Serpentine Belt Removal/Replacement How-To (2003 Astro)

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Serpentine Belt Removal/Replacement How-To (2003 Astro)

Postby chemist [OP] » July 6th 2008, 9:45pm

The late model Astro does not use multiple belts, but instead uses one long serpentine belt. Replacement of this belt is a general maintenance item--but bear in mind I'm doing mine at over 100,000 miles. They're certainly designed to last, which is one consolation for the relative difficultly of what would be a 5 minute job on a sedan. Still it isn't too hard to do yourself. The belt will set you back from $30 to $60. For having no desire to do this job again in the next 5 years, I spent the extra money and went for the OEM (original equipement manufacturer) belt. Depending on your money situation, you may wish to do the same.

A word of caution, if your replacing your belt because it's squeeling, and it show no signs of cracking, save your money and simply clean it and the pullies. The GM shop manual states to clean the pullies, and notes that replacing it for squeeling without cleaning the pullies will likely only be a temporary fix.

The specific van photographed is equiped with air conditioning, but the concept and belt tensioner location is the same. To replace or remove the belt from one of the pullies for other work, proceed as follows:

1. Remove the air intake as per this procedure:
http://www.astrosafari.com/viewtopic.php?f=9&t=1142

2. Remove the upper fan housing as per this procedure:
http://www.astrosafari.com/viewtopic.php?f=9&t=1143

This is what you're now looking at. Note the path of the belt, as the last thing you want to do is get the belt off and not remember how it looked when it was on...
Image
Image

If you have a digital or polaroid camera handy, snap a couple pics of your own prior to removal...

3. Your belt tensioner is located below the alternator. Sorry I didn't get a good picture of it specifically. In the center tensioner pully, you will notice a square indent. That's there for a reason. A 3/8" drive will fit into it perfectly. Place a 3/8" extension between the fan blades. The picture doesn't show, but if you lack a long handled 3/8 rachet as I do, a 12" to 18" piece of 1.5" galvanized pipe will slip right over your rachet handle and give all the leverage you'll ever need.
Image

4. Then simply slip the belt off, starting with the top smooth pully first. You'll need to slip it around the fan to get it out.
Image

5. Clean your pullies, then replace your belt just as it was removed. Skip the tensioner and the smooth pully in the top center, seen above, until you've gotten the belt on the engine pully. The engine pully is best accessed from underneath the van, while everything else is best accessed from under the hood.
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Re: Serpentine Belt Removal/Replacement How-To (2003 Astro)

Postby bkzxclusive » November 4th 2008, 6:32pm

Hey watsup, my belt is also squealing, but with what and how can i clean my pullies?
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Re: Serpentine Belt Removal/Replacement How-To (2003 Astro)

Postby danvan » November 7th 2008, 5:07am

Yes, what is the best way to clean the belt and pullies?

Ive used a small wire brush on every pully while the eng is running, and also to inside of the belt.

Ive used engine degreeser and simple green and water, nothing stops the squeak for more then a few minutes.
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Re: Serpentine Belt Removal/Replacement How-To (2003 Astro)

Postby fozzy19 » February 16th 2009, 6:56pm

I've been told the best way to clean the pulleys is to just soak them real good with WD-40. Seemed to do the job for me.
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Re: Serpentine Belt Removal/Replacement How-To (2003 Astro)

Postby remark123 » February 17th 2009, 8:54pm

If your belt is new and still squealing, I'd bet that the problem is with the idler pulley, ask me how i know!!!
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Re: Serpentine Belt Removal/Replacement How-To (2003 Astro)

Postby fede » February 18th 2009, 4:20am

If your belt is new and still squealing, I'd bet that the problem is with the idler pulley, ask me how i know!!!


how do you know?? :dance:
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Re: Serpentine Belt Removal/Replacement How-To (2003 Astro)

Postby rev_les » March 3rd 2009, 6:28am

like Remark said..........watch that idler, lol
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Re: Serpentine Belt Removal/Replacement How-To (2003 Astro)

Postby HagensborgViking » April 2nd 2009, 4:16am

Boy do I wish I had thought to look here before I tried a belt re &re on my 02 Safari. I actually thought that once I got the old belt off, I could look at the decal on the upper tie bar and get the new one on with no problems. OH MY GOD.

