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Pelican Technical Article:

Drive Belt Replacement

Nick Czerula

Time:

2 hours2 hrs

Tab:

$60

Talent:

***

Tools:

Screwdrivers, large pry bar, floor jack, jack stands, wheel chocks, safety glasses, torque wrench

Applicable Models:

R56 MINI Cooper Hatchback (2007-13)
R56 MINI Cooper S Hatchback (2007-13)

Parts Required:

Drive belt

Hot Tip:

Work with a cool engine

Performance Gain:

Proper engine accessory operation

Complementary Modification:

Replace friction wheel or tensioner

One drive belt in the R56 4-cylinder engine drives the accessories pulleys at the right side of the engine. The alternator and the AC compressor are driven by one belt, tensioned by an automatic tensioner. A friction wheel drives the water pump.

Note that power steering is electric and not belt-driven.

The belt is tensioned by a strong tensioner and does 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 tensioner and its pulley may develop defects. Bearings in these pulleys are lifetime 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 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 belt on the R56 4-cylinder engine. I will show a technique that does not require placing the front end into service mode, and saves a lot of time. 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.

Jack and support the front of your vehicle. See our tech article on jacking your R56 MINI.

Remove the right front wheel well liner. See our tech article on wheel well liner removing.

MINI R56 models equipped with a 4-cylinder engine utilize one multi-ribbed engine drive belt, driven via the crankshaft pulley (yellow arrow).
Figure 1

MINI R56 models equipped with a 4-cylinder engine utilize one multi-ribbed engine drive belt, driven via the crankshaft pulley (yellow arrow). One belt (outlined in red) drives the alternator (red arrow) and the AC compressor (gray arrow). They are tensioned by an automatic tensioner (green arrow). The water pump (purple arrow) is driven by a friction wheel (blue arrow).

The belts should be free from cracks (red arrow), fraying, glazing and missing chunks.
Figure 2

The belts should be free from cracks (red arrow), fraying, glazing and missing chunks. Replace belts if any of the previously mentioned issues are present or every four years.

With the wheel well liner removed, you have a clear view of the drive belt (red arrow) and the friction wheel (green arrow).
Figure 3

With the wheel well liner removed, you have a clear view of the drive belt (red arrow) and the friction wheel (green arrow).

Locate the accessory drive belt tensioner (red arrow).
Figure 4

Locate the accessory drive belt tensioner (red arrow). Using a large pry bar (green arrow), press the tensioner up toward the rear of the engine to relieve tension on the belt. Once you have this technique worked out, see the following steps on how to lock the tensioner in the service position. Give this a few tries. The tensioner is quite easy to move with the pry bar.

Looking over the frame rail through the wheel well, you can just see the tensioner (red arrow).
Figure 5

Looking over the frame rail through the wheel well, you can just see the tensioner (red arrow). As viewed from the engine compartment (inset) you can see the tensioner service lock (green arrow). With the tensioner pressed upward using the pry bar, push the tensioner pin in to lock the tensioner in the service position.

Working above the crankshaft pulley (green arrow), locate the friction wheel service pull (red arrow).
Figure 6

Working above the crankshaft pulley (green arrow), locate the friction wheel service pull (red arrow).

Extract the friction wheel service pull to relive its tension on the belt.
Figure 7

Extract the friction wheel service pull to relive its tension on the belt. Hold it in this position (red arrow) as you remove the drive belt from the crankshaft pulley.

Remove the drive belt from the engine.
Figure 8

Remove the drive belt from the engine. To install the accessory drive belt, begin by wrapping the belt around the crankshaft pulley, then over and around the A/C compressor pulley, around the alternator, and under the tensioner pulley. Reinstall the friction wheel pull so it is fully seated. Then use a pry bar to press the tensioner up, as you pull the service lock out to actuate the tensioner. Start the engine and allow it to run for less than 30 seconds. Shut the engine OFF and recheck the belt installation. Reassemble the remaining items and you are done.


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Comments and Suggestions:
JD Comments: Thank you for the great article. I struggled with the tensioner and could not figure how you were pushing the tensioner from the angle shown. I cloud not determine where your fulcrum was and my tensioner would not budge.

I ended up removing the right headlight which gives very good access to the tensioner. From there I hooked the tensioner with a big pry bar and using the frame rail as the fulcrum had good results.

BTW I have sved thousands using your tech articles. Pelican Parts is top shelf.
November 19, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the additional info and feedback. We appreciate it.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
service_tech Comments: excellent pictures and comments

I would add that the friction wheel service pull can hang, you need to apply outward tension and jiggle the wheel
June 1, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the additional info and feedback. We appreciate it.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Camman Comments: Greatly appreciate your post my 2013 GP threw a belt and I was about to have it towed to the dealer for service. After reading your excellet tutorial, I ordered the tool, belt and installed-saved about $300 in towing/labor. Mahalo Thank you!
May 28, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the feedback. Glad we could help.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Flying muppet Comments: Thank you for your post I am a mechanic and find it so helpful to find sites like this one .
April 6, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the feedback. Glad we could help.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 

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