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View Full Version : Serpentine Belt on F150 V6



Dave Lehnert
04-24-2012, 5:21 PM
I need to replace the serpentine belt on my 1997 F150 V6 4.2L.
When it comes to working on cars, other than an oil change, I tend to let someone else to it. The serpentine belt looks easy enough for me to do on my own and save some money. Is there anything I should know that I don't about replacing the belt? Like getting the timing out of adjustment or ?????? I am assuming it would be just like replacing a belt on a mower deck etc...

Also the shop I get my work done recommends replacing the belt adjuster at the same time. I know it can't hurt but is that necessary.

Steve Meliza
04-24-2012, 5:45 PM
Not the same engine, but I had a Mitsubishi V6 with twin overhead cams that would allow pistons and valves to collide if the belt slipped or broke. Replacing the belt is a 60k mile maintenance item and the tensioner pulley may have been a 120k mile replacement item, but it was worth replacing at the same time. I replaced the belt and tensioner myself using the shop manual, though it did require one special tool that could be purchased or fabricated as I did. Timing wasn't an issue per se, you just had to make sure all four cam shafts and the crankshaft were all lined up properly with the new belt installed and tensioned.

Considering that your engine probably won't eat itself if the belt breaks you have a little more room to be cheap and not replace the tensioner, but I think it would be a good idea if the price isn't too high to do so.

Bruce Volden
04-24-2012, 7:22 PM
Replaced mine on the INLINE 6 cyl. Takes 5 minutes and a crescent wrench for the tensioner. Hardest part is getting it around the radiator fan--did I mention it took 5 minutes??

Bruce

Greg R Bradley
04-24-2012, 7:37 PM
Not the same engine, but I had a Mitsubishi V6 with twin overhead cams that would allow pistons and valves to collide if the belt slipped or broke. Replacing the belt is a 60k mile maintenance item and the tensioner pulley may have been a 120k mile replacement item, but it was worth replacing at the same time. I replaced the belt and tensioner myself using the shop manual, though it did require one special tool that could be purchased or fabricated as I did. Timing wasn't an issue per se, you just had to make sure all four cam shafts and the crankshaft were all lined up properly with the new belt installed and tensioned.

Considering that your engine probably won't eat itself if the belt breaks you have a little more room to be cheap and not replace the tensioner, but I think it would be a good idea if the price isn't too high to do so.

That was a TIMING belt, not a serpentine belt. Completely different.
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To answer the original question: Serpentine belts tend to be easy. The tensioner might be a good idea if the original manufacturer used a plastic pulley on the tensioner. Ford was famous for this nonsense. Ford has a bad reputation for redesigning something and using complete garbage for materials, then improving it several times until they finally get it right. You won't know without checking what the failure history is for that specific part. Check on the web for what fails on that specific model.

Wil Limanen
04-25-2012, 1:20 PM
Make sure you have the belt routing sticker to go by. I had taken a belt off once and went to put it back on and the sticker wasn't there to go by. I finally figured out the belt routing after an hour.

Wil

John Lohmann
04-25-2012, 2:36 PM
Digital camera, take pictures, on a ford f150 v8, 10 min job

Dave Lehnert
04-25-2012, 3:41 PM
Thanks, I was just concerned with messing something up I did not know about.

Ed Hazel
04-25-2012, 9:22 PM
Should be straight forward many usually need a 3/8 or 1/2 ratchet to release the tensioner. Make sure that the belt is on all the way one each pulley so the belt is not riding on a lip will cut the belt.

Pat Barry
04-25-2012, 10:28 PM
Make sure you have an extension for your ratchet handle because there is a lot of tension and you need to hold it a while with one hand while you mess around getting the belt in place.

Bryan Morgan
04-27-2012, 1:08 AM
Make sure you have an extension for your ratchet handle because there is a lot of tension and you need to hold it a while with one hand while you mess around getting the belt in place.

Yep, use a cheater bar if you have one. I have a socket wrench that is like 2' long... works perfect. Serpentine belts are easy to replace except on tiny cars with shoehorned engines or some older Toyotas with a bunch of belts rather than just one.

Steve Meliza
04-27-2012, 9:58 AM
That was a TIMING belt, not a serpentine belt. Completely different.

Pardon me, but on my car the back side of the timing belt drove the water pump and looks the same as the belt that drives the accessories. Since the OP was concerned about timing I thought perhaps on his engine he has something similar. If upon reading a shop manual or Hanes/Chilton book the procedure and risks involved aren't clear then it should be taken to a mechanic.

John Lohmann
04-27-2012, 10:53 AM
It has nothing to do with timing, take a 1/2" ratchet or socket adapter. Turn the tensioner to loosen the belt and change out the belt, on a V6 is should have more room than a V8. If I recall, that's all it really takes, maybe a extension for the ratchet
Serpentine belt is on the outside of the engine, the timing belt is inside the engine

Bryan Slimp
04-27-2012, 11:57 AM
I believe the difference is that he V6 4.2L Ford has a timing chain and your Mits has an "interference" engine. If Dave's serpentine belt failed he'd lose power steering, his AC, and a couple of other engine accessories.

In your Mits your pistons would crash into your valve seats and at a minimum require your heads to be repaired.

Jeff Monson
04-27-2012, 12:14 PM
Dave there is nothing timing related, so it should be a pretty easy job for you. Most of the parts stores can print you off a routing diagram when you purchase the belt. This will make it easier for you on installation.

Steve Meliza
04-27-2012, 12:17 PM
Bryan, that sounds about right. I was not familiar with his engine and when I read his concern about a serpentine belt plus possible timing issues my mind jumped to my fairly recent experience without first considering the more obvious and logical choice was the belt driving the accessories which of course doesn't impact engine timing in any way.

Dave Lehnert
04-27-2012, 3:17 PM
Thanks again for all the info.

My V6 has a ton of room around the belt so it should be an easy job.