Gates kit must read (Belt problem)



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Thread: Gates kit must read (Belt problem)

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    Gates kit must read (Belt problem)

    I installed the gates kit today. Tensioner and idler pulley were easy to install. I used a 15mm stuby wrench to remove the tensioner nut under the alternator. I tried in vain for hours to install the dam belt. Finally I called Midnight Auto to ask for help. After being disconnected twice I was told sombody would email me in 4-5 business days! With nothing else to do, I played on the internet looking for help with the belt and I found these helpful instructions. Several of these ideas are good ones, and worth passing along. 10 minutes later the job was done.

    Gates belt instructions:
    Just installed the Gates 38379K for the 3.8 engine. Idler replacement was a breeze. Tensioner was a bit tricky. I went from under the car with a 3/8" "wobble" adapter I found at Sears and a 6" extension. Made that part a lot easier. Stuff a bunch of shop rags against the front of the tensioner to keep the key lined up when tightening.

    The belt is a bear to install. I found the easiest way to do it is to seat all pulleys except the water pump. use a small plastic spring clamp on the crankshaft pulley and belt to keep the belt from slipping off. Put a long 15mm wrench on the tensioner, then put the old belt on the wrench and let the excess belt dangle off the front of the car. Put your foot in the belt loop and push down to move the tensioner, and slip thebelt over the water pump pulley. Since it is the only one without a lip or grooves, it slips on much easier than all the other methods I tried. DON'T FORGET TO REMOVE THE CLAMP BEFORE STARTING THE ENGINE!
    The van seems to be functioning well, and this kit is a lifesaver. I hated trying to thread the belt back on every time it slipped off.

    I still urge everybody with this problem to file a complaint with NHTSA. They are the only ones who can put pressure on Chrysler to fix this.

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    Sears sells a special tool designed to release the tensioner so you can get the belt on/off. It's about a 2 foot long bar you can attach included stubby sockets to. It gives you the leverage you need. Makes removing the belt a breeze. Costs around $35.

    Ditto on the NHTSA. Never seems to happen though.
    ******** We took the time to answer your post. Please give us some time and post the fix. You'll help hundreds. ********

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    96 Gr Caravan LE 3.8, 206K miles
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    Yep, the name of the game is leverage, and a regular 'ol wrench doesn't have enough. Next time, pull out two combination wrenches and figure out how to stick them together to form one long wrench.

    I will say the serpentine belt tool is definitely nice for the task, but two or even 3 combination wrenches stacked together works quite well for that.
    2003 Honda Odyssey EXL (3.5L)
    1997 Town & Country LXi (3.8L)
    1992 Honda Accord LX (2.2L)
    1990 Chevy K2500 (5.7L TBI)

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    What is the part number or proper description for the Gates kit? I'm carrying a Gates belt around as a spare for my 1999 AWD Ltd but perhaps I should have the kit as well. I know this car has lost a belt at least once. But my recent 2000-mile drive from New York to New Mexico went perfectly, at 20 mpg. I'm now at 80,000 miles. Thanks, Arthur

