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1 28th June 15:23
jim candela
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Posts: 1
Default 1999 Caravan Serpentine Belt Issue


Hi,

My 1999 Caravan has been wonderful for 82,000 miles. My only real
complaint was about the brakes until last week. While taking my kid to
school in the rain, the serpentine belt popped off. It was original, and
still looks pretty good to me. I replaced the belt anyway, and learned a few
things:

1.) The AutoZone de-tensioner that they rent is a POS, and I did better with
a ratcheting box end 15 mm wrench with a cheater bar over the other end. The
trick is to get the tensioner retracted enough before the tool hits an
obstruction. The AutoZone tool could not do that.

2.) The internet is full of Dodge hating folk that lose their serpentine
belts whenever it gets a little wet. Apparently there was never a recall,
and all a dealer will do is replace parts where the fault appears to be in
the design. The only sure thing after servicing the problem is the bill will
be stiff.

3.) I have run across some references concerning a bracket used in snow
states, and some other guy that uses GM parts to fix the problem. The
bracket part number was not a good one, and the GM guy wants money to make
it worth his while.

So far the new belt is staying on. I can however see that the tensioning
idler is a little bit crooked, and I guess this is the crux of the problem.
Many folk seem to trade the van off because they won't dare let the wife or
daughter drive it around because they fear that they will get stranded.

I wonder how widespread this problem is, and what the folks on this group
have been doing about it?

Regards,
Jim Candela
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2 28th June 18:46
rwm
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Posts: 1
Default 1999 Caravan Serpentine Belt Issue


it's one of the chronic problems with the 3.3L V6. The tensioner fails,
in my case on a '98 Grand Caravan the bracket bent out of alignment at
37,000 miles, causing belt slippage, glazing, squealing and a ratcheting
sound at start-up. Can eventually throw the belt. There is a
replacement tensioner that fixes the mounting/alignment issue. Sad
commentary on "Chrysler engineering".
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3 28th June 18:46
bill hepler
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Posts: 1
Default 1999 Caravan Serpentine Belt Issue


I do #1 on my 3.3v6 about every oil change or
if it even hints at squealing. The tensioner
tends to get stuck.
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4 28th June 18:46
maxpower
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Posts: 1
Default 1999 Caravan Serpentine Belt Issue


Thats just two funny, the reason why your belt is falling off is because it
needs a tensioner, its wore out!! when the belt is at an angle and water
hits it, dont you think it will slide off??? Get real pal, dont blame
Chrysler for your ignorance... when your tires wear out do you think
Goodyear will recall them??? Are you gonna get mad at auto zone now because
they sold you a faulty belt that slides off in the rain? <<<< I guess this
is the crux of the problem.
Many folk seem to trade the van off because they won't dare let the wife or
daughter drive it around because they fear that they will get stranded.<<< I
wonder how many husbands put there wives out in a car knowing that a
tensioner is bad??? this is just to funny..>>>>>>> wonder how widespread
this problem is, and what the folks on this group

tensioner is faulty would replace it before sending someone back out on the
road.

Glenn Beasley
Chrysler Tech
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5 28th June 18:46
maxpower
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Posts: 1
Default 1999 Caravan Serpentine Belt Issue


Bill if your tensioner gets stuck, replace it, that is the sign of one going
bad, that is also how they get crooked, from the torque of the
engine......the tensioner is supposed to be able to move with the torque.
replace it now before it breaks. that is one of the first things i do when a
vhicle comes inot the shop is pull on the belt to see if the tensioner moves
Glenn Beasley
Chrysler Tech
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6 28th June 18:46
jim candela
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Posts: 1
Default 1999 Caravan Serpentine Belt Issue


Glenn,

It's attitudes like yours that keep me out of Chrysler dealerships.
I've always liked mopars, and hated their service. They rip you off, don't
know what their talking about, and have an attitude to boot. Hard to imagine
how you guys sleep at night. I presume you will never admit there is a
problem with the design. I guess my belt falls off because I'm arrogant.
Maybe it falls off because there is a problem with pulley alignment and the
tensioner when worn somewhat either sticks, or angles down from the belt
tension. Why can't this design last 100,000 miles? It does on lots of other
(Jap) cars. Why do so many folk less arrogant than I have this problem?
Could it be that the design, or vendor who builds the pulley / belt system
have a quality issue, and Chrysler managers bury their heads in the sand
because the dealerships are making a killing replacing parts over and over
and over again?

