How To Replace a Silverado Tensioner Pulley

The tensioner pulley is critical to the proper operation of your engine and all the components under the hood. It keeps everything at the right tension, keeps the engine belt tight, and transfers power by way of the pulleys from the serpentine belt to the alternator. Since it is used every time the vehicle is started, it can start to lose its strength over time.

Silverado tensioner pulley

Here are some signs that there is wear on the tensioner pulley:

Battery Light – The light will illuminate when the tensioner pulley is starting to fail. It is because the alternator is not turning fast enough to keep the battery charged.

Loose – The belt becomes loose as it wears. You may hear it while you are driving because it will make a fluttering sound. You may also hear squeals or other noises from the front of the engine. Replace the tensioner pulley.

Debris and Rust – There may be dirt, debris or rust that builds up around the tensioner pulley, which can keep it from spinning. This is particularly true in climates that use salt on the roads during the winter. Rust can also affect the alternator.

Pulley Damage – If there is any damage to the automatic tensioner pulley, you can see the damage on the tensioner pulley.

Replacement Instructions

If you need to replace the tensioner pulley on your Silverado, here are the instructions.

  1. Find the belt routing diagram. It is generally located in the area around the radiator.
  2. Disconnect your battery.
  3. Remove the tensioner pulley by using a 3/8th drive ratchet handle and pushing down on the belt. This relieves the tension. Take the belt off the truck.
  4. Take a 13mm wrench and remove the idler pulley.
  5. Take the transfer spacer off by using a screwdriver to remove the locking washer. Put the spacer on the new tensioner pulley. Replace the locking washer.
  6. Replace the idler pulley by using a 13mm wrench. Tighten it to 20-25ft lbs.
  7. Take the serpentine tensioner pulley off with your 15mm wrench. Replace it with a new one and tighten it back into place.
  8. Look for any breaks, cracks or problems with your serpentine belt. Replace it if it is worn or damaged.
  9. Consult the belt diagram and put the serpentine belt back on using your wrench on the tensioner.
  10. Do an inspection of all the pulleys to ensure that everything is connected.
  11. Reconnect your battery.
  12. Start your vehicle and listen for any problems.

If you still have problems, you may wish to consult a local dealership for more assistance.