How to Change a Timing Belt on a 1997 Dodge Intrepid 3.5L


Disconnect the negative (black) cable from the battery.


Remove all accessories that are in the way of the timing belt cover. The Intrepid's 3.5 liter engine and small engine bay make for very cramped working conditions; it is thus necessary to remove all engine accessories so that you can properly work on the timing belt. Begin by loosening the tension bolt on the alternator with a belt tensioner, then use a socket wrench to remove the bolts on the water pump, air condition compressor and power steering pump.


Remove the four bolts on the top timing belt cover, using a socket wrench, then remove the cover.


Use a jack to lift the front end of the Intrepid and place the front end securely on two jack stands. Get underneath the engine.


Remove the three bolts on the bottom timing belt cover, using a socket wrench, then remove the cover.


Use the belt tensioner to put some slack into the timing belt, then remove the belt from the pulleys with your hands.


Line up the pulleys, so that the engine is at the top dead center and the two marks on the camshaft are lined up with the marks on the cams.


Place the new timing belt over the pulleys, making sure not to move any of the pulleys in either direction.


Use the tensioner to tighten the belt.


Reattach the top and bottom timing belt covers and secure them in place, using the bolts you had removed earlier.


Reattach all of the accessories you have removed (in any order), using a socket wrench. When done, place the belts over the pulleys and return tension to them by using the belt tensioner to tighten the tension bolt on the alternator.


Attach the negative (black) battery cable to the battery.

Tips and Warnings

  • Keep all of the bolts that you remove separated, and make sure you mark where they go with. This will make reassembly much easier.
  • Always be sure to use a jack with jack stands, otherwise the Intrepid could come down while you are underneath it, causing you injury.
  • Make sure that the Intrepid's engine has been off for several hours before beginning this repair. A hot engine could cause severe burns while working on the car.
  • The timing belt on your 1997 Dodge Intrepid 3.5L is one of the most important parts of your car. This belt controls the timing between the movement of the valves and the pistons in the combustion chamber. If this timing is off due to a faulty or broken timing belt, the result could range anywhere from an inability to start the car, to a catastrophic collision between the piston and the valve. In order to avoid this, it is important to change your timing belt when it begins to wear.