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Old 12-13-2011, 10:43 AM   #1
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Serpentine Belt

How often does everyone change the belt? Even though there may be no signs of wear should you change them just for peace of mind every so often?

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Old 12-13-2011, 10:53 AM   #2
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I just did mine. I had 80000 on it. Looked a little worn.
Takes about 10 minutes.

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Old 12-13-2011, 10:55 AM   #3
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if you start to see small cracks on the underside where it meets the pullies, it has stretched to its limit and the next step is to break or otherwise start to come apart. But, I've run thousands of miles on belts even when cracked up like that without any trouble at all. They can take a lot of abuse.

But remember this, if it breaks, your stranded. Being it is such a vital part for the engine to run normal, I keep a spare with me at all times. Its an old one, but would get me home in an emergency.

If you want to install a new one, put the old one in your tool kit just incase.

To answer technically though, check your owners manual under the maintenance section. It should have a list for so many miles and what to replace. Its probably around every 30-50,000 miles.

If you do a lot of offroading, you'll want a spare anyways. It doesn't matter if its a brand new belt, you get a small rock up into the pullies and it will kill a belt in a hurry.
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Old 12-13-2011, 11:39 AM   #4
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They're cheap enough and easy to replace, go ahead and replace it. Then keep the old one for a spare like sevenservices suggested.
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Old 12-13-2011, 03:31 PM   #5
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I only have 33,000 miles on the Jeep but I think at the next oil service I will go ahead and replace it. Brought it into the shop today and cleaned the battery terminals, fairly new battery but I had a lot of build up on the posts and cable ends, this is not the first time I have had to do this even with spraying on the post protectant.
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Old 12-13-2011, 03:56 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by sevenservices View Post
you get a small rock up into the pullies and it will kill a belt in a hurry.

I hate it when I get a rock into my Pullies.
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Old 12-13-2011, 04:09 PM   #7
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if you start to see small cracks on the underside where it meets the pullies, it has stretched to its limit and the next step is to break or otherwise start to come apart.
Not really, cracks across the grooved side of a serpentine belt are normal for even a fairly new serpentine belt. The type of belt damage that indicates imminent failure runs length-wise along the belt. I replaced my serpentine belt 3 months ago and showed a friend of mine those cracks a few weeks ago when he asked the same question.

For our TJs with the 4.0L or 2.5L engine, our serpentine belts are not timing belts like are used on newer design OHC engines. Our serpentine belts only drive engine accessories (alternator, a/c), fan, and the water pump so if the belt fails, it won't cause any damage to the engine... you just can't drive it further than a very close-by service station since the water pump won't be turning. I start thinking about changing my serpentine belt around 70K miles.
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Old 12-13-2011, 04:15 PM   #8
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Snake Belt

For Shits and giggles, just how does one change that belt...
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Old 12-14-2011, 01:32 PM   #9
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You have a little wheel that applies pressure to the belt called the tensioner. It has a square hole in it, a breaker bar will fit in pull back releases pressure to remove belt, once off put new belt on and pull back again to slide belt under tensioner wheel and done. Takes about 5 minutes to do!
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Old 12-14-2011, 01:38 PM   #10
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1/2" drive breaker bar will do the trick!
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Old 12-14-2011, 02:21 PM   #11
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For Shits and giggles, just how does one change that belt...
OR, if you got a lil guy engine (2.5L) there is a pulley under your power steering pump the needs to be loosened just a hair, then there is a bolt on the power steering pump bracket (up top at 10-11 o'clock) that you loosen and it will pull the pulley you originally loosened back and the belt will get loose.

Dont have one of those fancy spring loaded tensioners like everyone else
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Old 12-14-2011, 02:28 PM   #12
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Dont have one of those fancy spring loaded tensioners like everyone else
Neither do early TJ 4.0L engines. My '97 4.0L serpentine belt tension was adjusted by screwing a tension adjustment bolt in or out on the power steering pump bracket.
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Old 12-14-2011, 02:31 PM   #13
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OR, if you got a lil guy engine (2.5L) there is a pulley under your power steering pump the needs to be loosened just a hair, then there is a bolt on the power steering pump bracket (up top at 10-11 o'clock) that you loosen and it will pull the pulley you originally loosened back and the belt will get loose.

Dont have one of those fancy spring loaded tensioners like everyone else
Niether does my 4.0. Must be a newer motor thing...
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Old 12-14-2011, 02:34 PM   #14
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I assume these are only OEM? and what do they cost from our local parts department?
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Old 12-14-2011, 02:36 PM   #15
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Neither do early TJ 4.0L engines. My '97 4.0L serpentine belt tension was adjusted by screwing a tension adjustment bolt in or out on the power steering pump bracket.
My 98 is the same way as your 97, go figure right.... I wish we could swap them to the GM style spring loaded type...I like simplistic things.....
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Old 12-14-2011, 02:39 PM   #16
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its bolts on the power steering pump. You have to crack a couple of them loose then there is one hidden under it that loosens/tightens the tension.

