96 Bonnie belt tensioner - bolt stripped to tighten - cant release belt - GM Forum - Buick, Cadillac, Chev, Olds, GMC & Pontiac chat


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Old 07-22-2016, 02:27 PM   #1
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Default 96 Bonnie belt tensioner - bolt stripped to tighten - cant release belt

Murphys law - car is heading to its 3rd PS pump in 93K miles and everything runs true. But, trying to release the belt, the tensioner bolt felt loose and would not tighten to rotate the pulley and release the belt. The bolt will back out, but not tighten.

Question is - should I just try and pry the pulley off and let the tensioner do its thing hoping nothing launches anywhere, or is there another method to pry the tensioner? I don't care about saving the tensioner if its an issue.
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Old 07-22-2016, 02:38 PM   #2
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How many miles are on the car? I would replace the entire tensioner assembly and update the coolant elbows to the metal ones while you're in there.
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Old 07-22-2016, 03:40 PM   #3
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93k =/-

I plan on replacing the tensioner - again. BUT, I cannot rotate it as the bolt is stripped in the CCW direction not allowing any torque to be applied to rotate the tensioner and release the belt. I can remove the bolt leaving a pulley that is not fastened.

Question is, should I just pry the pulley off the tensioner with the belt still in place, or is there another way to release belt tension?
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Old 07-22-2016, 04:49 PM   #4
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Hopefully someone else can give you the answer you're looking for but honestly this is pretty basic stuff.
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Old 07-22-2016, 05:56 PM   #5
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Not basic enough to find an answer........how to release the belt without using the belt tensioner. Find a way to pry the tensioner, pry the pulley off and duck, or cutting a nearly new belt in half, which isn't a great idea with all the tension pressure.

I am just hoping someone else has seen this situation before - surely cant be the 1st case of an aftermarket tensioner bolt stripping while loading the bolt. Apparently this happened last time I had to put the belt on.
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Old 07-22-2016, 06:42 PM   #6
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If you could lube up the water pump pulley, I think that would be your best place to try and leverage the belt off, but you would have to get something under the belt to do it, and then clean up the mess afterwards. I think it'* a pretty tight area, so it may be slightly hazardous.

As mentioned, you could cut the belt, just make sure you are clear of the tensioner when you snip it. The movement should be fairly minimal when tension is released, probably about 2-3 inches.

You can also heat something really hot and burn through the belt too, and tension would release just as before, only you could be further away from it.

I don't think removing any accesories is a good idea at all, because then you would have an accessory being flung down, assuming it even was enough to get it off.

The only other way is to possibly stick something between a belt and a pulley and turn the engine over, but you would be careful that you don't hit the end of travel on the tensioner, and you still will want to be careful releasing the tension, because you don't want it to go straight to your finger that was somewhere it shouldn't have been.
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