1995 3.3L Belt Tensioner from Hades



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Thread: 1995 3.3L Belt Tensioner from Hades

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    1995 3.3L Belt Tensioner from Hades

    We are nearing the end of our alternator replacement, and we need to slip the serpentine belt back on (never mind the fact that to remove the alternator from the engine compartment we had to remove the exhaust system). All my research tells me than a 1995 3.3L has an automatic tensioner. They say to "Release tension by rotating the tensioner clockwise." This is all fine and dandy, except the tensioner DOES NOT MOVE. We've cranked so hard on it, that the tensioner bolt head is starting to deform on the corners. We've tried keeping the alternator loose to slip the belt back on that way, but it doesn't give us enough slack. Could this be a bad tensioner that has seized up completely? Or does clockwise mean counterclockwise on every other Tuesday?


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    You've got a seized tensioner. If you put a 15mm wrench on the bolt that goes through the tensioner it should swing clockwise, as it is spring loaded. Helpful tip, put the old belt over the top of the wrench, then bring the other end of the belt down to the bumper area and put a foot in it. You can pull the tensioner with your foot, leaving your hands free to work.
    The illustration you have looks like it is for a gen 3 van (96-00)

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    Yeah, what DASanders said. You've got a seized tensioner.
    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)
    2012 VW GTI (6-Speed manual)

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    Nice idea

    Excellent idea. But, if it is indeed a seized tensioner, then will that trick work? We will have to replace the whole tensioner then, right? One place I read we should take off the wheel to gain better access...

    Either way, we'll try that trick with the old belt.

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    The tensioner assembly is held on by a nut under the alternator. You may be able to get it off with a 15m stubby wrench. If not, you will have to poke and prod arround underneith/behind to get it. I have done this repair on the 95 3.3 I used to own, I don't remember anything about it being too difficult. I have used dayco tensioners with good results. You will see how the old one is held on when you see the new one. Replacing the tensioner should be part of replacing the belt for good measure.
    Don't skimp on the belt. Get a good name brand, otherwise it will make a lot of noise.

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    In my experience, it's less trouble and cost in the long run to just replace the tensioner when you replace the belt. They don't seem to last much longer than a belt would last anyway.
    Michael
    Centreville, VA
    Currently driving:
    2005 Dodge Grand Caravan SXT, 99K mi.
    Former owner of:
    1988 Dodge Caravan SE, 2.5L I4 (1988-1995, 99K mi); 1995 Plymouth Grand Voyager SE "Rallye", 3.3L (1995-2004, 169K mi); 2003 Grand Caravan Sport, 3.8L, (2004-2008, 106K mi), 2008 Nissan Quest, (2008-2010, 25K mi)

    Other vehicles:
    2008 Lexus RX400h (Dark Gray), 65K mi; 2005 Hyundai Elantra GT (Blue), 65K mi

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    Quote Originally Posted by mmahamm View Post
    In my experience, it's less trouble and cost in the long run to just replace the tensioner when you replace the belt. They don't seem to last much longer than a belt would last anyway.
    Hmmm, I'm on my third belt since the tensioner was replaced on our 1998 (about 85,000 miles ago), and the one on our 2003 is the factory original with over 100,000 miles on it.
    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)
    2012 VW GTI (6-Speed manual)

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    I am on my second belt with the original tensioner and have 116,900 miles on my 99 DGC. I have not experienced any belt troubles. I am curious if rather than installing the Gates belt kit ($130) why not install two $8 conical big washers on the two idler pulleys to prevent the belt from pooping off that Chrysler made to specifically prevent the belt from slipping off for $16.

    Frank
    99 DGC Sport 116900 mi
    07 T&C SWB 7200 mi

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    Success

    We finally took the wheel off and that made it WORLDS easier to access the tensioner. We made a few more attempts to completely round off the tensioner bolt head, and we succeeded. :P After that, we used some heavy duty tie down straps with hooks on the end to hook the back of the tensioner. Then using a 6' pole and lots of leverage, we pried down really hard against the brake discs to pull the tensioner down using the straps. WE GOT THE BELT ON! WOOHOO! Thanks for all the help guys!

    As we were putting the alternator back on, I wisely over torqued a field terminal and snapped the threaded terminal right off. We're probably going to just put a glob of solder on it, covered by super glue. Ever notice how the more you help some people, the more help they need?

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    Quote Originally Posted by ZandarKoad View Post
    ...After that, we used some heavy duty tie down straps with hooks on the end to hook the back of the tensioner. Then using a 6' pole and lots of leverage, we pried down really hard against the brake discs to pull the tensioner down using the straps. WE GOT THE BELT ON! WOOHOO!...
    If you had to go to such extremes, I would be wary of that tensioner--if it took that much work to get it to loosen up, it is probably not providing the right amount of tension on the belt. Call me crazy, but I would replace it.
    Michael
    Centreville, VA
    Currently driving:
    2005 Dodge Grand Caravan SXT, 99K mi.
    Former owner of:
    1988 Dodge Caravan SE, 2.5L I4 (1988-1995, 99K mi); 1995 Plymouth Grand Voyager SE "Rallye", 3.3L (1995-2004, 169K mi); 2003 Grand Caravan Sport, 3.8L, (2004-2008, 106K mi), 2008 Nissan Quest, (2008-2010, 25K mi)

    Other vehicles:
    2008 Lexus RX400h (Dark Gray), 65K mi; 2005 Hyundai Elantra GT (Blue), 65K mi

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