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Old 01-02-2007, 02:06 AM   #1 (permalink)
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I was experiencing squeaking noises from about a month ago and the noise was coming from the passenger side under the hood. Now it's time for replacing the pulleys. By the way, my taurus is 99 vulcan 3.0L with 150k miles on it.

Since I knew that idler and tensioner pulley bearings wear out easily from other TCCA postings, I decided to replace the idler and tensioner pulleys first.

step 1: choose the right tool

In order to replace the pulleys, you need to remove the serpentine belt first. Taurus has a tensioner pulley that automatically adjust itself to maintain proper level of tension and you need to rotate the tensioner bolt in order to loosen the tension manually. However, the problem is that you do not have enough room for its access and you need to exert strong torque to rotate the bolt.

Most auto part shops sell the tool named "serpentine belt removal tool." It is basically a long wrench bar and you can access the tensioner pulley bolt quite easily with it. The price is usually somewhere around $30. My local Advance Auto Parts shop had a rental program with $30 security deposit and you probably can find similar rental offers at your local part stores. I heard that Autozone has free rental program as well. Check gohim's posting at http://www.taurusclub.com/forum/index.php?...c=34528&hl=

You might go with similar, longer wrenches but this tool was very convenient and made the work quite easy for me.

step 2: loosen the tensioner tension

About.com carries a diagram for serpentine belt routing with pulley names. (You can also check Haynes manual chapter 1 for similar diagram) Check http://autorepair.about.com/library/images/bl403lib.htm. P/S, C/S, W/P and ALT stand for power steering, crankshaft, water pump, and alternator. Among the two pulleys without names, the upper one is the idler and the lower one is the tensioner pulley. You don't need to consider air conditioner pulley for this work.

Now it's time for remove the serpentine belt. Using the serpentine belt tool, put the other end on the tensioner pulley bolt. (15mm) Haynes manual says that you need to rotate the tool _clockwise_ while you are standing on the passenger side. (My Taurus is 3.0L vulcan OHV type.) When you try that, you are going to feel some tension from the tensioner spring and the tensioner pulley shifts a little to lessen the serpentine belt tension. While keep pushing the tool clockwise, take the serpentine belt off the pulleys.

step 3: check the noise & replace the pulleys

Try to rotate the pulleys by hand. If the bearings are failing, you can hear squeaking noise easily. The grease inside the bearing should exert damping force when you start to roll the pulley. If any pulley rotates freely without this damping sensation, you need to replace it too.

For my case, both idler and tensioner pulleys were making squeaking sounds when rotated. In order to take them out, you need to rotate the pulley bolt _counterclockwise_ this time. Again, you do not have sufficient room to put wrench in, so having the serpentine belt tool will help you quite much.

After that, put new pulleys in and tighten the bolts.

step 4: serpentine belt installation

Refer to the serpentine belt diagram and route the belt accordingly. While lessening the belt tension with the serpentine belt tool rotating clockwise as you have done before, put the belt back on. From my experience, putting the belt on the idler pulley as the last step was easier since the idler does not have any outside teeth for belt guide. Once the belt is correctly put on, the job is now complete!

total costs and others

It cost me about $80 for parts from NAPA. (idler and tensioner pulleys for $40, serpentine belt for $40) Probably you can save more at other discount stores. Now the squeaking noise is all gone. One nice thing I did not expect is that the car runs smoother. Idling got more stable and the acceleration feels smoother too.

Hope my experience can be helpful. Happy new year!
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Old 01-04-2007, 09:32 PM   #2 (permalink)
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I'm thinking this would be a good addition to the wiki...
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Old 01-20-2007, 10:09 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Very 'well written' and informative IMO.



Thanks for taking the time to help us all out jwsohn00...

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Old 08-12-2010, 10:53 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Visiting Mom In Arizona and I heard the sqeaking on Her Car. I was gonna run the car in to have someone peg down the source for me than fix it myself. A little worried that I'd be able to find someone to confirm the source without having to pay Alot of money. I was guessing it was the idler pulley but wanted someone to confirm it ya know? So i read this post and have decided the smartest thing is to replace both pulley's and slap on a new belt As darn good preventive maintenance! GoD knows mothers dont watch the temp gauge and when you pulley self destructs, water pump and all else stop turning therefore in 107 degree wheather by the time you catch it your car is chugging and your temp gauge is pegged, my worst fear. So Replace both pulleys, check the tensioner for good tension, clean all existing pulleys with brake part cleaner and put new belt on. Start the car and do a burn out! Just to make sure everything is working! I called checker, they got both pulley's for $19.99 each (rubber sealed/metal)(1 year warranty) and tool rental but no longer carry the gator back belts. So I am waiting for Napa to open and wanted check prices on lifetime warranty pulleys. I figure it'll be worth the money since I'm doing the work for free she saves from having some crook charge $300 in some shop and they'd prob but the cheapest of everything on and charge high retail prices for those parts. Plus Napa prob has the gator back belts. So i plan on going there. Jesus set me free from drugs and Now I live for him. Thanks for reading, and thanks for this guys post before me, It should be added to Wikipedia!
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Old 08-12-2010, 10:57 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by james_paul_miller View Post
Visiting Mom In Arizona and I heard the sqeaking on Her Car. I was gonna run the car in to have someone peg down the source for me than fix it myself. A little worried that I'd be able to find someone to confirm the source without having to pay Alot of money. I was guessing it was the idler pulley but wanted someone to confirm it ya know? So i read this post and have decided the smartest thing is to replace both pulley's and slap on a new belt As darn good preventive maintenance! GoD knows mothers dont watch the temp gauge and when you pulley self destructs, water pump and all else stop turning therefore in 107 degree wheather by the time you catch it your car is chugging and your temp gauge is pegged, my worst fear. So Replace both pulleys, check the tensioner for good tension, clean all existing pulleys with brake part cleaner and put new belt on. Start the car and do a burn out! Just to make sure everything is working! I called checker, they got both pulley's for $19.99 each (rubber sealed/metal)(1 year warranty) and tool rental but no longer carry the gator back belts. So I am waiting for Napa to open and wanted check prices on lifetime warranty pulleys. I figure it'll be worth the money since I'm doing the work for free she saves from having some crook charge $300 in some shop and they'd prob but the cheapest of everything on and charge high retail prices for those parts. Plus Napa prob has the gator back belts. So i plan on going there. Jesus set me free from drugs and Now I live for him. Thanks for reading, and thanks for this guys post before me, It should be added to Wikipedia!
If you don't have reason to suspect a pulley problem, just change the belt.

I'm not against preventative maintenance, but some people are way too much into wasting money. My '02 has 90k on it and no pulley has gone bad yet.
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Old 08-12-2010, 12:51 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Nice writeup. Now, to take it a step further, how do you replace the whole tensioner assembly? It looks like it's some sort of a very big torx in there. Can anybody confirm how to do that?
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Old 08-12-2010, 12:59 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Yes, it's just 1 large Torx screw to remove the tensioner. 2 size bits will fit, make sure you use the larger of the 2 so it doesn't strip.
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