Tech Article Title Author Date
2.8 Serpentine Belt Tensioner Replacement Kris Hansen 2007

So you just had the pleasure of replacing your 2.8's timing belt and all associated bits that go along with it, but you didn't replace the serpentine belt tensioner. And now, that very part is shreiking like a banshee. After you get done flagellating yourself for not replacing that part while you were there, you decide to roll up your sleeves and start putting the car in 'Service Position'. With an A4, this is moderately annoying, removing the bumper is somewhat of a hassle. On a C5 A6 however, removing the bumper is more involved, and easily takes longer than swapping the tensioner. You think to yourself, there must be a better way.

There is an alternate way. I hesitate to call it better, because though its certainly less time consuming, it's not exactly easy, especially if you, like me, don't have particularly skinny arms.

Instead of removing the bumper, and moving the lock carrier to service position, what I did was remove the electric radiator fan, which provided enough room to remove the serpentine belt tensioner. Removing the fan is easy enough, there is only one screw holding it in place.

First, remove the intake duct to the airbox. Remove the spark plug wires on the front of each coil pack, and the rubber weather stripping from the lock carrier. Also, disconnect the SAI hose and move it out of the way.

Remove the one and only screw on the electric fan, and rotate the whole thing anti-clockwise.

Once you rotate it this way, you can move it up and rotate it a little as you slide it through the gap between the lock carrier and the coilpacks.

Now, using a long ratchet or breaker bar and a 17mm 12pt socket (you can use a 6pt, but a 12pt is easier to get on if you're using a breaker bar.) and working the tensioner toward the driver's side, remove tension from the belt, and slide it off of the pulley.

Next, grab your ratchet and 10mm allen socket, and remove the one bolt from the tensioner. It's probably going to be pretty snug.

Remove the tensioner from the car, and install the new tensioner, making sure to locate it correctly so that the pin on the back of the housing mates with the hole for it. Tighten the 10mm allen.

You can now start reversing the procedure. Getting the fan back in can be a challenge. Make sure that the wires that run along side the fan are well clear of it. Once you get it mounted, give it a spin to ensure that the blades are not hitting on anything and can move freely.

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