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2008 E350 110k, 2000 E320 143k, 1983 380SEC 240k
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Discussion Starter #1
Routine inspection has revealed that the belt has started to crack and glaze at 156,000 miles. This is a '98 pre-facelift model, with the viscous fan clutch.

Can the old belt be removed and the new belt installed without removing the fan and its housing? I have searched and not found this issue discussed.

A related question is whether the idler pulley can similarly be replaced? I have read some conflicting posts about the need to remove the fan to pull the long bolt holding the pulley. The idler has a little play and I would like to replace it at the same time.

The tensioner seems ok.
 

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'04 G55 '80 280GE '99 S420 '98 E320 2011 E350 2016 GLA250
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No need to remove anything...

Make your life easy: To "remove" the old one?... just CUT the dang thing... easy-shmeezy.
 

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'01-E320 & 02-ST2
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No need to remove anything...

Make your life easy: To "remove" the old one?... just CUT the dang thing... easy-shmeezy.
True, but I'd suggest he release tension on it properly and then he can see how to maneuver it past the fan and shroud. If he gets stuck he can then put it back on. ;)

Nugent, if you have the old-style tensioner, I'd suggest changing it. The old design can fail without any useful advance warning, and in the long run it's not that expensive for the peace of mind (not to mention the collateral damage if it does fail). As to the idler, I *believe* you can get the bolt past the fan by finagling it a bit. Please don't confuse that with easy-shmeezy. :D
 

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'04 G55 '80 280GE '99 S420 '98 E320 2011 E350 2016 GLA250
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Ok, Ok,,,,,

I'll "re-phrase" that.... "Remove the V-Belt off of the Tensioner.... *THEN* cut the devil"..
it just saves you the hassle of manuevering the belt in front of the fan TWICE. ;^)

And yes, I agree with the Mahatma.. I would change out the tensioner while you are doing the idler pulley.
 

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99 E430, 01 E430 Sport, 00 SL500
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To cut the belt, does the cutter need to wear helmet, gloves, and eye goggles?
 

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'04 G55 '80 280GE '99 S420 '98 E320 2011 E350 2016 GLA250
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2008 E350 110k, 2000 E320 143k, 1983 380SEC 240k
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951 Posts
Discussion Starter #7
Job is done!

New idler and belt arrived, so I rounded up the teenager and told him he has to help.

First, de-tensioned the tensioner and held it in place with a nail - no fancy drift for me.

Second, told the teenager it is his job to remove the belt and maneuver it past the radiator fan and shroud. Thirty seconds later he holds it up and asks what next! Well, it turns out that the belt routing is such that it is not looped around the pulley that drives the fan. So removal and reinstallation is actually trivial, as the belt does not have to pass over the fan.

Third, popped the cover off the idler and unscrewed the mounting bolt. Contrary to others, the fan and its hub make it a bit awkward, but still quite do-able without removing or loosening anything else.

The old idler had some tiny cracks in the bearing hub, but nothing that looked about to fail. The slight play was the idler on the mounting, not the idler itself.

Installed the new idler, threaded the new belt and released the tensioner - all done. The teenager was impressed and growing in confidence about maintaining a car. Maybe I'll take him for his learner's test.

Re-checked the tensioner and it seems solid to me. So I am weighing the advice to replace it, but it stays for now.

Thanks everybody for the usual good advice.
 
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