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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I'm doing some work on a friends 2007 Caliber R/T. (Purchased before July 07 so no lifetime powertrain warranty!) This car is really impressive by the way. But, it's making a ridiculously loud screaming/whirring/grinding noise while idling. I've done some poking around, removed the serpentine belt and spun the driven components and pulleys individually. Nothing sounds too horrific when handspun, although I can't replicate the speed and tension of operation. I started the engine briefly with the belt off and the thing hums like a champ so the internal engine crank components seems good. And yes, I'm aware of the TSB for the A/C compressor but I don't think that's the problem.

I did notice that when I removed the pulley from the belt tensioner that there were some metal shavings on the threads (nothing on the pulley's bearings though). Through reading some forums and listening to some you tube videos, I''m leaning towards the belt tensioner. It's probably one of the cheaper things to replace too.

How the hell do you get that thing off though? There's like no room in there. I read the repair guide and it says:

1. Raise vehicle on hoist.
2. Remove belt splash shield.
3. Remove accessory drive belt
4. Remove accessory drive belt tensioner mounting bolt. Remove accessory drive belt tensioner.

Duh. That doesn't really help me at all. Has anyone ever swapped this part out and can share a few tips? I saw some where that people pull the engine out or lift it on a jack for better access on some vehicles. The service manual doesn't imply that you have to do that, and I'm really not trying to get that involved with this task.

Any suggestions??

By the way, the part sells for about 50 bucks at the dealer by me. NAPA has one for about the same but they'd have to ship it. I think RockAuto carries them too.

Thanks

J
 

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Your looking at #8 right? See my picture below.

If you are, it just says to remove the bolt. Also when you install the new one, torque to 212 inch pounds.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks man. Yeah, it's no 8. Removing the bolt(s) is a little easier said than done though. I guess I'll just have to feel around up there because I can't see jack. Not much room to feel around though, let alone get a wrench up in there. I think once I get the replacement part in hand, I can get a better idea of where the mounting bolts are. There should be 2 or 3. I plan on doing this tomorrow and will report back with my results. If anyone has any tips in the mean time, I'm all ears. Thanks
 

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I find it helpful to have an inspection mirror around when I come across things like this. We have one with a telescoping handle that we use to inspect areas in vending machines that we can't see.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Good call on the inspection mirror. I bought one about a year ago at Autozone and figured I'd need it someday. I completely forgot I had it. Thanks!
 

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And when you're done with it you can play naughty doctor. Those things are cool.
 
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And when you're done with it you can play naughty doctor. Those things are cool.
Kinda weird THAT is the post that tipped me over 4000 rep!!!
:Na_Na_Na_Na:
 

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Discussion Starter #9
So I ended up taking off and replacing the drive belt tensioner and it was pretty damn easy. I took some pictures along the way to expand on the crappy explanation in the manual.

Here's a pciture of the new tensioner assembly. Note the pin. Don't take that thing out until installed. If you do it before, you won't have any room to access the top mounting bolt because the pulley will be in the way. Trust me on that one... Also, you can leave the pulley on and it will fit up there just fine.



Here's a picture of how the assembly will be oriented in your car.



Once you take off the belt, take off the lower most drive pulley - 16mm (same as the tensioner pulley) . Also, take off the tensioner pulley. (You'll need clockwise on the tensioner pulley)
Probably wanna use a drive belt removal flat bar (loan one from Autozone for free). My socket wrench was too fat and didn't want to fit up there. Here's a pic of the general area, after the pulleys are removed. Note the location of the bottom tensioner mounting bolt.





Then take off the bottom mounting bolt - 13mm. Use a socket extender for access



Then take off the top mounting bolt. You can't really see it so just trust that it's up there and stick your socket on it. Also 13mm



Installation is the reverse. Just remember to leave the pin in until after installed.




Turns out though, the tensioner wasn't the problem. I moved on to the alternator. Taking out the alternator makes changing the drive tensioner seem like a piece of cake. That SOB is a PITA to get to. You have to manhandle the AC compressor out of the way. And once you get it off, good luck finding someone who can test it. Took it to OReilly, Autozone, Advance, NAPA.... nobody had the connector to test it. I wanted to put a load on the pulley and get it up to operational speed so I could see if the grinding noise was there. Since I couldn't get anybody to test the damn thing. I put the whole damn thing back together and the owner will be taking it to Dodge for an $85 "look & see" diagnosis. I'll keep y'all posted.
 

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Excellent how-to and photos. :rep: for that.

Might I add, it's not frequent from first time posters like you. Thanks.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Thanks mouser. There's been plenty of times when a forum has saved me time and money on my truck so I like to return the favor. It only takes an extra 5 minutes to snap a few pics so why not?
 

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Check in to one of those hand held battery load testers. If you're worried about the alternator, load the battery while idling and the electromagnetic load with the belt load should make a bad bearing show up prety quick.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
So the problem ended up being the alternator. Man that thing was destroyed on the inside. Chunks of melted metal all over the place. Apparently, the alternators on these things suck. Picked up a remanufactured one from Maniac Electronics (ebay Store) for $188 w/ free shipping: http://stores.ebay.com/maniacelectricmotors. The pulley on their alternator is a little different. It doesn't look like the decoupler on the OEM but it seems to work fine. If you get one of these, make sure to put some loctite threadlock on the alternator pulley nut. Mine was loose from the maker and I didn't have an impact gun to put the nut on tight. I thought I had it good and tight but the nut flew off the first time I started up the car and I had to take the mofo all the way back off to get at it properly. I put some loctite on the second time and haven't had any problems. Glad that nightmare is over with. Good luck and thanks for the tips guys.
 

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Reps to you for a great first post. I hope I never have to do either one, but at least I've go this to fall back on if I do.
 

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Hey Strider, where in TN do you live? I'm on the Tennessee River just before you cross over into West Tennessee.
 

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So the problem ended up being the alternator. Man that thing was destroyed on the inside. Chunks of melted metal all over the place. Apparently, the alternators on these things suck. Picked up a remanufactured one from Maniac Electronics (ebay Store) for $188 w/ free shipping: http://stores.ebay.com/maniacelectricmotors. The pulley on their alternator is a little different. It doesn't look like the decoupler on the OEM but it seems to work fine. If you get one of these, make sure to put some loctite threadlock on the alternator pulley nut. Mine was loose from the maker and I didn't have an impact gun to put the nut on tight. I thought I had it good and tight but the nut flew off the first time I started up the car and I had to take the mofo all the way back off to get at it properly. I put some loctite on the second time and haven't had any problems. Glad that nightmare is over with. Good luck and thanks for the tips guys.
Im new here and found the site trying to figure out what this crazy noise is I have. If you strider51 are still out there you have any pointers on removing that alt? Thanks for all the help already thought- Already saved me some time and $.:worshippy:
 
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