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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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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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Discussion Starter · #13 ·

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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?

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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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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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Discussion Starter · #28 ·
I went back to the garage, and sure enough, the kit had the studded ring tool to keep the pulley from turning, and I had no trouble removing the balancer with said tool, but I did hear a bit of a pop when the pulley broke free. I hope that's not a bad sign of things, but the pulley appears intact to me.

From the looks of things, I'd say the water pump is seeping a bit after viewing a small pool of coolant in recessed areas of the block. Is it necessary to coat the new pump O-ring with silicone during installation?

Also, how much more effort to replace the oil seals? (I was going to upload some pictures, but that option seems to be missing at the moment) The belt area could use some cleaning, although the belt itself looks great for wear.

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Getting back to the radiator, I was right the first time. There are puncture holes in tank sides. A local radiator shop looked the screws, and said they were *not* factory issue. The shop gave the correct size for free however.
 

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Discussion Starter · #32 ·
This morning, I saw some coolant seepage at the top of gasket behind the crankshaft gear. That area appears to have flat gasket instead of an O-ring. I put some Bar's stop leak into the radiator about two months ago. Would it be bad idea to add another bottle, or should I replace the gasket, and can the gasket be removed without disturbing the whole rear timing belt cover?

I can remove things, but I'm a bit gun-shy about removing the cam pulleys - if need be.
 

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Discussion Starter · #34 · (Edited)
I finally installed the pump and belt kit today, and I managed to get very good tension on the belt before pulling the tensioner pin.

However, when the previous owner changed the belt about 10 years ago, the timing marks (before I pulled the old belt) looked to be at the edge of tolerance, so I moved the passenger-side cam clockwise one tooth, and now the timing marks look better positioned than before.

For the record, what can I expect when I start the car for the first time? Will the engine idle rough until the computer relearns the new belt / tooth placement? If so, how long does that take?

Here's the old timing marks for what it's worth...
 

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Discussion Starter · #44 · (Edited)
Perhaps a slight but normally not noticeable leakdown of fuel back into the tank thru the fuel pump check valve, leaving the fuel line and rails full of air that had to burp it’s way out thru the injectors. (Similarly one or more slightly leaky injectors could have emptied the fuel rails into one or more cylinders - at first start up, some cylinders could be fuel starved, others could be flooded.) The ones that didn’t need the bit of run time to smooth out either had a tighter check valve (and/ or injectors) and/or simply didn’t sit as long between when they were last shut down and we’re fired up again after the belt job was finished.

May or may not be the case, but a theory that could explain it.
Maybe a few off / on key cycles could remedy this?

I remember hearing my '92 Caravan pumping fuel into the throttle body before ignition, so I'm assuming the Concorde does the same, although I don't recall hearing it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #46 · (Edited)
Got the new radiator in (not an easy thing to do working between the AC condenser and the auxiliary transmission cooler lines :eek:), but I am having trouble starting the top fastener on the passenger side of the AC condenser. The area is tight, and I have big hands. Pulling the headlight off will give me room, but I am not sure about the screw locations as of this writing.

The bottom condenser screws are installed, but the (top) driver's side mounting bracket broke off during removal of the radiator. Is there an adhesive on the market that I can use to reattach the AC condenser bracket with?

Also, I am thinking strongly about replacing the bottom radiator hose (including the upper hose too), however, these 3.5 engines are so tight on space, I am not sure I can remove the factory hose clamp without removing the power steering pump. My hands are so scratched up, it looks like I have been in a cat fight after reinstalling the radiator.
 

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Discussion Starter · #54 ·
Finished the job, and the car appears to be running great.

However, I failed to properly vent the cooling system, which caused the engine to run hot, briefly, and I lost about 1/2 gallon of antifreeze in the process.

To remedy the problem, I attached a clear tube to the vent valve, ran the other end of the hose into an antifreeze bottle, and ran the car until the air was purged. Seems like the 3.5 engine is bad about vapor lock unless one properly vents the system via the tiny check-valve located on the thermostat housing.

Can't thank you folks enough for your help here!
 

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Discussion Starter · #55 ·
boy, if you're going to replace the lower radiator hose, you might as well replace the thermostat, too. I had one spontaneously stick closed on me, and I think it contributed to further engine damage later. It's a real b!tch to replace, and I wouldn't blame you if you didn't, because I know you have to draw the line somewhere.
I replaced it a few years ago after the car wouldn't get up to the proper operating temperature.

On first generation 3.5 engines, the thermostat is the easiest thing to get to, as it is located on the front of the motor.
 
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