Here are some of your satisfied customers:

From http://www.carsurvey.org/viewmorecomments_review_30931_1.html

4th Jan 2004, 16:04 We have a 1999 Dodge Caravan and the serpentine
belt has slipped off at least six or seven times. I am now afraid to drive
the car in rain. Yesterday, I came out of a car-wash and it happened while
turning onto a busy intersection. Lost control of my steering. Scary and
especially so because I had my three kids with me. We could have been killed
by this. I wonder if anyone has been killed by this problem. Why hasn't this
been recalled? The dealer told me that they are putting a splash shield
under the car to keep the belt dry! What's with that? (!) That's the part to
fix the problem? I don't know why there's been no recall.

20th Jan 2004, 11:20 I brought my 99 Dodge Grand Caravan Sport
in to have the serpentine belt replaced at 64,603. They told me the
serpentine belt tensioner also needed to be replaced. Total cost: $130
dollars. I didn't think a tensioner should go bad that soon. Looking back
since buying the van in March 99, the belt always squealed and I momentarily
lost power steering when driving through standing water. I now believe the
belt tensioner on my van has been bad from the beginning. I feel fortunate
after reading the other comments on this problem. If you haven't had your
belt tensioner replaced yet, I would recommend it.


20th Mar 2004, 07:03 I have a 1998 Dodge Caravan with 63,000
miles and have experienced many of the same issues mentioned here. The belt
tensioner has just failed and I am replacing it now (it's a real pain to do
it yourself, too). The tranny cooler lines have been leaking fluid and the
resister block for the heater fan motor burned out.

I like the layout of the Caravan for family travel, but the
vehicle is too poorly designed mechanically for me to consider buying
another one.

10th Apr 2004, 17:57 Does anyone have any experience of
replacing the serpentine belt with a Goodyear Gatorback belt? I have heard
of several instances where this has cured the problem although I am yet to
be convinced. The Gatorback design on the ribbed side is different, but it
is the smooth side that slips off the idler pulleys; the only way I can see
that this design would help is if the extra grooves allow the belt to follow
a tighter curve and thus grip the pulley tighter. I'm about to fit one
anyway ($38) and I'll let you know if it helps - anything to make the
vehicle safer for my wife on the school run.

10th May 2004, 07:39 My family has experienced the
same problem with the serpentine belt and have the same safety concerns. The
belt and tensioner on our 99 Grand Caravan SE was replaced under warranty in
March 2002. After traveling through a small puddle of water in June 2003 the
belt fell off and took the water pump with it. Again, the belt and tensioner
was replaced. October of 2003 the belt was again replaced. Now, in May of
2004, again after traveling through a puddle of water (1/2" deep) the belt
fell off. Each time the belt falls off there is no power steering which
presents a serious safety risk.

Perhaps Chrysler should address these concerns
before someone is seriously injured.


27th May 2004, 17:29 My wife's 1999 Dodge Grand Caravan SE
Has threw the belt off twice this week. No Water involved just driving down
the road and almost wrecking because of no power steering. You can see the
belt tensioner is not lined up right (I have put two on) Should be a recall!

25th Jul 2004, 15:12 My daughter and son in law bought a
new 1999 Dodge Caravan. The serpentine belt came off twice at 24000 miles. A
new belt split after just 4 months of use. This week the tensioner and belt
will be replaced.

26th Jul 2004, 09:53 My 1999 Grand Caravan Sport, 3.8 L
with 48, 000 miles requires the second tensioner replacement in a year.
Although I have never experienced the belt slipping off, the noise is quite
a nuisance. There is a 1 year parts and labor warranty for replacement. I'm
surprised that given all the attention to this problem, no recall or
goodwill gesture has been extended.


5th Aug 2004, 18:43 Wow! I can't believe the amount
of people with this problem (or maybe I can). Today the tensioner on my 2000
Grand Caravan went out. The bolt holding the tensioner in place (there is
only 1!!! bolt) was sheared right in half. This sent the tensioner flying
into the power steering mechanism and bent the pulley wheel for the power
steering. Now the tensioner and pulley need to be replaced (to the tune of
$325 dollars). Thank God this happened in my driveway instead of driving 75
MPH down the freeway or the van would have been impossible to control,
seeing that my power steering went out immediately, not to mention that I
would have overheated pretty quickly. My van only has 47,000 miles on it and
the belt was just replaced about 1 1/2 months ago because it was making a
horrid squealing noise. Dodge has a potentially serious problem on their
hands with a defect of this nature.

