Monday, March 25, 2013

3.0 L engine (Chrysler): replace water pump and timing belt and oil seals

  The pump or the pump gasket will leak. It can be hard to pinpoint the source, but if it is coming up from high on the engine, the pump is the likely source.
  This repair is difficult, owing to the location of the water pump on the front of the engine, under the timing belt cover. With the front of the engine torn down this is a good opportunity to also replace the timing belt and front crankshaft and camshaft seals.  I completed these jobs on a 2000 3.0L Dodge Grand Caravan.
3.0 liter engine on a 2000 Dodge Caravan
Replacement of the timing belt 
1) Disconnect the negative lead of the battery.
2) Jack up the front end, put on jack stands and remove the passenger side right tire.
3) Remove the wheel well splash guard to allow easier access to the belts and covers that need removal. There are three plastic panel fasteners, one inside the wheel well and two that snap in from underneath. There are also two 10mm screws that hold the panel from underneath the bumper cover.
4) Drain coolant (only if replacing the water pump). Remove the coolant overflow bottle. Then pull back the clamp on the lower radiator hose. I had to use a regular pliers as a vice grip would not fit in there. Position a catch pan and pull the hose off. It drained quite nicely into the pan despite the lower bumper cover being in the way.
5) Remove the upper radiator hose at the water outlet. This is to get it out of the way for later steps. This clamp can be removed with a vice grip pliers. Free the stuck hose with a twisting motion with a channel lock pliers. Move the hose up and out of the way.
6) Remove the air conditioning belt by loosening the 15mm pulley bolt and then turning the 13mm tension nut above it counterclockwise.
7) Remove the serpentine belt. Put a 15mm double box end wrench on the tensioner and pull it forward, holding it there until the belt can be removed.
8) Move wiring out of the way
    1) Unplug the distributor wiring.
    2) Unplug the AC wire harness. This one was very tough. I had to get a hold of it with a vice grip needle nose pliers and then stick a pick into the connector to force up the locking piece and then pull with pliers to get it apart.
    3) Unplug the temperature sending unit. First I unscrewed the Distributor cap with a philips screwdriver. I unplugged one plug wire ( front left) and then was able to set the cap out of the way on top of the engine., Now I could use a long thin straight blade screwdriver to push in the lock and release the connector.
    4) Unplug the MAP sensor. This is further back and the only remaining component on this harness.
   Unsnap the large harness from the wheel well engine mount. Tie all the wiring out of the way with a large zip-tie.
9) To do this job the engine mount on the right wheel well will have to be unbolted and removed. Support the engine under the oil pan with a floor or scissors jack. Put a piece of wood  between the jack and the pan.
Use a good sized piece of wood under the oil pan

10) Remove the idler pulley with a 15mm socket.
11) Unbolt the front engine mount. There are four 15mm bolts on the front face of the engine and three 15mm bolts on the wheel well portion of the mount.  The lower engine side bolts are very long. The back one is hard to remove as there is minimal clearance. With the rest of the bolts out, pull the mount as far to the wheel well side as possible while pulling the fully loosened bolt upward. It is very tight but it will come out.

The engine mount removed in one piece

12) Remove the air conditioning tension  pulley assembly. (3 long 15mm bolts).
The ac tensioner is coming out

13) Remove the lower air conditioning compressor mounting external torx studs  and 13mm nuts. I didn’t have the correct internal torx socket so I used a jam nut against the 13mm nut and forced the studs loose by turning the inner one out while holding the jam nut with another 13mm wrench . The studs were frozen in their slots in the compressor. I had to use penetrant and tap them loose with a hammer. Thread a nut on each end of the stud to protect the studs from the hammering. Remove the upper 13mm bolts. Move the compressor out of the way and support it with a hanger. It isn’t possible to get it very far out of the way.
14) Remove the air conditioning mount bracket. It’s held on by three 15mm bolts. The two lower ones came out with a 10 inch long 15mm box-end wrench. The upper with a 3/8” inch ratchet and socket. I used  cheater bar to get it started. The bracket comes out from underneath.
Removing ac bracket

15) Unbolt the two power steering pump bracket bolts. They are removable through the wheel well by working between the crankshaft pulley and the power steering pump. I used a 15mm 10 inch long box end wrench to break them loose and then a 3/8” ratchet to remove them. A deep well socket may also help here. Hang the pump by a wire as it will be suspended in the next step.

