See Figures 1 through 6
Although Ford recommends that the drive belt(s) be inspected every 30,000 miles (48,000 km), it is really a good idea to check them at least once a year, or at every major fluid change. Whichever interval you choose, the belts should be checked for wear or damage. Obviously, a damaged drive belt can cause problems should it give way while the vehicle is in operation. But, improper length belts (too short or long), as well as excessively worn belts, can also cause problems. Loose accessory drive belts can lead to poor engine cooling and diminished output from the alternator, air conditioning compressor or power steering pump. A belt that is too tight places a severe strain on the driven unit and can wear out bearings quickly.
The V-ribbed serpentine drive belts used by these engines should be inspected for rib chunking, severe glazing, frayed cords or other visible damage. Any belt which is missing sections of 2 or more adjacent ribs which are 1 / 2 in. (13mm) or longer must be replaced. You might want to note that V-ribbed belts do tend to form small cracks across the backing. If the only wear you find is in the form of one or more cracks are across the backing and NOT parallel to the ribs, the belt is still good and does not need to be replaced.
As for belt tension, an automatic spring-loaded tensioner is used on these vehicles to keep the belt properly adjusted at all times. The tensioner is also useful as a wear indicator. When the belt is properly installed, the arrow on the tensioner housing must point within the acceptable range lines on the tensioner's face. If the arrow falls outside the range, either an improper belt has been installed or the belt is worn beyond its useful lifespan. In either case, a new belt must be installed immediately to assure proper engine operation and to prevent possible accessory damage.
REMOVAL & INSTALLATION
See Figures 7 through 12
The 2.3L and 5.0L Mustang engines utilize one or more wide-ribbed V-belts to drive the engine accessories such as the water pump, alternator, air conditioner compressor, air pump, etc. Because these belts use a spring loaded tensioner for adjustment, belt replacement tends to be somewhat easier than it used to be on engines where accessories were pivoted and bolted in place for tension adjustment. Basically, all belt replacement involves is to pivot the tensioner to loosen the belt, then slide the belt off of the pulleys. The two most important points are to pay CLOSE attention to the proper belt routing (since serpentine belts tend to be "snaked'' all different ways through the pulleys) and to make sure the V-ribbs are properly seated in all the pulleys.
Although belt routing diagrams have been included in this section, the first places you should check for proper belt routing are the labels in your engine compartment. These should include a belt routing diagram which may reflect changes made during a production run.
- Disconnect the negative battery cable for safety. This will help assure that no-one mistakenly cranks the engine over with your hands between the pulleys.
Take a good look at the installed belt and make a note of the routing. Before removing the belt, make sure the routing matches that of the belt routing label or one of the diagrams in this repair guide. If for some reason a diagram does not match (you may not have the original engine or it may have been modified) then carefully note the changes on a piece of paper.
- Using the proper sized socket and breaker bar (or a large handled wrench), pivot the tensioner away from the belt. This will loosen the belt sufficiently that it can be pulled off of one or more of the pulleys. It is usually easiest to carefully pull the belt out from underneath the tensioner pulley itself.
- Once the belt is off one of the pulleys, gently pivot the tensioner back into position. DO NOT allow the tensioner to snap back as this could damage the tensioner's components.
- Now finish removing the belt from the components and remove it from the engine.
- While referring to the proper routing diagram (which you identified earlier), begin to route the belt over the pulleys, leaving whatever pulley you first released it from for last.
- Once the belt is mostly in place, carefully pivot the tensioner and position the belt over the final pulley. As you begin to allow the tensioner back into contact with the belt, run your hand around the pulleys and make sure the belt is properly seated in the ribs. If not, release the tension and seat the belt.
- Once the belt is installed, take another look at all the pulleys to double check your installation. Connect the negative battery cable, then start and run the engine to check belt operation.
- Once the engine has come up to normal operating temperature, shut the ignition OFF and check that the belt tensioner arrow aligns in the proper adjustment range.