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97 caravan tensioner pulley replacement...need help!

10-12-2005, 10:43 AM
I just bought a 97 caravan se with a 3.0 V6. I purchased it from a friend of mine who maintaned it very well. When I got would make a sqweak every now and then. Upon closer inspection, I found that the serpentine belt was starting to shred. I replaced the serpentine belt only to find that the sqeak has gone from every now and then to constant. The belt tensioner pulley (not just the pulley, but the whole entire part) was replaced a couple of months ago by a shop. I have brought the van back to that shop and they say nothing is wrong with the tensioner and ther is no warranty for the part. I have sprayed the belt with belt dressing and the pulley WD-40 to find it works for a short time and sometimes causes the belt to come I quit doing that. The idler pulley is fine and the belt is a brand new Gates belt from Napa. Since nothing has worked, now I want to change the tensioner pulley myself. Can the pulley just be changed and not the spring mechanism? Would it be easier to change out the whole part? How do you change out the pulley or the whole part? (I have had a hard time trying to locate bolts or how it's mounted to the engine) I re-aligned the belt by putting a fender washer in between the alternator and the alternator bracket. (I picked up that tip from this forum!)The belt is straight as a arrow. It just sqweaks and it's driving me crazy!!!! Any help or suggestions would be great. Thanks!

10-14-2005, 02:56 PM
The Belt tensioner is a common problem. To replace take the following steps

Remove Belt
Clean all the WD 40 off of all pulleys….WD40 in the wrong places will create havic.
Remove Alternator (just unbolt and slide back
Using a 15mm socket remove the whole tensioner. (only one bolt on back side. Must do it by feel as you can’t see it.
Install new tensioner
Re-Install Alternator
Install Belt.
Try to avoid belt dressing at all cost.

10-14-2005, 07:43 PM
thanks...I know thats it a 15mm on the tensioner itself. If I understand you correctly, there is another 15mm bolt that holds the mount (if there is one) to the engine. I am going to replace the tensioner and the idler pully all at the same time. Thanks for your helo. I might get to it tomorrow. If not, sometime this week. I'll let you know how it turns out.

10-17-2005, 08:26 AM
A little update. First of all, on my van the pulleys bolt on directly to the mounts. (no hard to find bolts behind the pulleys) Both use a 15 mm socket to remove and they came off real easy.( I didn't have to take out the alternator either!) I checked both of them, the tensioner seemed to move freely, but I felt like it should spin for little longer than it did. It didn't make any sounds,but it just didn't feel right. I figured I could get by with it for a little while. Like I said before, I was just replaced a few months back. As for the idler pulley, that thing was seized up! I bought a new one from Napa, stuck in in and started her up. It was sooooo much better and hardly any noise. The was a very little sqeak every now and then. But when you close the door, you couldn't even hear it. This was on Saturday. Yesterday it soo much worse, pretty much back to normal. I am going to replace the tensioner pulley today and see what happens. I'll keep ya'll posted.

My theory on the tensioner pulley is that it wore out prematurely. When it was replaced a few months back, the serpentine path was out of alignment. This caused the belt to start to shred on the outside and I could see the tensioner pully wobble whe the van was running. With a new belt and the realignment it put more tension on it and now it's failing. I'll see how right I am. Later!

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