My wife's 2002 Subaru Outback (the Legacy body) has approximately 100K miles on the odometer. Under acceleration, I'm hearing a sound like a possible failing belt tensioner. It's a very distinct cyclic high-pitched squeak that isn't apparent under idle.

My intent is to try fine-tuning the tension to see if it's just a hair off but, if that doesn't reduce the squeak, I may have to replace it. What is the procedure for replacing the tensioner pulley?

EDIT: some time later - see the comment on Larry's answer - it was a dying belt, not a bad pulley.

1 Answer 1


If you have the 6 cylinder you can check the status of the belt as indicated below, if it's at the service limit you should replace the belt.

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  • she does have a 6 cylinder but the question was about the pulley.
    – Bob Cross
    May 18, 2011 at 19:06
  • @bob I thought maybe the belt was loose because it was stretched beyond the point the tensioner can compensate, and that was causing the noise. Most of the tensioners just have one bolt through the middle of the spring. I will see if I can find the service info on replacing it. May 19, 2011 at 15:56
  • 1
    Some time later, we established that Larry was right, it was a dying belt. That's what I get for not checking the easy stuff first. New belt = no squeal.
    – Bob Cross
    Jan 5, 2012 at 17:51

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