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'98 5.0 V8 Alternator Replacement Gone Bad

Discussion in 'Stock 1995 - 2001 Explorers' started by NickK, June 11, 2017.

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    1. NickK

      NickK New Member

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      1998 Explorer Eddie Bauer
      Hello!
      So, I was on the way to the gym and I noticed a little red battery icon glowing under my RPM reader.

      Knowing this meant my battery was dying, I sped up to above 2000 RPM and the icon went away. I got to a place where I couldn't go that fast and my battery started dying again.

      I knew this meant the alternator was bad, so I managed to get home on an almost stone dead battery.

      Well long story short, to get to my alternator I had to take off the air intake hose, move a radiator hose (complete with losing some fluids) and disconnected the battery. I was able to remove the alternator after slipping off the serpentine belt. All of this took about 30 minutes.

      Then the fun began.

      After a quick run to my auto parts dealer, I got a clean new alternator and put it in my Explorer. It was then that I remembered all the warnings about the serpentine belt being difficult to put back on.

      Well, I spent three hours trying to slip the belt on the alternator, then put two holes in the belt trying to get it on (I wasn't careful, I admit it...)

      After all of this, I got frustrated and paid my mechanic to put a new belt I had on the truck. I know about the tensioner but I had little luck with it. I'm still a novice with this kind of thing, but I had to ask...

      Did anyone have similar problems when they replaced their alternator, then serpentine?

      In addition to the tensioner, what do you do to make the serpentine belt less....difficult?
       
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    3. J_C

      J_C Well-Known Member

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      The main problem I find with serpentine belts, though I have the 4.0L SOHC not 5.0L (and had no trouble on the 4.0L), is when the wrench is too short or space too cramped to get good leverage... I mean on smaller vehicles.

      To clarify, I've never had to do anything more than apply enough torque to the tensioner. I'm not sure about your 5.0L but the 4.0L uses a 3/8" (or was it 1/2"?) drive ratchet directly in a square hole in the tensioner arm, then it is usually easier to already have the belt over the alternator pulley due to its lip and the belt ribbing, and the last pulley you're sliding it onto is the idler, though which is the easiest to put the belt on last can depend on the engine config.
       
      Last edited: June 11, 2017
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    4. NickK

      NickK New Member

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      Yeah, I actually moved the slack in the serpentine belt around and tried to put it on the idler last. It was absolutely easier to try to put on, but I ended up using a screwdriver to try and slip it on and thats where the two holes came from...
       
    5. SupaSwope

      SupaSwope Active Member

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      Yes, I have worked on two of these trucks, same motor 5.0L. And I had an extremely hard time (Even My fathers 05 Sierra) putting on the belts even with a serpentine belt tool.

      What I had to do with the two separate 5.0L's and my dads truck is once I had the tensor all the way maxed I was still 1/4" / 1/8" inch shy of the alternator just sliding on. So what I do is take a big (#4) Flathead Screw driver and feed it threw the belt with the flat pointing towards the driver and handle towards the passenger headlight and then take and slide the belt on back side on the alternator pulley halfway to 3/4 or as much as you can.

      After I take off the serpentine tool and bump the engine over and try to let the belt feed itself on. It does not always work first try, and if it does slide on make sure all the belt is center on all the other pulleys before fully starting your engine.

      Now personally what I had done is I went to the auto parts store and bought a bigger belt so that I can take off the belt without having to do that on my truck anymore. Now I will admit, on cold starts the belt squeaks and slips for a few seconds on startup but goes away within 2 seconds always. and on warmer days and after I have been driving around town for like 30 mins it wont do that once the truck has warmed up and belt system has heated up. Its a small thing about my truck I like.

