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Re: How to tension a serpentine belt
It sounds like you have an auto tensioner. There is a square hole in the bracket the tensioner is mounted on. Put a breaker-bar drive or ratchet-drive (3/8 or 1/2) in that hole -- this will allow you to move the tensioner so you can get the belt around the water pump.
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You'll need a Serpentine Belt Tool and a socket set.
Rotate the Caravan's serpentine belt tensioner assembly clockwise to
relieve the tension on the belt. Slip the belt off the tensioner with
your free hand before rotating the tensioner back to its home position.
Remove the tool.
Extract the two mounting bolts that hold the serpentine belt tensioner
assembly to the Caravan's front engine cover using your socket set.
Depending on your physical size and dexterity, you may find this easier
to accomplish through the top of the engine well or through the
passenger-side wheel well.
Pull the old serpentine belt tensioner assembly out of the Caravan's
engine bay by hand. Place the new serpentine belt tensioner assembly on
the Caravan's front engine cover and bolt it in using your socket set.
Rotate the new serpentine belt tensioner assembly clockwise with the
serpentine belt tool and then place the belt on the pulley by hand.
Rotate the new serpentine belt tensioner assembly back into place.
Remove the tool and close the hood.
The alternator belt on the 1999 Dodge Caravan also controls the air conditioner compressor, the water pump and the power steering pump. The belt is called a serpentine belt, and it is designed to fit around all of the accessory pulleys at the same time. As the belt travels around each accessory pulley, it enables the accessory to operate. Once the belt is damaged, cracked or frayed, you should change it before it breaks. If that happens, each of the accessories will stop working.
Open the hood and prop it up so that it does not fall. Engage the parking brake.
Inspect the top surface of the fan shroud for the serpentine belt routing diagram. Follow the routing instructions on the diagram to install the new belt.
Locate the serpentine belt self-adjusting tensioner on the front of the engine. The tensioner is directly below the alternator. Use the bolt that connects the tensioner pulley to the tensioner arm to rotate the tensioner.
Turn the tensioner device counterclockwise to move the tensioner. This will relieve the tension from the belt. Once the belt has enough slack in it, slide the belt out from under the tensioner pulley.
Lift the belt off each accessory pulley. Slide the belt around the fan blades and out of the engine area.
Lay the old belt next to the new belt to ensure that the new belt is the correct width and length. Slide the belt around the fan blades and around the crankshaft pulley on the bottom of the engine.
Follow the belt routing diagram to position the belt around the air conditioner compressor pulley, the power steering pump pulley, the water pump pulley and the idler pulley. Once the belt is routed inside each accessory pulley, inspect the belt to make sure that it is securely inside the pulleys.
Crank the 1999 Dodge Caravan for 10 to 15 seconds to completely seat the belt ribs in the grooves on each accessory pulley. Shut the engine off and close the hood.
If the belt routing diagram for the 1999 Dodge Caravan is missing, use a pen and a notepad to draw the exact routing of the old belt and use it when installing the new belt.
WATER PUMP - 3.3/3.8L ENGINE
Drain Cooling System. Refer to procedure in this section.
Remove accessory drive belt. Refer to procedure in this section.
Remove right front lower fender shield.
Remove water pump pulley bolts and remove pulley.
Remove water pump mounting screws Water Pump - 3.3/3.8L Engine Remove water pump.
Remove and discard O-ring seal.
Clean O-ring groove and O-ring surfaces on pump and chain case cover. Take care not to scratch or gouge sealing surface.
Install new O-ring into groove Water Pump Body
Install water pump to chain case cover. Tighten screws to 12 N·m (105 in. lbs.)
Rotate pump by hand to check for freedom of movement.
Position pulley on pump. Install screws and tighten to 30 N·m (250 in. lbs.)
Install accessory drive belt. Refer to procedure in this section.
Install right front lower fender shield.
Refill Cooling System. Refer to procedure in this section.
On this particular model of the 1998 Dodge Grand Caravan I determined that the upper hose from the water pump had slipped off and anti-freeze squirted on the serpentine belt causing it to slip off. Once the belt gets slick it never stays on. I replaced the belt by loosing the tensioner which is the idler pulley located in the center of the configuration, A big thanks to user motor1258for the configuration diagram.
Make sure it's cool, pop the radiator cap, Remove the shield on the passenger side between the tire and front of engine. Relieve the tension on the serp belt,draw yourself a diagram of the pulleys and belt routing in case the sticker is gone on the strut tower, remove the serp belt. Take the bolts out of the pulley on the front of the water pump (3). Remove the lower radiator hose at the front cover to drain the coolant. Remove the 6 mm bolts holding the water pump to the front cover housing. tap on the pump with a rubber hammer. Install a new gasket on the new pump, and a weap hole diverter in the pump (round black about hte size of a quarter), use old one if there's no new one. Install pupm and tighten bolts snug with a 1/4" ratchet. Install pulley and 3 bolts. Install belt, top off radiator with 50/50 mix green coolant. start engine and run to operating temperature,make sure the belt is seated in all of the pulleys and is running true, radiator fans should come on. Shut engine down and let cool overnight. Check level in radiator and overflow bottle, top off as necessary.
