How to Replace a Silverado Tensioner Pulley

The serpentine belt tensioner pulley keeps the serpentine belt tight. This belt works to run the air conditioner, water pump, and other engine accessories. A tensioner pulley ensures that the belt does not become too loose, which can impact the operation of all the other parts of your engine. In addition, the tensioner pulley helps to add longevity to the life of your serpentine belt by giving it consistent tension.

The tensioner pulley can wear out, and if you hear a squeaking or belt noise under your hood, it may be this pulley. They usually have a life expectancy of around 70,000 miles, so there is a good chance that you may need to replace this belt more than once. Should the tensioner fail, the belt can fail, which means that most of the internal components of your engine compartment will stop working since there will no longer be any power to them.

If you need to replace this belt on your Silverado, here are the instructions for the replacement:

  1. Disconnect the battery from the truck.
  2. Find the belt using the routing diagram for your Silverado. The belt should be located toward the radiator.
  3. Remove the belt tensioner by taking a 3/8 drive ratchet handle and pushing down on the belt. This will release the tension in order for you to remove it. Take that belt off.
  4. Remove the idler pulley with a 13mm wrench.
  5. Next, you will remove the transfer spacer by removing the locking washer with a small screwdriver. This gives you access to the spacer.
  6. Move the spacer onto your new idler pulley. Replace the locking washer and make sure it is securely in place.
  7. Reattach the idler pulley with your 13mm wrench. Tighten it into place using 20 to 25 ft lbs.
  8. Take the serpentine belt tensioner off by using your 15mm wrench. Replace it with the new tensioner. Tighten it back into place.
  9. You should also inspect your serpentine belt for any damage or wear and replace it if needed while you have everything disassembled.
  10. Replace the serpentine belt with your wrench by following the diagram.
  11. Make sure that all the pulleys and belts are in place, and that there is nothing loose before you start your engine.
  12. Reconnect your battery and start your vehicle.

If you hear anything that does not sound normal, shut off your engine, disconnect your battery and re-inspect all your connections and belts. If you have any problems, then consult with your local dealership.