In some cases, it’s easier to remove the alternator to release serpentine belt tension than to get a wrench or ratchet on the belt tensioner. Ignoring the lamentable decision-making process that spawns such folly, there is a workaround. I first saw very low-profile bars like these at a Tuffy where I worked, and everyone in the shop borrowed it almost every time they had to release a serpentine belt on a transverse-mounted engine. The owner probably wasn’t too happy with us, but the photo above shows why the pseudo-thefts were necessary.
In essence, these are just strong steel bars with 3/8″ or 1/2″ square lugs near the ends. Double-ended versions like the Schley Products model 63200 below provide the best flexibility for the most common size, placing a 1/2″ lug on either end, and at a 45° offset relative to one another. ToolSource.com has them for $39 before shipping, but the cream of the crop comes from (you guessed it) Snap-On. Their YA9350B set covers just about every style on the market, adds a ratcheting mechanism, and is actually priced pretty competitively against units with similar compatibility ranges.