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2000 Dodge Grand Caravan Question: serpentine belt falling off

 

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starshine, 3.8L V6, Clawson, MI, December 25, 2008, 17:33
 Rookie

the sepentine belt on my 2000 dodge caravan sport has come off twice within the last 6 months. is this a known problem?

15 Answers
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  • Answer #1

    December 26, 2008, 10:08
     Master

    The serpentine belt may come off due to a worn tensioner, idler pulley or pulley alignment. You should have a qualified technician look at the belt alignment while the engine is running. Anything that looks out of alignment at that point should be repaired. If everything looks ok the fault could be with the tensioner or idler pulley. You may need to replace the tensioner, idler pulley, and the serpentine belt to correct the problem.

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  • Answer #2

    January 16, 2009, 23:32
     Master

    As Russ stated, the belt tensioner is usually the culprit, however, if you have had the power steering pump or water pump replaced, the pulley can be out of alignment. In rare cases, the generator pulley or the crankshaft damper pulley can shift out of alignment or the crankshaft thrust bearing can wear causing the crankshaft to have excessive play which would cause misalignment. A qualified repair shop should have a pulley alignment checker which uses a laser beam to check alignment. Also, all grooves in the pulleys must be free of all debris. Since you live in an are where snow is likely, you must have the belt shield attached to the right frame rail as snow will cause the belts to come off.

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    starshine, January 17, 2009, 19:10
     Rookie

    I did more research and discovered this is a well-known problem with dodge/chrysler 3.0,3.3 and 3.6 engines in the minivans.This is a problem that has been around since 1992 and continues to 2008 at least. It usually occurs while going thru water. That was the case both times it happened to me. There are some after market fixes the Gates fix being the most mentioned. Chrysler has service bulletins out but they don't have to tell you about it. The idea that there isn't a recall for retro-fit disgusts me. The idea that they keep building this bad design putting peoples lives at risk seems like it should be illegal. My van is a handicapp converted Braun Entervan. It is almost like they know they have a captive audience. These minivans used to be the most popular to convert due to the body style.

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  • Answer #3

    August 29, 2009, 22:51
     Rookie

    My mom has a 2000 Grand Caravan Sport with the 3.3L V6. Best running van in the country until it rains. Where she lives the roads tend to have ruts worn down in them from the big trucks. The water pools in these ruts and if you hit one, down she goes. No steering and no water pump. The one time it happened to me the engine over heated almost immediatly. You can't drive them a block even if you can armstong the steering the engine will over heat in just minutes. We started driving this thing with kid gloves everytime it rained, but still if you had to swerve a little bit to mis a car or if the water crossed the road where you couldn't avoid it. You were setting there waiting a mechanic to come put the belt back on. I'm glad Johnny mopar gave his answer. I knew there should be some kind of shielding to keep this from happening. Anyone know where to find one?

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    johng42, January 11, 2014, 11:37
     Rookie

    I have a splash guard underneath the motor which protects the serp belt and components. I also have a 2000. I changed out the water pump and never put the splash guard back on until it rained one day, and the belt slipped off. I keep the splash guard on all the time now.

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  • Answer #4

    October 23, 2009, 16:13
     Enthusiast

    check and reposition the drain hose that that collects the water from the windshield.
    It is located to the left of the serpentine belt, close to the firewall. It is supposed to be attached to the drain duct from the cowl cover.
    It has to be removed to replace the belt. It mat be inadvertently not been replaced.
    You have to tug at it to discover this at times. since it is usually in the proper position.
    Only it is not attached to the drain.
    This will cause water to flow onto the belt and the resultant belt slip when it rains. Hope thi help.
    It will eventually damage the alternator too.

