2012 s60, t5 serpentine tensioner replacement
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    1. #1
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      2012 s60, t5 serpentine tensioner replacement

      i've searched for this procedure on here with nothing coming up. I understand the problem is getting to the 5.5 mm torx bolt that secures the tensioner. So what is the solution. Any help is appreciated.
      Tech, you're one of the experts on here.

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    3. #2
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      Since this part is crucial wouldn't you want a professional do it? If not done right it defeats the purpose.
      I'm taking mine to a Volvo indy on Tuesday to get it done. He called his parts supplier and made sure it is the updated part.
      2012 S60 T5 Savile Gray/Beachwood

    4. #3
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      Quote Originally Posted by Almaz View Post
      Since this part is crucial wouldn't you want a professional do it? If not done right it defeats the purpose.
      I'm taking mine to a Volvo indy on Tuesday to get it done. He called his parts supplier and made sure it is the updated part.
      This is the sort of post I hate to see on a car forum. We should be about encouraging and helping anyone interested in working on their car themselves. Professionals don't have magic abilities that you or I don't possess. They simply have more experience, knowledge, and a bigger tool kit. That usually just translates to them doing things faster and rarely to them doing things better. It's one thing if you've done this repair yourself, and you are telling someone it was a huge PITA, took longer than it was supposed to, needed specialty tools, and you would have been better off taking it to a mechanic. But it's a completely different thing to have never done it and not recommend someone do it themselves. I will be really surprised if a Volvo mechanic replies to this post saying a serpentine belt and tensioner replacement should only be done by a mechanic.
      2015.5 Volvo V60 Premier T5 FWD (with a new engine)

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    6. #4
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      Quote Originally Posted by meade18 View Post
      This is the sort of post I hate to see on a car forum. We should be about encouraging and helping anyone interested in working on their car themselves. Professionals don't have magic abilities that you or I don't possess. They simply have more experience, knowledge, and a bigger tool kit. That usually just translates to them doing things faster and rarely to them doing things better. It's one thing if you've done this repair yourself, and you are telling someone it was a huge PITA, took longer than it was supposed to, needed specialty tools, and you would have been better off taking it to a mechanic. But it's a completely different thing to have never done it and not recommend someone do it themselves. I will be really surprised if a Volvo mechanic replies to this post saying a serpentine belt and tensioner replacement should only be done by a mechanic.
      I was not implying it cannot or should not be a DIY , I was merely saying if it's to be done as a precaution to prevent major damage I would not want to do it myself and risk not getting it perfectly.
      That's OK. We have different opinions on certain things.
      2012 S60 T5 Savile Gray/Beachwood

    7. #5
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      5.5mm torx? Not sure what you are talking about.

      Edit: corrected information.

      The procedure isn't hard. Pull the fender liner out to gain access. Release tension and remove the belt. Remove the center bolt and remove and replace the tensioner. Put the belt back on and wrap it up.
      Last edited by Tech; 08-22-2019 at 12:35 PM.

    8. #6
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      Quote Originally Posted by Tech View Post
      5.5mm torx? Not sure what you are talking about.

      The procedure isn't hard except for reinstalling the AC belt. That belt is cut off and uses a special tool to reinstall, though it can be done without the tool. This only needs to be done if you want to replace the serpentine belt at the same time as the tensioner. If you just want to do the tensioner, you can leave the outer belt on. Release the tension and remove the serpentine belt from the tensioner. Remove the bolt for the tensioner. Swap it out and put the belt back on.
      the bolt for the tensioner is what i'm referring to. From the limited info on the 2012, and what i saw yesterday, the bolt is recessed and getting a torx bit in there straight is supposed to be an issue. Supposedly, the fender well gets in the way, it is limited in spacing i saw..... I don't know, that's why i'm asking. If it just takes a normal bit, great....I'm just replacing the tensioner, based on your recommendation and watching the tensioner as the motor ran. The belt looks fine, 53,000 miles ,it's a volvo belt.
      .

