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Pelican Technical Article:

Replacing Belt Tensioner

Steve Vernon

Time:

1 hour1 hr

Tab:

$30

Talent:

**

Tools:

16mm wrench, 13mm deep socket and driver, 3mm Allen

Applicable Models:

VW Golf GTI (2000)
VW Golf GTI 1.8T (2002-05)
VW Golf GTI 20th Anniversary (2003)
VW Golf GTI 337 (2002)
VW Golf GTI GLS (2001)

Parts Required:

New belt tensioner and V-belt

Hot Tip:

Don't work on a hot engine

Performance Gain:

Wont leave you stranded at the side of the road

Complementary Modification:

New belt

The V-belt tensioner provides a constant tension on the belt which is needed to run all of the engine accessories. Over time the tensioner can fail to maintain the proper tension and the belt will start to slip. If this happens it will usually make a squealing noise. The tensioner can also fail by the bearing wearing out - this will cause the belt to wear unevenly and fray along the edges. You should check your tensioner and V-belt every six months for wear, cracking, fraying, delaminating and drying out. If the tensioner is loose or you can wiggle it or if your belt shows any of these signs you should replace them. I recommend you always replacing the belt when replacing the tensioner and recommend you buy two belts and always keep an extra one in the car. You don't want to be stranded on the side of the road for the lack of a spare drive belt.

Let the car cool so you don't have to work around a hot engine. The belt and tensioner are located on the right side of the engine. Looking down on it you will be able to see the belt tensioner as well as the alternator and A/C compressor. You will need to first take the tension off of the tensioner to remove the belt. The tensioner has a "nub" on the top outer portion. You can place a 16 mm wrench on this and turn it clockwise. You need to lock the tensioner in the open position to remove the tensioner.

Turn the tensioner all the way clockwise and insert a retaining pin between the rotating part and the tensioner base. If you do not have a retaining pin you can use a 3mm Allen key.

With the belt removed you can remove the tensioner. There are three 13mm bolts holding it to the engine. You will need to find the right combination of extensions to get into the tight space. I used a deep socket 13mm and it worked perfectly for all three bolts.

After removing the three bolts you can remove the tensioner from the engine.

There is a picture below that shows you the routing of the belt that you can use to help with installation.

Installation is the reverse of removal. Make sure the belt is properly seated on all the pulleys and that it follows the right path. The V-belt is ribbed on both sides. If you are reinstalling the old belt make sure you mark which direction it was running in before removal and that you do not turn the belt inside out.

Let the car cool so you don't have to work around a hot engine.
Figure 1

Let the car cool so you don't have to work around a hot engine. The belt is located on the right side of the engine. Looking down on it you will be able to see the belt tensioner (red arrow) as well as the alternator (yellow arrow) and A/C compressor (green arrow).

You will need to take the tension off of the tensioner to change belts.
Figure 2

You will need to take the tension off of the tensioner to change belts. The tensioner has a "nub" on the top outer portion. You can place a 16 mm wrench (yellow arrow) on this and turn it clockwise. You need to lock the tensioner in the open position to remove the tensioner.

Turn the tensioner all the way clockwise and insert a retaining pin between the rotating part and the tensioner base through the locking (red arrows).
Figure 3

Turn the tensioner all the way clockwise and insert a retaining pin between the rotating part and the tensioner base through the locking (red arrows). If you do not have a retaining pin you can use a 3mm Allen key.

The V-belt is ribbed on both sides (red arrows).
Figure 4

The V-belt is ribbed on both sides (red arrows). If you are reinstalling the belt make sure you mark which direction it was running in before removal and that you do not turn the belt inside out.

With the belt removed you can remove the tensioner.
Figure 5

With the belt removed you can remove the tensioner. There are three 13mm bolts (yellow arrows) holding it to the engine. You will need to find the right combination of extensions to get into the tight space. I used a deep socket 13mm and it worked perfectly for all three bolts.

After removing the three bolts you can remove the tensioner from the engine.
Figure 6

After removing the three bolts you can remove the tensioner from the engine.

ThisPicture illustrates the routing of the belt.
Figure 7

ThisPicture illustrates the routing of the belt.

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Page last updated: Fri 12/9/2016 02:34:32 AM