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  • Medium-star Best Answer
    December 05, 2009, 21:26
     Enthusiast

    Why is it after replacing a new belt and new tensioner, the belt comes off in the rain, snow and going through puddles? I wasted money on these and they are less than a year old and I have to replace them with a kit containing the same thing except they are grooved?
    It came off on my wife over a dozen times. No power steering (no control), no water pump (engine overheats causing dangerous to aluminum heads), no alternator (no battery charging), no AC. All powered by ONE belt. $40 a pop to put the belt back on. An independent recommended a kit, parts and labor, over $300. We then found a radiator leak, thinking the slick antifreeze was causing the belt to come off, so I spent the $300 replacing a new radiator. Still the belt came off.
    I have looked over numerous forums on the web and with all the problems with Dodge, Plymouth, Chrysler vans, why do we have to pay to get it fixed?
    I thought I'd be smart and start out with some "cheaper fixes". One guy was selling disks to put over the tensioner and idle pulley for $30. I found the disk covers from Advance for $8 apiece and installed them on both idle and tension pulleys and thought how smart I was until I went through a puddle...twice and both times it came off. I started looking at the Dayco 89251 from Advance, but it is a smooth tension pulley. My wife called me today and guess what...she went through a puddle. So..here I am ordering a Gates 38379K kit from Amazon $111.63 incl. S & H. Advance has Goodyear kit 49215K for $124.99 plus tax, but it had to be ordered. You can also order separate double sided belt, grooved idle and tension pulleys, but they total more than $111. The double sided belt is over $65.
    CONTACT THE NHTSA on their web site or call them at 888-327-4236. I am surprized if someone hasn't gotten KILLED yet!!!

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    pberthoty, December 12, 2009, 22:42
     Enthusiast

    Response to Cricketp:
    I mentioned that the belt slipping off happened AFTER I replaced both the tensioner and belt. I have scoured the net on other sites and many say the same...after tensioner replacement. I don't know if the mechanic positioned the tensioner in the slot correctly. The Dayco 89251 tensioner is supposed to have flat spring tensioner vs coiled, but after putting the larger pulley disks over the tension & idler pulley and it didn't solve the problem, I opted to get the Gates kit. I received the Gates pulley kit ordered from Amazon, but the grooved idler pulley was missing. Amazon sent another kit out via one day UPS and this time the entire kit was there. I will see if this solves the problem completely.
    Paid $111 including S & H. I got on the NHTSA site and filed a complaint. Why should we have to pay for a Chrysler defect?

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    pberthoty, January 31, 2010, 19:55
     Enthusiast

    I thought I had fixed the problem by getting a pair of Dorman pulley covers or discs from Advance for $16. I put one on the idle pulley and the other on the tensioner pulley. Someone was selling fabricated discs for over $35 and he thought that would solve the problem. It didn't. I ended up getting the Gates kit from Amazon for $111 incl. shipping. It hasn't fallen off yet. I have also notified the NTSA on their web site about the problem.

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    Visitor, October 18, 2010, 08:58

    I HAVE A 1998 DODGE CARAVAN AND THE serpentine belt comes off in snow or when you hit a puddle! Well after having this happen to me several times I found the reason for it is very well known by the dealerships. Matter of fact in there repair manuals there is a quick fix and the part is only $38.50 plus installation. This part is called a engine mount with Dodge part number of #4612412. I know this sounds funny, But we now have this part on order. This part was suppose to made as a recall in 1990, But Dodge figured it was a way to make money over time. This mount mounts onto the tension-er pulley and mounts onto the engine and then the problem is fixed.

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  • Answer #6

    December 12, 2009, 21:44
     Rookie

    i realize this has been a year ago but if you have not resolved the problem it is probably the tension pulley. I had mine replaced & have not had one bit of trouble since. However, now my airbag, cruise, & horn are not working. found online that it is probably the clockspring. anyone know of a good sight that will tell me how to replace the clockspring?

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    Visitor, September 19, 2010, 06:46

    On our 1996, the clockspring and the airbag light staying on were connected and there was a recall on one or the other. (Sorry I can't remember which.) They DID fix the problem!

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    Visitor, October 03, 2010, 20:19

    There is a service recall on the clockspring. Yes it is most likely your clockspring. I have a 2000 and had the same problem twice! I took my van to the dealer and they fixed it for free.

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    Visitor, October 18, 2010, 09:00

    Go to your browser and type in Dodge Recalls. There was a recall for the airbag clock spring. This recall covered 1996 thru 2002

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  • Answer #7

    January 31, 2010, 15:01
     Rookie

    Chrysler has actually issued a recall for the clockspring malfunction. No matter how many miles you have on it, you should be able to take it into any Chrysler dealership to have it replaced free of charge. Like you said, apparently this problem affects the steering wheel controls (cruise, volume), as well as the horn and airbag. You can go to this website (http://www.dodge.com/webselfservice/dodge/index.jsp?screenName=recall&country=us&emailurl=goToEmailForm%28%27R%27%29) type if your vin number, and print out a letter for the recall. Hope that helps!

