Date: Wed, 04 Jun 1997 11:14:59 -0700
From: Terry Lee <tlee_at_atwc.teradyne.com>
Subject: How to change E36 M50 belts
E36 M50 ACCESSORY BELT AND AIR CONDITIONER BELT REPLACEMENT
The M50 uses a spring loaded idler pulley to maintain constant tension in the
accessory and air conditioning belt. The idler pulleys are hinged on a pivot and
the tension is applied to the pulley arm via a spring loaded device that
a stubby shock absorber. Changing the belts simply requires pulling the
back so that the belt is slack enough to remove and replace. I found the
to back off the idler pulley is to pop the cover's off of them, inserting a
8mm hex wrench, and then turning the idler pulley on it's pivot against the
The dealer's will charge you $125. Independent parts suppliers will provide
belts for under $50. It takes under 30 min for a do-it-yourselfer.
Philips screwdriver - #2
Slotted screwdriver (about 3" long)
8mm long arm hex wrench
trouble light or flashlight
- Open the hood and remove the cover/air duct over the radiator fan, which
cool air to your alternator. There are 4 screws plus two push-in
- Jack up the front of the car, supporting it on jackstands.
- Remove your lower baffle, this is the rectangular piece blocking your view of
the belts from below.
- Using the small slotted screwdriver, pry off the plastic center cap on
pulley of the air conditioner.
- Insert the 8mm long arm hex wrench into the bolt holding the idler pulley on.
- Push up on the wrench, to remove tension on the belt. Remove the air
while it's loose.
- Make a sketch of the serpentine routing of the accessory belt - once it's
not obvious how the routing goes.
- Pry off the plastic center cap on the idler pulley of the accessory belt,
the 8mm long arm hex wrench.
- Push up and towards the center of the engine on the wrench, to remove
tension on the
belt. Remove the accessory belt while it's loose.
- From the top, snake the accessory belt carefully around the radiator
fan, taking care not
to put dents into your radiator fins.
- Reverse the contortions, to get your new accessory belt into the correct
- Back off the idler pulley and then slip the accessory belt into place
over the idler pulley.
- Pop the accessory belt idler pulley cover back on.
- Place the new air conditioner belt into position.
- Back off the idler pulley and then slip the air conditioner belt into
place over the idler pulley.
- Pop the air conditioner idler pulley cover back on.
- Re-install your lower baffle and cover/air ducts.
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