Question about 1996 Jeep Grand Cherokee

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1996 Jeep Cherokee Classic with serpentine belt and fan problem or water pump?

I have a 1996 Jeep Cherokee Classic. My serpentine belt threw today and we bought a new one. We tried to put it back on but without using the auto tension because we can't find it. We got it back on, but when we turned the car on the belt threw again. At this point we noticed that the fan was hitting the bottom rotor (the crank shaft, I think - big black one at the bottom). The bottom rotor may have moved or the fan may have moved. When the belt is thrown off the bottom rotor, the belt moves very slowly because the fan is hitting it. Someone said it might be the water pump. We know nothing about cars and have tried for hours to fix it, but we can't. Please help

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  • goonybird Aug 07, 2008

    I just finished with that problem. look very carefully at the crank pulley. this is the drive pulley and it is in two pieces separated by rubber to dampen out vibrations. you will find the rubber has lost its bond and the outer piece has crept out. the outer piece is the piece the belt rides on.

    sorry but a new pulley is the solution. it took me months to find it and three belts.


  • dougnchico Nov 05, 2008

    1996 Jeep Cherokee Sport 4x4 Car died and steering was bad!! Water pump went out. Threw Serpentine Belt. Mess!!! Thanks for the help I hope!!

  • Justin Case
    Justin Case May 11, 2010

    Hi abbmw80,

    Slow down for a sec. Before spending a bunch of money, lets find out whats wrong.

    You are addressing a symptom not the cause. You are probably stressed over this. Take a deep breath, I can help.

    In order to do so, I need a little more info, OK?

    First off: About the first belt that came off:

    • Any idea why?

    • Did it break? If so, this is good news.

    • How did you notice? Steering get hard? Overheat? Battery die?
    Second, (and this is important) how did you get the new belt on without using the tensioner? Could something have bent the fan in the process?

    Click here for step by step Jeep serpentine belt install

    Give me some history, fill me in on the details:

    What were you doing when the belt came off?

    • Driving?

    • Parked?

    • Working on it?
    Did anything occur just before or after the belt came off?

    • Strange noises? Was the fan hitting at that time?

    • Smells

    • Loss of power

    • Over heat

    • Steering problems
    Let me know,



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Hey Dougnchico,

I'll bet your car died. And it over heated, And the battery was flat
, And the steering went out and every other system run off of the belt.

This is for anybody who has had trouble getting a serpentine belt on. It's easy and doesn't require a prybar.

  • Get a 14mm or 9/16" socket and a long handled ratchet or breaker bar.
  • Get the belt around all the pulleys except the A/C compressor or Alternator.
  • Locate the tensioner pulley. It's one of the smaller ones and is mounted on a spring loaded arm. It's job, as the name suggests, is to keep the belt tight. Get your socket on the center nut of this pulley.
  • Slowly pull the ratchet toward the center of the engine. The pulley will pivot on the arm allowing you to get the belt on the final pulley.
  • Slowly release the tension.
  • You're done

Posted on Jan 30, 2009

  • rich73 Mar 26, 2012

    The idler on this particular vehicle has a long bolt for adjusting the tension. Turn it one way to loosen and the other way to tighten. Its not a typical idler setup as is usually found on most vehicles.


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You need a new water pump,the bearing in the water pump that holds the shaft where the fan blade hooks up to,you have to change because even if you force the belt on it will stop pumping the antifreeze and your car will overheat,if this helps please vote me a fix ya

Posted on Jul 18, 2008

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I was driving and my belt came off and water pump went out. Suppose I need to replace water pump?

Posted on Nov 05, 2008

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Harmonic balancer is bad

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