300m Timing Belt questions

I know there was a recent thread on this topic recently, but I didn't capture any information from it, hence this post.
My '00 300m will be exactly 10 years old in about 3 months. It has 142k
km (89k miles).
It has the factory original battery, engine coolant, timing belt and transmission filters.
I've changed the spark plugs once (about 1.5 years ago). Serpentine belt was changed at about the 70k mile point. Power steering, differential and transmission fluid have all been changed only once (probably around the 50 - 60 k mile point).
I was told the following at a local Chrysler dealership:
- Timing belt cost: $275 - New water pump: $165 - Timing belt tensioner: $120 - Labor (5 hours): $470 - Total: $1030 - misc extras (including new coolant) - $70
The guy said that I might have a tensioner made out of plastic or metal, and even though he had my vin number the only way to know was to take it apart to find out. He said that if mine was made out of metal, then it likely wouldn't need to be replaced. I asked if there were any other cogs, gears, pulleys, etc, related to the timing belt that could also be replaced during this process, and he said no. Is he right?
I figured that the water pump might as well be changed since it's going to come off during this process. Absolutely no hint at any problems with it. I guess I should ask for it to keep it as a possible future replacement since it's probably still good?
(these are CDN prices, which at the current exchange rate is about 8% to 10% higher than USD prices).
Is the timing belt replacement interval based on milage - or age? I thought that if milage, it's 160k km (100k miles) - true? If age - then what is it?
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MoPar Man wrote:

You might want to flush out the brake fluid too.
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MoPar Man wrote:

At the risk of seeming to over-react, I would advise you to park it until you get the belt replaced. I see threads like these http://300mclub.org/forums/viewtopic.php?f5&t 498 http://300mclub.org/forums/viewtopic.php?f &t928 (just two examples of many) all the time on the various LH car forums.
105k miles (I think 100k on some years) is the replacement interval. Your car - your risk (and a huge one IMO).

They're HUGELY gouging you on parts prices (even considering they're Canadian prices). Labor not so much - in line.
Drill down the same parts here: www.mopardiscountparts.com (a Chrysler dealer selling OEM parts).
There are two parts that they may be calling "tensioner" - one is the pulley, the other is the hydraulic tensioner. Together they do the job of a single tensioner but are sold as separate parts.
The pulley should definitely be replaced. The hydraulic part very seldom gives trouble and is much more costly, and so is usually re-used, but best to change for peace of mind. Find out which they mean, and definitely have the pulley replaced.
Use only OEM parts for this job. I don't always say that. But I've read of a lot of problems on aftermarket parts on the timing belt parts for this engine - even from well-respected suppliers like Gates. OEM only.

B.S. on that last sentence. The bearing built into the pulley is what fails. That part is not that expensive. Bearings do wear out. It would be foolish to not replace the tensioner pulley (for the very same reasons that you would also replace the water pump).

Other than the ambiguous terminology concerning tensioner (pulley) and (hydraulic) tensioner, I would agree.
Not directly timing belt related, but if you've never had the a.c. belt and power steering/alternator belt idler/tensioner pulleys replaced, you should have that done while they're in there. Again, bearings do wear out - those two parts are finite-life parts (as well, of course, as the two accessory belts).

Definitely. Very unwise to do the timing belt and not do the water pump. I wouldn't save the old one for possible future use - that makes no sense.

Definitely mileage. Not sure about the age limitation, but I do think there is one - I forget what it is. But yours should be replaced *yesterday* on both counts (mileage and age).
BTW - if you are a casual (vs. spirited) driver, don't think that that will cause your t-belt to last longer. Most of them break at low speed (because the pulsatile loading on the belt from the cams is greatest at low engine speeds, and due to flywheel effect on the cams smoothing out those pulses at higher engine speeds). I can't tell you how many accounts on the LH car forums I've read in which the timing belt broke at low engine speeds - very seldom at higher speeds.
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Bill Putney wrote:

Yea, I hear ya.
I was thinking of doing it next time it's due for the next oil change - which is Nov 3 (based on the little sticker they put on the window). That would make the car 10 years and 2 days old.
Do they have to drain the oil to do the timing belt?
Also - do timing belts stretch or do anything as they age or wear - something that might be detectible on an emissions test - ie a slight change in valve timing might lead to more nox, co, ???
From your links above, I came across the comment that the rear cam o-rings can also be changed - what do you think of that?
One of those threads started to talk about AC problems - but mine is still working perfectly.

