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Unread 06-29-2013, 12:02 PM   #1
webhostingdesig
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zj on the side of the freeway with belt off

So my 1997 ZJ v8 Jeep Grand Cherokee 4x4 (it's not the limited so I think its a 5.2) is parked on a side street on the side of the freeway about 2 hours from my house.

The serpentine belt came off on the freeway.

Should I attempt to put on the belt there or have it towed to a mechanic? I've never replaced the belt on this car.

It appears I have to take out the battery and the ignition module to put the belt back on.

I've worked on more complex belts on my other cars so I know a little about belts, but how hard is it to get this belt tensioned right and operating properly for a 2 hour drive home while parked on a city street with just the tools I bring? (<-- main question)

Any numbered step by step instructions on how to put the belt back on will help.

The AC had just been charged a few months ago and things checked over by the mechanic A-ok, but I was hearing a squeal from the engine off and on for a while, so I guess it was slipping or something? The day before this happened I noticed the engine running a little differently (I'm pretty sensitive to this) and when I started it yesterday in the parking lot of where I was, it took a bit longer to start and it had never done that before... (maybe the belt had been slipping causing the alternator not to charge the battery?)

Any help and/or advice is appreciated.

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Unread 06-29-2013, 12:06 PM   #2
B93
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The belt will take you about 2 minutes, you don't have to remove anything!

I forget the size, but all you need to do is find a socket that fits on the tensioner pulley, turn it (this will make the tensioner move to the right) so you can slip the belt on/over everything, and once you have the belt on let go. One of the easiest things you can do

edit: this video should help you out:

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1998 Grand Cherokee 5.9 Limited. ~356,000 kms
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Unread 06-29-2013, 12:15 PM   #3
HandsOn
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What he said.
While it's off though, spin all the accessories by hand just to check their condition. The flipped belt could have been just an old belt, or it could have been left loose from the previous maintenance, or, one or more of the pullies or bearings could be giving up the ghost and caused the belt to be thrown or worn out before it's time.
Better to check now so you don't leave it as is if more work is needed when you get home.

Even if there are some that are borderline, you can still drive home safely on them. Just fix/replace them after you get home and can work on it.
As B93 said, it's pretty straightforward if you have the right socket. I just did it a few days ago and can't remember the size either (edit: it's a 15mm on the 4.0). But it's easy to get to from the top with just a 3/8" drive ratchet, medium long extension, and that 15 mm socket.
And unlike some systems, you do have to loosen the locking tension nut holding the nearby idler pulley. Just loosen the pulley 1/4 to 1/2 turn on the bolt, then turn the tensioning bolt like you're loosening it and the pulley will move. It takes quite a bit of movement to get it to the point where you can slip the belt easily over the last pulley, but it's all right there.

Luckily, I didn't have to feed this belt all the way over the fan and everything, so I can't tell you that starting from scratch is a bear. But it didn't look to be any more than other rigs, and once it's started, it's easy to get it over all the pullies in the correct routing.

Good luck.

Paul
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Unread 06-29-2013, 12:24 PM   #4
webhostingdesig
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This forum says that it could be a bearing in one of the pulleys. I'm not familiar with the names of the pulleys on the Jeep Grand Cherokee ZJ so I don't really know what they are talking to without a diagram. What should I check for and which pulleys should spin freely with hand force before the belt is put on?

jeepsunlimited. com/forums//showthread.php?p=538184
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Unread 06-29-2013, 12:36 PM   #5
webhostingdesig
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Thanks guys. Only one spine of the belt peeled off last night. And we Almost had the rest of the belt back on but didn't know if it was safe to use a partially damaged belt.

So my next questions are

1) what is the absolute bet belt to buy, I've heard something about the Gator something?

2) how do I inspect and determine if any of the pulley bearings or pulleys themselves are damaged? (are there two idler pullies?)


Thanks again!

Quote:
Originally Posted by HandsOn View Post
What he said.
While it's off though, spin all the accessories by hand just to check their condition. The flipped belt could have been just an old belt, or it could have been left loose from the previous maintenance, or, one or more of the pullies or bearings could be giving up the ghost and caused the belt to be thrown or worn out before it's time.
Better to check now so you don't leave it as is if more work is needed when you get home.

