I have a 1984 Ford LTD w/3.8l V6 w/TBI auto & a/c. I had to replace the
serpentine belt and now I can't set the adjuster properly.
Could someone explain how you set the adjuster properly so that you can
adjust the slack out of the serpentine belt? The squeal is annoying and it
only squeals when the engine is cold or it is rainy/foggy etc. Can't figure
out how to set it so it functions properly HELP!
Any help would be greatly appreciated! Thanks In Advance!
I just went through this with both my wife's Exploder and my Ranger. I
replaced the belts and the squeal went away. To test whether or not it's the
belt, try squirting some belt dressing on it. If the squeal goes away, the
belt needs replacing. If not, the tensioner is bad.
Just my opinion but I think belt dressing is bad kharma.... Folks would use
it on the old V belts.... after a few applications, even new belts properly
adjusted would squeal. until the sheaves were thoroughly cleaned. Try water
or brake cleaner.... no residue either way.
I don't think you do adjust it. It either works or doesn't.
Fords use lots of different belts, and it may be that your belt isn't the
right one. I had a 96 Mustang, but the alternator was from a 96 T-Bird.
Same engine, different sized pulley, different belt.
I had a 92 Chrysler. The listed belt was too short. Would not fit.
Comparing it to the proper belt, found by looking at the almost worn off
numbers on the original belt, the difference was small enough that I would
have believed the belt had stretched with usage... nope. It wouldn't fit.
Since then, I write down the numbers that are on the new belts when I buy a
car, so I can get the right ones if one breaks and is lost, or at least I
compare what I know was on there to the listed replacement.
Clarence A Dold - Hidden Valley (Lake County) CA USA 38.8,-122.5
Other posts have said either it works or it doesn't. I guess they forgot that
the 84 V6 has a manual tensioner, not the spring-loaded one in other models.
Full procedure (for many years) at:
Nice big picture of your belt setup at:
Loosen the 2 "Idler bolts", and use the "Belt tension adjustment bolt" to adjust.
(Make sure the belt it centered on the pulleys, not trying to climb off the
Basically, give the belt a good shove with your thumb between the idler and the
A/C pulley. It shouldn't deflect much more than 1/4". Don't crank it down TOO
tight, or you may find assorted accessory bearings dying prematurely.
With all due respect, most people on this group don't have enough gray hair
to remember what a mid-80's LTD looked like and don't really know the
arrangement. I took a look at the autozone website that someone recommended,
and it seems to have a lot of good stuff for just about any other vehicle...
If yours is anything like the '85 that I still occasionally drive, there are
two belts: a V-belt for the A/C and a serpentine one for everything else.
The serpentine belt has an old style adjustable (not spring-loaded)
tensioner. To adjust the tension you loosen the two bolts holding the
tensioner and turn the jack screw on the top with a socket wrench (8mm if
memory serves). The shop manual has a spec for the tension, but it's
probably useless to quote it here, because I have to assume that you don't
have this tool and are not going to purchase one to use it once a year on a
20+ year old vehicle. Going by feel, the belt should yield a bit (perhaps
1/4"-1/2") if you press on it quite hard with your thumb. The spec calls for
a higher tension for a new belt; lower for one that's been used for a while.
Don't overtighten, because you will damage bearings. If the belt squeals a
little with a cold engine, I would probably tolerate that instead of
overtightening. From my experience with this vehicle, some belts just squeal
more than others, even when set with the gauge for the specified tension.
Try googling in the archives of this group, and you will find a
recommendation for a good brand.
By the way, are you absolutely sure that it's the belt squealing and not
anything driven by it? The thermactor (air pump) is notorious for doing
that, and I wouldn't rule out the alternator, water pump, power steering, or
the tensioner bearing either. You did check that everything is solid and
turns freely without wobbling too much before installing that belt, correct?
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