Drive your Dodge Caravan up onto ramps or lifts so you have room to work as you pull out the oil pump. You could also use a jack, but make sure you brace the front wheels and engage the parking break so the car doesn't roll. 2. Step 2
Disconnect the negative battery cable on your Dodge Caravan. Drain the engine oil and coolant into separate pans. Take the vehicle off the ramps or lifts. Remove the accessory drive belts and use an engine support tool to hold the weight of the engine. 3. Step 3
Take out the right engine mount and bracket. Take off the timing belt cover and loosen the bolts on the timing belt tensioner. Remove both the tensioner and the timing belt then raise the vehicle back on the ramps or lifts. 4. Step 4
Take out the oil pan assembly and remove the oil pump pick-up and the O-ring. Take the crankshaft damper out with a good puller. Use a puller to also draw the crankshaft sprocket from the front of the crankshaft. 5. Step 5
Loosen the bolts on the oil pump and take them off. Remember where they were since you'll need to replace them later. Unscrew the relief valve. Install the New Oil Pump 6. Step 1
Clean all the parts to remove contaminants and debris then install the inner rotor. Make sure the chamfer faces the cast iron oil pump cover on the back. Torque the bolts to 105 in. lb. 7. Step 2
Install the relief valve, followed by the spring, gasket and cover cap. The cover cap should be tightened to 40 ft. lb. 8. Step 3
Fill the rotor cavity with clean engine oil to prime it then insert a new O-ring seal into the oil pump. Put Mopar Gasket Maker or equivalent anaerobic type gasket sealer on the flange of the oil pump body. 9. Step 4
Align the oil pump rotor flats with the flats on the crankshaft and install the pump slowly, tightening the fasteners to 20 ft. lb. Add the new front oil seal and install it with the spring side facing the inside of the engine. Even it out with the engine cover. 10. Step 5
Install the crankshaft sprocket with the special sprocket tool. Put on the oil pump pick-up tube and O-ring and torque the bolt to 20 ft. lb. 11. Step 6
Insert the oil pan and install a new oil filter. Lower your vehicle then install the timing belt and covers and crankshaft damper with a tool specialized for the 2 mm by 1.75 by 150 mm bolt. Tighten the center bolt to 105 ft. lb. 12. Step 7
Put on the accessory drive belts and adjust them to the right tension. Put on the engine mount and bracket then take out the engine support tool. 13. Step 8
Add fresh oil to the engine and refill the cooling system. Use a 50/50 mixture of clean, ethylene glycol antifreeze and water in the cooling system. Start your engine and check for leaks.
JUST COMPLETED THIS JOB TODAY. MAKE SURE THE ENGINE HAS COOLED DOWN . IT TOOK APPROX 2 1/2 HRS. DISCONNECT THE NEGATIVE POST ON THE BATTERY. JACK UP PASSENGER SIDE FRONT AND SUPPORT ON JACK STANDS. REMOVE PASS. FROUNT TIRE. DRAIN RADIATOR INTO CONTAINER FOR PROPER DISPOSAL OR REUSE. USING FLOOR JACK PROVIDE SLIGHT TENSION ON OIL PAN WITH A SHORT 2 X 4 WOOD PIECE TO PROTECT OIL PAN. LOOSEN 3 ENGINE MOUNT BOLTS ON PASS. SIDE OF ENGINE COMPARTMENT. ALLOW APPROX 1" BETWEEN SHOULDER OF BOLTS AND MOUNT. LOWER ENGINE UNTILL BOLTS ARE SET ONTO MOUNT. REMOVE ENGINE SPLASH SHIELD INSIDE WHEEL WELL OF REMOVED TIRE. LOCATE WATER PUMP AND LOOSEN 3 PULLEY MOUNTING BOLTS (THIS IS WHILE BELT IS ON PULLEY) REMOVE SURPENTINE BELT AND CONTINUE TO FULLY REMOVE THE PUMP PULLEY. IT WONT COME OUT AS THE PUMP & PULLEY HAVE TO COME OUT TOGEATHER. REMOVE 5 WATER PUMP BOLTS AND CAREFULLY WORK WATER PUMP OUT BETWEEN THE ENGINE AND VEHICLE FRAME. CLEAN ALL MATING/GASKET SURFACES AND BOLTS. USING A SMALL AMOUNT OF TACKY SEALENT TO INSURE THE NEW WATER PUMP SEAL STAYS IN PLACE, THE INSTALL IS PRITTY MUCH THE REVERSAL OF REMOVAL.
GOOD LUCK, REMEMBER TO TIGHTEN ALL BOLTS TO MFR SPECS AND BLEED THE AIR OUT OF THE COOLANT AS REQUIRED.
The bad news is on your vechile you have to remove the timing belt, but here's a step by step.
Disconnect the negative battery cable.
Remove the drive belts.
Drain the cooling system.
When draining coolant, keep in mind that cats and dogs are attracted by ethylene glycol antifreeze, and are quite likely to drink any that is left in an uncovered container or in puddles on the ground. This will prove fatal in sufficient quantity. Always drain the coolant into a sealable container. Coolant should be reused unless it is contaminated or several years old.
Remove the timing case cover and timing belt. Refer to Timing Belt Covers and Timing Belt Removal procedures.
Remove the pump assembly mounting bolts.
Separate the pump assembly from water pipe and remove.
Clean gasket and O-ring mounting surfaces.
Install a new O-ring on water pipe and lubricate with water.
Install a new gasket on pump body.
Press the water pump assembly into water pipe.
Install pump mounting bolts and tighten to 27 Nm (20 ft. lbs.).
Install timing belt and cover. Refer to Timing Belt procedures.
Install drive belts.
Fill the cooling system
To remove timing: The timing belt can be inspected by removing the upper (front outer) timing cover.
Disconnect the negative battery cable.
Remove the accessory drive belts.
Remove the timing belt covers.
Identify the timing belt running direction to avoid reversal during installation.
Loosen timing belt tensioner bolt and remove timing belt.