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Today my serpentine belt snapped on my 2004 Taurus SES (Vulcan 3.0L engine). I had already been looking into bypassing the air conditioning compressor because it was making noises down there and I thought it might freeze up and snap the belt. I was betting on a few more days before doing the bypass - but I lost that bet!

I am going to replace the air conditioner compressor, but I want to do that a few weeks from now. In the meantime, I have bypassed the compressor pulley with a shorter belt. That will give me a bit of time to look into what I have to do and what I have to get to do the rest of the job.

The belt snapped at around 1 PM and I was up and running again by 8 PM. That included waiting for the tow truck for an hour and a half, then doing some stuff at home, two trips to the auto parts store, going out to get some dinner, and some sitting around resting.

BUT what I found out didn't match up with the other reports on this forum in regards to doing this bypass. SO ... I'll give the right "numbers" for doing this kind of job for a 2004 Taurus, 3.0L Vulcan engine.

First of all, if you check to see what size a normal belt is for this year and engine, you'll find it's an 85.5 inch belt with six ribs. At AutoZone they have that as an 855k6 belt (the 855 is 85.5 inches and the 6 is 6 ribs on the belt).

Now, in the reading I did here, I saw sizes for the bypass belt to be either 81.5 or 81.7 inches. Other sizes for the 3.0L Vulcan engine in other years was - 82.0, 82.2, 82.5 or 82.7 inches.

Those were all wrong for this particular year and engine!

I used the snapped belt to get an approximation of length (by wrapping it around in a bypass position and measuring what I came up with), while keeping in mind that I had already seen the numbers of 81.5 and 81.7 as working for this year and engine. I could see from my approximation and using the broken belt for measurement that these numbers were too long for the bypass, so I first picked 80.5. Well, with that -- the tensioner was "all the way out" and it was still loose!

Estimating from that belt how much slack I had to take out - I thought I would try about an inch and a half less - so I went back for a 79.0 inch belt. At first I struggled to get the belt on with that belt and it seemed too short (but it wasn't) and I came back at it again, but this time making sure I took up all the movement out of the tensioner I could and then also positioning the belt over the top idler wheel, ready to slip it over - and with the belt well-seated in all the other pulleys. The second time around it slipped on to the idler wheel just fine. The tensioner position was in the same position, as when the normal belt was on there - so it was positioned just right.

I didn't have to unbolt the compressor to get any clearance for the belt, either. The clearance is very very small - but it clears. It looks like the bypass belt clears the compressor pulley by just -- One Millimeter -- that's it, but that's enough.

SO ... if you have a 2004 Taurus with a 3.0L Vulcan engine -- you'll need a 79.0 inch belt to bypass the air conditioner compressor, pulley, and you'll have very little clearance for the belt, but enough to make it work.
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