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Dodge Grand Caravan

How do you change the tensioner assembly on a 1999 Dodge Grand Caravan 3.3 V6?


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2015-07-16 18:58:06
2015-07-16 18:58:06

This is many months later but I have a 1998 Dodge Caravan and have the same dilemma. Assuming the tensioning assembly design is the same as your 1999 model, you need to remove the alternator and the upper bracket that it's attached to. With these parts removed, and the belt also, you need to (with many contortions) reach behind the tensioner pully housing and remove the nut. It's painful but I was able to do it.


To add to Lou's post, which helped me greatly, in order to get to the tensioner nut, you HAVE TO REMOVE the alternator (unless you're Plastic Man). Before you remove the alternator, you need to remove the windshield wiper tub assembly from the car (trust me, its super easy 6 bolts and 4 Torx screws - check the Haynes manual. If you don't have one, get one. Its not perfect, but its priceless!). It will give you the extra leverage and space you need to get the alternator bolt and the alternator itself out.

YOU CANNOT GET TO THE TENSIONER BOLT FROM UNDERNEATH THE VEHICLE! I don't know who spread that rumor around, but you can't even see it from underneath, let alone reach it without breaking your arm in 3 places to hinge it that way.

Once the alternator is out, use a 15mm box wrench (use the round angled end) to loosen the nut. Once you get the new tensioner on, use the wrench again to position the nut back on the stud bolt. (Tricky but doable.) If you have air-powered tools, use those. You'll be done in minutes.


You need to get the vehicle in the air and you need really long ( or a couple put together) 3/8 inch drive extentions, a 15mm swivel socket and you go from underneath the driver side to the back of tentioner nut. You do not have to remove alternator or really anything else. took less than 5 minutes. the time was getting vehicle high enough to get under it. Always remember they engineer cars for dealerships and mechanics to work and replace parts with minimal effort. Then charge consumers like it was a pain.


I did the job last night from under the van. All told it took a half an hour and only needed to remove ONE NUT. The nut is very close to the exhaust manifold.


Additional Information:

Unless you have a decent lift - getting to the nut to release the assembly from underneath is pretty much impossible. I tried jacking the van up but was unable to get anywhere near enough to loosen the bolt. I decided to go in through the top- remove the alternator and the top plate, it gave just enough room to loosen the nut little by little, it was pretty hard but it worked and got it changed out and back up and running.


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