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Caravan/Voyager Serpentine Belt

My wife has a 2000 Plymouth Voyager that lately has ruined two serpentine belts. As the belt comes down off of the tensioner it makes its way around the power steering pump then around the rest of the accessories. The belt starts working its way along the edging of the steering pump pulley, I believe either the pulley may be slightly bent (which it does not seem to be) or the tensioner is wearing out. Has anyone else had this problem or have any solutions?
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Comments

  • We have a 99 Voyager with the exact same issue. After it jumped off many times (all during wet road conditions) I went nutso with the dealership after their repeated and failed attempts at fixing the problem. Though the internet was full of these issues, the dealership said they had not heard of the problem. Long story short, they finally put a guard on the outside of the tensioner pulley and it has never fallen off since. The guard looks like a large washer that has a wider diameter than the pulley - which keeps it from walking off. Good luck!
  • rbbarthorbbartho Posts: 14
    Can you tell me the name of that dealership as I need to get his problem fixes ASAP. This will be my 6th belt.
  • jcumbojcumbo Posts: 4
    Yes - it is Nick Abraham Chrystler Buick in Elyria, Ohio 440-366-6446.
  • rbbarthorbbartho Posts: 14
    Thanks very much, I'll give them a call. My repair shop wants $345.00 to change the belt and Idle pulley.

    I called Chrysler and they said they don't plan to do anything to fix the problem. I would think they make this a recall item. This is the last time I own a Chrysler product. Next time it will be a Toyota.
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    If you're having serpentine belt problems, here's a sure fire way to get it fixed:

    http://www.midwayautosupply.com/pc-48526-261-gates-system-solution-micro-v-kit-f- or-chrysler-33l-and-38l-engines-38379k.aspx

    Best Regards,
    Shipo
  • rbbarthorbbartho Posts: 14
    Thanks very Much,

    I placed an order for the kit....$99.00 is worth a try.

    Bob
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    Cool. Be sure to keep us posted on how it works out. ;-)

    Best Regards,
    Shipo
  • flavifeflavife Posts: 20
    Has your dealer carried out the technical service bulletin Number: 07-02-99 "Serpentine Belt - Loss of Power Steering Assist" for 96-99 minivans that deals with this issue? I have no idea if this TSB is better than the Gates System Fix.

    Good Luck
    Frank
  • rbbarthorbbartho Posts: 14
    Hi Frank,

    I checked this and, YES, there is a service bulletin which requires a new belt, tensioner and a shield. They also have a Pulley guard (essentially a washer that keeps the belt from slipping off Chrysler part # 500 3480 AA. I'm on my way to get that right now. I will try to put the belt on myself. May need some special tool to tension the belt and will find out and let you guys know. Chrysler sucs, in my opinion. I called them in Detroit and got no help. They should have told us about this a long time ago. This will be my 6th belt and lots of aggravation. Next time I'm buying a Toyota.
  • flavifeflavife Posts: 20
    I have a 99 Grand Caravan with 3.3L engine. I made a plywood stick 10" long 1" wide out of 5/8" plywood that I use to hold the tensioner compressed to remove the belt. I have a slight angle on one end of the stick to better prop it against the tensioner. I use a long box end wrench on the tensioner bolt and press just enough to compress the tensioner and wedge the stick in to hold the tensioner down. This allows me to remove the belt and replace it or to replace the idler wheels.

    Frank
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    "Next time I'm buying a Toyota."

    Hmmm, serpentine belt problems or engine sludge, take your pick. Personally I'll deal with the serpentine belt and be happy that my engine is spotless in the inside after 135,000 miles (as of today).

    Best Regards,
    Shipo
  • rbbarthorbbartho Posts: 14
    I got the Goodyear fix done yesterday instead. But this appears identical to the Gates fix. The kit sells for about $130 plus $100 to install by Goodyear Auto Center. Too early to tell and will keep you guys posted. The Chrysler fix of Bulletin 07-02-99 is just to add a pulley guard (a washer & longer bolt) adjacent to the tensioner pulley. It could be the answer too but time will tell as well.
  • jcumbojcumbo Posts: 4
    Sludge may suck, but having your wife and children completely lose power steering, etc... is no comparison. Given the wrong situation, this could cause a major accident (and may already have) and Chrystler jerked us all around for too long before putting through this bulletin. This board was full of complaints about this issue, but the dealership said it was unheard of?! To be fair, the van is at 111k and has been great other than this hair-raising issue.
  • lizaleolizaleo Posts: 1
    The belt slipped off te pullys- Does not look too worn to me but squealed for like 10,000 miles.
    Is this a do it yourself job? and should I buy a new belt? I took a look at it and it seems rather tight to get your hand in there.
  • rbbarthorbbartho Posts: 14
    I had mine fixed at Goodyear Auto Center. Cost me about $230 total.

