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Replacing Your Drive Belt on Your BMW
 
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Pelican Technical Article:

Replacing Your Drive Belt on Your BMW

Nick Czerula

Time:

2 hours2 hrs

Tab:

$150

Talent:

****

Tools:

Set of sockets, wrenches, screwdrivers

Applicable Models:

BMW 325i Sedan (2006)
BMW 325xi Sedan/Wagon (2006)
BMW 328i Coupe/Conv (2007-13)
BMW 328i xDrive Coupe (2009-13)
BMW 328i xDrive Sedan (2009-11)
BMW 328i xDrive Wagon (2009-12)
BMW 328i/xi Sedan (2007-11)
BMW 328i/xi Wagon (2007-12)
BMW 328xi Coupe (2007-13)
BMW 330i/xi Sedan (2006)
BMW 335d/i/xi Sedan (2007-11)
BMW 335i xDrive Coupe (2009-13)
BMW 335i xDrive Sedan (2009-11)
BMW 335i/is Coupe/Conv (2007-13)
BMW 335xi Coupe (2007-13)

Parts Required:

Drive belt

Hot Tip:

Work with a cool engine.

Performance Gain:

Proper engine accessory operation

Complementary Modification:

Inspect and replace pulleys
A serpentine belt, also known as a multi-vee, poly-v, or multi-rib belt, is a single, continuous belt used to drive multiple peripheral devices in an automotive engine, such as an alternator, power steering pump, water pump, air conditioning compressor, air pump, etc. Over time the belt can become frayed, cracked or even break. Should it break, serious damage can occur to the engine, therefore it's wise to inspect it regularly and replace it if you see signs of excessive wear.
BMW E90 models utilize 1 multi-rib engine drive belt.
Figure 1

BMW E90 models utilize 1 multi-rib engine drive belt. The belt may be referred to as a serpentine belt because it snakes around the engine accessories. With your engine cold and turned OFF, inspect your drive belts for wear. The belts should be free from cracks, fraying, glazing and missing chunks. Replace your belt if any of the previously mentioned issues are present or every 4 years. In this article, I'll go over the steps involved with replacing the drive belts on the BMW E90 models. Be sure to work with a cool engine and remove the key from the ignition.

Working at front of radiator support, remove two T20 Torx fasteners from the intake duct.
Figure 2

Working at front of radiator support, remove two T20 Torx fasteners from the intake duct. (green arrows)

Working at intake air duct connection on air filter housing, using a small flatblade screwdriver, release retaining tabs on each side and pull duct off.
Figure 3

Working at intake air duct connection on air filter housing, using a small flatblade screwdriver, release retaining tabs on each side and pull duct off. Normally-aspirated engine shown. For turbocharged engines, the duct on the radiator support unscrews the same as the previous step, the duct for the air filter housing is also removed the same way, the air filter housing is in the different spot. Follow duct and release tabs to remove duct.

Then, pull intake duct out of radiator support and remove from vehicle.
Figure 4

Then, pull intake duct out of radiator support and remove from vehicle. (green arrow)

Models equipped with turbo-charged engines: 
Remove duct that runs across top of radiator to access drive belt.
Figure 5

Remove duct that runs across top of radiator to access drive belt. To do this, loosen hose clamp at bottom air filter housing (green arrow). Then rotate hose lock 90° counterclockwise and pull hose off duct. (yellow arrow) Pull duct off air filter housing.

Models equipped with turbo-charged engines:
Then remove 6mm Allen duct fastener (green arrow) and pull duct (yellow arrow) away from engine enough to remove drive belt.
Figure 6

Then remove 6mm Allen duct fastener (green arrow) and pull duct (yellow arrow) away from engine enough to remove drive belt. Raise and support front of vehicle. See our tech article on jacking vehicle. Before removing drive belts, mark direction of rotation (if reusing belts) and note installation position.

Next, using a T60 Torx socket on a long handled ratchet, rotate belt tensioner clockwise to release belt tension.
Figure 7

Next, using a T60 Torx socket on a long handled ratchet, rotate belt tensioner clockwise to release belt tension.

This photo shows part of tensioner you insert your Torx bit into the release tension. (green arrow)
Figure 8

This photo shows part of tensioner you insert your Torx bit into the release tension. (green arrow)

With tension released, pull belt off tensioner pulley, then remove belt from remaining pulleys
Figure 9

With tension released, pull belt off tensioner pulley, then remove belt from remaining pulleys and remove from engine. With belts removed, inspect pulleys for lateral play or binding. The idler pulley commonly fails, if this occurs the coolant pump will loose the drive belt and engine will overheat. Now is a good time to replace the idler pulley to prevent future problems. See our tech article on idler pulley replacing. To install accessory drive belt, begin by wrapping belt around crankshaft pulley, then over and around power A/C compressor pulley, around power steering pulley, around idler pulley and around alternator. Once the belt is properly installed on all accessories, release tensioner as described earlier and slide belt onto tensioner pulley. Check that it is properly aligned and installed in all pulley grooves correctly. Be careful not to force belt onto pulleys, damage may occur. Release tensioner and check that belt is properly aligned and installed in all pulley grooves correctly. Be careful not to force belt onto pulleys, damage may occur. Start engine and allow to run for less than 30 seconds, shut engine OFF and recheck belt installation.