      So the stock gates belt I got that was hard to put on was from orileys, Tried to look it up on their website but for me at the moment its not working so I looked it up on rock auto.

      https://www.rockauto.com/en/moreinfo.php?pk=4312&cc=1356522&jsn=410
      Stock Gates Belt K060935.

      https://www.rockauto.com/en/moreinfo.php?pk=4317&jsn=3
      Belt I have on my truck is the Gates K060950

      Difference between the size is 41mm or roughly 1.6 inches. It might seem like a lot but I went back and forth to the parts store to find a belt that would be easy to work with that was not to big. This belt is just barley big enough to slip over the alternator pulley. It worked well for me personally and still have lots of tension in the tensioner pulley and belt system. I have gone on 1100 mile road trips and been driving around with this setup for over a year now.
       
      Last edited: June 11, 2017
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    6. NickK

      NickK New Member

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      Thanks for the advice! My experience with a screwdriver and the serpentine were not as good aha.

      I might look into buying a larger belt if you say that the sound goes away when the car heats up, and doesnt damage the system.
       
    7. SupaSwope

      SupaSwope Active Member

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      If you do put on a belt that's not recommended for your truck, please make sure you know what your doing. This is not something I am telling you to do. I am simply telling you what has worked well for me.
       
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    8. NickK

      NickK New Member

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      Definetly, thanks for the advice
       
    9. Mbrooks420

      Mbrooks420 High Voltage. Elite Explorer

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      I've replaced several belts on the 5.0 and have never had much trouble with it. Belts are inherently a PITA, but they were no more trouble than any other belt I've replaced. The tensioner has to be articulated all of the way. I wonder if you might have gotten belt on the small size of the tolerance.
       
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    10. SWIGIN

      SWIGIN Active Member

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      For the record, you did not have to remove the radiator hose to replace the alternator. It simple flexes a little and the Alt will slide out.

      The belt is like any other, max out the tensioner and slip the belt under the easiest pulley to get to.
       
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    11. CDW6212R

      CDW6212R Hauls the mail. Elite Explorer

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      Ditto. I have R&R'd the belts on the SOHC and 5.0 many times, it isn't easy but you basically have to go slow and find the best leverage to crank the tensioner all the way to its limit.

      I have a very long 3/8" swiveling ratchet that works best to do that. I even left it in one time when testing the new 8-rib PS pulley I got(didn't put the old one back on for a week(didn't need the truck)).

      There are some variances in belt lengths depending on manufacturers, plus rare times when a pulley isn't exactly the size it's supposed to be. If anything is not absolutely original, these things can cause problems like the belt seeming to be too short. Take it easy and find your way to get the tensioner moved as far as it will go, and hold it there with one hand. Then the belt should go on without any tools or help, fishing the belt on with the other hand. It sounds easy but that is the way it's done. Regards,
       
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    12. koda2000

      koda2000 Explorer Addict

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      The easiest way I've found to replace the serpentine belt is to max out the tensioner from underneath the truck using a 15mm shallow socket on the pulley bolt and using a 8" long 3/8's breaker bar while pushing up on the end of the breaker bar with a modified 12" piece of pipe. While I'm holding the tensioner in place I have a helper (carefully) slip the belt over the alternator pulley. I've also done the job by myself, but it's a major PITA. One of those long serpentine belt tools from the top might also work, but I've never owed one of those.

      I would strongly suggest you to not install a belt that is too long, as this will lead to other problems. Also trying to pry the belt onto the pulley with a screw driver is a bad idea, as you've learned. I've found different manufacturer's belts vary in length up to about 1/4", but that's not enough to really make a difference in the installation. I've used Dayco belts and find that they've worked fine.
       
      Last edited: June 11, 2017
    13. 1998Exp

      1998Exp Well-Known Member

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    14. J_C

      J_C Well-Known Member

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      What belt model did you put on? Any chance the parts store looked at them crosseyed and pulled the wrong part #? They're probably right next to each other, I recall on the last Dayco I put on that a (small, yet significant) length difference was only a matter of the part # last digit being an "8" vs "0", but again this was for my 4.0L not the 5.0L.
       
    15. nameskreen

      nameskreen Member

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      i agree with accessing it from underneath. they are kind of a pain, but I found that to be the easiest way. It also helps to have someone at the top help slip the belt on
       

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