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1,412 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
The original DIY has expired pics. So I made a new one. Steps are identical to timmyd's post. I had planned to do the tensioner/belt replacement more than 3 years ago, but I just kept the parts in the hatch. About 3 weeks I ago I began to hear a squeaky rattle when I was driving with the windows down, particularly in the parking deck where I work. It wasn't present at idle. I figured it might be the tensioner, but since it wasn't audible at idle, it was difficult to tell. After replacement, as others have noted, the pulley bearings would rattle when I shook the tensioner. The pulley seemed to rotate just fine. The new one has some resistance to rotation, but no rattles whatsoever. So, the high pitched rattle/squeak is now all fixed. I also replaced the lower fender plastic shields while I had the undertray off, since both had cracked from driving over packed ice and one side was missing the rear torx screw hole to hold the undertray. All fixed.

Belt and tensioner replacement is at most a 45 minute job. I use Rhino ramps with a 2 by 8 angle cut to use as a mini ramp (see last 2 pictures) to prevent scraping the front bumper. Pictures help you get ready mentally.

You need the following:

1. 16 mm socket to release spring tension
2. 12 mm Triple square bit or socket. Less than 2.5 inches in length works. Longer than that you cannot get the single bolt out that holds the tensioner in place.
3. T20 and T20 Torx bits or drivers to remove the undertray, 8 T20 along the edges (4 on each side) and 3 T30 on the rear edge.
4. Pliers to remove the pin from the new tensioner to keep the spring tension low (for putting the new belt on).
5. Breaker bar to loosen the belt tenion using the 16mm socket. This does not take a lot of strength, but an 8 inch ratchet handle is not ideal.
6. Jack and jack stands or ramps.

Here is the tensioner. 16mm bolt to the left is how you release tension. 12 mm triple square bolt on right hold it to the engine. The tensioner and belt are on the passenger side of the engine, just behind the passenger headlight.

Close up:
To relax the tension on the belt, put the 16mm socket on the pulley and rotate counter clockwise (toward the rear of the engine compartment.)

The 16mm socket. I got the 12 mm triple square bit from Advance Auto.

The Gates replacement belt.

The engine block with the tensioner removed:

New one on top. Note the "Pin" which one removes after installation and after routing the serpentine belt. Use the pliers to pull out the pin while you rotate that 16mm bolt counterclockwise.

New one to right, showing back side. Stamping on back are identical. Both made in Germany.

Close up of new one.

Belt position, from underneath.

Correct belt positioning.

Some have replaced the lower pulley (number 1 in the picture above, but I guess it doesn't fail very often, probably due to very little tension on it. It is an easy replacement if you want to do it at the same time. I am guessing one should replace the tensioner/pulley every 40,000 to 50,000 miles (along with Haldex fluid and rear diff fluid) and replace the lower pulley (#1) every 80-100,000 miles. Cheap security. Just wanted to get the pictures back.

If you can jack up your car or use ramps, you can do this safely and in less than an hour, for sure.

Picture of my ramps:


1,412 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 · (Edited)
great diy...thanks. do you recall the torque values for the two bolts?

shark -

There is only one bolt, the 12 mm Triplesquare. The other 16mm bolt is just what holds the pulley in place. Germanautoparts.com sells a pulley replacement (noted in timmyd's post) , but I just called them and it is NOT for 2004 and 2008 .:R32 VR6 engines. It does not work.
I don't have the tightening torque, but I will look it up in the Bentley.

This is the pulley that looks great, but does not fit our engines.


EDIT: Bentley manual says torque for the M10 x 85, 12mm triple square bolt is 50 Nm. It was tough to find it in the Generator assembly instructions.
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