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Old 10-04-2014, 05:56 PM   #1
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Replacement of serpentine belt and tensioner

Have been listening to a squeaking engine noise for too long, hopefully this info will help others. There seems to be some question as to exactly which belt to order, I measured the new belt against the old, and it is an exact fit.

For those that have the squeaking, sounds like a bad water pump sound, it is likely not the water pump, in my case it was a worn bearing on the serpentine belt tensioner. The bearing was also worn on the idler pulley, so I changed that as well. I mainly changed the belt to confirm that I have the correct spare, however, there was a lot of small cracks on the tread side of the belt. After changing these components the belt system is quiet again.

2004 National Dolphin 5320
2003 WorkHorse W-22 Chassis
GM 8.1L Engine
Mileage: 32,000 miles

I sourced all of these parts from rockauto, the Gates parts were not expensive and are of good quality.

Belt Tensioner: Gates #38258
Idler Pulley: Gates #36299
Serpentine Belt: Gates #K061080

There is a 3/8" square drive hole in the belt tensioner arm, insert a 3/8" ratchet there and rotate clockwise while pushing down to unload the spring so that you can remove the belt. I had no room to rotate the ratchet and had to apply strong downward force to counter the force of the spring.

I then replaced the Idler pulley and the tensioner assembly and torqued the tensioner bolt at the required 37 ft lb.

When installing the belt, refer to the diagram, you do not need to route the belt around the fan. The easiest way to get the belt back on is to apply downward pressure on the tensioner arm while you push the belt under the idler pulley.

Thanks to Oemy's Web Site -
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Old 10-05-2014, 09:09 AM   #2
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Good post, thanks.
I've save the belt image and part numbers.
My tensioner has been making noise as well.
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Old 10-05-2014, 09:55 AM   #3
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I never heard any noise, just noticed the serpentine belt beginning to fray last summer. I have a great mechanic here, he changed the belt and did an oil change and chassis lube all for $150. Thanks for the great info, I saved it for future reference. I have not been able to find many other Dolphin owners with the 5320 model, let me know if you have any other info to share!

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Old 10-05-2014, 11:02 AM   #4
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I started our 97 Ranger, there was a loud bang and no power steering. Found the tensioner lying on the ground, the pivot bolt was still in the block. I replaced it exactly as described.
The hardest part as mentioned was forcing against spring tension to install the belt, I used a short cheater on the ratchet, guaranteed to bust a knuckle if the ratchet slips but there was little room to work. Once the belt was on the pulleys but not centered I bumped the starter to finish the job.
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