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  • Answer #8

    Visitor, March 27, 2010, 15:27

    Our (serpentine) drive belt came off after about 6 years of driving. We muscled the steering wheel and drove the van to advance auto parts since power steering went out.. We still had the manufacturer belt under the hood and I am new to this problem. Our belt came off because our water pump was totally shot, so I asked someone to put it back on with a 15mm wrench. A 17 year old kid came up and said he'd put the belt back on. He did it in about 15 minutes with the wrench and a flashlight since it was night time. however, the belt stayed on about 10 minutes after driving so we had to do something. I walked back to Advance auto parts and bought the Dayco poly grip belt which was about $42.00 with tax. I had a new water pump put on and the van is running ok. I went with the poly grip belt because it was only $10.00 more then a regular serpentine and had a 1 year warranty instead of 90 day. I trust the poly grip more then I do the standard grip because if one of the pulleys is slipping or water gets on it, it has a better chance of staying on. So what I am saying is if you get a new serpentine belt, go with the Dayco poly grip belt for $10.00 more. The warranty is 1 year and you can even feel the way the van drives after putting it on, that the grips aren't going to slip off the pulleys. It just feels more snug in my opinion.

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    Visitor, October 18, 2010, 09:02

    I HAVE A 1998 DODGE CARAVAN AND THE serpentine belt comes off in snow or when you hit a puddle! Well after having this happen to me several times I found the reason for it is very well known by the dealerships. Matter of fact in there repair manuals there is a quick fix and the part is only $38.50 plus installation. This part is called a engine mount with Dodge part number of #4612412. I know this sounds funny, But we now have this part on order. This part was suppose to made as a recall in 1990, But Dodge figured it was a way to make money over time. This mount mounts onto the tension-er pulley and mounts onto the engine and then the problem is fixed.

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  • Answer #9

    Visitor, May 01, 2010, 01:26

    My mom has the same problem with 1998 grand caravan. It turns out that there is a problem with the pcm and it allows the a/c compresor to over pressureize and blow out the releif valve. the valve is facing the belt and pulley and thus sprays refridgerant and oil under high pressure on the belt to make it come off. I have not replaced the pcm yet but if it works I'll let you know.

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    Visitor, October 18, 2010, 09:02

    I HAVE A 1998 DODGE CARAVAN AND THE serpentine belt comes off in snow or when you hit a puddle! Well after having this happen to me several times I found the reason for it is very well known by the dealerships. Matter of fact in there repair manuals there is a quick fix and the part is only $38.50 plus installation. This part is called a engine mount with Dodge part number of #4612412. I know this sounds funny, But we now have this part on order. This part was suppose to made as a recall in 1990, But Dodge figured it was a way to make money over time. This mount mounts onto the tension-er pulley and mounts onto the engine and then the problem is fixed.

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  • Answer #10

    Visitor, May 23, 2010, 09:23

    how do yu check tension on serp. belt 1998 jeep 4.0

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  • Answer #11

    Visitor, May 26, 2010, 19:48

    yes ,it happened to me several times ,I checked with my local mechanic and he was able to get a part from the dealership .It was a part in which held the belt from slipping off . all he did was take the bolt out slide it through this part like a washer and tighten the bolt,it took about 10 min.Problem solved

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    Visitor, July 08, 2010, 16:36

    The serpentine belt on my 2000 Caravan started coming off in 2006....in the rain. Last weekend was the 6th time. Finally my mechanic has put on a snow guard...ordered from Chrysler....(by the way the last time it snowed where I live in FL was in 1976 or 77). The snow guard is supposed to keep the belt on when going through water. It has not rained in my area since Tuesday afternoon. Here's hoping this is the BIG FIX. Everything else has been repaired or was current with everyone else's fixes.

