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Help with Serpentine Belt on '97 4.6L V6 w/ AC


Old 09-11-2012, 10:04 PM
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Help with Serpentine Belt on '97 4.6L V6 w/ AC

Hi, I have a 1997 F-150 (4.6L V6 with AC). The serpentine belt broke last week and I'm trying to replace it myself. This is basically the first time I've ever attempted any vehicle repair outside of replacing a battery or tire..

Since the belt broke off I wasn't able to get a look at it before attempting to put the new one on. Based on the diagram under the hood there are 7 pulleys that the the belt needs to connect to. Here's a shot of the diagram:

I was able to feed the belt between the idler and tensioner, wrap it around the A/C pulley, and then crank shaft and power steering. The belt didn't have enough slack to go around the water pump or alternator. This is where I'm stuck. I understand I need to somehow rotate the tensioner clockwise, but I've been unable to figure out how.

Advice on the internet says to use a 1/2 inch or 3/8 inch breaker bar. I purchased a serpentine repair kit from Advance Auto Parts (not sure if this is the correct tool - but they said it was) My experience so far is that the 1/2 inch is too large and the 3/8 inch is too small (so I'm sure I'm doing something wrong). I can't fit the 1/2 inch into the hole (assuming I'm using the correct one) and the 3/8 inch doesn't seem to catch when I pull on the bar.

Anyways, I'm hoping someone can give me tips or point me towards a video or picture that *actually shows* how to rotate the tensioner using whatever tool it is I'm supposed to use. All of the videos / guides / etc I've found basically say "stick the breaker bar in the hole and pull" but I'm too dense for that or something!

I appreciate any help! Thanks!

Last edited by Stephen Brown; 09-11-2012 at 10:06 PM. Reason: smaller image
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Old 09-11-2012, 10:50 PM
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Join Date: Dec 2011
Location: Lovely Land of Iowa
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first is it a 4.2 v6? it looks to be a 4.6 v8. second all you need is a breaker bar, and a proper length belt... if i remeber correctly we used a 1/2 on mine (we came through the bottom and pushed). i could be incorrect. just follow the diagram and youll be back in the saddle.

Last edited by 1997 lariat 4.6; 09-11-2012 at 11:41 PM.
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Old 09-12-2012, 02:53 PM
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Location: Austin TX
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It's possible the hole on your tensioner is rounded out. Looks like the F150 has a different tensioner setup from a Panther so I'm not quite sure. I know it's not unheard of for a breaker bar to round out the softer aluminium of the tensioner lug.
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Old 09-16-2012, 03:58 PM
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Thanks for the info guys. The truck is actually a 4.6L V8, not sure why I though it was a V6. I ended up using a 1/2" drive ratchet instead of using the breaker bar. I think I was just having a hard time lining up the breaker bar properly - whereas I could make adjustments to the ratchet to get it to line up properly.
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