Even if there are some that are borderline, you can still drive home safely on them. Just fix/replace them after you get home and can work on it.
As B93 said, it's pretty straightforward if you have the right socket. I just did it a few days ago and can't remember the size either. But it's easy to get to from the top with just a 3/8" drive ratchet, medium long extension, and that 1/2" or 12, 13, or 14mm socket.
And unlike some systems, you don't have to loosen some locking tension nut somewhere. Just turn the bolt like you're loosening it and the pulley will move. It takes quite a bit of movement to get it to the point where you can slip the belt easily over the last pulley, but it's all right there.

Luckily, I didn't have to feed this belt all the way over the fan and everything, so I can't tell you that starting from scratch is a bear. But it didn't look to be any more than other rigs, and once it's started, it's easy to get it over all the pullies in the correct routing.

Good luck.

Paul
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Unread 06-29-2013, 12:40 PM   #6
webhostingdesig
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thanks! so I need that long lever wrench or just a regular wrench?

what size socket for the zj v8 1997 4x4?

Quote:
Originally Posted by B93 View Post
The belt will take you about 2 minutes, you don't have to remove anything!

I forget the size, but all you need to do is find a socket that fits on the tensioner pulley, turn it (this will make the tensioner move to the right) so you can slip the belt on/over everything, and once you have the belt on let go. One of the easiest things you can do

edit: this video should help you out:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wc61irjKmGc
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Unread 06-29-2013, 12:40 PM   #7
98ZJOKC
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The socket or wrench size you'll need to move the belt tensioner (#7 in the diagram) toward the center of the engine is 15mm
Everything should turn except #5. Your vehicle will have a diagram for belt routing in the front part of the engine compartment so use that if this one is different.

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Unread 06-29-2013, 12:41 PM   #8
webhostingdesig
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 98ZJOKC View Post
The socket or wrench size you'll need to move the belt tensioner (#7 in the diagram) toward the center of the engine is 15mm
Everything should turn except #5. Your vehicle will have a diagram for belt routing in the front part of the engine compartment so use that if this one is different.

thanks! so when you say freely do you mean like a skateboard wheel or with some friction?
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Unread 06-29-2013, 12:45 PM   #9
HandsOn
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Sorry webhost. I'm totally guilty of "assuming" or rather just not reading that you had a V8. My recent work was done on the I-6 which is a different setup.

Paul
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Unread 06-29-2013, 12:51 PM   #10
HandsOn
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Quote:
Originally Posted by webhostingdesig View Post
thanks! so when you say freely do you mean like a skateboard wheel or with some friction?
A brand new Idler will be easy, smooth, but with no freeplay, and some very minor friction to keep it from just freewheeling after a quick spin.
An Alternator will be smooth, quiet, no descernible freeplay, but will roll for quite a while after you spin it by hand.
A Water Pump will be smooth, quiet, no freeplay and probably only spin a short distance (maybe one turn or so?) after a spin.
A "tensioner" will usually have what is basically an Idler pulley on it, so will have the same characteristics as described above.

The above is for brand new stuff.
Slightly worn parts will spin faster and farther, but should still be smooth and turn easily with no rattling noises or looseness.

Parts that are more worn out will sometimes have a slight rattle and spin farther still after a quick hand spin.
These are still going to have some usable life left in them in most cases. But if you start to feel extra freeplay and more noticeable rattling sounds, it's time to replace as soon as is convenient.

By the time you hear the rattling noises when the engine is running, it's time to replace the parts now. Not later.

Paul
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Unread 06-29-2013, 12:52 PM   #11
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If it does not turn at all that will be your problem.
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Unread 06-29-2013, 01:02 PM   #12
HandsOn
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Quote:
Originally Posted by webhostingdesig View Post
...Only one spine of the belt peeled off last night. And we Almost had the rest of the belt back on but didn't know if it was safe to use a partially damaged belt.
It's safe to do when you need to or be stuck on the side of the road.
It's not great, and not advisable, and certainly not going to be good for long, but when you need to get going again or be stranded, you need to to what you need to do.

So yes, if you have a complete belt still (albeit minus a rib or two) go ahead and get it on, and drive to the nearest parts store to replace it.
Cut the remaining scrap off first though, so that it isn't flailing around when the engine is on.

You probably know that these are considered a service item and should be replaced fairly religiously by the manufacturers recommendations. Average is about 60k miles or so.
But consult the book.
Yes, they last much longer, but who wants to find out the ultimate life expectancy when the result is sitting on the side of a hot road in the summer?



Quote:
Originally Posted by webhostingdesig View Post
So my next questions are

1) what is the absolute bet belt to buy, I've heard something about the Gator something?