These two ps bracket bolts in the upper right are tough to remove

16) Remove the big black engine mount plate. Keep track of where each of the 5 bolts go as they vary in length. The uppermost is a short 12mm bolt. A recessed bolt is 14mm as well as the lower bolt. Make note of where they go since they are different lengths. The two by power steering pump are 15mm and removable with a box end wrench followed by a socket and swivel adaptor through the holes in the pulley.
17) Remove the timing light bracket from the bottom of the large mounting braket. Two 10mm bolts.
18) Remove the bracket now. It will come straight out once the 3 inch long guides clear the timing covers.
19) Remove the radiator side upper timing belt cover. (three 10 mm bolts, the lower, longer bolt holds wiring in place).
20) Remove the firewall side upper timing belt cover (two 10 mm bolts).  An inspection for leaks at the camshaft seals revealed nothing.
21) Position the engine at top dead center for cylinder 1. Manually move the crankshaft clockwise by turning the crankshaft bolt with a 22mm socket on a breaker bar. Top dead center for cylinder 1 is at the point where the timing mark on the front camshaft sprocket will align with a mark, now visible, on the inner timing belt cover. Also confirm that the distributor rotor points to spark plug #1. Turn over the cap to check this, as the external positions of the plug wires are skewed from the electrical contacts inside. Mark the distributer with a Sharpie at the plug one contact point. Once the Crankshaft components are removed there will be another alignment mark visible on the water pump. Maintain this timing position throughout the rest of the procedure.
The rear cam sprocket is aligned with a timing mark on the alternator bracket

22) Remove the crankshaft pulley. Remove the six 12 mm pulley bolts. With a pry bar between the inner grooved pulley and the solid disk of the balancer, gently pry off the pulleys. I have a serious oil leak on this vehicle. With the pulleys off the leak appears to be from the crankshaft front seal as oil is welled up in the bottom of the cylinder under the holding nut.
23) Remove the 22mm crankshaft bolt. First hold the crankshaft from turning. I used a 14” inch long piece of ¼”angle iron with holes drilled 4 cm apart to align with two holes in the balancer disc. It was set up against the frame cradle just behind the right front strut. I used a 24 inch breaker bar from the top and with repeated jarring motions it finally broke loose.
Drill the holes 4 cm apart and sized to fit the harmonic balancer bolts
24) Remove the harmonic balancer. Several taps with a hammer on the face of it did the trick.
25) Remove the small cover behind the balancer.
26) Remove the lower timing cover. There are four 10 mm bolts. The one below the firewall side cam sprocket is longer.
28) ) Confirm all timing positions and loosen the timing belt tensioner bolt. Completely remove the spring from the timing belt tensioner.  Then the belt will come off easily.
29) Remove the timing belt. Inspect it for wear. This would be an excellent time to replace it if old or worn.

Water pump removal requires these additional steps:
30) The alternator bracket is in the way of the water pump due to another small bracket that bolts to the top of the pump. To remove the water pump bracket, the alternator as well as the rear cam sprocket must be removed.
31) Unbolt the alternator. With two 15 mm tools loosen and remove the long alternator mounting bolt at the front of the alternator. Next remove the lower 15 mm bolt that holds the alternator to the rear of the mounting bracket. Optional: If one wants to completely remove the alternator, turn it now to unwire the larger 10mm B+ wire. The smaller plug behind it will unplug with a little squeeze and pull. Let the alternator rest loose back there for now. It can't be removed until the bracket is removed.
32) Remove the rear cam sprocket.  A tool will need to be fabricated to hold the can sprocket while it is unbolted. I used the same twelve-inch piece of angle iron used for removal of the crank bolt. I drilled two holes 3.7 cm apart. Then I fitted two bolts in the holes and used then in two adjacent holes in the sprocket.With my bar jammed against the firewall, I removed it with a 17 mm socket and breaker bar. Mark the sprockets front and rear if you will be removing both.