It actually took close to two hours and the opinions of 3 different people to get the truck running again. We kept second guessing wheither or not we had to go around the fan or not. And much UNLIKE saving lives and building reactors from scratch... this is something that actually gets HARDER the more beers you have. :doh:
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Re: Serpentine Belt Removal/Replacement How-To (2003 Astro)

Postby fede » April 2nd 2009, 4:26am

Its a lot easier on the older engines because you don't have to remove anything to get at it. I have a 91 and i just put a new belt on the other day and it only took me about 30mins. I actually thought it was kind of fun routing the belt thru the pulleys. lol
I put a gatorback belt on, because ive read that they are really good. I highly recommend them too. My engine sounds a lot better now, no more squealing!! :D
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Re: Serpentine Belt Removal/Replacement How-To (2003 Astro)

Postby CaptSquid » April 2nd 2009, 5:18am

I have a 92 and it has the serpentine belt. Granted, they ARE a PITA to remove & install and if it breaks, you're dead in the water. I think I liked the old, multiple belt way better.
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Re: Serpentine Belt Removal/Replacement How-To (2003 Astro)

Postby Kamel » April 30th 2009, 5:57pm

Thanks for the how-to, I didn't think to check here before trying myself haha. I did want to point out that most vehicles have a diagram of the routing of the serpentine belt on the vehicle somewhere though.

I just replaced my serpentine belt in a '94 Astro. The experience was actually quite pleasant, had it all done in about 30 minutes. Used Autozone's rent a tool program (basically you pay for it then return it for a refund). My word of advice is to take the belt off from the top and notice which side of the fan the belt is wrapped around from the engine. This is the most important part to get on.

I found it was much easier to try and get it 'stuck in there just right' so that you have enough belt to crawl under the car and thread it from the bottom around the engine wheel. Once I did this (not jacked up, much easier to reach the lower the vehicle was), the rest was quite easy. The more wheels you get it around, the more taught you want to keep the belt because if you let go and loosen the belt, it may fall off of pulleys you have already put it around. This can make the job very annoying.

I would say this is a 2 person job unless you want to be very annoyed. I had my sister hold the belt tensioner with the tool while I got it under the tensioner and fine tuned the position around all pulleys making sure there was no slack. This was easy for her to do because the serpentine belt tool has such a long handle, with all that leverage anyone could do it.
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Re: Serpentine Belt Removal/Replacement How-To (2003 Astro)

Postby Vinnie6 » October 25th 2009, 3:36am

fede wrote:I put a gatorback belt on, because ive read that they are really good. I highly recommend them too. My engine sounds a lot better now, no more squealing!! :D


Same for me. With OE belt, in 6 months it would be squealing. After switching to gatorback belts, they develop cracks in about 2 1/2 years, but never make noise except when it is REALLY humid. I can do the belt on my 2002 Astro by myself, but it takes patience. I have gotten a little faster each time, but it still takes me at least 30 minutes. I do not have to remove the upper fan shroud. Just the air intake. Reach from above, crawl under. Repeat many times... I can see how a partner would help a lot.
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Re: Serpentine Belt Removal/Replacement How-To (2003 Astro)

Postby Wolphin » February 28th 2010, 7:09pm

I used WD40, and it made my sqeal get much, much worse! Had to do an engine wash 3 times to get most of it gone! Ended up taking some steel wool to the pullies, and the sqeal is mostly gone. Belt still looks good, but going to look at replacing it.
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Re: Serpentine Belt Removal/Replacement How-To (2003 Astro)

Postby marzon » March 1st 2010, 12:03am

30 mins ???
I believe I'm happy to own an older model !

