Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Replacing the serpentine belt on a 3.0L Dodge Caravan

                   How to Replace the Serpentine Belt on a 3.0L Dodge Caravan 

    Though changing a belt is an infrequent repair, it’s a good idea to inspect them often for wear. Serpentine belts, with their complex routing, can be a challenge to replace.  It’s not a bad idea to carry a replacement in your vehicle as well as any tools needed to replace it.
     I'm a die-hard home mechanic, not a professional. While I strive for accuracy and attention to detail in these procedures, I cannot guarantee that every step and description is flawless.  If in doubt, consult a auto repair manual or the services of a professional mechanic. Above all, take your time and be safe.

                                                 The repair at a glance
  •  Tools: a 10 inch long, 15mm double box-end wrench works best for the belt tensioner. A stubby screwdriver to hold the tensioner in place is helpful.
  •  Parts and materials: A replacement belt. A diagram or picture of how it is routed is very helpful.
  •  Cost of materials: $25-30 per belt.
  •  Average shop cost for the job: $30
  •  Time: less than 1 hour.
1) Disconnect the battery with a 10mm wrench for safety.
2) Loosen the 15mm AC belt adjuster pulley nut.

3)  Turn the 13mm tension adjustment nut of the AC belt counter-clockwise to take tension off the belt

A swivel adapter will help get around the upper radiator hose

4) Remove the AC belt.
5) Put a 10 inch long, 15mm double box-end wrench on the tensioner nut ( right below the alternator pulley). Push downward on the wrench and slip the belt off the tensioner.

Releasing tension on the serpentine belt

6) Remove the old belt from the van.

1)  There should be a diagram sticker on the engine. Route the new belt under the crankshaft and power steering pulleys first. While keeping it on them, pull up on the belt between them and slip it over the tensioner pulley.
2) Put the 15mm wrench on the tensioner pulley nut, as close to vertical as possible, and push down as far as it will go, while with the other hand looping the belt over the alternator pulley. It helps to stick a stubby screwdriver in the engine mount to hold tension while doing this. I have also used a 2 1/2" "S" hook to hold tension with the mount. This will likely take a few tries and cuss words to get seated.
A stubby stuck in the engine mount can help hold tension

4) Reinstall the AC belt and cinch it up with the 13mm adjustment nut. Lock it in with the 15mm pulley nut.
5) Reconnect the battery and test it.

             serpentine belt                   ac belt

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