GM Cavalier/Sunbird/Skyhawk/Firenza 1982-1994

Serpentine Drive Belts


Models equipped with the V6 engine and most 1987-94 engines use a single (serpentine belt) to drive all engine accessories. The serpentine belt driven accessories are rigidly mounted with belt tension maintained by a spring loaded tensioner assembly. The belt tensioner has the ability to control belt tension over a fairly broad range of belt lengths. However, there are limits to the tensioner's ability to compensate for varying lengths of belts. Poor tension control and/or damage to the tensioner could result with the tensioner operating outside of its range.


  1. If fraying of the belt is noticed, check to make sure both the belt and the tensioner assembly are properly aligned and that the belt edges are not in contact with the flanges of the tensioner pulley.
  3. If, while adjusting belt tension, tensioner runs out of travel, the belt is stretched beyond adjustment and should be replaced.
  5. If a whining is heard around the tensioner or idler assemblies, check for possible bearing failure.

Routine inspection of the belt may reveal cracks in the belt ribs. These cracks will not impair belt performance and therefore should not be considered a problem requiring belt replacement. However, the belt should be replaced if belt slip occurs or if sections of the belt ribs are missing.


To replace the belt push (rotate) the the belt tensioner and remove the belt. Use a 15mm socket on the 4-cyl. engines and a 3 / 4 in. open end wrench on the V6 engines.