How to Replace a Fan Belt on a 1988 Ford F-150

Even with the evolving complexity of the auto engine, changing a fan belt is a fairly simple process. Somewhat of a misnomer, fan belts not only drive the engine’s cooling fan, they also operate nonelectrical powered accessories. Commonly referred to as drive or accessory belts, many vehicles like the 1988 Ford F-150 pickup employ a single serpentine belt which snakes around each of the accessory’s drive pulleys, operating the water pump, power steering, power brakes and air conditioning compressor.

Tools Used: Wrench, Replacement drive belt, 3/8-inch socket wrench handle

Replace Fan Belt

Park the truck on a level spot. Place the transmission in “park” and set the parking brake. Disconnect the negative battery cable with a wrench.

Insert the square attachment point of a socket wrench handle into the square hole in the front of the belt tensioner pulley, adjacent to the crankshaft pulley. Turn the handle of the wrench clockwise to release the tension on the fan belt; you are not trying to remove the pulley, but only releasing the pulley’s pressure on the belt.

Reconnect the negative battery cable. Start the engine and confirm the belt is tracking properly around all pulleys.

Pull the belt over the top of the tensioner pulley with your free hand. Release the tension on the socket wrench and work the belt free from the engine with your fingers.

Place the bottom loop of the new belt under the crankshaft pulley, with the grooves on the inside of the belt facing the grooves on the crank pulley.

Wrap the smooth outside of the belt over the tensioner pulley.

Route the grooved inside of the belt under the AC compressor pulley -- on the left of the crankshaft as you face the vehicle.

Pull the smooth outside surface of the belt up and over the water pump pulley on the right side of the engine.

Bring the grooved inside of the belt down and under the power steering pump pulley.

Route the smooth outside of the belt under the idler pulley near the top of the engine, adjacent to the alternator pulley. Insert the socket wrench handle back into the tensioner pulley and push the wrench handle to the right.

Pull the grooved inside of the belt up and over the alternator pulley. Release the pressure on the wrench, allowing the tensioner pulley to engage the belt. Confirm the belt is properly aligned with each pulley.

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