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Caravan/Voyager Serpentine Belt



  • 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,
  • 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.
  • 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,
  • 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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