The alternator is installed tight and the belt is routed properly around all the pulley’s, but I’m having trouble getting the belt around the center locked tensioner. How do I get enough slack in the system to get the belt around the tensioner and all the pulley’s?
First, make sure the last pulley you are trying to slip the belt onto is a flat pulley, not a grooved one. This makes a huge difference. If it’s not that, double check your belt routing. If you don’t have an underhood sticker depicting the routing, a quick Internet search will usually give you the needed information. If it’s neither of those, and you are installing a new belt, double check that you got the right part number. Parts houses make mistakes and it’s not uncommon to get the wrong belt from them, meaning it could be too long, too short, too wide, too narrow, or a combination of any of these. If this doesn’t help, give us more details and background so we can help you better.
The only way way I was able to install the serpentine belt on my 95 Taurus was to install the belt onto the idler pulley last. Try that and see if it works any better.
did the new tensioner come with a small steel rod? that is used to put into the little hole in the tensioner when you have it fully opened, so you dont need to hold the breakerbar open while you are routing the belt. Then when the belt is on, you open the tensioner, remove the little pin, and let it tighten up on the belt.
As mentioned,3 out of the 5 pulleys three are grooved. make sure the belt is put into each belt correctly, and seated all the way. the idler and tensioner last as mark said.
Use a rod to keep the hood up, the cars rod is going to be in the way. Get a 15mm box wrench, add to the length either with a pipe or locking another box wrench to the end. Push the tensioner down/clockwise until you have slack. The last pulley the belt goes on is the idler which is smooth and also much easier to reach. See the link, hopefully posting links in not frowned upon.