Is that the serpentine belt? I had that changed almost 2 years ago, along with a tensioner or pulley or somethin. I'll try to dig up the bill and see what exactly was done.
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MoPar Man wrote:

The t-belt could make it that long, but you're going to be kicking yourself if it breaks during that period (I'm sure I don't have to tell you that if it does, you will likely have expensive engine damage if it does). Example - that first thread I linked.

No. The timing area on belted engines is sealed from the oily areas - unlike timing chains which get bathed in oil and generally overhang the open front of the oil pan.

They generally stretch a negligible amount - but yeah - some. I'm sure some inferior brands might stretch more, but for OEM and good brands, generally not much. I have heard of them jumping timing, which implies that either the belt stretched or the tensioner wasn't doing its job.

They have been known to leak, but it's not all that common. You could replace them, or go with the philosophy of if they ain't broke don't fix them. It's not like they're any easier to get to while doing the timing belt - so just as easy to fix later *if* they leak as to replace them pre-emptively.

That just happened to be part of that thread. My purpose in linking both threads was to show that the belts do break - and it's a big deal if they do. A car that is of marginal value but that might otherwise do well for you for years might just end up in the junk yard over a timing belt breaking (depends on how you make such decisions).

A.C. belt is traditional V-belt, power steering/alt. belt is serpentine. They both have one each tensioner/idler pulleys that need periodic replacing (I would say in general every 2nd change of its belt - thats just my personal rule of thumb).
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I've been calling several Chrysler dealerships (parts department) in Michigan and here in my local area in SW-Ontario.
What I've been able to determine is that when talking to the US people, they quote the following parts:
- hydraulic belt tensioner P/N 4573347 ($138 USD) - tensioner pulley (aka pivot pulley?) P/N 4663515 ($73 USD)
When I ask about those specific P/N's in Ontario, I'm given a price of $186 CDN and $98 CDN. But I'm also told that they supercede to these P/N's:
- tensioner: 4892109AA ($184 cdn) - pulley: 4663515AD ($69 cdn)
The terminology of those two new parts seems to be a bit muddled. I've heard the terms "idler tensioner pulley" and "pivot arm", and at one point I was under the impression at one dealership that I needed that pair plus the 4573347 part.
All the CDN prices come from CDN dealership #2, which quoted me prices that were significantly less than CDN dealership #1 (for the same P/N's). Which raises a side question -> are dealerships supposed to quote the same price for the same part?
Anyways, the parts guy at dealership #2 (who was dealing with this exact situation for a friend who was arranging to have his 300m timing belt changed) said this:
P/N 4573347 goes with P/N 4663515
P/N 4892109AA goes with P/N 4663515AD
4573347 / 4663515 is superceded by 4892109AA / 4663515AD
The US dealerships either did not know about the supercede, or had a lot of stock of the older parts and wanted to move them first.
At CDN dealer #2, the price for the timing belt (P/N 4792353) was $220 CDN ($55 less than dealership #1). US price was $163 USD.
Waterpump was $120 USD, but at CDN dealership #2 was quoted as $148 CDN for "original" P/N, which has a supercede P/N that is priced at $133 CDN (didn't record the P/N's for those).
From reading the electronic version of the 2000 300M, LHS, CONCORDE AND INTREPID Electronic Service Manual, the belt tensioner must be removed as part of removing the timing belt.
Any comments about replacing the cam sprockets?
In speaking with these parts guys, they also said that it was worth it to replace the front main seal ($15) because some modes of timing belt failure include an oil leak from that seal.
CDN dealership #1 told me about a "white-box" belt and idler kit ($385) which they admitted was a "lower quality" version (but their prices are completely crazy as I can see now).
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Just to add a little more to this thread...

