Question about 1999 Jeep Cherokee

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I do not know where the tensioner pulley is and I am trying to replace my altenator

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When you look at the serpentine belt, somewhere near the top you will see it run over a smooth pulley. You will also notice that pulley is running on the back side of the belt. Most cars will have an arm that holds that pulley and is connected to a round housing approximately the same diameter as the pulley. That is the TENSIONER pulley and in the round housing is a very strong coil spring. In the center of the pulley there should be a hex nut. Put a socket the size of the nut on a long breaker bar and put it on the pulley nut. You should be able to move the pulley away from the belt by "turning" the nut. You may need to use a piece of pipe or other method to lengthen the breaker bar in order to turn it. As I said, it is a very strong spring. While holding the pulley away from the belt you can slip the belt off the nearest and smallest pulley. Then carefully and slowly release the breaker and allow the pulley to return to its released position. THIS CAN BE A DANGEROUS OPERATION THAT LOOKS SIMPLE. IT IS SIMPLE BUT BE AWARE THAT YOU MUST BE SURE YOU HAVE THE TENSIONER PULLEY UNDER CONTROL WITH THE BREAKER BAR AND THAT YOU CAN HOLD IT WHILE REMOVING THE BELT FROM THE PULLEY. IF IT SLIPS FROM YOUR BREAKER OR YOU CAN'T HOLD IT YOU COULD BE SEVERELY INJURED. TRY MOVING AND SLOWLY RELEASING THE PULLEY BEFORE YOU ATTEMPT TO REMOVE THE BELT. GET HELP OR TAKE IT TO A QUALIFIED MECHANIC IF YOU ARE UNSURE!! Also, be sure you note the track of the belt before you remove it, so you can reinstall it. Make a diagram if necessary. When you reinstall it, be sure the belt is properly aligned on all the pulleys before starting the engine. If the drive side of the belt has cracks in the surface or in the drive "V"s, replace it. If that belts breaks while you are driving, you will loose all of your power controls, including steering and breaks. Some cars cannot be steered al all without this belt in place. Be careful and good luck!

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Posted on May 19, 2011

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