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'98 Cavalier belt tensioner bolt HELP!

08-07-2004, 01:17 PM

I'm in the process of changing my drive belt on my '98 Cavalier and I can't seem to locate the belt tensioner bolt. So, if anyone could help me with a description or a link to the belt tensioer location that would be most appreciated. Thanks.

08-17-2004, 01:04 PM
the bolt is located in the center of the belt tensioner. The book says to turn clockwise, but I found if you are looking at the engine from the passenger side you need to turn the bolt counter clockwise. The tensioner is spring loaded so you need elbow grease. turn as far as possible then remove the drive belt.

08-18-2004, 12:39 AM
um.... no. Not counter clock wise. The tensioner is under the upper engine mount, the pully right under that. Great place for one Eh? When you are on the passenger side hovering over the Coolant resovoir... the engine mount should be right in front of that with the pully right below that. Get a wrench on it and pull it towards the front of the car. Clockwise....some people need to think first.

08-18-2004, 10:39 AM
I have a 98 2.4L Cavi and I just ran into this 3 hours before I posted the message, Go ahead and turn it clockwise, see how far that gets you

09-01-2008, 01:00 PM
The tensioner is the pully closest to the alternator. should be down and to the left
you need either a breaker bar (socket rench that doesnt rachet) or an N wrench depending on weather there is a bolt or square hole.
turn this CLOCKWISE as far as you can and HOLD IT until you (or someone else!) takes the belt off of the alternator. then GENTLY release the tensioner. take note of the layout of your belt. there should be a diagram somewhere under the hood that shows you.

09-01-2008, 08:14 PM
vote #3 for CLOCKWISE
i have no way of knowing which engine your dealing with but this thread MIGHT help

07-18-2010, 10:29 PM
What engine do you have because i have a 2.4l and it turns counter clockwise. Looking at that illustration of the 2.2L i can tell that it depends what engine you got because on the 2.4l there is no water pump and the tensioner pulley is located right under the alternator pulley and the only way to turn is counter clockwise(towards the back of the car). So everyone is correct it just depnds on which engine the person had.

08-19-2010, 02:56 PM
I just replaced the serpentine on my 96 and if you trun the bolt to the right (front of car) you remove tension on the belt and if you turn it to the left you remove the pully.
Hope this helps you


10-21-2010, 07:57 AM

I have the 2.4 as well and the bearing is gone in the tensioner pully. I do recall changing the belt years ago and did use a wrench on the bolt to move the pully back, turning counterclockwise. But to get the bolt to turn to change the pully, has anyone ever done this before. Am hopeing once it bottoms out on the rotation it will turn but am not sure. Have a hanes book but does not say one thing about the belt system.


10-21-2010, 08:10 PM
I am not familiar with a 2.4....but I just change the Idler Pulley and put a new belt on eliminating the A/C compressor... Pull down or the the right to loosen the belt. The bolt is a Std thread... turn to the LEFT to loosen it....

Cheers my Friends....

10-21-2010, 08:16 PM
On my 96 2.2....the BLUE Circle - idler is also the tensioner !!!!

10-22-2010, 07:24 AM

On the 2.4 the tensioner pully is one unit so to speak, and it is about 2-3 inches above where the water pump is.Just not sure on how to get the pully off, as FOSTNT noted to change the belt you turn the bolt counterclockwise to the back of the car. Would be good to know if it is a standard or reverse thread bolt before I start wailing away on it.


12-29-2010, 01:58 PM
how difficult are these to change out I seem to be missing one entirely my car was equipped but somehow along the way it fell off in the last few days

02-23-2013, 10:53 AM
I just finished replacing my alternator in a 97 sunfire 2.4 (same engine as cavalier) and after reading all your posts and trying "clockwise" rotation I found that bdodge is 100 percent correct in stating that is goes "counter clockwise" to relieve tension (at least for a 2.4). I actually found some diagrams that proved his statement is true. (see below)

bdodge, thank you for your post which pointed me in the right direction

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