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    Visitor, August 20, 2010, 11:50

    Many mechanics are unaware of the causes of this condition. I have tried to compile all of the info that I have found surrounding this issue here. Most of this content was collected from on-line accounts.
    Symptom
    96 -2000 Caravan / Voyager
    Serpentine belt being frequently thrown off of the pulleys while driving in any amount of snow or rain.
    Cause
    If any of the components along the path of this belt are having issues, this can cause problems with the belt. We are not concerned here with belt failure due to normal or predictable component wear. Belts and components should be checked regularly as part of routine maintenance. This description deals with frequent belt failure due to pulley alignment not directly associated with obvious mechanical failure.
    This serpentine belt system relies on near perfect alignment between all the pulleys along the belt. ANY changes in the alignment can cause the belt to slip off of the tensioner as it does not have raised edges (side walls).
    It would appear from the accounts that marginal bearing wear or other foreseeable minor tolerance changes (component replacement without shimming for perfect alignment, pulley surface wear, bearing surface wear, or mounting slippage of any of the 6 component pulley systems along the belt path) can contribute to this condition.

    Dealer fixes
    A qualified repair shop should have a pulley alignment checker which uses a laser beam to check component pulley alignment. However, it is obvious from accounts that not all shops are aware of the delicacy of this alignment and may recommend expensive “shot in the dark” replacements of the individual components. Component shimming may be required.
    It is my understanding that there were two Chrysler TSBs (Technical Service Bulletins) on this issue. Neither one directly addresses alignment accuracy and Chrysler may be assuming that all of its mechanics are up to date on this aspect.
    TSB 07-09-99 (AllData has an article about it). Pulley guard/pulley shield" (Chrysler Part # 05003480AA). It will also need a longer screw to hold both (# 04556218). essentially this is a washer that keeps the belt from slipping off.
    !!! After any of these repairs, ask the dealer to pour a small amount of water onto the belt (while running) to see if the belt will slip off. As far as I am concerned, no amount of water should cause a belt to slip out of position!

    Aftermarket fixes - Gates/Goodyear
    This solution has had overwhelmingly positive reviews, but be warned, the parts are $100 -$160 and you are now committed to buying specific, non-standard belts for this car from then on. The kits do come with a warning sticker to this effect. It’s a belt and pulley kit that replaces all of the smooth pulleys with grooved pulleys, and the belt is ribbed on both sides.
    Gates Fix kit info:
    1996-2000 3.0L V6 = 38342K
    1996-2000 3.3L/3.8L V6 = 38379K.
    Goodyear
    1996-2000 3.0L V6 engine = 49204K
    1996-2000 3.3/3.8 V6 engine = 49215K
    Should be available at NAPA, Rock Auto, Amazon and CarQuest.

    Aftermarket fixes - Dorman/Advance
    Dorman disk covers from Advance Auto generic pulley shields This fix may also require some rework or modification of the tensioner pulley bolt and shimming arrangement.

    Aftermarket fixes - GM part retrofit
    Some raised edge GM pulleys can be substituted in for the Chrysler original.GM Part 14102645 - Tensioner assembly off an 87-93 S10 with the 2.8L V6
    Some aftermarket GM replacement parts don't have the raised edges to keep the belt on. Check before you buy. This fix may also require some rework or modification of the tensioner pulley bolt and shimming arrangement.

    Aftermarket fixes - Rockauto /Four Seasons generic pulley retrofit
    Four Seasons part #s 45970 and 45887 (plastic pulley with flange made in Korea). This fix may also require some rework or modification of the tensioner pulley bolt and shimming arrangement.

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  • Answer #12

    Visitor, August 03, 2010, 15:40

    UH HUH SERIOUSLY THESE MOTORS ARE CRAP

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  • Answer #13

    Visitor, October 18, 2010, 08:55

    ON MY 1998 CARAVAN THE serpentine belt comes off in snow or when you hit a puddle! Well after having this happen to me several times I found the reason for it is very well known by the dealerships. Matter of fact in there repair manuals there is a quick fix and the part is only $38.50 plus installation. This part is called a engine mount with Dodge part number of #4612412. I know this sounds funny, But we now have this part on order. This part was suppose to made as a recall in 1990, But Dodge figured it was a way to make money over time. This mount mounts onto the tension-er pulley and mounts onto the engine and then the problem is fixed.

