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Pelican Technical Article:

Drive Belt Replacement

Time:

1 hour1 hr

Tab:

$30

Talent:

*

Tools:

Socket set, 24mm wrench for idler pulley

Applicable Models:

Porsche 986 Boxster (1997-04)
Porsche 986 Boxster S (2000-04)
Porsche 987 Boxster (2005-08)
Porsche 987 Boxster S (2005-08)

Parts Required:

Drive belt

Hot Tip:

Carry a spare main drive belt with you in case of failure

Performance Gain:

No squeaky engine or water pump failure

Complementary Modification:

Replace water pump and/or alternator
101 Performance Projects for Your Porsche Boxster

This article is one in a series that have been released in conjunction with Wayne's new book, 101 Performance Projects for Your Porsche Boxster. The book contains 312 pages of full color projects detailing everything from performance mods to changing your brake pads. With more than 950+ full-color glossy photos accompanying extensive step-by-step procedures, this book is required reading in any Boxster owner's collection. The book is currently available and in stock now. See The Official Book Website for more details.

One of the routine maintenance items that you should perform on your Boxster is the checking and replacement of your accessory drive belt. The belts are driven off of the crankshaft and power accessories such as the water pump, power steering pump, alternator, and air conditioning compressor. There is only one belt on the car that powers it all. It should be checked periodically (every 5,000 miles, or when you change your oil).

The Boxster uses what is known as a poly-ribbed belt (having many channels or ribs on the underside of the belt). The poly-ribbed belt setup utilizes a spring-loaded belt tensioner pulley that provides the proper tension for the belt at all times, making adjustment unnecessary.

When inspecting your belts, the one thing that you want to look for is cracks (see red arrow in Figure 1). If you see any cracks at all, you should replace your belts immediately. The cracks will usually occur on the inside of the belt (the surface that typically rides on the surface of the pulley). With the poly-ribbed belts, this is the grooved surface.

With the poly-ribbed belt, replacement is a snap. Begin by gaining access to the front of the engine. Follow the instructions in Photo 1 to remove the carpet and front engine cover from the rear of the passenger compartment.

The tensioners that hold the belt tight can be easily released using a 24mm wrench. Rotate the tensioner clockwise to release the tension. Simply release the tension on the belt from the tensioner, and then the belt should simply slide off. Release the tension, and then you should be able to unwind the belt from the engine. Tip: if the belt is worn, simply release the tension on it, and snip it with some large tin cutters to pull it out of the car.

Installation of the new belt is easy. Simply slide on most of the new belt onto the pulleys, release the tension on the tensioner, and slide the belt onto the tensioner. Check to make sure that the belt is securely seated in all of the pulleys. Verify that the ribbed portion of the belt is set against the crankshaft pulley. Install the belt in the following order: 1-Water Pump, 2-Alternator, 3-Upper Idler Pulley, 4-Power Steering Pump, 5- Air Conditioning Compressor, 6-Crankshaft, 7-Flexible Idler Pulley, 8- Lower Idler Pulley.

The drive belt on the Boxster is accessible through a trap door compartment cover that's located behind the seats.
Figure 1

The drive belt on the Boxster is accessible through a trap door compartment cover that's located behind the seats. Move the seats all the way forward, and remove the rear carpet panel by releasing the small snaps that hold it in place (inset Photo, upper right). The clips are screwed onto metal studs. They can be removed using a forked tool available at some shops, or simply slip your finger underneath to provide some upward pressure and pull off. Underneath the carpet, you will see the front engine cover: remove the 7 bolts and two nuts (all 10mm head) that hold on the cover, and it should easily come off. The lower left inset photo shows a belt that is getting very old and showing numerous cracks in the ribbed surface.

With the front engine cover removed you can see all of the various components that are driven by the main belt.
Figure 2

With the front engine cover removed you can see all of the various components that are driven by the main belt. On the right is the air conditioning compressor (yellow arrow) and the power steering pump (green arrow). On the left is the alternator (blue arrow). Out of view on the bottom is the water pump. The crankshaft is in the center, shown by the orange arrow. To release tension on the belt, simply place a 24mm socket attached to a breaker bar on the idler and turn it clockwise (lower left).

