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Flummoxed by Serpentine Belt Replacement

ShrimpHappens

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Well guys, I'm borderline ashamed to admit that last week I was defeated by the serpentine belt.

Jeep Gladiator Flummoxed by Serpentine Belt Replacement PXL_20220317_012436556


It snapped on me while driving, and I rolled into a Zaxby's. I'm no stranger to belts, so I got a ride to O'Reilly for a new one and the tensioner pulley loaner tool, expecting a <15 minute task. Got back to work on it, and...I couldn't freaking figure it out. I found the front of the engine to be hopelessly convoluted and inaccessible, especially in a Zaxby's parking when it's getting dark.

Of course I tried to Google it, but I still have yet to find anything, video or article, detailing how to replace the serpentine belt on a Gladiator or JL Wrangler. Had to admit defeat, have it towed to the dealer (see picture), and return the belt to O'Reilly.

I reckon y'all could take this as a cautionary tale that the replacing the serpentine belt may not be as simple as you think. But hey, it could just be me. Has anyone replaced theirs? Is it indeed an ordeal or did I misread it?
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Gatorized

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obrianmcc

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I'd imaging like most things ... once you complete the replacement the process becomes less of a mystery. The alt be rear facing doesn't help.
 

aceisback

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Sorry about your ordeal but thanks for posting. It’s a good reminder for folks to get out and do a test run in broad daylight to familiarize themselves with the process.
I know I’ll be doing a dry run a have the proper tool in my onboard toolkit.
These aren’t that old, what caused your breakage?
 

dcmdon

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Sorry about your ordeal but thanks for posting. It’s a good reminder for folks to get out and do a test run in broad daylight to familiarize themselves with the process.
I know I’ll be doing a dry run a have the proper tool in my onboard toolkit.
These aren’t that old, what caused your breakage?
Normally I'd be with you 100% about being prepared. I used to carry spare belts in my car back when cars had V belts.

But I have to say that in the roughly 25 years since I've driven a car with a big serpentine belt, I've never had one break. Also, I think this member is one of the first, if not the first I've heard of these breaking. So while I'll probably carry a quart of oil and a half gallon of coolant in the back of my Gladiator once I get the storage areas under my cap sorted out. (old habits die hard) I probably won't carry a belt.

One last thing. It seems like when the belts do break, its because one of the accessories they drive seized up. In which case being able to change the belt in a parking lot doesn't get you anything.

I guess we all draw the line somewhere. My kit also includes a Fluke multimeter. What's funny about that is that with CAN bus systems, you can't really test for voltage at a switch for example and then trace things down to the load looking for problems.
 

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IamPro2A

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One last thing. It seems like when the belts do break, its because one of the accessories they drive seized up. In which case being able to change the belt in a parking lot doesn't get you anything.
This was my first thought too. Why did it break? The JT is too new for the rubber to dry rot and crack, and not many of us have put the hours on the engine yet that would wear the belt, or more likely a bearing or a pulley out. Either omething get up in there off-roading or or something, or there is a manufacturing defect somewhere in there. Idler pulley bearing, tensioner spring, alternator or water pump seized or let go.
 
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ShrimpHappens

ShrimpHappens

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These aren’t that old, what caused your breakage?
But I have to say that in the roughly 25 years since I've driven a car with a big serpentine belt, I've never had one break.
This was my first thought too. Why did it break?
Yep, yep, yep. All great points.

I'm at 17,800 miles. Gas engine. Tow package, but not max tow. My Glad is 99% a pavement princess. I was towing my boat at the time of the break, but it weighs less than 1500lbs and I've towed it dozens of times.

The dealership looked for a seized pulley or anything like that, and they said they didn't find anything.

And after re-reading my original post, I didn't make it clear enough that it's not an issue of not being able to discern the routing, it's an issue of being able to get to the pulleys at all. I encourage anyone to pop their hood and take a look at where all the belt goes.
 

bailer

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Yep, yep, yep. All great points.

I'm at 17,800 miles. Gas engine. Tow package, but not max tow. My Glad is 99% a pavement princess. I was towing my boat at the time of the break, but it weighs less than 1500lbs and I've towed it dozens of times.

The dealership looked for a seized pulley or anything like that, and they said they didn't find anything.

And after re-reading my original post, I didn't make it clear enough that it's not an issue of not being able to discern the routing, it's an issue of being able to get to the pulleys at all. I encourage anyone to pop their hood and take a look at where all the belt goes.
I think it would be far easier to do most of it from underneath.
 

dcmdon

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And after re-reading my original post, I didn't make it clear enough that it's not an issue of not being able to discern the routing, it's an issue of being able to get to the pulleys at all. I encourage anyone to pop their hood and take a look at where all the belt goes.
Oh that was clear to me. Its so freaking packed in there, I doubt I could do even something simple like change an alternator. I frankly wouldn't know how to remove all the stuff I need to remove just to get at it.

I'd have probably bailed like you did.
 

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I have never had a serpentine belt break on any vehicle I have owned .. going back to the 70"s...
 

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Rocksalt

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and I am sure in the 70's they just had drive belts and other belts for other things...not sure when serpentine belts started...
 

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Could have just been a poor quality belt made on shift change or the 2nd one off the line on a Monday. Qc missed it ? Hope it don’t happen again
 

seven30

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At 65K I figure its time to swap out the serpentine belt. You would think there would be a ton of videos and diagrams for the Gladiator by now but no. Even a belt diagram is hard to find!
So Im going to resurrect this thread. If anyone has info on this please post. Ill post my experience swapping it out after the holidays.
We have videos of diff gear swaps but no belt replacement.
 

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ShrimpHappens

ShrimpHappens

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At 65K I figure its time to swap out the serpentine belt. You would think there would be a ton of videos and diagrams for the Gladiator by now but no. Even a belt diagram is hard to find!
So Im going to resurrect this thread. If anyone has info on this please post. Ill post my experience swapping it out after the holidays.
We have videos of diff gear swaps but no belt replacement.
The only thing I've learned since this happened is that the alternator MUST come off for belt replacement.
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