How Do I Change Serpentine Belt on Dodge Cars

by Contributing Writer; Updated June 12, 2017

The Dodge car has a serpentine belt that drives the engine accessories by supplying torque to their pulleys it gains from the crankshaft pulley. As the engine runs, the crankshaft spins, which turns the serpentine belt. The belt then rotates each of the accessory pulleys, allowing them to provide electricity, power steering assist, air conditioning and other benefits to the vehicle. If the belt brakes, all those accessories are immediately out of commission, so inspect the belt often and replace it at the first signs of excessive wear. Anyone with basic automotive-repair skills can perform this job.

Under The Hood:

 How Do I Change Serpentine Belt on 2005 Dodge RAM 2500 Diesel?

Open the hood and familiarize yourself with the belt routing diagram printed on a sticker placed on the fan shroud. This diagram shows the location of the belt tensioner, the accessory pulleys and, most importantly, illustrates the proper routing for the belt.

Move the belt tensioner away from the belt with the serpentine belt tool. Push the belt out of the pulley path and allow the tensioner to move back into position slowly before removing the tool.

Pull the belt off the accessory pulleys and the crankshaft pulley by hand. Take the belt out of the engine well and stretch it out, side by side, with the new belt to make sure the new belt is the right length. You can expect approximately 1 inch in extra length on the old belt due to stretching, which is a normal part of the belt’s life.

Wrap the new belt around the bottom of the crankshaft pulley by hand. Follow the belt routing diagram to route the belt around each of the accessory pulleys until only the tensioner pulley is left.

Move the tensioner out of the way once more with the serpentine belt tool. Slide the belt over the tensioner pulley and hold it there while you slowly move the tensioner back into position. Let go and remove the tool when done.

Items you will need

  • Serpentine belt tool

 How to Replace a Serpentine Belt on a 2003 Dodge Pickup

Belt removal

Open the hood of the vehicle after turning the engine off. Locate the tensioner assembly. Like the engine accessories surrounding it, the tensioner features a pulley, over which the serpentine belt passes. There is a bolt at the center of this pulley.

Rotate the bolt, using a socket wrench, to release tension on the belt. For standard Dodge V6 and V8 models, the tensioner will rotate clockwise. For heavy-duty V8 and V10 Dodge pickups, the tensioner will rotate counter-clockwise.

Separate the loosened serpentine belt from each pulley, then remove the belt from the engine compartment.

Release the tensioner bolt gradually.

Belt installation

Rotate the tensioner pulley in the same manner as above.

Route the replacement serpentine belt over the various pulleys. If you're unsure of the proper routing, study the belt routing decal printed on the top of the radiator.

Release the belt tensioner carefully, allowing the belt to settle in place.

Items you will need

  • Socket

  • Socket wrench

  • Replacement belt

 How to Replace the Serpentine Belt in a Dodge Caravan

Use a flashlight to check a belt for wear. Look for any crumbling on either side of the belt. Noises may also be another wear indicator.

Find the belt tensioner. On most Dodge Caravan models, the drive belt tensioner will be toward the back of the engine area.

Loosen the upper locking nut using a wrench--specific size varies by model--and adjust the belt tensioner to relieve tension on the belt. For a power steering belt, you may need to loosen a pivot bolt. Depending on your engine and model, you may use a wrench on the tensioner bolt, or a ratchet tool that fits into the bolt structure.

Take the serpentine belt from the idler pulley and other components.

Check the routing diagram for your serpentine belt. You can find belt routing diagrams for the Dodge Caravan on the Dayco parts site, where the parts catalog comes with visual maps of drive belts.

Adjust the belt tensioner again to slip the new serpentine belt on and re-tension the belt.

Make sure the belt is seated on each pulley, and run the engine to test for appropriate tension on the belt.

Items you will need

  • Wrench or ratchet tool to adjust the belt tensioner

  • Replacement belts

 How to Replace the Serpentine Belt in a Dodge Ram

Disconnect the negative battery terminal. Because the electric fan can start even without the vehicle running, some mechanics suggest disconnecting the battery terminal while working in the serpentine belt area.

Locate the serpentine belt tensioner pulley. The belt tensioner pulley will have a bolt on its side. On some Dodge Ram models, the tensioner is directly below the air conditioner compressor pulley; look for it above the crankshaft pulley.

Rotate the tensioner pulley by turning the bolt, either with a wrench for some models or a breaker bar or ratchet for other models.

Slip off the belt and let the tensioner return to its position.

Use a belt routing diagram to fit the new belt over the pulleys, making sure the ribs are lined up with the grooves for each pulley. Dodge generally includes a belt routing diagram on the upper radiator panel or a similar spot under the hood.

Rotate the tensioner again to allow the new belt to slip onto all pulleys. Check to make sure it is seated right on all pulleys with the ribs in the grooves.

Re-connect the battery terminal.

Run the engine and observe the belt for proper functioning.

