1996 Grand Caravan 3.3L belt tensioner issue

Discussion in 'General Motoring' started by george.jones, Mar 21, 2006.

  1. george.jones

    george.jones Guest

    My belts are squealing on my battlecruiser.

    I replaced my belt and water pump (it seized on me and shredded the old
    belt) a few months ago and the new belt I installed has been squealing
    ever since. I can't, for the life of me, figure out how to adjust the
    tensioner on this thing to make it stop. How do I do it? I've tried to
    turn the nut on it and can't get it to budge and I'm not all that sure
    that that'll do it anyways.

    Any suggestions?
     
    george.jones, Mar 21, 2006
    #1
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  2. george.jones

    maxpower Guest

    Well first of all if your water pump went bad the chances of the belt
    tensioner caused it and the squealing.
    The tensioner is a self adjusting part. If it is seized up it will cause
    damage to the water pump and cause the belt to squeal. If the tensioner has
    never been replaced now would be a good time to do it.
    Glenn Beasley
    Chrysler Tech
     
    maxpower, Mar 21, 2006
    #2
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  3. george.jones

    george.jones Guest

    Nononononono... I caused it to seize. You know the little hole that
    drips coolant when the seal goes bad??? Well... me being the lazy-ass
    procrastinator I am, instead of changing the pump, I plugged up the
    hole. The pump eventually seized and I replaced it the next morning.

    Odd part about it was that I picked up a new pump the morning it seized.
     
    george.jones, Mar 21, 2006
    #3
  4. george.jones

    philthy Guest

    if it isn't moving it is siezed
     
    philthy, Mar 22, 2006
    #4
  5. george.jones

    philthy Guest

    please explain your version to me so i can learn on how a bad tensoner would
    break a otherwise good
    waterpump??
     
    philthy, Mar 22, 2006
    #5
  6. george.jones

    maxpower Guest

    Your misdiagnosing allot of vehicles dirty

    Glenn Beasley
    Chrysler Tech
     
    maxpower, Mar 22, 2006
    #6
  7. The tensioner doesen't have to seize to go bad. All the tensioner does is
    use
    a big spring to apply tension to the belt - and you ever notice how over
    time the
    springs in your sofa get crushed down and sag and lose their springiness?
    Same
    thing happens here. Once the tensioner's spring has sagged it won't apply
    the
    right tension and the belt will start slipping, which makes it squeal.

    Ted
     
    Ted Mittelstaedt, Mar 22, 2006
    #7
  8. george.jones

    NewMan Guest

    My tensioner was making a heck of a racket - a very high pitched
    squeel, difficult to hear, and even more difficult to pinpoint the
    location. Once I did, I shut the engine down, released the tension and
    slipped off the belt. I then spun the tensioner spindle by hand. You
    could hear that the bearing was shot.

    After consulting this group, I learned that I was right in the mileage
    range that these tensioners tend to "go". I had the tensioner
    replaced, and voila! problem solved.

    Only thing that concerned me was that the original tensioner had a
    metal wheel on it. The new one is plastic! <sigh>

    Oh well...
     
    NewMan, Mar 22, 2006
    #8
  9. george.jones

    maxpower Guest

    --

    Hey Ted, What normally causes the tensioner to sag is the fact that it
    starts to lock up. Hit the accelerator pedal and watch the tensioner spring
    forward... when the tensioner seizes up it does not spring forward and pulls
    on the water pump. Have you ever seen a tensioner completely snap off?
    That's because the tensioner is not doing its job and twists at the stud
    which over time will just break off. Since the water pump bearing is weaker
    then the stud, the water pump goes out first.
    Most people simply replace the water pump as Dirty does. And when the
    tensioner is seized up the water pump will normally fail again.
    Bu your right the tensioner does not have to seize up to go bad.

    Glenn Beasley
    Chrysler Tech
     
    maxpower, Mar 22, 2006
    #9
  10. george.jones

    cosza Guest

    on the 2003 Caravan, is the tensioner the same design. Instead of waiting
    for it to go bad, is there a mileage we should change it as preventative
    maintenance.
    Tx
     
    cosza, Mar 23, 2006
    #10

  11. On a 3.3, I had a tensioner seize and snap completely off with
    relatively low mileage.Put the pivot stud in torsion and twisted it
    off. popped the belt in two when it did it. vehicle didn't have 20K
    on it. I would check the bearing and replace the tensioner if it is
    not free and quiet.

    Frank
     
    Frank Boettcher, Mar 23, 2006
    #11
  12. george.jones

    maxpower Guest

    REPOST
    Hey Ted, What normally causes the tensioner to sag is the fact that it
    starts to lock up. Hit the accelerator pedal and watch the tensioner spring
    forward... when the tensioner seizes up it does not spring forward and pulls
    on the water pump. Have you ever seen a tensioner completely snap off?
    That's because the tensioner is not doing its job and twists at the stud
    which over time will just break off. Since the water pump bearing is weaker
    then the stud, the water pump goes out first.
    Most people simply replace the water pump as Dirty does. And when the
    tensioner is seized up the water pump will normally fail again.
    Bu your right the tensioner does not have to seize up to go bad.

    Glenn Beasley
    Chrysler Tech
     
    maxpower, Mar 23, 2006
    #12
  13. george.jones

    NewMan Guest

    Can't vouch for the 2003, but on my 1994 the mechanic said that they
    usually tend to fail - in general - somewhere between 150,000 kms and
    180,000 kms. Since I was at about 165,000 kms, after reading posts on
    this group, it seemed like good preventive maintenance (especially
    since the bearing was squeeling). Failure of this part WILL leave you
    stranded. Who needs the hassle?
     
    NewMan, Mar 24, 2006
    #13
  14. george.jones

    NewMan Guest

    Holy twisted metal Batman! That's nasty, and - from what I understand
    - not typical. I trust that was fixed under warranty?
     
    NewMan, Mar 24, 2006
    #14
  15. Yes, but not without a fight. Dealer claimed it was an uncovered
    normal wear part. At less than 20K. Go figure. As I recall, they
    finally agreed to do the work, I had to pay for the towing to get it
    to them.

    Also had one go bad on a 3.8, but that vehicle had about 70K miles at
    the time it went bad. same thing, locked up (the pivot arm) and
    popped the belt. This one didn't twist off but stayed locked up and
    had to be replaced.

    Frank
     
    Frank Boettcher, Mar 24, 2006
    #15
  16. I've never had it happen but a friend of mine has a great story when he
    was helping a friend of his drive a UHaul truck to Texas - the tensioner
    fell off the engine in the parking lot of a good old boys bar somewhere in
    Kansas.

    Ted
     
    Ted Mittelstaedt, Mar 25, 2006
    #16
  17. george.jones

    maxpower Guest

    what really sucks is when the tensioner breaks off and hits the P/S pulley
    (plastic) and breaks a chunk out to it. Put the tensioner on and the belt
    and then see the pulley. that pulley is a pain in the but to R&R.
     
    maxpower, Mar 25, 2006
    #17
  18. When did they go to plastic? Both my 94 and 95 vans have metal pulleys
    on their PS pumps.

    Ted
     
    Ted Mittelstaedt, Mar 26, 2006
    #18
  19. george.jones

    maxpower Guest

    --

    I think right around 96 is when they started, and they are plastic up till
    now

    Glenn Beasley
    Chrysler Tech
     
    maxpower, Mar 26, 2006
    #19
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