How to Change the Timing Belt on a 2003 Dodge Stratus


Want to replace a timing belt on a 2003 Dodge Stratus with a 2.4 4cylinder engine? I will show you how easily this is done!

Things You'll Need

  • Hand tools
  • Puller for crankshaft balancer
  • Disconnect negative battery cable.
    Raise vehicle on hoist. Remove right front wheel.
    Remove belt splash shield.
    Remove accessory drive belts.
    Remove crankshaft damper.
    Remove AC/Generator belt tensioner.
    Disconnect generator connections. Remove generator and bracket.
    Remove upper and lower timing belt covers (Fig. 100).
    Remove coolant recovery container.
    Remove right engine mount.
    Remove engine support bracket. CAUTION: When aligning crankshaft and camshaft timing marks always rotate engine from crankshaft. Camshaft should not be rotated after timing belt is removed. Damage to valve components may occur. Always align timing marks before removing timing belt.

  • Before the removal of the timing belt, rotate crankshaft until the TDC mark on oil pump housing aligns with the TDC mark on crankshaft sprocket (trailing edge of sprocket tooth). NOTE: The crankshaft sprocket TDC mark is located on the trailing edge of the sprocket tooth. Failure to align trailing edge of sprocket tooth to TDC mark on oil pump housing will cause the camshaft timing marks to be misaligned.

  • Loosen timing belt tensioner lock bolt (Fig. 105).
    Insert a 6 mm Allen wrench into the hexagon opening located on the top plate of the belt tensioner pulley. Rotate the top plate CLOCKWISE until there is enough slack in timing belt to allow for removal.
    Remove timing belt. CAUTION: If timing belt was damaged due to incorrect tracking (alignment), the belt tensioner pulley and bracket must be replaced as an assembly.

  • Set crankshaft sprocket to TDC by aligning the sprocket with the arrow on the oil pump housing.Set camshafts timing marks so that the exhaust camshaft sprocket is a 1/2 notch below the intake camshaft sprocket. CAUTION: Ensure that the arrows on both camshaft sprockets are facing up.

  • Install timing belt. Starting at the crankshaft, go around the water pump sprocket, idler pulley, camshaft sprockets and then around the tensioner.
    Move the exhaust camshaft sprocket counterclockwise to align marks and take up belt slack.

  • Insert a 6 mm Allen wrench into the hexagon opening located on the top plate of the belt tensioner pulley. Rotate the top plate COUNTERCLOCKWISE. The tensioner pulley will move against the belt and the tensioner setting notch will eventually start to move clockwise. Watching the movement of the setting notch, continue rotating the top plate counterclockwise until the setting notch is aligned with the spring tang. Using the alien wrench to prevent the top plate from moving, torque the tensioner lock bolt to 25 Nm (220 in. lbs.) . Setting notch and spring tang should remain aligned after lock nut is torqued.
    Remove alien wrench and torque wrench. NOTE: Repositioning the crankshaft to the TDC position must be done only during the CLOCKWISE rotation movement. If TDC is missed, rotate a further two revolutions until TDC is achieved. DO NOT rotate crankshaft counterclockwise as this will make verification of proper tensioner setting impossible.

  • Rotate the crankshaft CLOCKWISE two complete revolutions manually for seating of the belt, until the crankshaft is repositioned at the TDC position. Verify that the camshaft and crankshaft timing marks are in proper position

  • Check if the spring tang is within the tolerance window. If the spring tang is within the tolerance window, the installation process is complete and nothing further is required. If the spring tang is not within the tolerance window, repeat Steps 5 through 7.
    Install engine mount support bracket.
    Install upper timing belt cover. Torque fasteners to 6 Nm (50 in. lbs.) (Fig. 100).
    Install the lower timing belt cover. Torque fasteners to 6 Nm (50 in. lbs.).
    Install generator and bracket. Connect generator connections.
    Install AC/Generator belt tensioner.
    Install crankshaft damper.
    Install right engine mount.
    Install coolant recovery container.
    Install accessory drive belts.
    Install belt splash shield.
    Install right front wheel.
    Connect negative battery cable.

Tips & Warnings

  • If your belt broke going down the road, you may have bent valves inside the engine. This will require removal of the head and replacement of damaged parts.

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