    9. #7
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      Quote Originally Posted by Almaz View Post
      Since this part is crucial wouldn't you want a professional do it? If not done right it defeats the purpose.
      I'm taking mine to a Volvo indy on Tuesday to get it done. He called his parts supplier and made sure it is the updated part.
      nope. A professional is no better than I am. The difference is that they might have a special tool, or a different technique that i might not know about. That's why i ask questions, and if something becomes beyond my ability, I go to a professional. The one thing i have going for me is that i'm never in a hurry, and know it will be done correctly, and it's my money, my car.
      I had a " professional " install a new tire on my car back in college, 1971. I was driving home for the weekend with three other friends, a 4 hour trip. This was on the main two lane highway in louisiana. I'm doing 80/85 and passing 18 wheelers...every now and then i heard a noise, vibration , stopped a few times to look things over, couldn't see anything. Stopped one last time, nothing. Got in the car, went a few feet and the left front wheel and tire came off the car, and rolled into the ditch next to us. The "professional " didn't tighten the lug nuts properly and the wheel studs had sheared off.....we could have been killed.....I swore no one would EVER work on my car again......
      Last edited by jlh3rd; 08-22-2019 at 10:55 AM.

    10. #8
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      I don't recall the size but it isn't a 5.5 torx. I'm not even sure there is such a thing and if there was, it would be extremely small.

    11. #9
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      Quote Originally Posted by Tech View Post
      5.5mm torx? Not sure what you are talking about.

      The procedure isn't hard except for reinstalling the AC belt. That belt is cut off and uses a special tool to reinstall, though it can be done without the tool. This only needs to be done if you want to replace the serpentine belt at the same time as the tensioner. If you just want to do the tensioner, you can leave the outer belt on. Release the tension and remove the serpentine belt from the tensioner. Remove the bolt for the tensioner. Swap it out and put the belt back on.
      Correct me if I'm wrong but you can replace the main serpentine belt and tensioner without needing to cut off the smaller belt that drives the A/C compressor. That's the one that needs the special tool to reinstall. The A/C belt appears to be behind the main (blue) serpentine belt. You get to the tensioner through the wheel well. The instructions say to remove the front portion of the inner wheel well liner (and the bottom engine cover) to gain access. No mention of what size torx to use or the size of the center tensioner screw. I'll be doing this next month myself.

      tensioner.jpg
      Last edited by ecoDrive; 08-23-2019 at 06:23 AM.
      2012 S60 T5 - Flamenco Red, Soft/Sandstone Beige, Climate, Premium, Multimedia, Xenons, BLIS, PCC, Park Assist, Urbane Wood, TFT Retrofit

    12. #10
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      Quote Originally Posted by ecoDrive View Post
      Quote Originally Posted by Tech View Post
      5.5mm torx? Not sure what you are talking about.

      The procedure isn't hard except for reinstalling the AC belt. That belt is cut off and uses a special tool to reinstall, though it can be done without the tool. This only needs to be done if you want to replace the serpentine belt at the same time as the tensioner. If you just want to do the tensioner, you can leave the outer belt on. Release the tension and remove the serpentine belt from the tensioner. Remove the bolt for the tensioner. Swap it out and put the belt back on.
      Correct me if I'm wrong but you can replace the main serpentine belt and tensioner without needing to cut off the smaller belt that drives the A/C compressor. That's the one that needs the special tool to reinstall. The A/C belt appears to be behind the main (blue) serpentine belt. You get to the tensioner through the wheel well. The instructions say to remove the front portion of the inner wheel well liner (and the bottom engine cover) to gain access. No mention of what size torx to use or the size of the center tensioner screw. I'll be doing this next month myself.

      Attachment 54177
      To be honest I don't know which belt is the inner or outer off hand. Can't memorize everything. It should be pretty apparent when doing the job. Sounds like you're looking at yours so I will defer to you.

      Edit: Looked it up and you are correct, the serpentime belt is the outer belt. That's what I get for being too lazy to look it up before. My bad.
      Last edited by Tech; 08-22-2019 at 12:33 PM.

    13. #11
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      Quote Originally Posted by ecoDrive View Post
      Correct me if I'm wrong but you can replace the main serpentine belt and tensioner without needing to cut off the smaller belt that drives the A/C compressor. That's the one that needs the special tool to reinstall. The A/C belt appears to be behind the main (blue) serpentine belt. You get to the tensioner through the wheel well. The instructions say to remove the front portion of the inner wheel well liner (and the bottom engine cover) to gain access. No mention of what size torx to use or the size of the center tensioner screw. I'll be doing this next month myself.

      Attachment 54177
      thanks tech, that's what's wrong with the internet...5.5 mm didn't make sense to me either but, it was in some article......Sounds like it's nothing special i can't handle....


      eco drive
      I just removed the entire liner instead of bending it back and " fighting " with it. your choice, of course. The a/c belt is behind the serpentine belt, so the a/c belt can stay when replacing the serpentine belt. It'll be awhile before i replace that stretch a/c belt, thankfully.( manual says 120,000).....tech has done them before but i battled a ford F-150's a/c stretch belt and it was not fun...and i had the tool........but, then again, i'm not a pro tech.

