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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Mods: If this is an acceptable write up, please move it to the DIY section.

Several people have asked me to post a step by step AC belt tensioner replacement along with pictures. I know quite a few of us have done this now, so please feel free to offer up any suggestions or changes, especially if I have missed something or left something out, etc. Also, I apologize for the quantity and quality of my pics. All I had was my iPhone and I didn't get pictures of every step. And yes, I know my car was very dirty. I had spent some time on dirt roads just prior to the install :).

This took me a few hours to do and my hands were pretty tore up from squeezing them into tight spaces, so just be aware.

Here is a picture of the old tensioner and the new tensioner with the added idle pulley.





Here is a diagram of the tensioner and AC compressor I borrowed from another thread where Crazy Paul posted it.



The AC compressor is located here and the tensioner bracket is sandwiched between the compressor and the engine.

Step 1
Remove the AC belt, if yours is still on. It's right behind the serpentine belt on the crank pulley and runs left to the ac compressor. If you are installing the new double pulley tensioner, you can just cut it off as you will not reuse this belt with the new tensioner, but to put on the new belt, you will have to pull of the serpentine belt anyways, so you could just do it here.

Step 2
Remove the passenger side front wheel and either use a lift of jack stands to get the car off the ground. You need some room, so if using jack stands, get it up as high as you can, while still being able to reach in from the top to take out or put in a couple of bolts on the top of the tensioner.


The AC compressor and tensioner are behind the struts for the passenger front wheel.



Step 3
Remove the three bolts holding the AC compressor to the tensioner (1,2 & 3 in the diagram above) using a 13 MM socket. Two are on the bottom and one is on the top at the front of the compressor. The top one is a little difficult to get to as there isn’t much room to turn the socket wrench or fit your hands.

Step 4
Remove the nut holding the AC lines to the tensioner. You can find it in my pic by looking for the piece painted pink that's attached to the tensioner, at least on my car.


Step 5
You should be able to move the AC compressor around enough to take out the 2 bottom bolts on the AC tensioner using a 15 MM socket.

Step 6
This was the hardest part for me. Now, push the AC compressor as far forward, up and out as you can to make room for your socket wrench to get in the hole for the center bolt on the tensioner, behind the AC compressor. My socket wrench was too thick to fit and I had to go buy a lower profile/thinner socket wrench and shorter socket.

Once I had a lower profile wrench, it fit in the space easier, but once you get the bolt loosened enough to turn by hand, pull out your socket wrench or it will get stuck on the AC compressor and you won’t be able to remove it. Hand-loosen the bolt the rest of the way. It requires some force and jiggling of both the AC compressor and the bolt to fully remove it.

Step 7
From the top of the car, remove the top 2 bolts on the tensioner still using 15 MM socket.

Step 8
The tensioner should now move freely. From the top of the car, pull it towards the radiator and rotate the bracket until you can pull it all the way out. I remember turning it sideways to lift it out and one direction did not work, but I can't remember which way to turn it.

Step 9
Reverse the procedure to install the new tensioner. Here is a pic of it installed.



Step 10
Reinstall the AC compressor. There is a little ledge under where the left bolt for the AC compressor goes. You can hang the AC compressor here while you hand tighten in this bolt to get started.
 

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IdontRe Member
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Thanx for posting this up. I'll utilize it if and when I have mine break.

Do you happen to have Part Numbers for the new tensioner? I ck'd on Genuine GM Parts and it shows a Tensioner for the Serpentine Belt and one for the AC Belt but does not provide any part numbers on either.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I don't know for sure, but someone posted a while back that the new tensioner part number is 92252927. [email protected] would know for sure. Either way, Crazy Paul sells it much cheaper. I paid $190 with a new belt from CP.
 

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Solid write up! I was able to pull the old bracket out through the wheel well opening.
 
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