Here is a brand new crate 3.
Figure 3

Here is a brand new crate 3.4L 996 motor direct from Porsche. The various components are: 1-Power Steering Pump, 2-Alternator, 3-Upper Idler Pulley, 4-Water Pump, 5- Air Conditioning Compressor (not installed), 6-Crankshaft, 7-Tensioner Pulley, 8- Lower Idler Pulley. On the lower right is a photo of what a brand new belt looks like.

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Comments and Suggestions:
Tone Comments: Hi does the tension on the belt go back to normal when the wrench is taken off,or do i have to turn it back the three turns anti clock wise,when the new belt is fitted, thanks.
October 25, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Yes it does. You don't have to do anything but return it to where it was. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Stevebritt Comments: Hi I am going to inspect my drive belt on my 2004 Boxter S Anniversary Model. What brand of belt should I get?? Do you sell them? Thanks
July 14, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: I like Contitech belts.

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
 
Tony Comments: I need to replace my upper idler pulley which is attached to the long alternator bolt. It appears the alternator bolt will only come out if I remove the alternator. It's blocked by the firewall behind the seats. Am I correct in my assessment? The pulley was slightly damaged when my belt failed.
June 24, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Yes, you will have to remove the alternator to get it out. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Kawarthacottager Comments: Is the 996 poly-ribbed drive belt directional?
Porsche manual says "c. Remove drive belt. Mark belt travel direction with a coloured pen."
January 31, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: marking direction of travel is for reusing a drive belt. With new belts, I always face the logos so they can be read. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Tony in Whittier Comments: A few things helped me. a We soaked the new belt in hot water for about 20 minutes. b Easiest to slip the belt under the top tensioner pulley last. No risk of getting hit by the holder of the 24 mm wrench. No lip to pull the belt over we were trying to go over the alternator. Dooh. .
December 20, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the additional info and feedback. We appreciate it.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Greg Comments: Follow-up: I opened up the belt access and saw the shreaded belt. The water pump pulley seems lose - you can shake/rattle it with your hane and it moves back and forth.

Q:I'm assuming the water pummp needs replacement?

That's getting beyond my skill set. Too bad.
October 11, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Sounds like the pump is faulty, yes. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Greg Comments: Driving home last night and about 1 mile from my house both the check battery light and the ABS light came on. Lost power steerng and brakes. Care also died. I was able to restart and make it home - hope I did not mess anythhing up. Lost power steering and brakes.

I plan to check the belt and try to replace thanks to this forum!.

Q: Any relation between the ABS light and the battery light going on at same time?
October 11, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Check if one of the drive belt accessories are faulty. foe example the water pump.- Nick at Pelican Parts  
jnc19610 Comments: 2 topics.....

1. Put a 15/16 box wrench in your toolbag, and your old belt in the trunk.

If you have a wrench and an old belt in the trunk, you can change it, and get home.

2. When and why did Gates napa, change the belt size?

I replaced my belt at 60K, with a napa 25-060832. At 93K, that belt shredded. was 10 years old, but 33k????

The size of the belt from 2005 as 21mm * 2125.
The new belt, I just bought is 20mm * 2127.

So... when and why did gates change the belt size. And... what is the real belt size? I find the gates belt a tiny bit short have to compress the tensioner ALL the way, and based on the wear marks of the original belt, 20 looks better than 21 to me. But... I'd like to know what the original size was? Anyone really know? if gates sold a 21mm belt when OE was 20, I consider that almost criminal

July 9, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: 1. Good tip. Wouldn't metric wrench be best? 24mm

2. Not sure, check with Gates. Might be a part update for an issue they are trying to resolve.

- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
black cat Comments: Anyone close to bangor Maine ?
May 26, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Are you looking for a shop? - Nick at Pelican Parts  
toto Comments: 04 boxster. can i replace the belt with a no a/c belt to eliminate the a/c? or do i need a to find the right size belt? the compressor froze from not using it. i'm in alaska.thanks
March 16, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: I believe you would have to remove the compressor, then install the right size belt.

Give our parts specialists a call at 1-888-280-7799. They can figure out what part or repair kit you need.