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Comments and Suggestions:
Androdz Comments: I really like your guides but I would suggest you put torque specs of the screws. That way people dont have to search for the specs on another guide.
November 27, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the feedback. Unfortunately torque specs may change, so Pelican doe snot offer them, Refer to BMW for that info.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Skirata Comments: I do these often, so when you check your car over every now and again look for the belt getting flush with the tensioner, means tensioner is already starting to wear best do it soon. I have seen these break and wrap up, break the crank seal, and belt worked its way up into the valve coverenough to jump timing. RARE and extreme but possible.

I find a TAD bit of blue lock tite and torqued slow and gentle gets the job done.

*You don't always have to take off intake piping, not that its very hard, but you can drop the tensioner down and towards the air box, work it up through slowly, back down the same way. Easy peasy. BUY QUALITY PARTS! You'll be sorry.
September 27, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the additional info and feedback. We appreciate it.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
sonza Comments: i got 320i e90 bmw i was changing spug plugs the car is not starting any more but it has problem of head
August 4, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: You probably left something unplugged. Check your electrical connections. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Paul Comments: HI there I have a 320d e90 the lower alternator bolt has a pulley bolted in to it do u stock theses . Mine snapped off losing that little pull with it . Thanks
July 31, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Pelican Parts should be able to get it. Give The Pelican Parts parts specialists a call at 1-888-280-7799. They can figure out what part or repair kit you need.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
steam derrick Comments: video shows E90 series EXCEPT M57 engines Everything is different !!
July 21, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: The article is for gas fuel engines only. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Mike Comments: I have a Bmw 328i 4WD I've changed the belts several time due to cut off and fixed a new tensioner but the belt still cuts, please what is the cause of this?
July 2, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: The idler, faulty water pump, faulty crank pulley. You'll need to inspect the remaining items. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Karl Comments: I am in the process of replacing my idler pulleys and my tensioner, however, for the life of me, I cannot seem to get the new or old bolt to thread to affix the new tensioner. I've even tried threading the bolt without the tensioner in place so that I can see what I'm doing. Neither bolt seems to show any signs of damage. Is there some trick to this that I am missing?
June 7, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Possible it is the wrong size / part? - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Mo Comments: Ryan,
Thanks for your comment! My question is how I can be sure about the real cause? What if it's not the alternator pulley? Like tensioner pulley? Or another reason.
June 6, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: if you suspect the noise is from the belt components, remove the drive belt and briefly start the engine. Is the noise gone? If so, inspect the belt driven components for noise, grinding or looseness.

Do not let the engine run long, as the temp could rise quickly.- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Ryan Comments: Mo, I had same issue. The noise goes away after engine is worm. I think you need to replace alternator pully.
June 6, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the input on this one. We appreciate the help.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Mo Comments: Hello,
I hear a high pitched noise from the engine when cold start and after around eight or nine miles of driving the noise goes away. I'm confused whether it's the drive belt or VANOS solenoid or actuator or a worn timing chain guide. Does OBD help cuz I haven't tried that yet. Any suggestion is of great help!
Thanks
June 6, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: if you suspect the noise is from the belt components, remove the drive belt and briefly start the engine. Is the noise gone? If so, inspect the belt driven components for noise, grinding or looseness.

Do not let the engine run long, as the temp could rise quickly. - Nick at Pelican Parts
 
LECz3 Comments: The correct serpentine routing for a2009, 135i is the following;


May 31, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Yangorang Comments: Should one generally replace the tensioner with the belt or typically only the belt by itself?
May 26, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: It is a good idea to do so. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
simi Comments: When my car is cold in the morning first 15 km car give rattle noise then gone i changed the vvt motor but still there any belt or pulley prob. ??
April 16, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Could be the VANOS actuator or timing chain. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Andrea Comments: How can i see if my idler pulley fails? I have to replace my belt because it is destroying so I think that I need to replace also the tensioner. But what indicates that I need to replace aslo the idler pulley? Thank you
April 5, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: If the pulley is crooked (misaligned with other belts) or doesn't spin smooth. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
vitaly Comments: I replaced my steering pump, thanks to the help from your other article, and now, on cold starts, my belt squeals loudly. It never did this before. Could it be I need to change my belt, or are there other causes to this?
March 1, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: The belt may be faulty. First check if the tensioner is OK, if so, replace the belt. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Awol Comments: I have a 2006 325i, cant get the tensioner to release enough to put belt back on.
December 7, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: It may be seized. Try using a breaker bar to move it into the released position. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Dev Comments: after 10 seconds of run time
November 19, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Got it.

