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Chrysler Town & Country Serpentine Belt



  • mrbiosmrbios Posts: 2
    edited November 2010
    I just changed the following yesterday on a 1998 Chrysler Town and Country Mini van with 187,000 miles on it:

    1. Serpentine Belt
    2. Idler Pulley
    3. Belt Tensioner Assembly (Tensioner, Pulley, etc)

    I will post the pictures when I get a chance:
    Chrysler Belt Tensioner Replacement

    Search for "Chrysler" or Tensioner.

    It took me about 5 hours. I did not have a repair manual handy but do have air tools. This was the first time ever working on this vehicle.

    I started by going to a self car wash and thoroughly cleaning the engine top to bottom especially the belt area.

    The basic steps are:

    Remove 4 10mm bolts that hold coil pack on and push out of the way (you can keep the spark plug wires connected but disconnect the plug that brings power to the coil packs.

    Next jack up vehicle. Place jack on the square sub frame not the outer edge behind the tire - this vehicle is very heavy (~ 4 to 5000 lbs). place jack stands on the frame. Jack as high as it is safe so you have more room to get under vehicle.

    Remove the plastic cover near the pass side front tire wheel well by prying the plastic fasteners with a flat screw driver and pulling with a pliers. This will help you remove and install belt, pulleys, tensioner, etc.

    Place 14mm or 15mm open end wrench on the belt tensioner pulley nut then place a pipe over the wrench for mower power and move clockwise to take tension off. Shove a block of wood between pipe and car to keep tension off. Remove belt ( you will need to access the bottom wheel well to slip the belt off the crank pulley / power steering pulley.

    Next remove alternator bracket and alternator push alternator out of the way (the lower alternator bolt has s 15mm nut on the back side that must be held - a vice grips is great for this. You access it from the top by reaching where the bracket was and hold the nut from spinning. It is very cramped. You can spin the bolt from the front then stick you finger until you feel the nut turning then grab it with a pliers of vice grips.

    Tensioner is held on by only one nut ( it contains a single bolt in the center which is permanently attached. Go under the vehicle and slide almost to the drivers side, shine you spot light / flash light and you will be able to see the 15mm nut on the tensioner - loosen it by attaching a 15mm socket to an ~ 8" extension, then a universal (tape it in the center with electrical tape to control its movement and keep it from flopping all over the place). Then attach a short or long extension. Then the ratchet or impact gun (you don't need to hold the bolt as it is welded to the tensioner assembly). Once nut is off you can remove the tensioner and install the new one.

    Reinstall all parts. The bottom alternator bolt is very very difficult to align - try putting similar sized bolt in the other end to hold it in place so the holes align then put the bolt in and start the nut with you fingers and attach a vice grip to hold while you tighten from the front. Attach the alternator bracket then finish tighten the lower alt bolt - don't apply oil to threads.

    Install the idler pulley then install the belt - diagram is on a sticker near radiator. install coil packs and plug in power cord to coils. Start and test BEFORE lowering vehicle.

    WARNING: there are a number of places where the open end wrench can slip and you will smash you knuckles. be sure wrench has a tight fit at all times and use either the pipe or a hammer to break stuck bolts free! Remove grease or oil from all bolts with brake cleaner.

    Normal 8 inch 3/8" extension, a 4" extension, one universal swivel socket adapter.
    two or three foot Pipe wide enough to slip over your ratchet AND open end wrenches for more power - a number of bolts are very tight and you can't access them with power / air tools. You can hammer the end of a 1.5" ID pipe to widen the end to fit over open end wrenches you can also use the handle of a floor jack if you have that type that separates in the middle.

    Vice grips with wide (not the small pliers style jaws that slip).
    Safety glasses or goggles - it is easy to dislodge dirt when under the car into your eye.

    pack of blue nitrile gloves - even after the power wash the vehicle was filthy from oil leaks over time and the grime it attracts.

    Air ratchet helps but is not necessary.
    Jack and jack stands
    Offset ratcheting box wrenches would be very helpful for removing one of the pulley bolts but is not necessary.

    Block of wood to hold the tensioner down so you can remove / reinstall the belt.

    Open end wrenches: 15mm, 14mm?
    Deep sockets: 10mm, 15mm
    Lug nuts: 19mm
    Lights: two one 18" long traditional florescent (with outlet), One short yellow halogen light with movable head. You will need lights on top and on the bottom.

    Parts (NAPA):

    Tensioner assembly (comes with pulley) $40 (they sell a cheaper one but I don't recommend it because of the labor involved if it fails).
    Belt ~ $30 Gates brand.
    Idler Pulley: ~$30
    All three parts cost $120 with tax.

    Be aware there is a different type of tensioner that some of these vehicles use which costs $95.

    Notes: the tension seemed ok on the tensioner but it appeared bent slightly so that belt was at a slight angle which I believe is what caused it to slip off.
  • Parts (NAPA) Gates Brand:

    Tensioner assembly (comes with pulley): 38113

    Serpentine Belt: 060966 (normal single sided ribbed)

    Idler Pulley: 38042
  • santelmisantelmi Posts: 1
    good luck .. you need a thin wrench get the nut off from under the van. get the idler
    pully eith groves
  • davejyddavejyd Posts: 1
    I recently purchased a used 1998 Chrysler Town 7 Country, and right after I bought it I discovered that there were numerous electrical problems, the worst was having a hard start/no start issue. I started checking the electrical system, and found that some of the fuses in the fuse box under the hood were not making proper contact, due to corrosion/dirt. I pulled all of the fuses & relays out, cleaned the fuse box with a good spray electrical contact cleaner, and then replaced all the fuses & relays with new - but first, I applied a dab of dielectric grease to each contact slot before installing the fuses & relays back in. This cured almost all of my problems, except with the issue of my instrument cluster going blank occasionally - however when it does this, a quick rap on the dash just above the cluster brings it back. Sometimes when the cluster is "blank", the van won't start, so I am sure that somehow it ties into the anti-theft system as well. I am betting on a loose connection, or possibly a bad/loose ground point somewhere under the dash. Planning on tearing in to this soonest.
  • It is more than likely bad solder terminal connections on the circuit board of your instrument panel. These are notorious for all kinds of electrical problems. If you carefully remove it you can re-heat the solder on the back of the board where the wires plug in and fix most if not all of your issues.
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