Thursday 5 July 2012

Guide: Volvo V70 D5 Auxiliary Belt, Idler and Tensioner Replacement


  1. Hi Jon

    Thanks for these clear instructions !

    I'm halfway through and after removing the idler pulley and the 2 mounting screws (one of which is cunningly hidden behind the idler pulley) the assembly will not come off !

    Despite hammering away at the mounting body with a long steel drift, nothing shifts.

    The new part definitely has 2 mounting screws, no more, so I can't tell what is holding the old one in so firmly.

    Any ideas ?


    1. Well after some long and painful investigations, what happened was I removed the wrong mounting screw. It was next to the right one, and both are completely invisible and very difficult to access. My hands and forearms are all scratched and bruised due to the shameful lack of room and horrible sharp edges all around. I wish I could get hold of the chief design engineer from Volvo and force him to do this job himself. He might revise his standards for access to parts which need replacing from time to time without taking out the whole engine.
      Definitely the worst, longest and most painful job I've ever done in 50 years of wrenching on cars, motorcycles and boats. And I've done some !
      After 4 more hours of torture I finally got the new tensioner back in (including 2 hours of searching for sockets, screws etc that you can only hold between 2 fingers like a cigarette, so they drop down into frightfully inaccessible recesses inside the egine compartment - even with a mirror and a magnet on a flexible holder, they really are difficult to find and retrieve).
      Right now, after a day and a half and with serious back-ache, I'm struggling to get the new belt on but it's too tight even with the tensioner fully backed off and pinned.
      More swearing and skinned knuckles...
      I love this XC70 but it's turning into hate. Only for people with plenty of ready cash to take it in to the Volvo dealers. Our local one not only blatantly overcharges you, but they are extremely unfriendly too.

      My only advice - DON'T do this job yourself even if you're used to wrenching. Buy the parts and find a local garage who will do it for you charging labour only. Be pleased to pay for that labour, and bring a case of beer for the unfortunate mechanic (not his boss) who had to do this.

  2. Hi Peter,

    I'm afraid this was done almost 3 years ago to the day and my only recollection of it is what's written down here. If you have the two mounting screws out it seems there should be nothing left holding it in.

    Sorry I can't be much more help.

    1. Thanks for taking the trouble to reply, Jon, 3 years later...
      As you may have seen, it was a mistaken screw that lead to the trouble. I actually found that out thanks to a guy on a local forum here (in France). He asked me to post some photos, and doing so I realised that my compact camera could get a view of the screws, then discoverd it was the wrong one !