    You can get the same kit, made by Gates, from midwayautosales.com ($116 including shipping. Depends on whether you have the 3.0 or 3.3 liter) and do it yourself.

    You have to removed the front right wheel and the water deflection shield below to get access to the pulleys. You may need a wrench to tension the tension pulley to slip the belt on.
  • My 1997 Voyager runs fine, belt doesn't squeak or fall off. A Chrysler dealer replaced the tensioner and belt with factory parts 12,000 miles ago. The pulley is offset from the belt so that the belt rides flush with the passenger side of the pulley, and 1/8 inch of pulley shows on the driver's side of the belt. The inspector insisted the belt be centered. I added a spacer so that it would pass inspection, which it did. Did I make a mistake? Is the pulley intentionally offset 1/8 inch? Should I remove the spacer now that I have a sticker?

    lfulwider
  • Hi, I have been reading about this tensioner. I've got problems too. I live in New Zealand and I have a '99 short wheel base Voyager with 3.3l V6 engine. The tensioner is smooth and has no flange nor washer to hold on the belt. Anyway, today the black splined shaft has failed by fatigue crack and the whole tensioner unit has fallen off the motor. It is a first year of Uni classic fatigue crack with beech marks. If it had happened to me last night (driving 200km from Tauranga to Auckland) I would be dead at the bottom of a gulley, no question about it. Luckily I was only backing out of the garage. So, you'll be pleased to know the "export" versions don't get special treatment. Anyway, up to now I never lost a belt and for the last few months the belt did start squeaking at startup but quietened down when running. If your belt does start squeaking like mine then it could be that the tensioner is cracked causing the pulley set up a bit crooked. So, a full inspection of the tensioner including splined attachment shaft/axle is what I would recommend. If anyone else experienced this or if I am really just unlucky I'd be interested to know.
  • rbbarthorbbartho Posts: 14
    The gates system or the Goodyear system are both identical and work very well. Try at Midway auto supply for about $100.00 ( Gates System).

    I have the Goodyear system on my Dodge Minivan. You can get it at a Goodyear auto repair shop. It's going to cost you about $130 plus about $100 to install. This includes the new double ribbed belt, tensioner and pulley.

    I am not happy with Chrsyler dealerships as I have replaced my serpentine belt at least 5 times until I found out about the service bulletin and Gates/Goodyear systems. I didn't try the Chrysler fix even though the part (a washer) is only $15.00, after they are done with with replacing the belt, tensioner and spacer it's going to cost you more than $300.00 (In Seattle.)

    Shop it out. My math told me to go with the Goodyear kit. It's been more than 4 months and the belt looks good.
  • Hi All,

    1997 Voyager, 3.0L, 140K miles, original owner...

    Belt tensioners are replaced about 1 per year. The last time it was replaced it just howled when it got wet. I was told by the shop that the wrong pulley was on there. They went to a different belt on the second try. I don't know who replaced the pulley since I bought it new, it will remain a mystery. Anyway, after getting it back, the serpentine belt fell off while driving it and we lost power steering, alternator, A/C.

    The belt dragged on the ground for about 20 miles until I drove it back to the shop that replaced the tensioner. They reseated the belt. Yesterday, it fell off again. I am being told by them that when we hit a big puddle the belt tends to fall off of this model. That's funny since we've had it over 10 years and it's only come off twice in that time, both times since they worked on it.

    Should I give up and sell it? Is this a chronic problem with this model? Help!

    Aside from the headliner falling off, valve job at 55K, remote mirror failure, eats belt tensioners about 1 per year, fan relay failure, valves tapping like a diesel, yada yada yada... it's an OK car.
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    Scroll to the bottom of this page for the reference to the kit for the 3.0 Mitsubishi engine:

    http://www.gates.com/brochure.cfm?brochure=2911&location_id=3488

    By all accounts, the special belt kit from Gates stops the belt problems completely. Said another way, I've heard from lots of folks that have put this system on their vans and so far at least, not one belt has been thrown.

    Let us know how you make out.

    Best Regards,
    Shipo
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