We recently identified the screeching noise on a car of French manufacture as a failed/damaged bearing in the drive belt tensioner pulley. We are sure that most technicians have made similar diagnoses, so our verdict is not especially noteworthy. However, what is noteworthy was the way the customer reacted when we told him we needed to replace both the tensioner and the belt to fix the issue.
First, there was an ominous silence. Then came a few sharp breaths, and then came a tirade about mechanics and their pernicious ways. We let the customer vent for a while, and as soon as he let up for a moment, we asked him to explain what he meant by “our pernicious ways”.
We will gloss over the finer details, but in summary, the customer stated that the last time a workshop removed the engine to replace the belt and tensioner it took them a) more than two months to extinguish all the warning lights on the dashboard, and b), two weeks to get his A/C working again. He concluded by saying that he would rather sell the car at a loss than go through that again with a new workshop.
Even though replacing drive belts and tensioners can be challenging on some cars, we were rather taken aback at the suggestion that we would stoop so low as to remove the engine from the vehicle simply to replace a belt tensioner. Thus, we took full advantage of the next break in his tirade to suggest to him that since we have the special tools to do this kind of job on his vehicle, he could expect to have his car back in about an hour after we get the parts. There would also be no illuminated warning lights, and the A/C system would be fully functional.
We could see that there was still some doubt on his part, so to make sure we get the job, we showed the customer this-
Special drive belt tensioner toolset
Made by AST Tools, this set includes special adapters that engage with the raised pillars on some tensioners to provide safe and effective leverage on the tensioner to remove the drive belt, as shown in the image below-
The manufacturer of this set also supplies a long-handled ratchet, but in our experience, any ratchet will work. Moreover, this toolset makes it possible to remove and install drive belts without the need for an assistant, which is perhaps its greatest advantage.
Note though that although this OEM equivalent toolset was originally designed for use on 1.4 & 1.6 HDi 8v / 16v Citroen engines, it also works on a wide range of Peugeot, Ford, Mazda, Volvo, Toyota, and MINI engines.
So what do you think? Would you rather skin knuckles and strain fingers than invest in an OEM-equivalent tool that can save you hours of work? Alternatively, do you have another way of removing drive belts when you barely have enough space for one hand, let alone two? Tell us about it in the comments section below. If on the other hand, you feel that this is the tool you’ve been waiting for all of your working life, you can contact the manufacturer here for details on sellers or distributors near you.
- Please note, this is not a paid advertisement and we do not receive any commission from sales of this product.