I just did it yesterday, all from the top, in about 2 minutes .. it's so dead easy (on a 91 astro at least)

okay, I took a little more time to fit the pulleys with new bearings, but just the belt , is done simple. it's not even around the fan.
before mine did squeek a lot, someone had put on a shorter belt , removed the tensioner, and forgot the airco compressor pulley.
I rebuild it to original and got suprised with the simplicity of fitting the belt :dance:
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Re: Serpentine Belt Removal/Replacement How-To (2003 Astro)

Postby Vinnie6 » March 1st 2010, 1:56am

marzon wrote:I rebuild it to original and got suprised with the simplicity of fitting the belt :dance:


Satisfying! :clap:
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Re: Serpentine Belt Removal/Replacement How-To (2003 Astro)

Postby BillyBob » April 15th 2010, 3:02am

Hi all,

Glad I found this forum because I've been going nuts. I have a 2000 Astro w/80,000 miles. The Idler pulley started making noise so I replaced it and, the tension-er, and the belt. It worked fine for about 1,000 miles then it started making a squealing noise. So I took the belt back to the parts store and had them give me a new one( Gator Back). After about 800 miles it started squealing AGAIN. So I put some belt squeal on it and it made it even worse so I cleaned it off and put it back on and it went back to it's normal squeal. Then I tried WD/40 and that didn't work. So I've been driving the van around and it sounds like a couple of hamster are running on a rusted wheel.

So on searching the net I came across this forum and there is one thing I never in my right mind thought it would be...CLEANING the pulleys. I haven't tried it yet but I'm going to in the next couple of days.

Could it be the build up of rubber on the pulleys from the old belt, and also from the WD/40 making it slip on the new belt??? I think it could be possible (Fingers Crossed) and I did kinda notice when shining a light on the crank pulley when it was running that it did raise up over the pulley edge and not on any other pulleys.

My power steering pump went out at 50,000 while backing the boat into the driveway (thank God I wasn't on the freeway or in traffic because everything went dead brakes and all) and I just replaced the pump and it worked fine up until the idler bearing went out.

If anyone knows of something else it may be please let me know I would really appreciate it.

I'll post what what happens after I clean the pulleys.



Thanks in advance for your help!
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Re: Serpentine Belt Removal/Replacement How-To (2003 Astro)

Postby astroturf » April 15th 2010, 3:10am

BillyBob wrote:Hi all,

Glad I found this forum because I've been going nuts. I have a 2000 Astro w/80,000 miles. The Idler pulley started making noise so I replaced it and, the tension-er, and the belt. It worked fine for about 1,000 miles then it started making a squealing noise. So I took the belt back to the parts store and had them give me a new one( Gator Back). After about 800 miles it started squealing AGAIN. So I put some belt squeal on it and it made it even worse so I cleaned it off and put it back on and it went back to it's normal squeal. Then I tried WD/40 and that didn't work. So I've been driving the van around and it sounds like a couple of hamster are running on a rusted wheel.

So on searching the net I came across this forum and there is one thing I never in my right mind thought it would be...CLEANING the pulleys. I haven't tried it yet but I'm going to in the next couple of days.

Could it be the build up of rubber on the pulleys from the old belt, and also from the WD/40 making it slip on the new belt??? I think it could be possible (Fingers Crossed) and I did kinda notice when shining a light on the crank pulley when it was running that it did raise up over the pulley edge and not on any other pulleys.

My power steering pump went out at 50,000 while backing the boat into the driveway (thank God I wasn't on the freeway or in traffic because everything went dead brakes and all) and I just replaced the pump and it worked fine up until the idler bearing went out.

If anyone knows of something else it may be please let me know I would really appreciate it.

I'll post what what happens after I clean the pulleys.



Thanks in advance for your help!


Really sounds like you need to get in there and inspect all of your pulleys alignment. Jim
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Re: Serpentine Belt Removal/Replacement How-To (2003 Astro)

Postby BillyBob » April 18th 2010, 1:14am

Jim,

How do you align the pulleys on this 2000 astro van? I don't see any adjustments nuts anywhere.
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Re: Serpentine Belt Removal/Replacement How-To (2003 Astro)

Postby astroturf » April 18th 2010, 1:45am

BillyBob wrote:Jim,

How do you align the pulleys on this 2000 astro van? I don't see any adjustments nuts anywhere.


I don't think you can. Are they out of alignment? Jim
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Re: Serpentine Belt Removal/Replacement How-To (2003 Astro)

Postby Nm12tbird » May 28th 2010, 3:36am

Hello

I have a 94 Safari AWD.
I was wondering if I can reroute the Serp belt to remove the AC pump? Lines broke years ago.
Something is making noise. I know I would nee a shorter belt. How long?
Or is there a bypass pulley?

:?
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