Interesting:
http://www.allproducts.com/traffic/jiuhmen/Product-2008529172249.html
Pivot (this is what Mopar calls the tensioner pully).
See post 144 here:
http://www.lhforums.net/forums//showthread.php?p#7684
==================Peva wrote:
The word "tensioner" has some confusing and ambiguous meanings here.
The complete tensioner is made up of three parts: The tensioner bracket, the tensioner pulley (includes its bearing), and the hydraulic tensioner. The bracket is a lifetime item - never needs to be replaced unless someone hits it with a sledgehammer.
The pulley *definitely* needs to be replaced - its bearing is a limited lifetime item - no reason to risk it failing just to save what little it costs - it is included in the Gates timing belt kit with the belt.
The hydraulic tensioner very seldom gives any problems - because of that and the fact that it is a little pricey compared to the other parts, most people re-use the old one. If you do want to replace that, it is a dealer-only item.
Summary: (1) Bracket - never replace. (2) Pulley - *always* replace. (3) Hydraulic tensioner - replace if budget allows and you want to reduce risks to a minimum, but don't sweat it if money is tight.
Also see posts 130 and 134. ================= Regarding the water pump:
http://www.lhforums.net/forums/archive/index.php/t-11937.html
Lots of talk about metal vs plastic impeller, country of origin, etc.
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MoPar Man wrote:

Apparently the pivot and the pulley come as one OEM part. In aftermarket, you get the pulley and re-use the old bracket.
Funny though - the Chrysler parts pdf's and the on-line dealer parts database (I'm staring at both of them as I type this) refer to it (the bracket and pulley assembly) as 'tensioner pulley' 'tensioner, belt', respectively. I see nowhere that it is referred to as a pivot arm.

LOL! Guess who 'Peva' is (hint: see the signature photos in post no. 144 in the thread you linked and the first post in this thread: http://300mclub.org/forums/viewtopic.php?f &t 059&start=0
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MoPar Man wrote:

That's the full list price. At www.mopardiscountparts.com (they are a Chrysler dealer selling OEM parts), it sells for $92.46

$48.64 at www.'mdp'.com
(all prices I'm giving are in $US)

$91.79 www.'mdp'.com

The latest suffix showing at www.'mdp'.com as ...AC at $35.41

That 4573347 is the hydraulic tensioner I talked about in an earlier post that is a more expensive part, and since it very seldom gives problems, unless you just want to have extra insurance, you could re-use the old one without loosing too much sleep.

They vary. I don't know if Chrysler dictates the price relative to list or if it's up to the discretion of the dealer. The dealer within site of my house sells at either 10% or 20% (I forget which) *ABOVE* list. I laughed in the face of one of their parts guys a couple of years ago when they had huge banners hanging in their windows touting a '10% off all parts' sale. www.'mdp'.com is an honest 33% below list all the time (shipping typically pretty much evenly offsets sales tax, so it *is* a good apples-to-apples comparison in case somebody wants to say "Well - yeah - you still gotta pay shipping!".

Yep - and $109.21 at www.'mdp'.com

4792195, superceded by 4792195AB - $73.03 at you know where.

Not sure if they wear (rounded corners on cogs so maybe the belt could have more of a tendency to slip?), but I don't think they get replaced routinely.

I agree. In general, any time you are into the front of any engine to where you have access to the front main seal, it should be replaced because leaks are a nuisance, seals do wear out, and better to spend $10 now than have it start leaking later and spend several times that just to replace it later as a separate operation.

Gates has a t-belt and idler (just the pulley - no hydraulic tensioner, which is a dealer-only part) kit - part no. TCK295 - for well under $100. As mentioned before, I have read of problems with aftermarket timing components and water pumps for these cars - including Gates, but I had the Gates belt/pulley kit put on mine about 4 years ago, and it's doing fine.
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Bill Putney wrote:

And today I've discovered that 4792195AB is superceeded by a "V" part number (I have the P/N at work). It's a "value-line" part. The 4792195/AB parts are no longer available (so I'm told).
Do you have any thoughts about plastic impeller vs steel?
Do you know what the factory original pump has?

