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Pelican Technical Article:
Replacing Your Drive Belt on your BMW

Nick Czerula

 
Time: 2 hours
Tab: $150
Talent:  
Tools:
Set of sockets, wrenches, screwdrivers
Applicable Models:
325i (2006)
325Xi (2006)
330i (2006)
330xi (2006)
328i (2007-2009)
335i (2007-2009)
Parts Required:
Drive belt
Hot Tip:
Work with a cool engine.
Performance Gain:
Proper engine accessory operation
Complementary Modification:
Inspect and replace pulleys
 
   

   

Check out some other projects in this series: 

Need to buy parts for this project?
Click here to order parts for your BMW from our parts catalog
   
    
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.
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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)
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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.
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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)
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Next, using a T60 Torx socket on a long handled ratchet, rotate belt tensioner clockwise to release belt tension.
Figure 5
Models equipped with turbo-charged engines: 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.
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This photo shows part of tensioner you insert your Torx bit into the release tension.
Figure 6
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. 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.
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With tension released, pull belt off tensioner pulley, then remove belt from remaining pulleys and remove from engine.
Figure 7
Next, using a T60 Torx socket on a long handled ratchet, rotate belt tensioner clockwise to release belt tension.
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Figure 8
This photo shows part of tensioner you insert your Torx bit into the release tension. (green arrow)
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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:
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
 

Check out some other sample projects from the book: 

 

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  Applies to: 325i (2006), 325Xi (2006), 330i (2006), 330xi (2006), 328i (2007-2009), 335i (2007-2009)
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