For many it is something illusive, and I am here to help as always.
I never realized how illusive belt tension readings were until I did the timing belt on my Civic a few weeks ago. To do the timing belt you must remove an alternator+a/c belt , and a power steering belt. Which means putting them back on and somehow figuring out how tight they should be.
I tried everywhere in the world for a tensioning tool and NO auto stores in the area seem to care. The Napa guy told me he could get me one in a couple weeks, I just didn't have that much time.
I went to a place called M&D Mower
, and purchased a tool referred to as the Krikit, by Gates. It is a pretty simple to use tension tool that is inexpensive enough to have in the toolbox yet still works reasonably well for getting you in the ballpark for proper tension.
There are actually 2 tools availble from Gates as wel I realized. One is for tensioning regular V belts. The scale on this unit (black indicator) is 10-120#. The other unit is for the micro-v style belts (serpintines etc.) and is 100-300#. The latter unit is the Krikit II.
I bought both (photo below) not knowing what would be easier to work with. The Krikit (for std. V-belt) has a lip on the edge so that it stays near the edge of a V-belt. The Krikit II has no lip, rather stabilizing bars to allow it to be used in the center (widthwise) of the micro-v style belts.
One photo is the two krikits, one is the basic principle in action. You put your finger under the rubber sheath on the button. Press down unti the button clicks, and see how much you have depressed the scale..then record the value where the scale meets horizon on the gauge, and bingo.
Once you get the hang of it our first reading will be your next 50. But I do recommend getting familiar with it before you assume reading #1 will be accurate. it is all about placement, angularity to the belt, and remember to use only one finger!
Just thought I'd share...since it was such a PITA for me to find somethin, hopefully this saves someone some hassle for their cage