I used the other end of the same angle tool used on the crank bolt to hold the cam sprocket

33) Remove the alternator mounting bracket. Unbolt the three 12 mm bolts on the face of the bracket. Not so fast. There is another bracket bolted to this alternator bracket at the upper back. I got in there with a 6 inch box end 12 mm wrench and was able to tap the wrench with a hammer to bread it loose. Remove the 12 mm bolt at the top of the water pump. Remove the MAP sensor bracket as it is also bolted to the alternator bracket. The bracket can finally be pulled out. If desired remove the alternator now.

Unbolting the alternator bracket

34) Remove the water pump. Unbolt the lower five 12 mm water pump to engine bolts. Do not remove the 10 mm bolts on the pump. This is a two piece pump and those bolt the two halves together along with a Philips head bolt on the back of the pump. Remove the pump. There will be some coolant leakage so be ready to catch it.  There is an o-ring on the large water pipe in the V between the two heads that will make it necessary to do some jostling to get the pump off. There are several “ears” to use as pry points if it is stubborn.
35) Clean the gasket surface absolutely clean. I used a putty knife, a Dremel tool with a wire brush and finish with 100 grit sandpaper and lacquer thinner.

Crankshaft seal replacement
1) Remove the crankshaft sprocket. It should pull right off along the keyway but if not,some prodding with a pry bar or large screwdriver should do the trick.
2) Remove the leaking seal. Carefully make a small starter hole in the center of the seal. I used a very sharp pick. The seal material is hard to puncture. Then use a sheet metal or other screw and turn it into the seal about as far as it will go. Use a forked prying tool and a block of wood to pull the seal out.

Pry out the crank oil seal with a forked pry tool and a block of wood
3) Make a seal seating tool from a piece of pipe just under the diameter of the seal. The seal is 2” in diameter. I used a piece of PVC 1 7/8” and cut it to a length of 4.9 cm.
4) Seat the new seal using the pipe, a large washer bigger in outside diameter than the pipe and smaller on the inside than the head of the bolt, and the crank bolt. Turn carefully, keeping the pipe centered on the seal, until the seal is fully seated.

Camshaft seal replacement
1) With the cam shaft sprocket removed the seal can be replaced.
2) Remove the leaking seal. Carefully make a small starter hole in the center of the seal. I used a very sharp pick. This seal moved deeper into its channel when I tried to puncture it, making it difficult to remove. Then use a sheet metal or other screw and turn it into the seal about as far as it will go. Use a forked prying tool and a block of wood to pull the seal out.
3) Make a seal seating tool from a piece of pipe just under the diameter of the seal. The seal is 2” in diameter. I used a piece of PVC 1 7/8” and cut it to a length of 3.2 cm.
4) Seat the new seal using the pipe, a large washer bigger in outside diameter than the pipe and smaller on the inside than the head of the bolt, and the crank bolt. Turn carefully, keeping the pipe centered on the seal, until the seal is fully seated.

Seating the cam shaft front oil seal


1) Install the new water pump with a new gasket and O-ring. Put the new gasket in place. Turn in the bolts in stages and  alternate them and torque them evenly to 20 ft lbs
2) If removed, put the alternator back in place loosely, and wire it back up.
3) Mount the alternator bracket three lower bolts. Make certain they are in the lower mounting holes. it is possible to mis-mount this bracket. Mount the bolt on top of the water pump. Mount the bolt in the far back of the bracket.
4) Put the alternator in place and mount the lower 15mm bolt.
5) Mount the long upper alternator bolt and tighten securely.
6) Remount the serpentine tensioner pulley
7) Install the crankshaft gear on the crankshaft.
8) Install the timing belt. Confirm all alignment marks and install a new timing belt.  I used a Gates belt from NAPA for $32.99. Start at the crankshaft and then put over the front (radiator side) cam gear, maintaining tension. From there go under the water pump pulley and then over the  rear cam sprocket. Finish over the tensioner. Confirm the marks again after the belt is installed. Reattach the timing belt tensioner spring. With a socket and ratchet rotate the crankshaft two full turns, making sure the shaft turns freely throughout. There will be a point where it is more difficult to turn as each piston moves into the compression stroke. Recheck the timing marks. If good reassemble. If not take the belt off and repeat. Absolutely get this right!
9) Tighten the tensioner bolt to 20 ft lbs.
Tighten the timing tensioner to 20 ft lbs

