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I’m looking for information on changing the serpentine belt tensioner on my 2007 Civic EX with the R18A1 engine. I know about the recalls, where the belt routing was changed – as the belt tensioner bolt could break when it has too much stress, TSB 09-007.

I’ve done some research on this since evidently there are some issues with changing this part – and it mostly boils down to the pivot bolt. On the internet I’m finding everything from a little girl changing this with absolutely no trouble… – to people asking how hard it is to replace the engine block because their bolt is broken and Honda’s solution is to replace the block (Holy Crap!).

I’ve had the part on my workbench for a few months (Gates tensioner and belt set) and Yesterday felt I had enough knowledge to get under the hood. I’ve been working on cars since the mid 70’s, mostly big block Chrysler, some small block and sixes too, but this is my first Honda.
Bought it in 2015 with 136K on it, now it has 218K, and I paid cash – no idea of maintenance records. Got this belt and tensioner from Rock Auto and for a 2007 it’s GATES ACK070852. Interestingly if you look up for a 2006 it’s GATES 39054K and comes with a bolt.

So here is what I did…
Pulled the passenger wheel/tire and plastic shield, and negative battery cable. Loosened the water pump pulley bolts, removed the serpentine belt, sprayed some PB blaster down the back of the tensioner wanting to get that into the bolt threads, removed the alternator. Now I’m down to the tensioner, and yea, can shake it around as the bushing is worn where it mounts to the block with this notorious 8mm hex cap head mounting bolt. More PB blaster…

got an 8mm allen socket on my 3/8 ratchet. It’s a craftsman fine tooth flex head ratchet so it’s a few inches longer than a smaller shorter standard ratchet – has a bit more leverage like a 3/8 breaker bar. This bolt is supposed to have 40 pound foot of torque on it. That bolt does not want to budge. Gave it some more PB blaster and even gave the head of the bolt a few taps with a hammer through the 8mm allen socket. Bolt still won’t move. Last thing I want to do is break this bolt. I read on a post with a guy changing his water pump that he put a piece of pipe on his ratchet and got his bolt loose and it was super tight, but I’m not doing that, because MY bolt will break.
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