See this thread:

http://forums.pelicanparts.com/boxster-cayman-forum/616247-c-delete-belt-size.html . - Nick at Pelican Parts
 
windjammer Comments: Have you had a chance to mess with a 2011 987 yet? Checking the belts and pulleys ought to be detailed in the owner's manual, but it isn't. And still no dipstick! I guess too many owners were saving money by doing it themselves. And these are supposed to be sports cars.
February 10, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Checking the belts on a 987 is similar to a 986. If you have a repair manual or use one of our tech article, it should get you in the right area. Although the vehicles are not exactly the same, close enough to use for inspection. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
crwarren11 Comments: Sorry, my question was for a 2000 Boxster. It turns out that I was able to locate the p/n after many hours of searching. It is 900 378 169 01, an M6x12 bolt with 10mm hex head. In lieu of ordering this part from Germany, I will try to find one at a local home improvement store. Thanks for the years of help with working on my beloved Porsche!
January 20, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the additional info and feedback. We appreciate it. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
crwarren11 Comments: One of the seven bolts holding in the cover 10mm hex head bent on me. Can someone tell me the size of this and/or the part number for it? It doesn't seem to show it in the parts catalog or any parts diagrams I have found. Thanks!
January 19, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: You didn't mention what vehicle you have.

Give our parts specialists a call at 1-888-280-7799 and they can help figure out which part or repair kit you need.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
carl Comments: hello, I am a customer currently stationed in South Korea. I have a question. Strange i know... well anyway a mouse i assume to be a North Korean Spy ate my knock sensor wiring harness on my 04 Boxster. Can you guys find a wiring harness? He did not eat trough it but causes my CEL to stay on all the time.... i will atach photo...
September 4, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: We certainly can.

Give our parts specialists a call at 1-888-280-7799 and they can help figure out which part or repair kit you need.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Michael S Comments: does it play any role which order you will follow to set up the the belt ? For example you propose the following order: 1-Water Pump, 2-Alternator, 3-Upper Idler Pulley, 4-Power Steering Pump, 5- Air Conditioning Compressor, 6-Crankshaft, 7-Flexible Idler Pulley, 8- Lower Idler Pulley.

Is it possible to create a damage if different order is followed?
September 2, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: No, that is just how it was done for the article, as it is easiest. You can install it in any order yo want, as long as it is tensioned last. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Brad Comments: I've replaced my belt several times in the last three years. The first couple of times mechanics did it. Once to replace a water pump, and once when the belt popped off during a fast accelleration and I was near a mechanics shop. After paying 500 to have them change it outrageous for less than one hour labor, this last time happened close to home. Made it home without the temperature rising too quickly. The job is literally only an hour. All you need is the 24 mm wrench for the tensioner pully, 10 mm deep socket and wrench to remove the engine panel. If you had a third hand to heil with your two, having someone to hold the tensioner in place while you clear the last pulley it is easier if you have both hands free. It might save a busted knuckle in case that 24 mm wrench decides to slip. See you in my rear view mirror soon.
August 10, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the additional info. We appreciate it.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
peterbigblock Comments: I am going to remove my a/c compressor on a 987.1 Boxster that I'm turning into a track-only car. It looks, from the diagram, as though one could simply remove the a/c and get a short enough belt to go directly from the power steering pump to the crank pulley - no need to buy an "a/c delete" pulley. Am I missing something?
June 3, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: I don't see why that wouldn't work.
I opened a post in our forums. A Pelican community member may be able to answer your question.- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
JoLo Comments: The Gen 2 DFI engine looks different when cahnging the belt. Seems you only have "Lever Tensioning Roller" to work with.
Could you comment on the DIY for a Gen 2 engine?
Thank you
June 1, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Is it an automatic tensioner, you will have have to rotate and hold the tensioner to relieve belt tension. With tension released, remove the drive belt. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
joekats Comments: looking im my order status last time i replaced the drive belt on my 987 was 2010. havent drove more than 15000 miles. do you thinks it needs to be replaced?
April 28, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: I would, only if it is dryrotted or cracked. Inspect the belt, if it looks fresh, you should be OK. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
ryan003 Comments: Does this process of removing the carpet work on a 2008 cayman?
February 10, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: No, the procedure is different. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Bri Comments: I have a 2001 Porsche Boxster. There was a small squealing sound and it continued on for about a month finally the tension belt quite literally fell out of the car, the usual one simptoms: no power steering and battery light on. I immediately pulled into Valvoline and one of the mechanics helped me by putting it back on. The sound is back and there is speculation that the water pump is loose/needs to be changed. How can I know for sure what the problem is?
November 2, 2013
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Remove the drive belt. Once the belt is removed, inspect all of the pulleys , tensioner and accessories. There should not be any lateral play or binding. If a component has lateral play, replace it.- Nick at Pelican Parts  
JC Comments: Help...so decided to remove the belt to inspect and noticed no cracks what so ever, now that I put it back on and turn on the car, the belt slips off the steering wheel pump. Don't know why. All I did was to remove to inspect. All was fine prior. Tried and tried so many times always following the routing sequence and making sure the belt was properly seated all around. Even tried a new belt that I had purchased from Pelican. Please help.
May 26, 2013
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Hi there. I'm going to copy this question to the forums - if you post some pictures there, then perhaps we can assist further? - Wayne at Pelican Parts  
DanWill Comments: Please help..When turning clockwise all the pullies spin and no tension is released so I cant get the belt off. Can someone guide me in doing this correctly. Thanks.
March 22, 2013
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Try rocking the 24mm on the pulley back and forth. If it does not free up you will need to remove the belt and inspect all pullies and the water pump to find the cause. It sounds like you plan on replacing the belt so cut the old one off if needed to diagnose the problem.

