I was driving along, splashed through a puddle, and suddenly had great difficultly steering. Managed to drive the few blocks home, wrestling through every corner. I popped the hood and suddenly saw some polished metal gleaming in the otherwise dark engine compartment. Shiny pulleys! I must have lost the serpentine belt. I haven’t worked on this (don’t laugh too much ) '90 Dodge Caravan CV (cargo van?) much, and am not wise to the ways of Dodge. This is the belt serving the topmost pulleys on the passenger side of the engine. Any tips or tricks in replacing this belt?
Stephen, Most Model - Years Of Dodge Caravans Had Several Engine Choices. Specifically, Which Engine Do You Have ? Does It Have Air Conditioning ?
I believe it is the 3.0 liter, possibly with air (I don’t use the AC, but I’m pretty sure it’s there). It has front wheel drive, and automatic trans.
Stephen, I’ll Give You What I’ve Got. It Looks Pretty Simple On A 1990 3.0L, But My Imformation For That Engine Indicates You’ll Have To Remove The Air Conditioning Belt First.
I don’t know your level of expertise or if you’ve ever put a Dodge belt on before. I can’t guarantee this is exactly right, so take a close look at your belt situation and see if this makes sense.
Verify that the serpentine belt has to go behind the A/C belt (that should still be on the vehicle). If so then you’ll need to just loosen (not remove) the nut in the center of the A/C belt’s small adjustment pulley (I believe the top pulley on the A/C belt). Then a little bit back behind the pulley you should see a hex head of a bolt. That’s the pulley’s adjuster bolt. Turn it until the belt loosens enough to take it off.
When the belt goes on later, just adjust the tension with that tensioner bolt first and then retighten the pulley center nut.
See if you can find a “belt routing diagram” sticker on the underside of the hood or someplace under the hood. You’ll probably need that to properly route and install the serpentine belt. They are sometimes confusing, especially when they’re gone !
There should be a small spring-loaded “automatic” tensioner pulley for the serpentine belt that has on its bracket a square 1/2" hole that a 1/2" breaker bar or socket wrench ratchet will fit into. Get the belt all routed on there except for tensioner pulley and then with the breaker bar in the square hole, rotate the pulley / pulley bracket counter-clockwise against the spring tension. Put the belt where it belongs against the tensioner pulley and slowly release the tensioner pulley. Viola !
Now put the A/C belt back on and adjust it with its manual tensioner as discussed above.
See if this makes any sense.
See if you’ve got a belt routing diagram or if you can figure out how the belt goes.
Please let me know and we’ll go from there.
P.S. Often times when a puddle takes off a belt it’s because a splash shield is missing.
Thanks for your great effort and description of the replacement procedure. Unfortunately, there is no diagram of the serpentine route on the inside of the hood (an electrical circuit and how to use the jack are the main diagrams there). I had heard it might be there so checked carefully. Am going to see if the parts dealer has a diagram on his order screen, and will photograph that. Haven’t any luck finding one the internet myself.
I also read elsewhere regarding the belt and water, wouldn’t think such a cause and effect. The belt was still below the engine (I had to drive about 10 blocks from the puddle), and it seemed to be in good shape. It was changed about 6k miles ago. Definitely going to check into the splash shield!