1990 Dodge Caravan Replacing belt tensioner

Tiny
RIDER5154
  • MEMBER
  • 1990 DODGE CARAVAN
  • 6 CYL
  • FWD
  • AUTOMATIC
  • 11,500 MILES
How do I go about replacing the belt tensioner on a 1990 3.3L Caravan. The entire tensioner snapped off.
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Tuesday, April 29th, 2008 AT 11:12 PM

9 Replies

Tiny
LEGITIMATE007
  • EXPERT
Its a tedious one. I had to pull of the alternator and alternator bracket to get to mine. There is a single nut in back of the tensioner. You need to remove those items to reach, and you will still need a short extension. Oh god, I hate that 3.3
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Wednesday, April 30th, 2008 AT 4:34 AM
Tiny
RIDER5154
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Thanks, that's what it looked like to me, but I needed a second opinion before I dove into it. The vehicle was given to me and I thought that it might be worth fixing. Now I'm hesitating after looking at alllllllllll the questions on repairs for that particular year. It appears that throwing belts is a common occurence. I've seen that there is a possible upgrade/fix for that, true?
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Wednesday, April 30th, 2008 AT 10:12 AM
Tiny
LEGITIMATE007
  • EXPERT
Well its a common issue once you get over 100,000 miles. You know the tensioner has to be changed like everything else. I think that the van is worth fixing, granted theres nothing major to fix on it. I have one myself. My tensioner went too. My van has 172,000 miles on it. Just take care of it and don't beat on it, and you got a pretty solid vehicle thats gonna come in handy time and time again. Mine just recently slipped a timing belt, (don't be nervous) only because it wasn't changed in intervals when it was supposed to be, now I have to fix some valves. My point is just do your regular maintainance on your vehicle and your good to go. I'm not sure what you meant by "upgrade or fix". Post back if you have anymore questions
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Wednesday, April 30th, 2008 AT 7:29 PM
Tiny
RIDER5154
  • MEMBER
From what I'm told it's a one owner vehicle and was serviced at all the scheduled intervals. His grandson is not mechanically inclined and didn't want to try to fix it himself. Out of curiosity, how far can it be driven should it throw a belt? I know it can't get hot, but I've limped a few vehicles to where they could be safely parked. Should I carry an extra belt, or do they just throw them? Thanks so much for your help, I've had a lot of different vehicles but this is my first "mini van" so I'm kinda in the dark.
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Wednesday, April 30th, 2008 AT 7:45 PM
Tiny
LEGITIMATE007
  • EXPERT
If your tensioner is ok then don't worry about it. When I say serviced, I mean timing belt too not just oil and plugs/wires. Is your tensioner still in tact?
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Wednesday, April 30th, 2008 AT 9:43 PM
Tiny
RIDER5154
  • MEMBER
Not at all, someone used a prybar on it trying to get the belt off and snapped the entire thing off. All I can see is the nut where is WAS bolted on. That is why I was wondering how to replace it. Took me a little while just to figure out where it was to begin with. I've been looking and found a replacement, and now, with the help you've provided, I'll go ahead and order one. I'm not sure about the timing belt, I think there are maintenance records.
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Wednesday, April 30th, 2008 AT 10:34 PM
Tiny
LEGITIMATE007
  • EXPERT
Ohhhh, o.K I see, alright, if there is anything else feel free to get back to me. Wait wait wait; someone used a crowbar to get a belt off? Whoa.
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Thursday, May 1st, 2008 AT 6:01 AM
Tiny
RIDER5154
  • MEMBER
Yep, sheared that bolt off flush with the bracket when they did it. It must have been a BIG crowbar! I'm going to order the tensioner for it and keep my fingers crossed. Thanks again for all your help, I'm sure I'll have more questions. I think he said the heater wasn't working, but it's summer now!
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Thursday, May 1st, 2008 AT 8:48 AM
Tiny
LEGITIMATE007
  • EXPERT
Anytime.
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Thursday, May 1st, 2008 AT 8:56 AM

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