You need to remove the fan shroud.
Put a 3/8" socket wrench into the square hold in the auto tensioner (the arm with the pulley on the left side of the engine, as you are facing it.)
Rotate the arm with the wrench (counterclockwise, I believe) and slide the belt off. It helps to have another person help you. Before you do it, make a note of the routing of the belt so you know how to install the new one around the pulleys.
When you install the new belt, you have to string it around the fan. It takes a little practice, but eventually you will get it. Once you have it routed around all of the pulleys except one - go back to the tensioner and release the tension again - then slip the belt over the last pulley. (a second person helps.) It is easier if the last pulley you leave is the water pump pulley.Correction to aboveOn the 1999 Dakota with the 3.9liter, the fan shroud absolutely DOES NOT have to be removed. Very simple job. Simply use a breaker bar with a 15mm socket on the belt tesioner pulley nut. Using the breaker bar push (as though tightening) the pulley nut...the reaction will be that the tensioner removes tension from the pulley and the entire belt can be removed by easily slipping it toward the front of the vehicle...comes right off. The new belt can go back on in exactly the same manner. By the way the belt routing diagram IS CONVIENENTLY LOCATED between the hood latch and the radiator mounting for simple and quick refernce...one person job, I did removal and installation four times in less than 10 minutes. (why four times? The auto parts store was selling replacement belts that were too long and did not allow the belt tensioner to provide suffiecient tension...I had to try four different manufacturers before the tensioner was adequately tight with room to grow as the belt naturally stretches from use.). I found no stringing around the fan is required because of the way the belt is routed (it doglegs around the main engine pulley which is centered below the fanhousing and then the belt runs from there to the left side of the fan housing...avoiding the fan/fanhousing all-together (sure you can try to go past the fan/fan housing if you so desire...but you dont have to...and besides the space between the pulleys and the fan is ample to allow the belt to pass between with minimal interference or a simple rotation of the fan as you attempt this method. One hint that made my installs easy as pie...the last pulley you put it over should not be a bezeled and ridged pulley or you will needlessly make life difficult for yourself...the last pulley should be the water pump pulley which is a smooth bore and non-ridged pulley (makes you wonder how the belt even stays on it!)...making it easy as pie to slip it right over...as your last act of defiance to that mean old serpentine belt! Added TipOn my 97 Dak, the tensioner pulley has a little stop. If you don't use the breaker bar to push the pulley back to the left after you install the new belt, you won't get proper tension. This is definitely just a 15 minute job, even for a complete novice mechanic. My tire shop (I get free rotations) wanted to charge me $75 for the job. I just laughed in their face.
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