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Caravan/Voyager Serpentine Belt

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Comments

  • Why is it after replacing a new belt and new tensioner, the belt comes off in the rain, snow and going through puddles? I wasted money on these and they are less than a year old and I have to replace them with a kit containing the same thing except they are grooved?
    It came off on my wife over a dozen times. No power steering (no control), no water pump (engine overheats causing dangerous to aluminum heads), no alternator (no battery charging), no AC. All powered by ONE belt. $40 a pop to put the belt back on. An independent recommended a kit, parts and labor, over $300. We then found a radiator leak, thinking the slick antifreeze was causing the belt to come off, so I spent the $300 replacing a new radiator. Still the belt came off.
    I have looked over numerous forums on the web and with all the problems with Dodge, Plymouth, Chrysler vans, why do we have to pay to get it fixed?
    I thought I'd be smart and start out with some "cheaper fixes". One guy was selling disks to put over the tensioner and idle pulley for $30. I found the disk covers from Advance for $8 apiece and installed them on both idle and tension pulleys and thought how smart I was until I went through a puddle...twice and both times it came off. I started looking at the Dayco 89251 from Advance, but it is a smooth tension pulley. My wife called me today and guess what...she went through a puddle. So..here I am ordering a Gates 38379K kit from Amazon $111.63 incl. S & H. Advance has Goodyear kit 49215K for $124.99 plus tax, but it had to be ordered. You can also order separate double sided belt, grooved idle and tension pulleys, but they total more than $111. The double sided belt is over $65.
    CONTACT THE NHTSA on their web site or call them at 888-327-4236. I am surprized if someone hasn't gotten KILLED yet!!!
  • The Gates or Goodyear kit should do it. It's been least 3 years since I installed it and haven't had any problems. I don't know if replacement belts are readily available but and may be a good idea to have one handy, I feel fairly secure now and have taken several of town trips without any problems, rain or shine.
    Quite difference from several years ago when I was replacing them every few months.
  • Amen to that. We had our 1999 Voyager for about 3 years when it first started losing belts and it wasn't until I threatened to call the local TV station did the dealer offer to put the large washer (??) on the tensioner pulley which did the trick for me for quite a while. But then we had a problem with the belt squealling like crazy any time there was even a hint of moisture out. To resolve this we added the Goodyear Gatorbelt and it took care of the squeaks for a long time and and it also held it in place well. We ran into it the squeaking again and I bought a new belt, this time it was the same style but a brand from NAPA. That did the trick until we broke 3 damper pulleys - probably from all of the torque holding the belt in alignment. Honestly I think something wears along the system where the belt rides and it is out of alignment just enough to screw things up, but not enough to be visible to the naked eye. (I read somewhere that a cracked motor mount was common in these to cause this issue, but I can't confirm that one as they never found that problem with mine.) That's why it only pops off after it's aged a while and when it gets moisture on the pulleys. It clearly should have been recalled but the losers in Detroit decided they would rather risk our lives and save a buck vs. doing the right thing. Otherwise, great van - had it 10 years and we finally gave up when it began to throw damper pulleys. Good luck and be safe.
  • Hi, I stumbled on this thread while doing research on my own van problems... Like everyone else, my serpentine belt has been slipping off. The first time was a few years ago - it managed to stay on for over 2 years in rainy Vancouver BC. However, it fell off again a month ago... then a few weeks ago... then again on New Years Eve. In the past, I replaced the tensioner and belt to no avail. After finding this thread, I was able to source the Gates conversion kit for 3.3 and 3.8 Litre engines locally (LORDCO - cost $200 - ask for a discount because it's listed at $299.00 in their computer, they were great about it) as mine is a Caravan SE 3.3L. I had it installed today at Midas - took 1 hour ($90) - they had to cut-down a bolt in the kit that was too long but that's the only mod they had to do. Now I have peace of mind while driving in the rain.. which is almost every day in the winter! So, for those Canadians out there, it's a quick and easy fix which will cost between $300-$350 depending on your mechanic and how much you pay for the kit. Well worth it if you plan on keeping your van and driving it in the rain!! I feel like suing Dodge for my money back - dammit, I should! If my belt should fall off again, I will DEFINITELY post here, but I have confidence that the problem is fixed. CHEERS!
  • Hi please keep my up to date. I just spent 65.00 on the road to get this fixed for the 3rd time. I will call goodyear and check up on it. I have a 3.0 do they have a fix for mine?
    Thanks Martin
  • Use the Goodyear kit for serpentine belt. I have had mine for 3 years and problems since. I used to drop belts about every year for 5 years. It will work and cost about $220 installed. New pulleys and belt. It will work on the 3.0 Liter. I have the same.
  • Where did you get the good year kit at? And who did the work Goodyear? Let me know Thanks. My belt comes off when ever it rains and about every 30 days.
    Thanks martin
  • Go to Goodyear Service Center and they will install one for about $230. They did it to my Dodge 3.0 Caravan and had no problems since it was installed 3 years ago.
    Otherwise, Dodge will fix it by putting a special washer, about $20, in the pulley/idler to prevent the serpentine belt from jumping off.
    Funny, Dodge had this in their service bulletins years ago and but dot bother to tell you about it. You find out through the Internet, unless you go to an honest dealer service department that will search it out. I don't know how well the Dodge washer works out, but I'm sure they're going to charge you for labor as well.