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    The problem with installing the new belt was that the new gates belt is very snug, the only way to get it on is as described as above. I had no problem moving the tensioner to the maximum looseness, it just did not give any more room. Trust me, any more pressure and I would have busted the dam thing. I have a great belt tool, but the tip of using the old belt on the wrench is a handy one, and I use that trick now. I have changed many belts, and outstide of a saab 900 turbo, I have never had as much trouble installing a belt as I had with this one, thats why I passed along the life saving tip on how to install it. I never would have gotten it on with out this advise.
    The gates kit is:
    GATES SYSTEM SOLUTION MICRO-V KIT FOR CHRYSLER 3.3 AND 3.8 ENGINES
    PART NUMBER 38379K (SKU: GAT-38379K)
    The belt is part number DK060956.
    Napa wanted over $200 for the kit, I got it from Midway auto supply for $139 plus $12.74 shipping UPS www.midwayautosupply.com/ Ups lost the box, but that is another story.
    The kit comes with a new tensioner with a ribbed pulley, a new ribbed idler pulley, belt and a nice yellow sticker to stick under the hood to let people know that the vehicle has been changed from OEM and gives the new gates replacement belt number (DK060956). I am going to purchase a spair belt and keep it in the vehicle, just in case...
    Even if you do not have the problem with the belt slipping off (yet) this kit makes the belt quiet. I highly reccomend this kit for piece of mind if nothing else. I hope this helps.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DASander View Post
    Even if you do not have the problem with the belt slipping off (yet) this kit makes the belt quiet. I highly recommend this kit for piece of mind if nothing else. I hope this helps.
    While I have found that some aftermarket belts are in fact fairly noisy, a top quality Napa, Gates or Mopar belt is virtually silent and doesn't require upgrading to the Gates belt and pulley system. As I've never had a belt loss event in over 150,000 miles on our Gen 3 3.8 liter van, I'm not at all inclined to buy this new system, especially because that limits my options for buying new belts. That said, if I had a van that was constantly chucking the belt, I'd put the Gates system on in a heart-beat.
    Sold: 1998 DGC Sport 3.8 (Final odo: 178,000 miles)
    Sold: 1998 Chrysler T&C LXi 3.8 (Final odo: 190,000 miles)
    Sold: 2003 DGC ES 3.8 (Final odo: 172,000 miles)
    1998 Audi A4 Quattro (5-Speed manual)
    2001 Honda Accord EX V6 (4-Speed automatic)
    2009 Mazda3 i Touring (5-Speed manual)
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    So the main tip is to make the final belt connection on the water pump because it's not a ribbed pulley?

    I'll keep that in the back of my mind in case I ever need to insall the Gates kit.
    2003 Honda Odyssey EXL (3.5L)
    1997 Town & Country LXi (3.8L)
    1992 Honda Accord LX (2.2L)
    1990 Chevy K2500 (5.7L TBI)

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    Quote Originally Posted by shipo View Post
    As I've never had a belt loss event in over 150,000 miles on our Gen 3 3.8 liter van, I'm not at all inclined to buy this new system, especially because that limits my options for buying new belts. That said, if I had a van that was constantly chucking the belt, I'd put the Gates system on in a heart-beat.
    Same with me, neither of my Gen. 3 vans have thrown a belt, but its weird to hear that it seems to be a common problem. I put a really nice Goodyear Gatorback belt on my 3.8L that has been doing great...heard good things about the brand.
    1996 Chrysler Town & Country LX [My lovable Daily-Driver]
    2000 Chrysler Town & Country Limited [Yes, it's still around!]
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    I respect what you are saying. I am a believer in "if it ain't broke, don't fix it." Unfortunately, if it can go wrong, it has on this van, and the belt issue is no exception. I also live in northern vermont where we get a lot of rain and snow. It has been said that these gen 3 vans cannot go through a deep puddle or snow without the belt issue. I just put this out there to people who have had the problems as it seems to be the cure. I don't drive this van. i bought it (new) for my wife in september of 2000. It has left her stranded many times, three times requiring a tow, once for the belt issue. For $150.00 I have one less thing to worry about.
    We put 106,000 miles on the '95 grand voyager all wheel drive that was traded in for this van with NO issues. If it were not for the fact that this van has a very good all wheel drive system, and the AWD is no longer avalable I would have traded it years ago.

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    DA, is the reason for the old belt and foot 'trick' is that you are doing this job alone? I have learned to get my son to help me put the belt on. He helps align everything and can also slip the belt on or pull the tensioner. Its nice to have a 'helper' if you can find someone willing.

    The belt came off our 3.8L last January while my wife was out shopping. My son and I struggled in sub-freezing temps with a nasty north wind to put the belt back on. When I got home, I put a new idler pulley on the van and have not had any problems since.

    BTW, I tried an experiment last summer. I took a spray bottle and filled it with water. With the engine idling, I sprayed the belt with the water. Guess what happened? Nothing! I fully expected it to jump off. Better in the driveway in nice weather than in a snowdrift, I reasoned. If it had jumped off, I was ready to buy 'the kit'.

    I also tried the Gatorback belt to see if it would cure the squeaking. At first it was promising but within several weeks, it was squeaking worse than the Mopar one. I quickly removed it and went back to Mopar. I just bought a NAPA belt and plan to give that a try.

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