Question about Dodge Dakota

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99 Dodge Dakota 3.9 AC bypass belt squealing. New belt, replaced tensioner, all pulleys spin nice and free, belt is somewhat loose and still squealing. Ideas?

Is there a way to adjust the alternator or something on this to put a little more tension, brand new tensioner is nice and tight like it should be, belt jumps around visibly about 1/2 - 3/4 inch while running and looks like it could wander off eventually. visible slapping around between the crank and the alternator... then very little from the alt to the idler pulley, the rest looks and feels normal. Maybe get a Gatorback belt and call it a day? Edit: Guy I got the truck from was a total dummy who replaced the motor... Who knows what year it is. Belt's not off by much, but it's off... maybe a slightly bigger pulley or a 3/8 - 1/2 inch shorter belt? Recommendations?

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  • 2 more comments 
  • solver2010 Apr 19, 2017

    I've been there, and done that a few times. So, what you could do is take off the belt you have now, and use a carpenter's flexible measuring tape to do this. Use a piece of masking tape, or a piece of electrical tape and place it cross-ways on the smooth side of the belt. Then take the steel (or cloth) measuring tape and pinch it against the belt somehow, so it will hold snug. For that, I personally would use a pair of long nosed vice grips with two pieces of appropriately sized rubber hose, one piece on each nose. If you do that with the belt laying on it edge on a flat surface such as concrete or a smooth floor, it will be easier. Then measure by running your fingers along the belt, with the measuring tape pushed firmly against the smooth surface of the belt, until you get to the stuck-on tape as the finishing point. That will give you a starting comparative number, which will tell you what size belt you now have. Whatever slack you had before, double that and subtract that doubled number from the measured size, and go buy a belt that size. Frankly, I have had the best experience with Goodyear Gatorback serpentine belts, but I have heard that Dayco belts are good too. Whatever belt you choose, strip any oil or grease, etc. off the pulleys using the OLD BELT, by spraying it an oil-stripping soap solution, with the motor running, and then immediately rinse it with a strong water stream. I personally use Simple Green, but a good dish soap would work too.

  • Stan
    Stan Apr 19, 2017

    The first thing I did when I replaced the belt and tensioner was give the pulleys a good douching with brake cleaner. It's a Dayco that's on there now btw, but I'll try measuring it and see what the parts store can come up with. Advance and Autozone are next to useless around here so I'll probably run to NAPA, at least those guys have a clue. If that don't work out I'll get a gatorback and see if that helps, they've worked for me in the past. I might take the idler pulley with me also and see if they have something that's just a smidge bigger in diameter that will still bolt on right... If all else fails, I'll go to a machine shop and have one made.

  • solver2010 Apr 19, 2017

    A new belt from eBay would be MUCH cheaper than machine shop labor ... at least in my experience anyway!
    https://www.google.com/#q=site:ebay.com+...

    If the text above is not a link, copy and paste the entire text into a new tab in your browser, and push the enter key.

  • Stan
    Stan Apr 19, 2017

    Yeah I'm gonna give the ol' gator a shot first and see how that goes. If all else fails, at least I'll have another spare belt.

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  • Dodge Master
  • 15,483 Answers

Get a smaller belt you have the wrong size belt

Posted on Apr 18, 2017

  • 3 more comments 
  • Stan
    Stan Apr 18, 2017

    The AC bypass belt it needs is a 4070884, it's a lot shorter (approx 2 feet) than the w/AC version. Kind of impossible to mix those up.

  • john h Apr 18, 2017

    did not say you mixed anything up but your belt should not have any slack thats what the tensioner is designed to do if slack then wrong belt or worn belt

  • Stan
    Stan Apr 18, 2017

    Right, I know that's what I'm not understanding. It's the right belt, and brand new, tensioner is 3 days old and feels great. The people at any parts store are borderline retarded without a specific part name, number, or vehicle... so telling them I need a belt that is let's say... 71.5" x 1 -7 rib would be like beating a dead horse. So is there a way to change the mounting height of the alternator slightly just to give it that little bit of extra lift I need, or perhaps another pulley that's slightly larger that would be a direct fit?