Items you will need

  • Wrench set, breaker bar or ratchet (15mm or other similar size)

  • Multi-ribbed serpentine belt replacement

 How to Replace a Serpentine Belt on a 1996 Dodge Ram Truck

Park the 1996 Dodge Ram on a level surface and set the parking brake. Open the hood and locate the serpentine belt routing diagram on the top of the black, plastic hood base. Use the diagram to properly route the new belt around the pulleys.

Slide under the front of the truck and remove the bottom cover from the bottom of the engine. The cover is secured to the bottom of the engine by small bolts. Unscrew the bolts with the ratchet and a socket. Then, pull the cover down and set it to the side. The tensioner pulley can now be accessed.

Locate the adjustable tensioner pulley on the bottom, left-hand side of the engine. Loosen the bolt in the middle of the tensioner pulley, turning counterclockwise with the ratchet and socket.

Locate the adjustable bolt on the bottom of the tensioner pulley. Unscrew the adjustable bolt counterclockwise until the belt is loose enough to pull off the tensioner pulley. Pull the belt off the tensioner pulley and the other bottom pulleys.

Move to the top side of the engine and pull the belt out of the remaining pulleys. Then, slide the belt around each fan blade and out of the engine compartment. Hold the new belt up to the old belt to ensure it is the proper length and width.

Slide the new belt around the fan blades and around the top and bottom accessory pulleys as directed by the belt routing diagram. Once the belt is properly routed around all of the pulleys, turn the adjustable bolt clockwise with the ratchet and socket until the belt is tight.

Check the tension of the belt by pushing in on it with your hand. If the belt pushes inward more than 1/2-inch, there is too much slack in the belt. Keep turning the adjustable bolt clockwise until there is no more than 1/2-inch of slack in the belt. Then, tighten the center bolt back down tight with the ratchet and socket.

Crank the 1996 Dodge Ram for about 10 seconds to completely seat the new belt. Turn the engine off and recheck the belt tension. Then, reinstall the cover to the bottom of the engine and shut the hood.

Items you will need

  • 1/2-inch drive ratchet

  • 1/2-inch drive socket kit

  • New belt

 How to Replace the Serpentine Belt in a Dodge Durango

Loosen the belt tensioner pulley bolt with your wrench (size may vary by model) to relieve pressure on the belt and slip the old serpentine belt off of its pulleys.

Check the routing diagram for your serpentine belt. You can use the Dayco parts site for detailed visual diagrams of belt routing and parts guides. Select your make and model (Dodge Durango) and click on hyperlinks next to parts to see how they fit into the truck's drive belt system.

Slip the new serpentine belt onto each pulley and make sure it is seated properly.

Let the tensioner re-adjust and check the belt for the required tension.

Do another check to make sure the belt is seated in all grooves. Then run the engine briefly and observe whether the belt is flapping or making noise, or if it needs more adjustment.

Items you will need

  • Wrench

 How to Replace the Serpentine Belt on an '01 RAM

Use a proper-size socket and socket wrench and rotate the tensioner bolt on the front of the tensioner. For Dodge RAM V6 and V8 models, the bolt will rotate clockwise. For V10 models, the bolt will rotate counter-clockwise. The tensioner and bolt are located behind the fan, at the front of the engine.

Hold the tensioner bolt and remove the loosened belt from the engine. Slowly release the tensioner bolt.

Route the new belt over the various component pulleys, following the same path taken by the old belt. If unsure of the routing, follow the routing diagram printed on the radiator support, at the front of the engine. There will be two diagrams--one for engines with A/C and one for engines without. The diagrams will be labeled accordingly.

Fit the last section of belt in place, onto the final pulleys, by once again rotating the tensioner bolt. This will shorten the distance the belt has to stretch. Once the belt is in place, slowly release the tensioner bolt.

Items you will need

  • Socket and socket wrench

  • Drive belt

 How to Replace the Serpentine Belt in a Dodge Intrepid

Identify which belts need to be replaced. If you are replacing the air conditioner belt, you may need to remove the alternator belt because of the way the belts are shared on the crankshaft pulley. As a result, some mechanics recommend replacing both belts together.

Loosen the lock bolt for the belt you are replacing using owner's documentation. The lock bolt will be near the belt tensioner component.

Turn the adjustment bolt to change tension on the belt. When the belt is loose enough, slip it off.

Use your memory or a belt routing diagram to install the new belt on all pulleys.

Adjust the adjustment bolt to replace tension on the belt. Tighten the lock bolt.

Make sure the belt is correctly seated on all pulleys and that the ribs fit into grooves on the pulleys.

Run the engine and check for any flapping or looseness that could indicate incorrect installation.

Items you will need

  • Wrench Set

  • Replacement Belts

About the Author

This article was written by the It Still Runs team, copy edited and fact checked through a multi-point auditing system, in efforts to ensure our readers only receive the best information. To submit your questions or ideas, or to simply learn more about It Still Runs, contact us.