A little more info about those pairs of parts.
4573347 / 4663515 are listed as 1993 - 2002 model year 3.5L application.
4892109AA / 4663515AD are listed as 2005 - present year 3.5L application.
(what changed from 02 to 03 on the 3.5L?)
The parts department at the typical Chrysler dealership seems to have access to two different parts lookup systems. Only the "Mopar" system will show that 4573347 / 4663515 is superceeded by 4892109AA / 4663515AD. There will even be a note for 4892109AA that it MUST be used with 4663515AD.

But this tensioner must be completely removed when changing the belt - yes? So it's not like there's extra labor involved to replace it.
But the kicker is that if the pulley 4663515 is not available, then you must use 4663515AD, and if you do, then you have to pair it with tensioner 4892109AA (which you probably don't have). Is this true?
Also -
I was under the impression that the 300m only came with the 3.5L engine in US/Canada (ie - the 3.2 and 2.7 were not options). When speaking with some of these parts guys, and telling them I'm asking about parts for a '00 300m, and they ask what engine I have, I say 3.5L, and then I say "why do you ask - that car never came with any other engine" - that's when I hear that no, it could have the 3.2 or 2.7.
What's the story with that?
I'm pretty sure that European 300m's had the 2.7L - but certainly not in North America - no?
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MoPar Man wrote:

It still comes up on the on-line dealer parts lookup database, which is a good indication that it has not been obsoleted. Usually the value-line parts don't obsolete the "factory original" part - for example, value line brake pads are avialable from the dealers, and are what you get if you don't specify otherwise, but if you know the original part number, you can tell them that's what you want and they can order them just like any other part. IOW 95+% of the buying public would be assuming they are getting the latest revision of the factory original part but would actually be getting a lower price substitute. And I hear the value line brake pads are actually pretty good.
I may be wrong - but I have a feeling the dealer is not being truthful that they can't get the original factory part. They may keep the value line part on the shelf and so would rather sell you that part.

It used to be that metal impellars were much preferred over plastic - lots of stories of the plastic exploding or simply debonding from the shaft and freely spinning - BUT, on the LH forums, the people who have lots of experience with the various OEM and aftermarket pumps available for them have, in general, had some bad experiences with the ones with metal impellars and good experiences with the plastic ones.
That doesn't mean that plastic is better than metal - I think it means that the aftermarket companies who happen to use metal impellars make a crappy pump, while Chrysler has in general had good design and quality control on the pumps that they buy with the plastic impellars.
I have also read lately of brands of the pumps that people have had trouble with in the past showing up on the dealer shelves - perhaps these are the value line parts that the dealer substituted? I don't know. With parts sourcing the way it is now, it's hard to make any useful rules about what's good and what's bad in certain OEM parts.

Plastic.
Seems I remember reading on dodgintrepid.net or lhforume.net something about a change in that part - but don't remember specifics.

They do seem to have more accurate and up-to-date information than the databases used for on-line lookups. I have had dealers tell me of superceding parts when I actually ordered using that same dealer's on-line lookup system. The dealers' web sites use the same third-party database for their lookups, but they actrually use the Chrsyler database (which may also be managed by a third party too - I don't know, but - yes - the info. is different (again, more accurate and complete).

It is removed to relieve tension on the belt - yes.

If the design of those mating parts changed to where they are not interchangeable, then yes. I found that to be true with timing chain, sprockets, and water pump on my 2.7L LH car. The on-line dealer was able to give me the right complete set of parts (all timing components in a kit *AND* the water pump that was compatible with that chain set (water pump sprocket had to fit the new design chain) due to a note in the Chrysler database that the on-line lookup database knew nothing about. Nice surpise because the kit was cheaper than the individual older parts that I had in my original order list that I gave them. The important thing was that none of the various parts from the older design and new design were interchangable with parts from the other - and unless the dealer parts guy was paying attention and allowed mixing and matching in the same order, someone would be in for a rude awakening when they went to install the parts. I suspect a parts guy only has to make that mistake once before he starts making sure he carefully reads the notes in the system.

They're patly right. It *NEVER* *EVER* came with the 3.2. Some of them in Europe have the 2.7. *NONE* in North America came with the 2.7.

See above.