J.W. Houston, TX.


The list goes on and on and on.....

Thanks for all the positive input Glenn.
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7 28th June 18:47
damnnickname
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Posts: 1
Default 1999 Caravan Serpentine Belt Issue


you make no sense, im glad people like you dont bring your vehicle in the
shop for me to work on, expecting parts to last 100k and if they dont to
put out a recall??What do you do if you get a flat tire, do you contact
the tire dealer? wiper blades that fall apart, thats a saftey issue but
more common sesne to replace them when you see them bad
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8 28th June 18:47
jim candela
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Posts: 1
Default 1999 Caravan Serpentine Belt Issue


The tensioner is not in the preventative maintenance schedule up to and
beyond 100,000 miles. That is why I brought it up. It should last 100K +
miles. This is not rocket science. We have a poor design being covered up by
folk like you that compare it to worn out wiper blades. Get real sir. For
many folk their wiper blades last longer then their belt tensioner...This is
not right, and you know it.

I was hoping to find something in this group like this. "Yes there is an
issue with 1999's, and was fixed in 2000. The new tensioner p/n 12345678 is
available from your Dodge dealer for $49.50 and can be installed for a
modest fee." I didn't find that at all. I cannot even get you or Glen to
admit there is a problem with these vehicles when in fact you know, and I
know there is.
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9 28th June 18:47
maxpower
External User
 
Posts: 1
Default 1999 Caravan Serpentine Belt Issue


The belt should be checked at least every 15k that includes the tensioner,
ever since the 3.0 was introduced in 1988 and the 3.3/3.8 to this date that
tensioner was used (different part number for the 3.0). If you take your
vehicle to a shop that does not check these things, yes you will have
problems. If you hear a rumbling noise when started cold this is an
indication that the tensioner is going bad, if the belt squeals, this is an
indication of it going bad, if the belt falls off, thats another indication,
If the tensioner is locked up on the 3.3/3.8 litre it will take out the
water pump if it is left on to long. I have seen so many water pumps
installed because the tensioner went bad and the person that installs the
pump doesnt replace the tensioner and now they cry because the pump was bad,
Take you vehicle to have it serviced by someone who knows what they are
doing..

last, but i do know that if properly checked it would have been caught, But
when you see something obvious such as a tensioner being crooked and the
belt coming off and putting your wife back out on the street with a problem
like that, I have to wonder who is the one fixing your vehicle?
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10 28th June 18:47
larry crites
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Posts: 1
Default 1999 Caravan Serpentine Belt Issue


Why don't you go buy a General Motors product, then? They have recalls all
the time. In fact, they just set a new record for recalls this year. And
recalls they cover up, they call "Campaigns". So if it's a recall you want,
here's your company.

Larry
Unlock the Universe

| The tensioner is not in the preventative maintenance schedule up to and
| beyond 100,000 miles. That is why I brought it up. It should last 100K +
| miles. This is not rocket science. We have a poor design being covered up
by
| folk like you that compare it to worn out wiper blades. Get real sir. For
| many folk their wiper blades last longer then their belt tensioner...This
is
| not right, and you know it.
|
| I was hoping to find something in this group like this. "Yes there is
an
| issue with 1999's, and was fixed in 2000. The new tensioner p/n 12345678
is
| available from your Dodge dealer for $49.50 and can be installed for a
| modest fee." I didn't find that at all. I cannot even get you or Glen to
| admit there is a problem with these vehicles when in fact you know, and I | know there is.
| "damnnickname" <damnnickname@yahoo.com> wrote in message | news:6cf41f0458c793137532d345d31a1ae8@localhost.ta lkaboutautos.com...
| > you make no sense, im glad people like you dont bring your vehicle in the
| > shop for me to work on, expecting parts to last 100k and if they dont to
| > put out a recall??What do you do if you get a flat tire, do you contact
| > the tire dealer? wiper blades that fall apart, thats a saftey issue but
| > more common sesne to replace them when you see them bad
| >
|
|
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