How to Replace Idler and Tensioner Pulleys in Ford F-150. http://ford-trucks.com/how-tos is the leading Ford F-150 and Super Duty truck resource for technical DIY guides. The symptoms of a bad pulley will start with a squealing or chirping noise when the engine is warming up, and then will eventually occur all the time. For the full step-by-step article, please visit http://www.ford-trucks.com/how-tos/a/ford-f150-how-to-replace-idler-and-tension-pulleys-359907
You'll want to diagnose the problem before replacing the pulleys. Rule out the serpentine belt by applying some belt dressing, and then start the truck. If the noise goes away then the belt is the problem, not the pulleys.
If the sound still persists, check the pulleys by applying WD-40 to each one and starting the motor. If the sound goes away on that pulley, then that is the problem pulley.
When one pulley wears out, the others won't be far behind. If it’s in your budget, go ahead and replace them all at once.
This easy to moderately difficult job takes an hour and costs from $85 to $130 dollars. A professional will charge from $185 to $230 dollars.
This job requires a ½ inch drive ratchet, a belt removal tool, a socket set, new idler and tensioner pulleys, and a helper.
Step One - Gain access to the pulleys
Depending on your engine bay layout, you may find you'll need to remove some pieces to have enough room to get to the pulleys and belt. In most cases you'll only need to remove the air intake pipe running on top of the shroud. This is usually either held in place by 10 millimeter bolts or by band clamps that can be loosened with a flathead screwdriver.
Step Two - Remove the serpentine belt
Both the F-150 and Super Duty have used the same type of tensioner for their engines for the last decade or so. Since there's a staggering number of engine configurations in both the F-150 and Super Duty, you’ll need the right accessory belt diagram. With these, you can identify the the belt's proper routing, the location of the tensioner, and the location of the idler pulleys and rollers.
The belt diagram can also be located on the sticker near the front of the engine bay.
Insert your ½ inch drive ratchet or belt removal tool into the hole on the tensioner.
Rotate it clockwise towards the driver side to release tension.
While holding the tool, unhook the belt from a pulley
You can now release the tool and use both hands to remove the rest of the belt
Step Three - Remove then re-install the tensioner
To remove the tensioner arm, you'll need to remove the three 10 millimeter bolts on the arm.
Remove the arm and save your hardware in case the new one didn't come with it.
Install is the reverse; Remember to torque to 18 foot pounds.
Step Four - Remove the pulley
Holding the pulley with one hand, use a 13 millimeter socket to remove the bolt in the center.
Install is the reverse; Make sure it's seated properly and torque to 18 foot pounds.
Repeat for all idler pulleys.
Step Five - Re-install the serpentine belt
Loop the belt onto all but one pulley.
Using your ½ inch drive ratchet or belt removal tool, release the tension.
While holding the tool in place, use your free hand to loop the belt onto the last pulley. You can now remove the tool.
Do a final inspection to make sure the belt is both properly seated on all pulleys and that it is installed correctly.
Start the motor. If it runs, you have successfully re-installed it.
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