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Old 04-03-2015, 05:49 PM   #13
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KCW is on a distinguished road
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: upstate NY
Posts: 675

2004 VUE 2.2L
Default Re: Changing the serpentine belt on the Ecotec

Changed the belt on my 2004 VUE today, after 160k miles it was pretty cracked, but still working.

Between my son and I we found two things that make it quick with no special tools.

You will need two zip ties about 8 to 10 inches long, and a piece of pipe, 3/4 or 1" dia, about 12 to 18 inches long, and ideally two people.

Take the wheel off with the car on jack stands and take off the plastic well liner as other posts have suggested.

To get the tension off the belt there is no way you are going to get a 3/8" drive wrench on the square hole, not on a vue, but here is what you do instead.

First, the best place to pull the belt off is from the engine compartment on the alternator pulley, because it is the smallest diameter pulley. Take one of your zip ties and put it around the belt just below the alternator pulley, and leave yourself a loop about 2 or 3" long.

Now the other person lie under the car with a length of pipe or conduit. At the end of the tension arm, about where the free spinning pulley is, there is a nice bump or nipple on the bottom side of the arm. you can put one end of the pipe with the nipple in the end, so it wont slide off. the nipple is not big, but its big enough to keep the end from sliding off. If you try to push it up with a long screwdriver, or a breaker bar, it will slip, and you will slam your hands into all kinds of nasty sharp rusty things under the car.

So, you are using the pipe or conduit, right? OK with both hands push up with about 50 lbs of force. It helps if you wear a heavy leather / welding glove on your left hand, or fold over some heavy cardboard or similar material so you can push on the end of the pipe/conduit without it cutting into your palm. The tensioner arm will push up about 2", push it all the way till it stops.

now the person in the engine compartment pull the loop of belt off the alternator pully with the zip tie loop. This keeps you from getting your fingers between the belt and the pulley, just incase the person pushing the tensioner lets it go too soon. It will come off easy.

Once the loop is off the alternator pulley, relax the tensioner, pull the belt off the other two pulleys, and put the new one back in the same position.

Take your other zip tie and make another loop on the new belt like the last one. With the belt in place on the other two big pulleys, person on the ground push the tensioner all the way up again with the pipe, and person in the engine space pull the belt onto the alt pulley with the zip tie, use a big screwdriver to help push it sideways if you need to. The new belt will be a little tighter and stiffer. Just don't get your fingers between the belt and the pulley.

when its on, let the tensioner loose, and snip the zip tie off the belt.

this will only take about 20 minutes, and any able body person can push the tension up as described.

If you are stuck and your really have to do it alone, you could make a piece of conduit about 18 to 20" long, and when you push the tensioner up, push a couple pieces of 2x4 or something similar the right size to hold the pipe in place, while you do the engine compartment part, but if you do this, be very careful.

If the pipe slips there is a lot of force on that tensioner, and your face is right there under the car.

The task in the engine compartment is not hard, as long as you use the zip ties.

Hope this helps.

special tools are nice if you have them
but when you don't, you don't.


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