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Discussion Starter #1
Hi all,

Is this best left to professionals?

I have a 1996 Chrysler Concorde LXI (3.5 engine), and after watching these videos, I thought about tackling the job myself...



My biggest concern is removing the engine pulley, and making sure the cams are back in their correct position after replacing the belt and pump.

If the cam pulleys are off a fraction, can this be remedied with a timing light (or diagnostic machine), or do you have to pull the belt covers and physically reposition the cams?

Sorry for my ignorance. I am not an engine mechanic, and I mainly work on stuff like pumps and brakes.
 

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the cams must be lined up to within the marks. if they end up wrong, then yes, the covers must come off.
it's not hard to time them, and being a first gen, there is no worry about valve interference.
use a box end to rotate the cams to hold them against roll over from valve spring pressure.
a little hard on the belt, but there have been a couple of users over the years who have said they were able to slip the belt in without removing the pulley.
i'm not of the school that reccomends it, but you can try before removing it, since it's a split cover at the bottom.
good luck. seems daunting, but isn't that bad if you are mechanically capable.
worst part is probably removing everything to get at it.
 

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I've done it with and without removing the radiator, at the very least remove the fans. The drivers side cam likes to snap over about 120 degrees or so if bumped (one of the lifters is at the top of a lobe when the timing mark is aligned on that side), no problem, scares people, just move it back with a box end wrench.
 

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Not bad if you are mechanically inclined, takes the better part of a day depending on the tools you have (air tools, impact, quality jack and stands, not a walmart jack) and what space you have (garage, car port, level driveway vs the parking lot at your apartment complex). Really if you are even asking the question to begin with you should probably have a shop do it.

Sent from my SM-G965U using Tapatalk
 

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If you can rent the OEM Chrysler pulley from AutoZone, radiator doesn't need to come out, just the fans. But... the harmonic balancer doesn't have to come off also as the cover is in two pieces which bolt around it. I didn't know that and pulled it off anyway...

Overall, I did it and it wasn't that hard. Just make sure the belt is tight enough when you're done. After I did mine, it lasted a week and my car wouldn't start again as the belt slipped. I made it pretty tight the second time and no issues since. I also used those videos to prepare myself...
 

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I've done it at least a half dozen times. One time, I broke one of the jaws of my puller, trying to remove a particularly tight dampener/pulley. That time I was able to force the belt around it, but I don't like doing that. I've since bought a puller kit, that besides the puller, has a "ring-looking" wrench, too, which holds the crank pulley from turning while wrenching on the puller. I highly recommend that kit, I think it was less than $50. Make sure you start removing the belt with all(3) the dots lined up. You start at the crank toothed pulley and wrap the new belt on in a CCW direction. You need to keep the belt slack free as you proceed around all the pulleys. It can help if you have two extra hands, but it is not absolutely necessary. I have used the Dayco "kit" the last few times, and I highly recommend it, too. It comes with the belt, water pump, hydraulic tensioner, and tensioner pulley/bearing assembly.
 

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Nice thing about the 1st gens (1993-1997) is they're Non-Interference clearance engines. If you fook up setting the timing when replacing the belt it won't crash valves and be a costly mistake. Just reset all your timing marks and thread the belt again until it's verified good.

No such luck on the 2nd gens!
 

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Discussion Starter #8 (Edited)
Thanks for all of the replies!

Concerning belt slack, is it hard to get proper tension opposite the tension pulley (driver's side) of the belt? One neighborhood mechanic said that he likes to back off a notch on the driver's side cam pulley. Now quite sure what he meant by that though.

So far, I've found a Gates kit for about $230.00. (includes new pulley and tensioner)

Nice thing about the 1st gens (1993-1997) is they're Non-Interference clearance engines. If you fook up setting the timing when replacing the belt it won't crash valves and be a costly mistake. Just reset all your timing marks and thread the belt again until it's verified good.

No such luck on the 2nd gens!
That's what the video said, but two neighborhood mechanics say otherwise. :confused:
 

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Are you sure THEY know what they're talking about? Have they actually worked on a 1st gen LH?
 

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Key words: 1st gen.

The 2nd gen. 3.5 is not the same engine as 1st gen. and is interference. They may not know there are two different LH 3.5s.
 
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Get the belt in place on the crank sprocket and use a rag or shim of some sort to keep it from falling down, then get it over the driver's side cam, use an 18mm wrench to move the cam over until the teeth fall into place then turn back the other way to take out the slack, timing mark should be between the dots, go back and adjust if needed, then use another rag or shim to keep the belt from coming off the sprocket and proceed to do the same thing for the passenger side sprocket (timing mark usually ends up between the dots or more towards the inner dot). Then install the tensioner and release the pin (if installing a new tensioner). If reusing the old one, make sure it does not compress by hand. The spring in it should be stiff.
 

