GM Cavalier/Sunbird/Skyhawk/Firenza 1982-1994

Standard Drive Belts

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INSPECTION & ADJUSTMENT



See Figures 1 and 2

Every 12 months or 15,000 miles (24,000 km), check the water pump, alternator, power steering pump (if so equipped), and air conditioning compressor (if so equipped) drive belts for proper tension. Also look for signs of wear, fraying, separation, glazing and so on, and replace the belts as required.

Belt tension should be checked with a gauge made for the purpose. If a gauge is not available, tension can be checked with moderate thumb pressure applied to the belt at its longest span midway between pulleys. If the belt has a free span less than twelve inches, it should deflect approximately 1 / 8 - 1 / 4 in. (3-6mm). If the span is longer than twelve inches, deflection can range between 1 / 8 - 3 / 8 in. (3-9mm).

  1. Loosen the driven accessory's pivot and adjustment bolts. The pivot bolts are the bolts that enable the accessory to move in the either direction for adjustment. The adjustment bolts are the bolts in the slotted brackets.
  2.  
  3. Move the accessory toward or away from the engine until the tension is correct. You can use a wooden hammer handle or a broomstick as a lever, but do not use anything metallic.
  4.  
  5. Tighten the bolts and recheck the tension. If new belts have been installed, run the engine for a few minutes, then recheck and readjust as necessary.
  6.  



Click image to see an enlarged view

Fig. Fig. 1: Belt tension gauge for an engine with V-belts

It is better to have belts too loose than too tight, because overtight belts will lead to bearing failure, particularly in the water pump and alternator. However, loose belts place an extremely high impact load on the driven component due to the whipping action of the belt.



Click image to see an enlarged view

Fig. Fig. 2: Many vehicles will have a decal illustrating the correct accessory belt routing

REMOVAL & INSTALLATION



See Figure 3

  1. Loosen the accessory-to-mounting bracket bolt(s) and adjusting bolt.
  2.  
  3. Rotate the accessory to relieve belt tension.
  4.  
  5. Slip the drive belt from the accessory pulley and remove it from the engine.
  6.  

If the engine uses more than one belt, it may be necessary to remove belts that are in front of the belt being removed

To install:


Click image to see an enlarged view

Fig. Fig. 3: If the engine uses more than one belt, it may be necessary to remove belts that are in front of the belt being removed

  1. Place the new belt over the crankshaft or drive pulley and stretch over the driven (accessory) pulley.
  2.  
  3. If removed, install the other belts in the same way.
  4.  
  5. Adjust the belts to the proper tension.
  6.  
  7. Tighten the adjusting and mounting bolts.
  8.  

 
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