Heres a pic... the bolt that says adjusting is long, if you want to do yourself a favor, look down there at it under the pump if you can get in there at all and spray some pb blaster or other penetrating liquid on there. The adjuster screw can be a pain if its rusted in place. Might need to work it back and forth a few times before it will really move anything.

And, if the pump does not pivot, there might be more bolts to loosen. This shows 2 but I thought there was a third on the back side of the pump. Something to check for anyways...

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Old 12-14-2011, 02:44 PM   #17
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My 98 is the same way as your 97, go figure right.... I wish we could swap them to the GM style spring loaded type...I like simplistic things.....
After owning a Jeep with both styles I'd say the older style is more simplistic, it just takes 10 or so seconds longer to loosen/tighten. Not that I've ever had any issues with the newer style, but it seems to me that the older style had less things that could go wrong with it.
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Old 12-14-2011, 02:45 PM   #18
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its bolts on the power steering pump. You have to crack a couple of them loose then there is one hidden under it that loosens/tightens the tension.

Heres a pic... the bolt that says adjusting is long, if you want to do yourself a favor, look down there at it under the pump if you can get in there at all and spray some pb blaster or other penetrating liquid on there. The adjuster screw can be a pain if its rusted in place. Might need to work it back and forth a few times before it will really move anything.

And, if the pump does not pivot, there might be more bolts to loosen. This shows 2 but I thought there was a third on the back side of the pump. Something to check for anyways...

Hmmm, maybe I'm looking at the pic wrong, but on my TJ the adjusting bolt was in roughly the 10-11 o'clock position on the PS bracket. Is that pic from a YJ or TJ FSM?
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Old 12-14-2011, 02:52 PM   #19
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Not really, cracks across the grooved side of a serpentine belt are normal for even a fairly new serpentine belt. The type of belt damage that indicates imminent failure runs length-wise along the belt. I replaced my serpentine belt 3 months ago and showed a friend of mine those cracks a few weeks ago when he asked the same question.

For our TJs with the 4.0L or 2.5L engine, our serpentine belts are not timing belts like are used on newer design OHC engines. Our serpentine belts only drive engine accessories (alternator, a/c), fan, and the water pump so if the belt fails, it won't cause any damage to the engine... you just can't drive it further than a very close-by service station since the water pump won't be turning. I start thinking about changing my serpentine belt around 70K miles.
understood... but, even on my YJ it only drives the alternator, the power steering pump and the water pump. I guess my biggest concern if one were to brake is loosing the water pump. Thats crucial...
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Old 12-14-2011, 02:53 PM   #20
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Hmmm, maybe I'm looking at the pic wrong, but on my TJ the adjusting bolt was in roughly the 10-11 o'clock position on the PS bracket. Is that pic from a YJ or TJ FSM?
That image is certainly way different than how my '97 TJ's was set up. Later TJs don't even have an adjustment bolt. I'd have to say that is probably from a YJ manual.
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Old 12-14-2011, 02:53 PM   #21
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Hmmm, maybe I'm looking at the pic wrong, but on my TJ the adjusting bolt was in roughly the 10-11 o'clock position on the PS bracket. Is that pic from a YJ or TJ FSM?
Thats from the YJ, when someone said theres was the older style, I thought it would be like the 4.0 from the YJ. Maybe its not the same... but doesn't it still use the power steering pump to control the tension?
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Old 12-14-2011, 03:01 PM   #22
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Thats from the YJ, when someone said theres was the older style, I thought it would be like the 4.0 from the YJ. Maybe its not the same... but doesn't it still use the power steering pump to control the tension?
No, there is a separate pulley that is used to control the tension, which is slightly below the PS pump.
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Old 12-14-2011, 03:03 PM   #23
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Checkout this pic:



and this one:


Those were both taken from Stu's site here:

http://www.stu-offroad.com/engine/ra...radiator-4.htm

you can follow the beginning of that guide to remove the belt. Installation is the reverse.
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Old 12-14-2011, 03:08 PM   #24
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Yep that pulley with 'Tensioner' in yellow over the top of it in the top photo is the "idler pulley" (in early TJs) which gets loosened by loosening the big bolt in its center thatit rotates around. Once that bolt is loosened slightly, the idler pulley gets moved up or down down by that adjustment bolt with the red highlight over the top of it in the bottom photo.

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