deny@pelicanparts

 
Donnie Comments: Outstandingly helpful article - great placement in Google turned me onto you guys. In preparing for this job, I have a rather specific question - within say 2 minutes of my drive belt snapping, losing my power steering and getting the battery warning indicator, I smelled a faint of whiff of coolant, then a couple quick squeals. After another 2 minutes to get home, I saw maybe a 1/4 cup of coolant under the car. While I'd love if that just happened to be a commonly related symptom of a busted drive belt that will be solved with a new belt, I was hoping you might be able to provide some input as to whether this is more emblematic of a problem with the water pump in addition to the drive belt of course needing to be replaced based on my fairly short write-up, not being able inspect the car, etc. Thanks for putting this website together - great info and will certainly get my business from now on!
September 4, 2012
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: If you smelled coolant you have a leak. That could be caused by a failed water pump that caused the belt to break. If the pump is not leaking you may have a leak somewhere else or the coolant tank pressure cap may have let coolant escape due to expansion from overheating.

denny@pelicanparts
 
Denjamfox Comments: I just figured out what my engine bay squeal was behind the seats. I have a 98 Boxter Not S 50,000 miles. The bearing in the tension wheel was slowly seazing took a few thousand miles to finally give up ... lazy lazy me. Anyway ... when it eventually seized the wheel froze and it unthreaded it's bolt and fell off. Instant heavy steering, alt/battery light came on so I turned it off immediately. The under engine plastic tray caught the tension wheel. Up here in Canada the new wheel was $120+ incl tax. A new bearing very common at any bearing shop cost $7.00 and was easily put in with simple tools hammer and sockets, no press required ..... So I'm back in business. I read many people on here saying the Boxter squealing noise is: power steering pump gone, alternator gone, water pump gone, crank bearings worn out .... but check the serpentine tension wheel first .... it's easy and cheap to fix.
August 1, 2012
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: You are so correct! It is always better to diagnose a problem than just guess or throw parts at it until the problem is resolved.

denny@pelicanparts
 
Bennett Comments: I'm having some issues replacing the belt on my 2001 Boxter.

I believe I had relieved the tension before snipping the old belt, but now once at the last step where I'd be placing the belt around the lower idler it does not reach. I've tried placing the 24mm socket and turning the tensioner pulley clockwise but it continues to simply turn regardless to which way. It does give some slack, but not nearly enough to complete the project.

