, pull this way on the tensioner, and you should be able to pull up and onto the alternator.

Once you got your belt on, reattach your battery, and start up the car. Listen. Make sure there's no screeching or grinding or anything, and if it's all nice and quiet, then your belt's on there correctly.

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 serves you on the internet and in person.

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