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the dayco kit I used was around $150 online, IIRC.
I have no idea what the point is behind the suggestion to back off a tooth on the cam sprocket. If your engine was running ok before you changed the belt and the dots all lined up, then I would not try to change the cam timing.
The first time I did it, I had some plastic shims which I shoved in between the belt and the timing housing to hold the belt tight against the teeth while I stretched/ routed the belt over the next pulley.
After you've pulled the pin on the hydraulic tensioner, and screwed the tensioner all the way in, I rotate the engine thru a couple of revolutions to make sure all the dots still are lined up.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
So far, I've found a Gates kit for about $230.00. (includes new pulley and tensioner)
Found this at Amazon....

https://www.amazon.com/Gates-TCKWP255-Engine-Timing-Water/dp/B00498C8EK/ref=sr_1_2?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1565130231&s=automotive&sr=1-2&vehicle=1996-39-248------------1&vehicleName=1996+Chrysler+Concorde

Not sure if it's the same Gates kit I saw for order in the parts store.


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Ronbo, I'll have to followup with the mechanics about the 1st and 2nd generation differences. They could be wrong since you guys deal with these cars quite often.
 

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That looks like the correct kit for a 1st gen 3.5L. 1993-1997. Decent price too.
 
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Sites say the TCKWP255 doesn't fit my 1993... interesting. Says it's for 95-97 models.

But the TCKWP219 kit fits and it doesn't come with the tensioner. They must be different.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
I can't get the pulley (harmonic balancer) bolt off. The bolt head corners appear to be rounded somewhat too. I also had trouble keeping the pulley from turning, and I thought the next door garage had a device to keep the pulley stationary, but they do not, so I had to quit for the day.

I assume they make specialty sockets (15mm) for rounded corners, and what's the best way to keep the pulley from turning?

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

But there was another issue that popped up totally unexpected.

I replaced the cooling fans / housing a while back, but it appears the ends of fastener bolts pierced the sides of radiator, and now I have holes to patch, or possibly buy another radiator. I still have the old fan assembly, so I compared the two, and I can't find much difference between the fitment.

Does anybody know how long the original fan mounting bolts are on the first generation 3.5L Concordes, and are there supposed to be shims (or collars) of some sort to protect the radiator from such an event? I did not measure them, but the bolts are about 1.5 inches long (more or less), and look to be factory issue.
 

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I don't KNOW about 1st gen, but I don't recall 2nd Gen screws being that long. I'll check tomorrow to make sure.
the pulley holder I have is a circular ring with three legs that but up against the pulley's spokes, and has a 1/2" drive square hole punched in it for your 1/2" drive ratchet or breaker bar. If you Google 3.5L dampener/ pulley holder and look at the images, you'll probably spot it. IIRC, the puller and holder set also fits some GM apps.
 

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I see that Rusty 69 posted some similar info. while I was typing. :thumbsup:

Are you using a 12 point or 6 point socket on the pulley bolt? If you’ve only tried a 12 point, a 6 point could work even if the head is a little rounded.

Some of the damper pulley puller kits include a holder tool which prevents the pulley and crankshaft from turning when tightening or loosening the bolt. You might take a look at the free loaner puller kits that Advance or O’Reillys have to see if they have the holder.

The holder is the donut-shaped part in the right side of the photo of this kit - the three posts engage the pulley spokes, and you plug a 1/2” breaker bar in the square hole of the holder tool to keep the pulley from turning:


Sorry - I’ve never owned or worked on a first gen, so I don’t know how long the fan assembly mounting bolts are. I know I always warn people to make sure to re-use the same fan mounting bolts and not swap them with similar bolts from other locations on the car that might be longer because they could easily punch a hole in the plastic radiator side tanks. I wouldn’t think you could reliably patch a hole like that - you likely need a new radiator. Yeah - either one of the bolts got swapped with a longer bolt, or as you said, somethings different about the replacement assembly or there’s a spacer or washer that is missing.
 

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Discussion Starter #20 (Edited)
But there was another issue that popped up totally unexpected.

I replaced the cooling fans / housing a while back, but it appears the ends of fastener bolts pierced the sides of radiator, and now I have holes to patch, or possibly buy another radiator. I still have the old fan assembly, so I compared the two, and I can't find much difference between the fitment.

Does anybody know how long the original fan mounting bolts are on the first generation 3.5L Concordes, and are there supposed to be shims (or collars) of some sort to protect the radiator from such an event? I did not measure them, but the bolts are about 1.5 inches long (more or less), and look to be factory issue.
I think I am mistaken about the bolts piercing the radiator. After viewing some diagrams, I think it would be impossible for the fan assembly bolts to damage the radiator. I think the radiator is leaking around the O-rings, or maybe the plastic has developed cracks. Space is so tight on the 3.5L models, it makes dark places hard to see even with a flashlight.

I'll remove the radiator tomorrow and see for sure.

EDIT: Is it possible to just remove the large timing belt cover without removing the pulley? I'd like to get some light down in there and see if the water pump is indeed leaking.

EDIT 2: Thanks, Peva! The next door garage showed me Chrysler a kit today, and it had quite a bit of attachments. I'll recheck tomorrow and see if it has a studded disk like the one you posted.
 
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