    14. #12
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      jlh3rd,

      Can you confirm that the new tensioner is different than the original?

      Maybe post a picture or two?

      My car is at the shop now and the tech there claims there's only one version of either serpentine or timing belt tensioner.

      Tech - please advise.
      2012 S60 T5, original purchase date May 2011, chassis number 050616

    15. #13
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      There's only one version available now. From Volvo anyway. I can't speak for aftermarket.

    16. #14
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      i can't confirm either, as my tensioner is on order and is from " GATES" . I noticed the tensioner on my car does have the round coil spring.

    17. #15
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      So if that version is the same as what I have now... and my car is one of the earlier 2012 models... theoretically I don't need to change it right?
      2012 S60 T5, original purchase date May 2011, chassis number 050616

    18. #16
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      If you have a 2012 S60 5 cylinder, I would order the current tensioner from Volvo and replace it. It's cheaper than new valves or a new head.

    19. #17
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      Even though we agree it's the same thing?
      2012 S60 T5, original purchase date May 2011, chassis number 050616

    20. #18
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      Quote Originally Posted by npn View Post
      Even though we agree it's the same thing?
      you're asking...he's telling...your choice.
      Last edited by jlh3rd; 08-22-2019 at 02:15 PM.

    21. #19
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      I appreciate tech's advice and the time he spent here helping guys... voluntary.

      My hesitancy comes from the fact that my tech at the local dealer, who I've been going to for close to 20 years now, claimed that there's absolutely no need to do the change it. Moreover, just like we agreed here, it's absolutely the same device.

      My dealer/service would gladly take my $380 and replace the damn thing... But he insisted that there was no need for that. The car was there overnight, so the whole thing doesn't make much sense to me.

      I don't know, maybe he hasn't seen enough cars, though he's familiar with the car well. On the other hand, Tech did say in the other thread that he's seen several that failed...

      At the end of the day, there's a record of me bringing the car there and they not performing the service. If something happens, I'd be on their azz, and surely report here.
      2012 S60 T5, original purchase date May 2011, chassis number 050616

    22. #20
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      well,tech did also say that if there is evidence of the belt walking off the tensioner pulley, that's a definite replacement....my belt is not centered on the pulley and is almost even with the outside edge.......i don't know if that's normal, but i'll replace mine..
      It's like getting a second opinion from another doctor, it becomes your decision.

    23. #21
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      Quote Originally Posted by npn View Post
      I appreciate tech's advice and the time he spent here helping guys... voluntary.

      My hesitancy comes from the fact that my tech at the local dealer, who I've been going to for close to 20 years now, claimed that there's absolutely no need to do the change it. Moreover, just like we agreed here, it's absolutely the same device.

      My dealer/service would gladly take my $380 and replace the damn thing... But he insisted that there was no need for that. The car was there overnight, so the whole thing doesn't make much sense to me.

      I don't know, maybe he hasn't seen enough cars, though he's familiar with the car well. On the other hand, Tech did say in the other thread that he's seen several that failed...

      At the end of the day, there's a record of me bringing the car there and they not performing the service. If something happens, I'd be on their azz, and surely report here.
      It may be the same device(without an update), but it has zero miles. In the event of failure your local tech can fall back on the "there was nothing wrong with it when I inspected it", and he would be right. That doesn't mean it won't fail in next 500-5000(or more) miles. This is more of a preventative maintenance issue that we as owners need to figure out. Personally, if I had the 5 cylinder with a known potential of these tensioner failing between a certain mileage, I would spend the money and make sure it didn't happen to me.

      $380 now can not only prevent a $4K+ repair but it will also give you another 70-100K miles without worry. If replaced and it does fail, the dealer may have to cough up some of the repair costs. Your parts are under warranty.
      In the driveway: 2012 S60 T6 AWD | Black/Beechwood | Premium/Climate/Convenience Packages | BLIS | Sunroof | Active Bending Bi-Xenon | iPd Skid Plate | TFT DIM upgrade (mine), ... Former - 2006 S40 2.4i M56
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    24. #22
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      It makes total sense.

      Any reason, you can think of, this dealer won't do it for?

      I'll just take it to one that would, and not take no for an answer.
      2012 S60 T5, original purchase date May 2011, chassis number 050616

    25. #23
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      my opinion?...you're always dealing with different personalities in this world. Maybe your guy doesn't like to hear another tech or other opinions from another place make a statement that affects his " turf".....some people have to be the top dog...
      Are you saying he won't take your $380?....that is different.....getting off topic though....