Correct. They gave you the safe answer. Their answer, though not 100% accurate, will always get you the right part.
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After contacting 6 local dealerships and 4 aftermarket parts stores:
Timing Belt Hydraulic tensioner (have been told that Chrysler also calls this a "damper". P/N 4573347. Standard Canadian Dealer price = $186. Have been quoted as high as $208. Presumably this is the "original" factory part. Today it superceded to P/N 4892109AA which MUST be paired with pulley P/N 4663515AD. Original pulley P/N is 4663515.
If I read this right, then if original pulley is not available, then if the newer pulley is used then the newer tensioner must also be used - regardless of the condition of the original tensioner.
Standard Canadian dealer price for original pulley is $98 (have been quoted as high as $118). Standard price for newer tensioner is $184 (highest = $206). Standard price for newer pulley is $69 (highest $84).
Original pulley is practically non-existant locally and (so I'm told) in the US. Original tensioner is still available. Newer pulley must come from the US (none in Ontario).
Three to four out of 6 local dealerships quote the "standard" price for all items. One out of six consistently quote 10 to 30% higher.
Standard price for timing belt (P/N 4792353) is $220 (highest = $275).
Water pump original P/N was 4792195 ($120), which superceeded to 4792195AB ($148) which now superceeds to value-line P/N V9900085 ($133). 4792195AB (if I really want it) must come from the US (none in Ontario).
Front main seal (P/N 4792317AB) is quoted at $12.
Aftermarket part stores:
No parts stores sell the tensioner at all, and one or two have pulley but sometimes it's identified as a "timing component kit", and sometimes it is available as part of a kit with a timing belt (sometimes known as a belt and "roller" kit). Examples:
Dayco 84086 Pulley ($70 - $85)
Goodyear P/N GTK0255 ($85 - $130 belt + pulley) Goodyear P/N 40295 ($173 belt only) Dayco P/N 95295 ($180 - $216 belt only) Gates TCK-295 ($290 Belt with pulley) Gates TCK-295P ($317 Belt with pulley - and seals?) Contitec TV295 ($152 belt only) AC Delco or Dynagear ($152 belt only)
The P/N for the belt will usually have a "295" regardless who makes it because that's the number of teeth.
The Chrysler issue with the different versions of the tensioner and pulley combination are not indicated or are not present with the aftermarket pulleys (so it seems).
Aftermarket water pump comes in two flavors - remanufactured and new.
Fenco (Prestone?) ($80 - $124) new pump (NP1664) AC Delco ($140) new pump (P/N 252-692) Cardone ($85 + $15 core) Prestone ($110) new pump (same as Fenco?) ASC Industries ($124) new
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MoPar Man wrote:

Wow! www.rockauto.com lists the TCK-295 kit at $76.79 plus shipping. TCK-295P is $105.99. Those seals are to keep splashed water from going inside the covers. I think most people just reuse the old ones.
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MoPar Man wrote:

No. Really the timing belt on a 3.5 is not *much* harder to change than a serpentine belt. You should get it done NOW, and you can do it yourself over a weekend for a lot less than the stealership will charge.
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Unless, of course, the seals behind the rear timing belt covers are leaking. In that case the job gets bigger.
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Steve wrote:

Removing and replacing the harmonic balancer involves the use of a special tool. I have no idea whether that's something that can be rented or borrowed from AutoZone.
Perce
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You just have to keep the crankshaft from turning -- first time I did it, I wrapped the old serpentine belt around it grabbed it (the belt) with vice-grips, and held it while I used the pulley puller. Second time I made a copy of the tool from the picture in the manual.
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Joe Pfeiffer wrote:

With the right kind of tool that Percival is talking about, you can even preclude having to pull the radiator. It's a shorter type of puller specially made for today's cars. And many of the chain auto parts stores rent or loan them out.
Also - I've read (on the 300M Enthusiasts Club and two other LH-specific sites) of several people who have successfully gotten timing belts on and off the 3.5L with the damper pulley still in place - tight squeeze, but they say it can be done.
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Ah, forgot the short puller. That can be arranged with a hacksaw.

I'd have to see it.
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Joe Pfeiffer wrote:

The ones who've done it (and there are more than a handful) claim it is a tight squeeze, but that it can be done without damage to the new belt (of course the old belt can be cut off).
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