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Discussion Starter #1
This is my first post so please let me know if I need to post in another area or any housekeeping I need to do.

We have the 2006 T&C 3.8L van - it has 130,000 on it. In the last month I have noticed a noise coming from the engine compartment. The noise does not speed up when you rev the engine, nor does it coincide with turing the a/c on or off. It sounds like something kicking in and staying on in the background. You can hear it above the regular engine noise, it sounds like a compressor kicked on and follows the up and down, whaa whaa whaa type sound. I cannot figure it out. I just did the following to the van to see if it would help: new spark plugs/new valve covers/new oil pan gasket/new tran filter/new spark plug wires/new pcv valve/ new front & rear O2 sensors. I thought maybe it wasn't firing correctly or something along those lines( the plugs were pretty bad and the rear O2 had black char on it so I was probably running a little rich before the tune up ), but the noise still remains even after all my hard work.

I am thinking of changing out the serpentine belt, tensioner,idler pulley and water pump. Since it does squeal for a bit if you run over a big puddle or water gets on bottom of motor in rainstorm, so the belt may be getting loose, and I should go ahead and do all of that while the belt is off anyway.

If the noise related to revving the ending or turning on the a/c I might have a better idea of what it is. But I am clueless - - Please help.
 

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Sounds like the decoupler pulley on the alternator. My suggestion would be to remove the serpentine belt and start the engine for 20 or 30 seconds to see if the noise is gone. I had a similar noise on my 2005 T&C with 155,000 miles and just went ahead and replaced the tensioner, alternator, and belt.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
you think its a good idea to go ahead and replace water pump and alternator - just do it all while im in there ? Anything else you could recommend I do while im in there ? I need to keep this running for as long as possible so preventive maint is something I want to do. Does the decoupler engage and dis-engage ? sometimes the noise is worse than others - this is why im asking. Thanks also for the reply - i never thought to just start it without the belt to localize the problem.
 

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The decoupler is just like a freewheel on a bike. It allows the heavy spinning mass of the alternator to keep spinning when the throttle is closed suddenly or rapid changes in engine RPM while driving, such as when the transmission shifts. It helps save a little gas, but mostly helps to reduce strain on the serpentine belt and tensioner. You can replace just the decoupler with special tools, but it can be troublesome. Most advise to just buy a new alternator with the decoupler already on it and also, not to let the auto parts store talk you into an alternator without a decoupler saying it is okay to run.
 

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Do a search in this forum for "Alternator Decoupler Pulley" and you will have all the resources you need to cure your problem!

I just went through it myself. Very common problem...
 

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you think its a good idea to go ahead and replace water pump and alternator - just do it all while im in there ? Anything else you could recommend I do while im in there ? I need to keep this running for as long as possible so preventive maint is something I want to do. Does the decoupler engage and dis-engage ? sometimes the noise is worse than others - this is why im asking. Thanks also for the reply - i never thought to just start it without the belt to localize the problem.
Everyone is different, but i prefer to be proactive. When I'm into the engine or suspension, I'll just go ahead and replace a part that could be good, due to the labor that I've already expended on taking it apart. So, to answer your question, YES, go ahead and go to Rock Auto or some other auto parts store and get all the parts necessary to do this. Yes, replace it all, and don't worry about anything failing for the next 5 or 10 years.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thank you -

I will go ahead and try to tackle changing out everything this weekend - thank you all for the help - I would not have known what to do without the help form you all

take care,
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Well I finally finished & the noise is gone - it wasn't too bad - a serpentine servicing kit was a must to rent as it made taking the belt off and positioning the new one on a snap - the only thing that gave me real trouble was getting the old water pump out after I had taken its bolts off. In researching the forums I found out in order to get the clearance on my model since engine compartment so tight with bigger engine ( 6 cyl 3.8L ) you have to lower the engine down on the side where the serpentine belt runs by securing a jack under the engine & then taking the engine mount bolts off on the side where the serpentine belt runs, 3 bolts in a row just under the air intake hose that connects the engine air intake to the air filter compartment. ( I found a nifty lift point underneath near the oil pan and filter that was still on the block and not the oil pan & provided a way to control lowering the engine and remounting it back after I was done without damaging anything). As soon as I lowered the engine - the water pump came right out and it gave me enough space to clean the mounting surface and remount the new water pump.

The only other tough item was getting the alternator out. The Haynes manual and a few other places have you take out the oil dipstick tube to make room to get the alternator out but I could never get the tube out and was afraid id mess up something else, so I found that taking the EGR valve off gives great clearance and you can remove the old alternator very easily. I was replacing the EGR anyway so it worked for me, if you are not getting a new EGR valve that comes with the gaskets and you are removing the EGR to get clearance for the alternator I would recommend getting new gaskets to remount the EGR. Also do it in this order.
1) Un-mount the alternator ( following the great outlines in other threads in the forum and the Haynes manuals if you have them)
2) then leave the alternator loose in its place, this gives clearance to get the EGR lower bolts out,
3) then remove the EGR,
4) then remove the old alternator,
5) then place the new alternator in and leave it sitting loose where its supposed to go, you need to leave it loose and free so you can remount the EGR valve since the lower EGR bolts are hard to get to if you bolt the alternator on and then try to mount the EGR.
6) mount the EGR Valve with its gaskets
7) Then position the alternator in place and bolt it down
8) Hook all your electrical connectors back in place on the alternator and EGR

That was the easiest way I could find, took maybe 20 minutes to get both alternator & EGR in and bolted down.

Here are all the torque specs I used and needed to get all this done ( these torque specs are only for the V6 model 3.8L ):

- Drivebelt tensioner mounting bolt V6 engines: 20 Ft Lbs.
- Idler Pulley Bolt: 35 Ft Lbs.
- Water pump pulley bolts (V6 engines): 105 Inch Lbs.
- Water pump mounting to block bolts: 21 Inch Lbs.
- EGR ( top bolts ) Tube Flange - to - EGR Valve Bolts 85 to 125 Inch Lbs.
- EGR ( lower bolts ) tube flange - to - intake manifold bolts: 85 to 125 inch Lbs.
- The 3 alternator mounting bolts I would only go about 20 Ft Lbs. ( i tried to find the official torque but could not + I was afraid any more would cause the bolt to strip the block thread)
- The 3 Engine mount bolts ( I could not find the official torque ) but 50 foot lbs seemed to strike the right balance of not too much but for sure tight enough
- Lug Bolts for torquing the wheel back on after you are all done 100 Ft lbs.

Also here are some great resources:
1) there was a great site called Teach Me Auto that had walk through videos for both the Serpentine Belt & Water Pump for my exact model:
a) Serpentine Video Link: http://teach-me-auto.com/Dodge/2006...ineBelt2006ChryslerTownAndCountryTouring.html
b) Water Pump link: http://teach-me-auto.com/Dodge/2006...terPump2006ChryslerTownAndCountryTouring.html
2) Link on lowering the engine: http://wiki.answers.com/Q/How_do_you_replace_the_water_pump_on_a_2001-2004_Chrysler_town_and_country
3) Haynes - they have great online manuals now with full color pics and instructions

I hope this can help someone - to save time doing all of this. I went ahead while I had the serpentine belt off and did everything I could think of so I would not have to go back in for a while. Thank you to all the above forum members for pointing me in the right direction for what was going on, so I would know where to focus my efforts. I want to keep the van running for a long time. Doing it myself saved me a good bit of money as well, and you feel good completing everything and knowing it was done right.
 

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And "Thank You" for completing this thread, letting us know what you did to solve the issue...and the excellent write-up on your work procedure.
 
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