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      Maybe his dealership hasn't seen as many failures as mine has.

      I don't know if it's the same. The ones I've personally replaced heads on did not show any obvious signs of failure. But the belt was gone, so there was no load on the pulley. I replaced the tensioner to be safe.

      I have seen two others that got lucky. They came in for a service and I spotted the tensioner pulley starting to walk the belt off. One had a shred already on the belt that hadn't gotten sucked into the timing. The other the belt was fine.

      I didn't take the tensioners off and do a breakdown of each one. I replaced them and moved on.

      My advice would be to replace it. As mentioned, yours has mileage and the new one doesn't. If you don't want to replace it, then don't replace it.

    27. #25
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      Quote Originally Posted by Tech View Post
      If you have a 2012 S60 5 cylinder, I would order the current tensioner from Volvo and replace it. It's cheaper than new valves or a new head.
      There are two tensioners. The timing belt tensioner and the serpentine (drive belt) tensioner.

      The serpentine belt tensioner with the star shaped corner broke on us. Do not trust that corner. I can say getting the timing belt on its tensioner was easier than the drive belt.

      IMG_5183.jpg

      This is the old drive belt tensioner. Note the broken corner. It's bolt is torx shaped.
      2012 S60 T5 FWD & 2013 XC90 AWD

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      IMG_5182.jpg

      This is the old timing belt tensioner which failed on me causing a belt skip at 110,000.

      Note its bolt is not a torx. Remember to replace it, don't use the old one.

      Do it as soon as you can if you have a 2012 don't wait till 120,000 as is recommended. Of course if you're lucky, roll the dice. But if you're not lucky (like me) you will face broken valves like tech says and will need to take your whole engine apart and take the head to a machinist for a rebuild $ $ $

      Time, effort and money lost versus being a little earlier on P.M.
      2012 S60 T5 FWD & 2013 XC90 AWD

    29. #27
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      Yes, I am aware there is also a timing belt tensioner. Yours is the only case I have seen where the timing belt tensioner failed before the replacement interval. All the cases I've seen (both personally worked on and seen in my shop) have been the serpentine belt tensioner that failed.

    30. #28
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      My serpentine belt was ok, true. But we replaced it. The serpentine tensioner was not updated..it stayed the same. That star shaped corner on it is a machined type of metal (not that strong), my new one's corner broke too but we got the drive belt on after much struggling. But there was a change made to the design of the timing belt tensioner.
      2012 S60 T5 FWD & 2013 XC90 AWD

    31. #29
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      Yes there was a design change for the timing belt tensioner from self adjusting to adjustable.

    32. #30
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      The biggest DIY job I've done on my car is replace brake disks and pads. I wouldn't pay the dealer $1400 so I did it myself.

      I also tinker with bicycles - from simple tuneups to servicing air/oil suspension front and rear.

      So... Would you say that someone with the above skills can replace the serpentine tensioner himself?

      /I can't spare another weekday any time soon, and I never bring my car for a Saturday-half azz service, so maybe do it myself? /
      Last edited by npn; 08-24-2019 at 11:49 AM.
      2012 S60 T5, original purchase date May 2011, chassis number 050616

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      I would say someone with above average mechanical ability would absolutely be able to replace the serpentine belt tensioner themselves.

    34. #32
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      Quick question...is the Serp Belt Tensioner issue limited to the T5 engines? We have a 2012 S60 T6 that only has 35k miles. Want to make sure we are staying on top of possible problems.

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      Quote Originally Posted by dbetterton View Post
      Quick question...is the Serp Belt Tensioner issue limited to the T5 engines? We have a 2012 S60 T6 that only has 35k miles. Want to make sure we are staying on top of possible problems.
      The 2012 T6 has an inline six cylinder engine that uses a timing chain. Since a chain needs to be fully enclosed so that it has an oil supply, it should not be possible for a broken serpentine belt to cause any issues with the timing chain on your engine.
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    36. #34
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      Quote Originally Posted by zenmervolt View Post
      The 2012 T6 has an inline six cylinder engine that uses a timing chain. Since a chain needs to be fully enclosed so that it has an oil supply, it should not be possible for a broken serpentine belt to cause any issues with the timing chain on your engine.
      Thanks for the answer and the clear explanation.

    37. #35
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      Quote Originally Posted by Tech View Post
      Yes there was a design change for the timing belt tensioner from self adjusting to adjustable.
      Is this still an issue on the 2013 S60 T5? Mine has around 54K on the clock.
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