Tomorrow I will try tightening the 15mm nut behind the tensioner to see if that does it.
July 24, 2012
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: First, line up your old and new belt to confirm they are the same length. When you rotate the tensioner using the 24mm nut clockwise, does it return the it's original position? If not, the tensioner has failed and will need to be replaced. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
GT Jackson Comments: Would love to see updated information and pix on 987 as 986 is not the same vehicle in many respects.
July 14, 2012
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the feedback, we're working on it. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Scott Comments: Question: Can this cause a squealing noise and occasional erratic upshifting when the clutch is depressed?
January 6, 2012
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: The belt and associated components can cause squealing but are not connected to erratic upshifts or squealing only when the clutch is depressed. If you have squealing only when the clutch pedal is depressed I suspect you have a failing clutch throw out bearing and possible clutch failure causing erratic shifting.

dennyasa@earthlinki.net
 
Wayne at Pelican Parts Comments: If you have a problem with your alternator, it may be the decoupler pulley, which is a special pulley that is installed on the alternator that allows it to spin up when the engine is accelerating, but free-wheel rotates when the engine is decelerating. This is because the rotating mass of the alternator will work against the belt when the engine is decelerating and can cause premature belt wear. I found this neat video online here from Gates, a well-respected belt manufacturer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hrFcPqZuO3A&feature=related
October 18, 2011
bob Comments: does anyone have the 997 drive belt tensioner replacement procedure
October 7, 2011
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: The Boxster and the 997 are almost identical, so the procedure should be the same. Click on the link for the article. - Wayne at Pelican Parts  
Onnfire Comments: Figured it out: There is a 15mm nut behind the tensioner which was loose. Replacing the alternator was not easy trying to line it up and hold it up while trying to wedge it to line up with the holes. Hope I don't have to ever pull it out again
August 5, 2011
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: We are happy you were successful with your project. And Thank You for letting us know about the problem with your loose tensioner bolt.

Denny at Pelican Parts
 
Onnfire Comments: I have a problem: I am trying to turn the 24mm nut clockwise but it just wants to turn and turn, will do this in both directions. Any ideas would be appreciated

Figured it out: There is a 15mm nut behind the tensioner which was loose. Replacing the alternator was not easy trying to line it up and hold it up while trying to wedge it to line up with the holes. Hope I don't have to ever pull it out again
August 3, 2011
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the tip, it can be difficult to see that nut behind there. - Wayne at Pelican Parts  
DimitriMartin Comments: Just a small question. When tightening the idler pulley back on, does it need to be tightened to a specific torque?
May 30, 2011
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Yes it does. I have these values specified in my idler pulley replacement article here: http://www.pelicanparts.com/techarticles/Boxster_Tech/17-ENGINE-Idler_Pullies/17-ENGINE-Idler_Pullies.htm - Wayne at Pelican Parts  
Joe Comments: Thanks for the instructions on replacing the belt. Two items I'd like to offer:

1. When removing the carpeting behind the seats that cover the bulkhead. Unscrew the plastic "buttons" instead of prying them out. The edge of my prybar fit the slotted head of the plastic buttons. They screw right out with minimal effort. No prying no tearing the carpet.

2. Watch the edges of the bulkhead cover when you remove it. Very sharp. Cut 3 of my fingers on the edge.

Other than that a pretty simple project. A great to learn about your car and save a few bucks.
May 16, 2011
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thank You for the positive comments and saving some fingers. OUCH, been there, done that.

denny@pelicanparts
 
J Tinsby Comments: Hi Wayne,
Was looking at my 2011 987 and I don't see the fasteners you show in the inset that allow removal of the carpeting to get at the drive pulleys. Are they under the carpet panel for the main access panel or is the 2011 made differently?

Thanks

J T
April 30, 2011
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Hmm, I haven't had the chance to mess with a 2011 model yet, so I'm not sure. I would imagine if they are not there, then they may be different. The checking of the belts and pulleys should be detailed in the owner's manual, I would think. I would check there for more detailed instructions... - Wayne at Pelican Parts  
Kenndogg from across the poind Comments: Many thanks for this Wayne. Never realised it was so easy to get to until these very easy to follow pics/text.
February 24, 2011
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: No sweat! Glad to be of help! - Wayne at Pelican Parts  
Ed from England Comments: Great web site. Fitting the drive belt was easy and made me part of the car. 10/10.
Saved me pounds thats English money
February 23, 2011
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the kind words. Great wheels on the car (SportDesign IIs - the same ones on my Boxster). - Wayne at Pelican Parts  

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