Your tensioner is likely faulty, I would replace it. This is a common issue. - Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Dev Comments: IVE INCLUDED PICTURE AFTER RUNNING THE CAR FOR 10 SECONDS
November 19, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Your tensioner is likely faulty, I would replace it. This is a common issue. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Dev Comments: Great instructions!! I have installed the drive belt, car starts but when i inspect the belt its looking like the belt is moving and will slip off the tensioner
November 19, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Your tensioner is likely faulty, I would replace it. This is a common issue. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Dev Comments: how do you release the tension? dont you need a pin to hold the tensioner pulley in place before reinstalling the belt?
November 16, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: No, you rotate the tensioner and hold it, as described in the tech article. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
zorro Comments: bad explanation, do not says the necessary torque and the angle of the tensor
November 6, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Torque specs are often updated, the best place to find them is in a repair manual. I would grab a repair manual. It will have the procedure, special tools and torque specs.

Give our parts specialists a call at 1-888-280-7799. - Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Blake Comments: I am working on a 2006 BMW 325i.. I changed the alternator and put belt back on when I cranked car it had a ticking noise I shut car off to notice one of the ribs from belt broke of belt was on all pulleys right is it possible the alternator pulley could be different or something.. Any insight to the solution would be greatly appreciated
October 2, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: The alternator could have the wrong pulleys or the wrong part all together. Also check that all of the other component pulleys are aligned. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Randall Comments: E90 328 kit. Idler pulley between alternator and power steering pump.
June 22, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: My info says 80 Nm. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Randall Comments: About to start this procedure, using a PP sourced drive belt kit. Is there a torque # for the second pulley in the kit?
June 18, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: I can check if I have the info, need more info on which pulley it is, fastener size, etc. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Kemp Comments: Not sure when but most BMW 328i , non-turbo, have electric steering so no PS pump. Therefore the serpentine belt needs to go around the A/C compressor, alternator and what I think is a vacuum pump.
May 18, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: I am not aware of an E90 with electric power steering. This did not happen until later BMW models. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
MountainStone Comments: Step six instructs to 'raise and support front of vehicle.' Why is this step necessary?
April 15, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: On turbocharged models, it is easier to work from below. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
llemo Comments: I've been reading and have found out about needing to do a torque angle for tensioner. Can you tell me about this, please?
November 28, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: This means there is an initial torque, then you rotate the fastener a specified distance, usually measured in degrees. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
yif Comments: I'm wondering if you could provide the link to the tech article on idler pulley replacing mentioned here. I have a 2006 330i E90. Thanks.
October 13, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: That article has not been posted yet. It will be once it is completed. In the mean time,
I would grab a repair manual. It will have the procedure, special tools and torque specs.

Give our parts specialists a call at 1-888-280-7799. They - Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Ryan Comments: "The idler pulley commonly fails, if this occurs the coolant pump will loose the drive belt and engine will overheat."

The water pump on these motors are electric. How does the belt/tensioner affect the water pump?
September 29, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: The drive belt runs the alternator, if charging system fails, so does the water pump. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Tman Comments: My threads for the aluminum bolt that holds the tensioner is stripped, any idea to resolve the problem. Bolt never tightens runs loose
August 26, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: You can replace the bolt. Then drill and heli-coil the mounting hole. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Kalyn Comments: The head of the bolt that holds the tensioner on has been sheared off. Any suggestions on how to remove the bolt?
July 18, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: If it is just the head, remove the tensioner, then use vise grips to remove the bolt. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Kris Comments: My serpentine belt recently ripped. I got a new belt and tensioner. It won't seem to fit onto the entire route.
July 12, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Either the belt is wrong, or you are installing the belt incorrectly. DOuble check the part number. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Frank Comments: What are the torque specs on the tensioner and the pulleys for the N54 w/turbo?
April 9, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: The torque specs will be listed in this repair manual:

http://www.pelicanparts.com/catalog/SuperCat/4412/BMW_4412_TOLBKS_pg1.htm #item0 - Nick at Pelican Parts
 
lou Comments: I'm just now finding your guides. They are awesome. I'll make sure to spread the word!
July 31, 2013
  Followup from the Pelican Staff:
Thanks for the feedback. Glad we could help. - Nick at Pelican Parts
 
kumar Comments: my t60 screw hole is stripped how can i remove it and put belt on?
May 23, 2013
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: You can use a wrench on the fasteners for the tensioner pulley to relieve tension. Once you get the belt off, I suggest replacing the belt tensioner.

Give our parts specialists a call at 1-888-280-7799 and they can help you find the right part.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 

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