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Old 09-23-2011, 06:59 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default DIY Accessory Belt Adjustment

Its happened to all of us. We go out in the morning and start up the Forester and the horrific screeching and squealing of the accessory belts fills the air, wakes the neighbors, and annoys the wife beyond anything you could do yourself. But don't worry, you have a man card. You got it when you changed your oil a few weeks ago. If you can do that surly you can quiet a measly belt right? Sure you can, and I am here to help you.

I took pictures of my 2004 XS but it should apply to almost all Forester motors.

First lets gather round all the tools me might be using:
10mm socket
10mm deep well socket optional
12mm socket
12mm deep well socket optional
3" or 6" socket extension
ratchet
12mm wrench
12mm stubby wrench optional but will make things easier
12mm offset wrench optional but will make your life MUCH easier
wd-40 or pb blaster optional
rags
rubber gloves optional
shop light
magnetic tray optional (for holding nuts and bolts and sockets)
belt dressing optional



belt dressing...



(I couldn't find my offset 12mm wrench so I made a custom "shallow well" socket)



Now that you have all the tools ready, its time to get dirty.

Step 1.
Start with a cool engine. Pop the hood and lets see what we got...



Step 2.
There are (3) bolts and (1) nut holding on the (2) covers that you need to remove.



To get the first cover off, remove the nut on the right side of the cover, then remove the bolt on the left side.

before:


after:


To remove the second cover, remove the bolt on the left. Then loosen the bolt on the right (on the side of the alternator). Its a long bolt that goes clear to the back side of the alternator.

Its hard to see, but there is a nut in there...


If you do remove the bolt entirely this metal bracket will fall down into an abyss, it will take you 20 minutes to find it, and another 30 to get it out from said abyss. Here is a picture of the culprit...


As you can see the guard has a slot so you can slide it out without removing the long bolt.



Now that you have a naked engine, its time to get to work.

Step 3.
Adjusting the power steering belt. This is pretty straight forward. Loosen the bottom bolt (the lock bolt). Now tighten the top bolt (the adjusting bolt) until the belt is snug. I do not know the proper way of telling how a belt is snug, I just feel it. I will come back and edit this post with the proper info on this. Once the belt is tightened correctly, re-tighten the lock bolt and check that the belt is still the proper tightness.



Now that belt is done, so its on to the AC belt.

Step 4.
Loosen the bottom lock nut. Tighten the belt using the adjusting bolt, and re-tighten the lock nut. This is where thing are a little tight and using the stubby wrench and offset wrench came in very handy. Tighten everything back up and double check the belt tension.



Step 5.
Now that everything is in proper adjustment, lets double nay triple check ourselves again. Check torque on all the bolts you have loosened and check the belts tension one last time. Now start the car and let the belts run for a minute or two. Spray the belt dressing on them following the manufacture's directions.

Step 6.
Re-assembly. Its time to put everything back the way you found it. Its just the reverse of how you took it apart. Just make sure you torque everything down properly (again I went by feel for the guards, its not a huge deal. Just check the torque on the alternator bolt)

Once everything is back together you can put your tools away and clean up. You just earned another man point.

edit:
here are some Subaru papers showing this. Print them out for reference if you would like.

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Last edited by dpkilty; 09-26-2011 at 09:57 AM.
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Old 09-26-2011, 09:47 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Great write-up! I've added a link to this thread in our Knowledge Base.
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Old 09-26-2011, 09:55 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Thanks pleiad.

Maybe I will actually help someone on here someday!


Also I forgot to look it up, but I will add a section on how to test the tension of the belts.
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Old 09-26-2011, 12:16 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dpkilty View Post
Maybe I will actually help someone on here someday!
I imagine you already have. I linked to your DIY the other day for some one looking to replace the belts. Since replacing them is virtually the same as adjusting them with the added step of putting new ones on, I figured I would put a good thread to use.
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Old 09-26-2011, 12:19 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Thanks, glad I could help someone out. This site has given me so much, I am just trying to do my part to help others.
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Old 09-26-2011, 02:10 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Very nice. Thanks.
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Old 10-06-2011, 08:25 PM   #7 (permalink)
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I could be wrong but I thought you only used belt dressing on V-belts

Serpentine belts + belt dressing = new belts and pulley cleaning job?
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Old 12-05-2011, 09:16 PM   #8 (permalink)
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On the left/power steering/accessory belt:
How do I tell if it is the power steering pump, a bearing in a pump or pulley, the pulley tensioner, or the belt tension?

I ask because I have tightened the slider bolt (B, top bolt) so much (after loosening the lock bolt) that the belt's top inside is now rubbing on the lock bolt.

Now, I'm not sure how much tension these should have, but intuition tells me it needs to be tighter...but the alternator has been pulled up so far that the lock bolt is now hitting the inside of the upper part of the belt!
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Old 12-07-2011, 12:47 PM   #9 (permalink)
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How are you adjusting and accounting for belt tension? I am replacing my idler pulley, likely because I over tightened the belts when I installed them.
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Old 09-11-2012, 04:11 PM   #10 (permalink)
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I had to do some hunting to get OEM part numbers for an '04, so here they are if anyone needs them:

Alt & PS Belt : OEM 809218270 : Dayco 5050350, Bando 5PK875, Goodyear 4050345, Drive-Rite 350K5
AC & Idler Belt : OEM 73323SA001 : Dayco 5040353, Bando 4PK895, Goodyear 4040350, Drive-Rite 353K4

Last edited by greenlakejohnny; 09-11-2012 at 04:23 PM. Reason: added Drive-Rite
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Old 09-12-2012, 01:26 AM   #11 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dpkilty View Post


Thanks, glad I could help someone out. This site has given me so much, I am just trying to do my part to help others.
+1 Here. Helped me solve a social prob as well. The squealing belt would set off my neighbors' dogs into a cacophony of howls, not good at 0600Hrs
Now have a super silent silver soobie
Thanx!
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Old 09-24-2012, 03:33 AM   #12 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bobk25 View Post
+1 Here. Helped me solve a social prob as well. The squealing belt would set off my neighbors' dogs into a cacophony of howls, not good at 0600Hrs
Now have a super silent silver soobie
Thanx!
i'll add another +1
squealing and jerky power steering fixed in ~15 min. belt was less than $20 from the dealer. thanks for the write up!
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Old 09-27-2012, 03:25 PM   #13 (permalink)
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FWIW Same part numbers are used on a 2001 Forester
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Old 11-03-2012, 05:26 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Default Pictures from a 2009

I thought I might add some pictures applicable to a 2009 XT. First picture is the engine with the plastic cover removed, second picture is the removed bracket, third is the alternator prior to belt removal. Tensioning screw is immediately to the left of the alternator, locking screw (pivoting) is on the right.
Attached Thumbnails
DIY Accessory Belt Adjustment-photo3.jpg   DIY Accessory Belt Adjustment-photo4.jpg   DIY Accessory Belt Adjustment-photo5.jpg  
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Old 11-03-2012, 05:40 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Symptoms were squealing noise when cold, and a strong smell of burning rubber on startups. Here is a picture of the belt after removal. It has about 63,000 miles, and bout 3.5 years of service on it. Of course, 2.5 years of that was in a desert (extreme heat) environment. Second pic is the part number on the removed OEM power steering/ alternator belt.
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DIY Accessory Belt Adjustment-photo2.jpg   DIY Accessory Belt Adjustment-part-number.jpg  
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