  • john h Apr 18, 2017

    no on moving any accessory or pulley not all auto stores are problems tell them need 2 sizes smaller using belt number your using now

  • Stan
    Stan Apr 19, 2017

    I'll give it a shot man, the hilarity in it alone will be worth the trip to the parts store. I basically live in hee-haw Ohio, so the possibilities for error are limitless. Might see if I can make a video of this, it will be a great youtube vid. :) Last time, I needed a compression fitting to fix a busted nylon gas line it took 7 trips to 3 different parts stores over the course of 3 days to still not get it. I ended up going and getting a piece of hose, brass inserts, and some clamps at Lowe's. So this should be great! lol

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  • Dodge Master
  • 923 Answers

Goodyear Gatorback belts are available on both eBay and Amazon.com. But first, you need to find out if it's the belt that is the problem, or a load, or bad bearing somewhere!

Good bearings are sealed from moisture and contamination. So, with the engine running and the hood open, take a garden hose, and FROM A DISTANCE, spray a little water on the belt, hopefully on the serpentine side. If the problem is the BELT, it will be quiet while wet! If the problem is NOT the belt, the water will make little if any difference in the noise level. One more thing you can do, BEFORE removing the belt, is look at the "jumping around that the belt is doing, and do that both WITH air conditioning ON, and separately, with the A/C OFF. If that makes a big difference, the A/C may be overcharged enough that it's causing shock loads on the drive belt! Overcharging might cool more inside, but it is very bad for the compressor, belts, and everything driven by that belt!

If the belt is quiet while wet, remove it from the vehicle, after everything cools off, using a belt tensioner tool (available at Harbor Freight Tools for less than $20), or get one on a "tool loan" plan from an auto parts dealer such as Autozone or O'Reilly Auto Parts. With the belt off, and THE ENGINE COOL, rotate each pulley or wheel that the serpentine belt drives. Are any of them noisy, or hard to turn? The only one that should be hard to turn under those conditions is the crankshaft pulley! If anything else is hard to turn, that is probably your problem!

Posted on Apr 18, 2017

Testimonial: "I did all that, please see my followup comment. Any other suggestions?"

  • 3 more comments 
  • Stan
    Stan Apr 18, 2017

    All pulleys spin good, nice and free... Except crank of course. Already did the water thing and it went away for a second and then came right back. New tensioner helped but it didn't solve it completely. Pulley alignment also seems good. checked with a 24 inch straight edge from pulley to pulley. No side to side movement on the belt, no pulley wobble. Just a loose belt... But belt and tensioner are new. Seems like I just need about another 3/8 - 1/2 inch somewhere to tighten it to proper tension.

  • Stan
    Stan Apr 18, 2017

    Truck has no AC compressor.... Running a bypass belt.

  • solver2010 Apr 18, 2017

    What is the idle speed? What is the power steering fluid level? And how is your radiator cap? If that cap is defective, excess water is kept in the radiator / cooling system, and cannot vent to the overflow tank. That causes unusual loads on the belt-driven water pump ... but only while the engine is running and warmed up, pumping water under what can be very high pressures IF the vent is not working in the cap!

  • Stan
    Stan Apr 18, 2017

    Idle speed is about 700-750, all fluids are right up there. Rad cap is fine holds 13 psi as it should. The squeal is much more prominent when first started and gets quieter when closer to operating temp. It goes away mostly while driving since the belt and tensioner were replaced. Although for some odd reason, opposite the water on the belts thing, the belt likes to go back into squeal mode a bit when its raining out. I'm thinking the guy that did the motor swap used another year or different alternator bracket, because it's just off by that little bit. I can pull the belt up effortlessly 1/2 inch with the tip of my pinky with no resistance on the alt side of the belt after the crank. Power steering side holds normal tension. I'm thinking about trying to rig in a spacer to lift the alternator slightly, I know it's just improper belt tension... There's too many reasons to even begin to speculate why... This guy that owned and worked on it was not the sharpest tool in the shed.

  • solver2010 Apr 19, 2017

    Just because a radiator cap holds 13 psi does not mean it will release the pressure at a higher pressure! That may not be important on this particular problem, but I have seen a heater hose burst before, because the cap did not RELIEVE pressure that was too high!

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