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    Visitor, January 21, 2011, 14:14

    Have you received and mounted the mount as of this day, I am interested in finding a fix for this problem, I am ready to get rid of a perfectly good vechile because I am tired of putting the belt on. Lost lots of time trying to figure this out, I have the mount in front of me and by your description I beleive I can put this on, but just want to be sure this is the fix? Let me know Thanks

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    Visitor, January 21, 2011, 18:36

    Posted Dec 09: Repeat................
    I thought I'd be smart and start out with some "cheaper fixes". One guy was selling disks to put over the tensioner and idle pulley for $30. I found the disk covers from Advance for $8 apiece and installed them on both idle and tension pulleys and thought how smart I was until I went through a puddle...twice and both times it came off. I started looking at the Dayco 89251 from Advance, but it is a smooth tension pulley. My wife called me today and guess what...she went through a puddle. So..here I am ordering a Gates 38379K kit from Amazon $111.63 incl. S & H. Advance has Goodyear kit 49215K for $124.99 plus tax, but it had to be ordered. You can also order separate double sided belt, grooved idle and tension pulleys, but they total more than $111. The double sided belt is over $65.
    CONTACT THE NHTSA on their web site or call them at 888-327-4236. I am surprized if someone hasn't gotten KILLED yet!!!
    Jan 2011:
    I have had the kit on Dec 09 and have had no problems since. Make sure you order for your specific engine size.

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    Visitor, January 22, 2011, 07:16

    Thank you for your response, I am taking part in hand to the mechanic on Monday, I love the Caravan and really hope this fixes my problem, I have called the 888 # to complain and I am planning to write a letter to the Dodge Company as well, may not do any good but they need to own up to the problem they created. Again many thanks.

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    Visitor, January 22, 2011, 15:03

    Just went on amazon.com today and looked up Gates 38379K kit. http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=Gates+38379K+&x=15&y=22
    and found the kit even cheaper. My kit was for the 3.3 liter. It may take a mechanic to put it on since the belt is very tight.

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    Visitor, May 13, 2011, 20:37

    RE: Throwing belt in the rain:
    I have a 2000 Chrysler Voyager van. Despite several warranty "fixes", the belt came off a half dozen times in wet weather / puddles. The installation of a Goodyear "Gaterback" belt stopped the problem entirely - well worth the extra 10 bucks! I suspect it's treaded backside prevents "hydroplaning" against the smooth idler belt in wet weather.

    Before I used Gaterback belts, sometimes the belt would also shred on the edges. This caused a piece of split-off belt to make a thumping sound. I found the belt jumped over one groove on the pulley. But no problem after 9 years of using this brand of belt.

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  • Answer #14

    April 21, 2014, 16:19
     Rookie

    I have found that when you go through water the water will make the belt slip off. Dodge apparently knows
    this but will not fix it. You have to have a different pulley that is designed to secure the belt.
    Mine has slipped off several times while I was on trips. If is get killed my wife is going to sue.

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  • Answer #15

    December 08, 2014, 16:48
     Rookie

    99 Caravan. 3.3

    After dealing with the on/off problem of my belt coming off- squealing
    In the rain/slush/snow, I finally had had enough...

    I bough ONE more serpentine belt - AND a piece of plexiglass approximately
    8" x 3 ' x 1/4 ".

    I slipped it under the front cowling trim just below the radiator and drilled two
    Holes through the plexiglass and used two self tapping screws through those
    Holes into the bottom of the radiator support. The back part of the plexiglass is
    Drilled and screwed into the bottom of the A arm with two screws.

    This fabricated fix took about 15 minutes to build and attach. The plexiglass splash guard
    Is contoured slightly from front to back and actually is higher than the oil pan, so there is no
    Chance of hitting the ground during normal use. It is strong and flexible and cost 11 bucks.

    As soon as I installed it, I drove through puddles, slush, a car was under spray- everything that before
    Immediately caused my belt to squeal and/or come off..

    Give it a try, I bet you'll be pleased and it's easy to build.

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    Wulfdog, December 08, 2014, 17:56
     Rookie

    Can you send me a pic of your repair? Thanks Wulfdog

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