10) Install the lower timing cover with five 10 mm bolts.
11. Install the small cover piece over the crankshaft pulley. This is a small metal dust cover with a notch cut out for the crankshaft key.
12) Install the balancer by tapping it in place with a hammer.
13) Install the crankshaft bolt with a 22mm socket and the angle iron jig.  I held it against the railroad tie under the frame. Torque to 100 ft lbs.
14) Put the inner and outer pulleys in place on the alignment pin.
15) Install the five bolts and torque to 20 ft lbs while holding the pulleys with one hand.
16) Install the firewall side upper timing belt cover (2 10mm bolts).
17) Install the radiator side upper timing belt cover. (3 10mm bolts, the lower longer bolt holds wiring in place). Put the lower bolt in at then end as it holds a wiring harness that was removed early on.
18) Install the engine mount plate. Note the upper 12mm bolt is 10.1 cm long and mounts through the upper timing cover. The middle 14mm bolt goes into a recess and is 9. 2 cm long. The lower 14mm bolt is just rear of the crank pulleys and is 10.7 cm long
19) Install the timing bracket back on the lower part of the engine mount plate with the two 10mm bolts..
20) Bolt the power steering pump to the corner of the engine mount plate with the 2  15mm bolts  2.5cm long. I found a 15mm 3/8 deep well socket worked well on the upper of the two bolts.
21) Bolt the power steering bracket back onto the engine with the two 15mm 2.5cm long bolts. Again a deep well works best here.
22) Install the AC bracket with three 15mm bolts. The longer one is the topmost.
23) Install the AC compressor with two long 13mm bolts on the top and the two torx studs and 13mm nuts on the bottom.
24) Install the  AC tensioner assembly with the three long bolts.
25) Install the serpentine belt tensioner pulley.
26) Install the Engine mount. First put the mount in place. Then lift it up an inch or two and move it toward the wheel well. Insert the longer firewall side lower bolt at an angle with the head up. Then push the mount downward into position until the long bolt reaches the hole. Push the bolt in. This takes some jostling. Now insert the other  six mount bolts and hand thread them. I could find no torque specs on these bolts. I torqued them to around 40 ft lbs.  Four on the front of the engine and three on  the wheel well.
27) Install the idler pulley just behind the engine mount.
28) Install the belts.
29) Reinstall the radiator hoses.
30) install the coolant overflow bottle
31) Fill with coolant
32) Plug in the four electrical connectors that were disconnected
33) Install the wheel well splash guard. .
34) Reconnect the battery.
35) Run and check for leaks.


     This is a challenging repair for sure. I hope these instruction helped you "get it done." They, too, can be a lot of work and a challenge to create. If you found them useful I hope you would consider making a donation to this blog (see the "Pay Pal" link on the left side bar).  Have a good one and come back again.
                                                                            Water pump, timing belt         Serpentine
    New water pump              Timing belt                and tensioner kit                       Belt


  1. This Dodge 3.0 timing belt is great stuff.. Too bad the shop that replaced mine didn't have it. They set the rear cam 3 teeth off and it don't run good on a 3 cylinder engine. I limped back there and a week later they said they had checked their work, it was good, and I had a bad engine due to the belt having broken. Eventually my son took off a few covers to line up the crank marks and saw the error in the rear cam inspection hole. Then he broke it all down for the simple correction which is when I took over to play with. I wanted to figger out how those guys fouled up.
    > I have a stop work problem at item 11 on reassembly: Install the small cover........ I cannot find a small cover or any picture or part shown anywhere. My son is out of town and I don't want to show my ignorance by asking him. Is the flange washer the cover mentioned? And, my work space is outside covered in leaves and the cover may be hiding. Thank you for your work and posting. Now I'm almost an expert but I wouldn't want to do this again if I get it all together and find I missed something. WJH

    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    2. This is a small circular dust cover. I have a You Tube video of it:
      I hope this helps.

