How to Replace a Serpentine Belt on a 1996 Dodge Ram Truckby Grace Mclain
The serpentine belt on the 1996 Dodge Ram operates the air conditioner, power steering, water pump and the alternator. The belt is a multi-ribbed belt that travels inside of the grooves of each accessory pulley. As the belt is traveling around the accessory pulleys, an adjustable tensioner keeps the proper amount of tension on the belt. The belt travels around the pulleys in a manner that is outlined by a routing diagram. Replace the belt if any excessive fraying or cracking is present.
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.
- The belt tension can also be checked by using a belt tension checking tool. This tool can be purchased at most auto-parts stores that sell accessory belts.
- Keep hands and tools away from moving engine parts.