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How to change auxillary belt tensioner on a citroen multi space

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For many model years the belt tension device on dodge and Chrysler products was a weak link and a very dangerous one as well... the pivot for the spring load mechanism would freeze but there would be no outward symptoms until extra strain was applied as in passing another vehicle. the overstressed and likely old belt would break. you would lose power steering immediately. that is extremely dangerous for larger cars like the caravan. it becomes nearly impossible to steer the car. you can by using very high force. many people would not be able to do that even if they knew enough to try. all Chrysler products of that and similar age should be checked to make sure that tensioner pivot is free to move. you will find that many are frozen solid. once the belt is off then, as i recall, there are only 3 or 4 bolts. those can be reached with a deep well socket and ratchet or short extension .. its easy to remove and replace although close quarters. the trick is to get the old belt off and the new belt on. once the belt is in place but not yet on the pulley, there is a hex head on the pulley base that allows you to deflect the pulley against its spring using a socket or box wrench .. once you get it deflected then the belt goes on easily. release the pulley and it automatically tensions the belt. you can push on the belt and you should see the tensioner pivot. that's a good test for all cars of that era. if you cant make the tensioner pivot then its time for service. you have to remove the old belts before you can remove the tensioner. you can do that by using the box end wrench or socket to pull the tensioner against its spring. that will release the belt and it will come off easily even though its a complicated path. if you cant move the tensioner then you have been very lucky the belt didn't fail at a bad time. you can try to force the tensioner with a pry bar or even a hammer .. sometimes there is nothing you can do to move it .. in that case just cut the old belt off with a knife or cutters. that will give you access to the bolts . you might want to sketch or take a photo of how the belt is routed. there is a second belt that should be changed at the same time. that's easily removed by loosening the locking bolt on its non spring tensioner and removing tension. since the drive belt associated with the power steering is so important, i would use the best quality you can get .. you don't want that thing failing ever.
on some mid 6 cyl engines that have the alternator in the back next to the fire wall there is no good way of getting to the nuts behind the alternator. they should have been captive or welded in place but they are not. so removing the alternator is a major job to be avoided if possible. a drop of oil on its front bearing every year or so will make it last many years. you may have to remove the rear valve cover to get at those nuts. you have to do that to change spark plugs in that bank also in at least the 3.3 L engine.
those were very nice caravans back then. very useful.

Posted on May 20, 2014


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