  2. can you help me I have a new water pump,when a installed it leak the gasket are new
    can you show with a picture if water pump seal is broken and where are the output ports
    thank vey much

  3. I have a 2000 Dodge Caravan with the original 3.0 liter my problem it's leaking from right behind the drive pulley it looks like the timing cover area would that be the water pump going out

  4. I have a 2000 Dodge Caravan with the original 3.0 liter my problem it's leaking from right behind the drive pulley it looks like the timing cover area would that be the water pump going out

    1. It's probably pump related if coolant is coming from there. I had just the water pump gasket fail on a 1998 and it leaked like that. But the only way to know for sure is take it all apart and that's a job 1/2 on this engine. Good luck to you,

  5. Do this job now on a 93 caravan... Hope the oil crank and cam shaft seal install procedure is the same as in these videos...

  6. Quick question. I reinstalled everything right to the best of my knowledge. But I can't get the serpentine belt to stay on because it seems the idler pulley is sticking out too far and it seems the tensioner is crooked. Can you help me please? Thanks

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  9. You have a good point here!I totally agree with what you have said!!Thanks for sharing your views...hope more people will read this article!!! Polyureas

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  11. Just pure brilliance from you here. I have never expected something less than this from you and you have not disappointed me at all. I suppose you will keep the quality work going on. KP-LOK

  12. I have a 1999 dodge caravan with 3.0 engine timing belt broke while running...water pump has been leak for a figure replace all of it????. when I jacked up passenger side had a lot of antifreeze come out of the back of the engine by the metal water line. The question is do I need to replace that pipe to or could it be from the water pump leaking???

  13. The information you have posted is very useful. The sites you have referred was good. Thanks for sharing this: Evinrude water pump kit

  14. How you set the distributor if you lost point of timing??? Can you take out plug one to look for top head??

  15. I just complete this job last night (12/27/20). For the novice plan on 24 hours total or as above if you are familiar with process (could easily be done within 10 hours with two people and mounted on lift). A couple of tricks here for steps 30-33 you can simply loosen the alternator bracket and gentle shove it out of the way to access the last 10 mm water pump bolt (no need to remove cam sprocket). The same process to reinstall (gently lift and push bracket and insert bolt).

    Secondly, I did the same for step number 15. Loosen the nut on the back of the power steering pump (difficult to get to and unseat) and nestle the engine mount plate out of the way. I took more time doing this but you will be better off not having to reseat it (very tight space and much more frustration, if on jacks).

    Lastly, mount your 22 mm socket onto the crankshaft bolt and a 1/2 ratchet and position the handle facing forward on vehicle with a solid steel pipe (extension) braced on the cement/ground. Next unplug the ignition coil. Next turn over the engine with vehicle key (maybe have a buddy handy but not necessary). A couple tips here are to secure the socket and ratchet with a rubber mallet or wood so it does not slip off. The lefty loosey setting must be placed on the ratchet! When you bump the engine it turns right crankshaft bolt right and your ratchet will unseat the bolt, since it is set for loosening the bolt. I did not have an impact gun at the time. I borrowed one (Milwaukee 18V) and still couldn't get it off. I tried the technique above noted in this post and the process resulted in breaking off a bolt within the harmonic balancer (not to big of a deal but a little more work). Good luck and KEEP TRACK OF BOLTS by inserting them into a piece of cardboard with a drawing of part or on the parts themselves. Dont have me laying around!!!

  16. Also, a bit of knowledge for you and my future self (when I have to redo this again). Currently, 266K miles and still going strong on my Voyager. Remember to line up the 12 mm bolt (long skinny screw) referenced in step #18 with the alternator bracket (yes, you must screw it in temporarily!). Otherwise, you will have to undo everything and start again at step #1. Why you ask? Well, if the screw does not line up properly (I was off by 1/16 of an inch) you have to remember that it channels through the engine mount plate, the upper (firewall) timing belt cover and the alternator bracket. A lot of steps to have to undo to get to the buried screw on the alternator bracket just to reposition it so that the 12 mm screw sits in neatly without seating it at angle. Trust me on this and save yourself the frustration and 30-45 minutes of work.