The Humble Mechanic - Removing a Serpentine Belt Tensioner & Alternator from a Volkswagen
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The Humble Mechanic – Removing a Serpentine Belt Tensioner & Alternator from a Volkswagen

The Humble Mechanic shows how having the right tools can make removing a serpentine belt and alternator easy.


The right tools make removing the serpentine belt an easy job.


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Today, I’m going to explain how to remove a VW serpentine belt tensioner. The tools we need are a 13 mm wrench or ratchet as well as a way to take the serpentine belt off. We’re going to need to release tension from the tensioner to remove it, so I use Knipex pliers or you could use a 17 mm box wrench.

Start by removing the engine cover. Then I like to get the coolant line completely out of the way by releasing the plastic retention tab, and pulling it up and over. This gives you a great view of the serpentine belt tensioner.

Using the Knipex pliers, we’re going to take off the serpentine belt, releasing tension off of the tensioner. And, what I like to do with the serpentine belt is grab it between the AC compressor and pull it off. Note: There’s still spring tension, so don’t just take the tool off the tensioner. You’ll want to ease it back, otherwise the tool may go flying.

Now that we have no tension on the tensioner and the belt is out of the way, we’re going to take off the three 13 mm bolts. I do the front one first, then the back one and the bottom one last because it gives you more access for your tool to get on the bolt. When you get the bottom bolt near the end of its threads, grab the tensioner with one hand so it doesn’t fall to the ground, and twist the last bit of the bolt out with your other hand. You have to go past a bracket, so drop the tensioner down slightly to clear the bracket, and then you can pull it right out.




Remove the two bolts on the side of the alternator with a 13 mm socket and ratchet.

Removing the Alternator

So, after you’ve got the serpentine belt tensioner and belt out of the way, you can start removing the alternator. Note: Make sure the battery is disconnected.

The tools we need for this job are a 13 mm socket with a ratchet and an 8 mm wrench or socket.

Remove the two bolts that hold the alternator to the accessory bracket. Once those are out, we need to pull the alternator off the bracket. You may need to rock it back and forth a bit. Now we have to take our wire connectors off. Remove the 8 mm nut that holds the wire loom bracket. We’ll take the main battery cable off as well as the connector. Make sure you don’t lose the cover because that needs to go back on when you’re done. Also make sure you hold on to the nut when it’s at the end of the thread – it’s a part that likes to jump down in the engine compartment. Then pull the cable off and lift the alternator out.humble-mechanic-alternator-nut

My videos for these actions are available online. You might also want to check out my related video titled “How To Properly Check A Serpentine Belt.”






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