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How to Replace the Alternator Belt on a Dodge Neon

by John Walker

The Dodge Neon offers convenient size with a compact model. The Neon has a stable, sideways engine with the belts on the passenger's side of the engine compartment. Belts become frayed and damaged over time and need to be replaced. The Neon uses a tension pulley on the belts to keep proper tension on them at all times. This makes installation and removal of the belts relatively simple. The whole process should take about an hour with the proper tools.

Step 1

Place chocks behind the back wheels and engage the emergency brake. Remove the key from the engine. Raise the passenger side wheel off the ground with a jack. Place a jack stand under the pinch-weld points under the passenger door near the wheel well.

Step 2

Release tension on the serpentine belt. The belts are stacked one on top of the other, with the serpentine belt on the outside. The belt must be removed to take off the alternator belt or the V-belt. You will notice a lip or notch on the top side of the tension pulley that is located top dead center of the passenger side of the engine block. Using the pry bar as a lever, push the tension pulley toward the back of the engine compartment and slide the serpentine belt free.

Step 3

Remove the serpentine belt. Once free of the tension pulley, lower the serpentine belt to free it from the different pulleys. You may have to reach into the compartment to fully release the belt.

Step 4

Loosen the three bolts holding the alternator to the engine. The three bolts are readily visible from beneath the engine on the back of the engine block. Loosen but do not remove the bolts unless replacing the alternator.

Step 5

Loosen the tightening bolt located on top of the alternator, using a regular wrench due to limited space. This is a nut and bolt combination to keep the alternator in place. Loosen the nut substantially and then start loosening the bolt. You will see the alternator drop a little. Once all the bolts are loose, rock the alternator in place until the belt is slack and you are able to pull the belt over and off the other components.

Step 6

Install the new V-belt. Route the belt over the crankshaft pulley (the large center pulley). The pulley has two spots for belts. The V-belt goes on the side closest to the engine. Route the belt over the adjusting lower pulley and the alternator.

Step 7

Slide the alternator back into place, making sure the belt is sufficiently tight. You should have no more than a half-inch of play when wiggling the belt. Tighten the tightening bolt first and then lock it in place with the associated nut. Tighten the remaining bolts properly.

Reinstall the serpentine belt. Route the belt over the crankshaft pulley first and then the water and AC pumps. Using the pry bar, slide the tension pulley towards the rear of the engine and move the serpentine belt into place.


  • Be cautious when moving the tension pulley. The pulley uses a lot of pressure, and the pry bar can slip free and swing back, hitting you or the engine.

Items you will need

  • Jack
  • Jack stand
  • Wheel chocks
  • Pry bar
  • Socket wrench
  • Wrench

About the Author

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