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Belt Tensioner won't Budge on 2012 Jeep Wrangler Sport

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  • Belt Tensioner won't Budge on 2012 Jeep Wrangler Sport

    I tried to replace the serpentine belt on my 2012 Jeep Wrangler 3.6L Sport. The tensioner shock would not budge even with an 18" cheater bar. In addition there is oil around the tensioner shock boot. Did the tensioner shock fail? If so, would you just cut the belt then remove the tensioner assembly? Any Uh-Oh's I need to look out for? Thank you.

  • #2

    The belt tensioner on the 3.6 is reported to be substantially harder to release than the tensioners used on many other engines. If the tensioner shock is leaking, it is possible that it will eventually fail. That should not prevent you from loosening the tensioner, though. The shock is there to prevent chatter or belt skipping off.

    Unless there is some corrosion on the anchor/pivot bolt that may have caused the tensioner to seize up or have restricted movement... I can't say why you'd be having a hard time with it. Before you cut the belt off, I'd honestly try working the tension back and forth slowly. Not saying you did this, but when you're working "a lever", it is possible to think backwards and miss the direction you're supposed to go. This will also give you an opportunity to see if applying leverage INTO the belt (with tensioner pressure) is allowing the tensioner to move.

    If you can't get that to work, cutting the belt SHOULD cause the tensioner to go to its full extension. Obviously no movement at that stage means it could be seized up and you now have a spring under pressure..... ssssoooo.... I really would not recommend cutting that belt off unless you've a real solid understanding of what you're doing under there.

    When in doubt, hose any bolts/fasteners with PB Blaster or whatever your favorite penetrating oil is.... and go put some muscle behind that breaker bar. Its a pretty stout assembly, so it SHOULD hold up.