    Goodyear did the trick for me.
  • Go to Goodyear Service Center and they will install one for about $230. They did it to my Dodge 3.0 Caravan and had no problems since it was installed 3 years ago.
    Otherwise, Dodge will fix it by putting a special washer, about $20, in the pulley/idler to prevent the serpentine belt from jumping off.
    Funny, Dodge had this in their service bulletins years ago and but dot bother to tell you about it. You find out through the Internet, unless you go to an honest dealer service department that will search it out. I don't know how well the Dodge washer works out, but I'm sure they're going to charge you for labor as well.

    Goodyear did the trick for me.
  • jpfjpf Posts: 496
    Does this belt problem only affect the 3.3 and 3.8 liter engines? I have a 2006 Caravan with the 4 cylinder engine (2.4 liters). I have replaced the belt because of it squeaking but it hasn't fallen off in 47k miles.
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    As far as I know, the belt issue only affects some Gen 3 vans with V6 engines. Given that yours is a Gen 4 with the I4 engine, I seriously doubt you'll ever have the belt fall off unless it's way old and/or the tensioner siezes.

    FWIW, I've had two Gen 3 vans with the 3.8 and one Gen 4 with the 3.8 as well, and in a combined 480,000 miles, not one belt has fallen off. ;)

    Best regards,
    Shipo
  • Hey gang I bought my part off Ebay. They guy was great and made sure I got the right one for my 3.0 voyager. If anybody wants the link I know he has 4 more on line and im sure he can get more then that. I Paid 110.00 plus shipping but I did get it in 2 days. It was a good sale. The shop told me a hour to put it on so im well under 200.00 for everything. Parts and service.
    Martin
  • I decided to replace the water pump on my own, and I have now finished the job. I decided to buy a new belt and lower radiator hose figuring now is a good time to make those changes (93k miles on the van).

    I cannot figure out how to get the belt back on, I have followed the diagram under the hood, but still have too much slack in the belt. I must not have it right around the belt tensioner. I also checked to make sure the new belt and the old belt are the same size and they are.

    PS I would have never thought you had to lower the engine to drop the water pump!
  • vchengvcheng Posts: 1,284
    You may have a bad tensioner stuck in the slack position.
  • cheezer7cheezer7 Posts: 6
    hello was it easy to replace water pump my wife has a 2002 dodge caravan and i need to change it
  • nicompnicomp Posts: 21
    The gates aftermarket solution works great. I bought one and had my mechanic install it. Before that, every time I went through a puddle the belt came off. It's been several years and I've had no problems at all with the belt.

    1997 Voyager.
  • bkelly2bkelly2 Posts: 2
    I have been researching this issue on line for some time. I had heard about the belt slipping off some time ago but it never happened to me. I had replaced the tensioner pulley because of a chirp some time ago with no ill effect. Recently, the water pump started chirping and I replaced it. That’s when the belt jumping problem occurred. From that experience and what I have read, it appears that the parts used at the factory were either lined up perfectly or were adjusted somehow to line up perfectly. I have read, in one on-line forum, where one mechanic said he uses a straight edge to check the alignment of all of the pulleys when replacing parts. It would appear from the accounts that normal bearing wear or other foreseeable tolerance issues (bearing surface wear or mounting slippage of any of the 6 component pulley systems along the belt path) can contribute to this condition. If this is the case, then something as simple as a pot hole could be cause for eventual failure.
    I am baffled as to what advantage, Chrysler engineers, thought they were getting by specifying a pulley system without raised edges. As most of you probably know, older cars usually had a manually adjusted tensioner with v-belts and raised edge pulleys. Even when it was somewhat out of adjustment, that system usually worked.
    For those of you needing to compress the tensioner to put on or take off the belt, some auto parts stores lend the tool for free (refundable deposit). Those tools that I have seen have one long arm and shallow sockets or attachable spanner heads. The long arm will not work, on a 3.3 engine, if you are trying to compress the tensioner from the top of the engine for lack of clearance.
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    A few comments:

    The advantanges of a serpentine belt (over a "V" belt) include (but are not limited to):
    - Lighter overall component weight
    - Greater torque applied to each individual pulley
    - Smaller/shorter overall packaging
    - Significantly longer life (assuming no alignment issues exist)
    - Faster R&R/simpler maintenance of components behind the belt system

    If I recall correctly, the 3.3 and 3.8 liter engines in the Gen 3 vans had their tensioner accessible from the top, however, in the Gen 4 vans the bottom is clearly the way to go.

    Regarding your situation vis-à-vis the water pump replacement causing an alignment issue, I find myself wondering about things like, A) differences in gasket thickness compared to the factory gasket, B) differences in the drive axle versus a Mopar pump (I'm assuming you have an aftermarket unit), and C) if there was any residual gasket material from the factory gasket left behind when your new pump was mounted.

    Best regards,
    Shipo
  • bkelly2bkelly2 Posts: 2
    Thanks so much for your knowlegeable response. Yes it was an aftermarket pump and I am guessing from the resultant belt toss that there must be a thickness/size difference between the original and the replacement although it was not apparent during my perfunctory cautionary side by side comparison . As far as the mating surface - after removal of the original pump, there was surprisingly little residue left on the mating surface. What was there came off easily and I checked it by running my bare fingers over the entire surface and of course, visual inspection.
  • Hi chismitchel, my 2000 caravan did the same exact thing and after the shop put parts in I did NOT need, I figured why not the tensioner so just bought and replaced that myself. they tried to tell me the chirp was "enginge noise" funny becuase the NEW tensioner stopped this chirping/belt sqeual. it also seems to have more power now. perhaps my belt was slipping??? starts easier too. my van actually CAME with the gates modified kit when I bought it two months ago. I just UN modified it due to nothing but noise and problems. runs much better now and is quiet. hopefully my belt won't come off since I purchased the OEM parts?
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