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      02-08-2021, 06:58 PM   #12
New Member

Drives: BMW x5
Join Date: Feb 2021
Location: CA

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Thanks everyone for your ideas.

I successfully replaced mine without any special tools!

I used a 7/8" socket (I think 22mm also works) to turn the crank pulley. I used a stripe of cloth wrap on the belt at the bottom of the compressor pulley and slowly turning the engine and pulling the belt outward. After half a rotation the belt is still on, but it's off the tracks. So I just use my fingers to keep pulling it out ward and turning. It easily came off.

Now, to put a new belt on, it's much easier than I though. No other tools needed! (Make sure the other Serpentine belt is already place in there .

First, loop the stretch belt over the crank pulley, carefully make sure it line up the grooves. On the compressor pulley, the belt obvious won't go on. However, it should be just enough to loop around the smaller rim on the face of the pulley. So, at that point, if you turn the crank pulley, the belt can also turn. So now, try to turn the engine a bit at a time, counter-clockwise, for every move, use your finger to push the belt inward at the point that the belt contacts the top of the compressor pulley. Just be VERY careful not to catch your finger under the belt. So, slowly, the belt should move towards the back of the car on the pulley surface.

After half a circle, the belt should be mostly in. At the point, don't force it. I noticed that the belt didn't get onto the grooves on the crank pulley. And it looks like it will be a mess if I kept turning it. So I change to crank it clock-wise and continue to use my fingers to guide the belt. After half a circle turn later the belt is in perfect position!

The attached image shows that the belt is just half on. Notice that the bottom part of the belt is still on the outer rim part of the compressor pulley.

Sorry if I am using incorrect terms. I am not a good DIY guy. I let my Serpertine belt unchanged till 149k miles. And not suprisingly it broke. LOL. And it broke on the most inconvenient day when I was >200 miles away from home during a ski trip. The belt was shredded into wool fiber and spread all over the engine bay. The broken belt also broke a coolant line. A local shop wanted $1300 to replace coolant line, belt, tensioner and the idler pulley. That's too fat of a bill considering that my whole X5 is probably worth about $5000. I insisted to just put a new belt in. The shop still charged me $470 for that!!!

After some researches (including reading from your comments), I ordered all the parts and properly completed the whole job! It coolant line was pretty easy to replace. Bleeding the coolant system is trivial. There are plenty of videos explaining how to change the tensioner and pulley. So there is no problem with that either. There was NO video and very few posts explaining the stretch belt. So that worried me a lot. Thank you guys a lot for giving me the confidence. I almost wanted to skip replacing it. I had no choice after seeing the belt was already falling apart.

Sorry for the long post.
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