Ford F-150/F-250: How to Replace Serpentine Belt

Changing the serpentine belt is one of core maintenance items on any F-150 or F-250. It's also a great way for mechanical novices to get acclimated with working under the hood. Get your hands dirty with our guide below.

By Pizzaman711 - October 9, 2014

This article applies to the Ford F-150 (2004-2014) and the F-250, F-350 Super Duty (2005-2014).

The serpentine belt is vital to keep your Ford F-150 or Super Duty running. A worn belt will look both dry and cracked, and it will give you a nasty squeal when starting your truck. Over time, the squeal will worsen and be constant. When the squealing starts, it’s time to replace the belt. Leaving the belt on will lead to breaking, which will leave the your F-150 or F-250 inoperable and you stranded.

The drive belt (or serpentine belt) powers the accessories that run off your engine. That means your alternator, your power steering pump, your air conditioning compressor, and your coolant pump all die instantly if your serpentine belt snaps.

That's why It's important to visually check your belts every time you change your oil. That means that you should make sure they're not cracking every 7,500 miles. The average lifespan of a serpentine belt is about 60,000 miles. It can be considerably less if the belts are low quality or if the truck has been used in severe conditions.

Materials Needed

F-150s with a 4.2L V6, 4.6L V8, 5.4L V8 and the Super Duty require

  • 1/2" drive ratchet
  • breaker bar (optional)

F-150s with a 3.5L V6, 3.7L V6, or 5.0L Coyote V8 require

Stretch Belt Remover/Installer

Step 1 – Clear the way to the tensioner

Pop the hood. On the radiator shroud you’ll see a sticker with the layout of the serpentine belt. If not, locate your serpentine belt layout in the images below (figure 3).

Locate the belt tensioner, it’ll look like a pulley with an arm coming off of it.

Figure 1. You don't have to remove the radiator shroud to access the tensioner. It'll be in the gap between the engine block and the fan.

Step 2 - Relax belt tensioner

Insert either your 1/2” drive ratchet or your belt remover tool into the tensioner. Rotate clockwise towards driver side.

  • Figure 2. The serpentine belt tensioner is highlighted above. It looks and operates the same way in most Ford V8s and V6s. That includes diesels. You will not find it on the new 3.7-liter V6, the 3.5-liter EcoBoost or the 5-liter "Coyote."
  • Figure 3. Rotate this arm clockwise to relieve tension on the serpentine belt

Step 3 - Remove serpentine belt from pulleys

While holding the tool in place to release tension, unhook the serpentine belt from the tensioner pulley. Once you have it off one pulley, you can release the tool to be able to use both hands to remove it from the rest of the pulleys.

For the Ford F-150

  • 3.5L Ecoboost, 3.7L V6
  • 5.0L "Coyote" V8
  • 6.2L "Boss" V8
  • 4.6L, 5.4L "Modular" V8

For the Ford F-250 and Super Duty trucks

  • 6.7L "Scorpion" Diesel V8 with one alternator
  • 6.7L "Scorpion" Diesel V8 with one alternator
  • 6.0L Power Stroke Diesel V8

F-250s and Super Duties with gas engines will have the same belt routing diagrams as their F-150 counterparts. All of the gasoline engines on the Super Duty (including the V10 Triton and the 6.2L Boss V8) will have the same routing diagram. You can always double check by looking at the decal in your engine bay. It's located on top of the radiator along with several other stickers.

Pro Tip

The 3.5L Ecoboost V6, 3.7L V6, and 5.0L Coyote V8 all have non-adjustable tensioners, meaning you cannot simply loosen the tensioner to remove the belt. To change serpentine belts, you'll either have to allow a shop to do it, or use a stretchy belt remover/installer to do it yourself.

Step 5 - Install new serpentine belt

Loop the serpentine belt onto all pulleys except the tensioner. Once the belt is on all but the last pulley, use your 1/2” drive ratchet or belt remover tool to loosen the tension on the pulley. With tension removed, there should be plenty of room to get the belt onto the last pulley. Remove the tool and inspect your work and compare it to the diagram to make sure it’s installed correctly. Start the truck, if it runs your work is complete!

Featured Video: How to Replace Serpentine Belt

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