Hard to say for sure, but I use Conti (Continental Rubber Company) and Goodyear "Gatorbacks" which is the one you heard of. Good stuff both.


Quote:
Originally Posted by webhostingdesig View Post
2) how do I inspect and determine if any of the pulley bearings or pulleys themselves are damaged? (are there two idler pullies?)
According to the diagram posted, there are 2 idlers. One is listed as the "tensioner" though, so don't be concerned. It's merely an idler attached to a spring loaded base to keep a consistent pressure on the spinning belt.
Sometimes you just replace the pulley itself in those cases (the idler) and sometimes you replace the entire tensioner assembly. Depends on the condition, but the tensioner springs often get old too. So if yours has over 100k miles on it, I would almost automatically replace the tensioner assembly which will usually come with a new idler on it, or loose in the box already.

See below for a description of their "general" action.

Paul
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Unread 06-29-2013, 01:13 PM   #13
webhostingdesig
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how should the AC pulley spin?

Quote:
Originally Posted by HandsOn View Post
A brand new Idler will be easy, smooth, but with no freeplay, and some very minor friction to keep it from just freewheeling after a quick spin.
An Alternator will be smooth, quiet, no descernible freeplay, but will roll for quite a while after you spin it by hand.
A Water Pump will be smooth, quiet, no freeplay and probably only spin a short distance (maybe one turn or so?) after a spin.
A "tensioner" will usually have what is basically an Idler pulley on it, so will have the same characteristics as described above.

The above is for brand new stuff.
Slightly worn parts will spin faster and farther, but should still be smooth and turn easily with no rattling noises or looseness.

Parts that are more worn out will sometimes have a slight rattle and spin farther still after a quick hand spin.
These are still going to have some usable life left in them in most cases. But if you start to feel extra freeplay and more noticeable rattling sounds, it's time to replace as soon as is convenient.

By the time you hear the rattling noises when the engine is running, it's time to replace the parts now. Not later.

Paul
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Unread 06-29-2013, 01:15 PM   #14
webhostingdesig
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In my Porsche when the belt breaks the engine breaks so I was a little worried. And the Porsche belt has to be scientifically tensioned with a special tool so I was worried about this one plus I didn't understand how this one worked last night when it broke.

My car was just inspected and tuned up supposedly a few months ago so this is weird, or more like they caused it. The upper left tensioner next to the battery was replaced a year ago by a Jeep dealer cost over $400 and now seems to be really simple.

Thanks guys/gals!


[quote=HandsOn;15621779]It's safe to do when you need to or be stuck on the side of the road.
It's not great, and not advisable, and certainly not going to be good for long, but when you need to get going again or be stranded, you need to to what you need to do.

So yes, if you have a complete belt still (albeit minus a rib or two) go ahead and get it on, and drive to the nearest parts store to replace it.
Cut the remaining scrap off first though, so that it isn't flailing around when the engine is on.

You probably know that these are considered a service item and should be replaced fairly religiously by the manufacturers recommendations. Average is about 60k miles or so.
But consult the book.
Yes, they last much longer, but who wants to find out the ultimate life expectancy when the result is sitting on the side of a hot road in the summer?



Quote:
Originally Posted by webhostingdesig View Post
So my next questions are

1) what is the absolute bet belt to buy, I've heard something about the Gator something?

Hard to say for sure, but I use Conti (Continental Rubber Company) and Goodyear "Gatorbacks" which is the one you heard of. Good stuff both.




According to the diagram posted, there are 2 idlers. One is listed as the "tensioner" though, so don't be concerned. It's merely an idler attached to a spring loaded base to keep a consistent pressure on the spinning belt.
Sometimes you just replace the pulley itself in those cases (the idler) and sometimes you replace the entire tensioner assembly. Depends on the condition, but the tensioner springs often get old too. So if yours has over 100k miles on it, I would almost automatically replace the tensioner assembly which will usually come with a new idler on it, or loose in the box already.

See below for a description of their "general" action.

Paul
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Unread 06-29-2013, 01:23 PM   #15
webhostingdesig
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I do remember that the center idler pulley had a sharp inner edge to it. Not sharp like a knife but definately the edge would cut something if spinning against it, like if the belt slipped... but we could see where the belt cracked and peeled on one of the ribs/spines almost like someone cut it or it got knicked or it just cracked on that one spine.

So I do or do not need the extra long tensioner lever-wrench shown in the video?
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