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S54 6-Cylinder Engine Drive Belt Replacement
 
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Pelican Technical Article:

S54 6-Cylinder Engine Drive Belt Replacement

Nick Czerula

Time:

2 hours2 hrs

Tab:

$60

Talent:

***

Tools:

Set of sockets, wrenches, screwdrivers

Applicable Models:

BMW Z4 Convertible (2003-06)
BMW Z4 Coupe (2006)

Parts Required:

Drive belts

Hot Tip:

Work with a cool engine

Performance Gain:

Proper engine accessory operation

Complementary Modification:

Replace idler pulley

Two drive belts in the S54 6-cylinder engine drive the accessories pulleys at the front of the engine. The power steering pump, coolant pump and alternator are driven by one belt, and the AC compressor is driven by a separate belt. Each belt is tensioned by a tensioner pulley.

Note that the engine cooling fan is electric and not belt-driven.

The belts are tensioned by strong tensioners and do not need periodic adjustment. But they will, over time and due to heat, cold and the rigors of operating multiple pulleys, develop signs of wear: cracks, fraying, glazing or missing chunks. In addition, the tensioners and idler pulleys may develop defects. Bearings in these pulleys are life-time lubricated. The lubrication eventually dries up or wears out and may cause noises. If a pulley bearing deteriorates, it can tilt and allow the belt to fly off the pulleys. If it seizes it can damage the belt quite quickly due to excessive friction.

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 the belts if any of the previously mentioned issues are present or every four years. In this article, I'll go over the steps involved with replacing the drive belts on the S54 engine. Be sure to work with a cool engine and remove the key from the ignition.

Keep in mind that when your car was serviced before, parts may have been replaced with different size fasteners used in the replacement. The sizes of the nuts and bolts we give may be different from what you have, so be prepared with different size sockets and wrenches.

Protect your eyes, hands and body from fluids, dust and debris while working on your vehicle. If you're working with the electrical system, disconnect the battery before beginning. Always catch fluids in appropriate containers and properly dispose of any fluid waste. Recycle parts, packaging and fluids when possible. Never work on your vehicle if you feel the task is beyond your ability.

Our vehicle may vary slightly from yours as models do change and evolve, as they grow older. If something seems different, let us know and share your info to help other users. Do you have questions or want to add to the article? Leave a comment below. When leaving a comment, please leave your vehicle information.

Remove the engine splash shields. See our tech article on Engine Splash Shield Removing.

BMW Z4 models equipped with an S54 6-cylinder engine utilize two multi-ribbed engine drive belts.
Figure 1

BMW Z4 models equipped with an S54 6-cylinder engine utilize two multi-ribbed engine drive belts. A small outer belt drives the AC compressor, and the larger inner belt drives the alternator, coolant pump, and power steering pump.

This photo shows the A/C belt tensioner is pointed out with the green arrow.
Figure 2

This photo shows the A/C belt tensioner is pointed out with the green arrow. The accessory (main) drive belt tensioner is shown with the red arrow. The idler pulley for the main drive belt is pointed to by the green arrow.

Locate the AC drive belt tensioner.
Figure 3

Locate the AC drive belt tensioner. Using a 16mm wrench on the hex boss (red arrows), rotate the AC belt tensioner clockwise to release tension and insert a 3/16-inch punch into the locking bores (green arrows).

Slide the belt (red arrow) off the pulleys and remove it.
Figure 4

Slide the belt (red arrow) off the pulleys and remove it.

Locate the accessory drive belt tensioner and remove the dust cap (red arrow) using a flathead screwdriver.
Figure 5

Locate the accessory drive belt tensioner and remove the dust cap (red arrow) using a flathead screwdriver. This will uncover the 8mm Allen bolt used to rotate the tensioner.

Using a ratchet with a long handle and an 8mmm Allen bit (green arrow), rotate the drive belt tensioner clockwise to release the tension and slide the belt off the pulleys (red arrow).
Figure 6

Using a ratchet with a long handle and an 8mmm Allen bit (green arrow), rotate the drive belt tensioner clockwise to release the tension and slide the belt off the pulleys (red arrow). With the belts removed, inspect the pulleys for lateral play or binding. The idler pulley commonly fails. If this occurs the coolant pump will lose the drive belt and the engine will overheat. Now is a good time to replace the idler pulley to prevent future problems. See our tech article on drive belt tensioners' replacement. To install the accessory drive belt, begin by wrapping the belt around the crankshaft pulley, then over and around the power steering pulley, around the alternator, around the coolant pump and around the tensioner pulley. Avoid running the belt under the idler pulley for now. Once the belt is properly installed on all accessories, release the tensioner as described earlier and slide the belt onto the idler pulley. Tension the belt and check that it is properly aligned and installed in all pulley grooves correctly. Be careful not to force the belt onto the pulleys, as damage may occur. To install the AC drive belt, begin by wrapping the belt around the crankshaft pulley, then onto the AC pulley. Next bring a loop of the belt toward the tensioner. Working through the center of the loop release the tensioner as described earlier and slide the belt onto the tensioner pulley. Release the tensioner and check that the belt is properly aligned and installed in all pulley grooves correctly. Be careful not to force the belt onto the pulleys, as damage may occur. Reinstall the dust caps on the tensioner pulleys and install the intake air duct. Start the engine and allow it to run for less than 30 seconds. Shut the engine OFF and recheck the belt installation.


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Page last updated: Sun 2/19/2017 02:55:21 AM