Question about 1996 Chevrolet Camaro

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Tensioner pulley broke off of motor

I have a 1996 Camaro, 6 cylinder and the idler or tension pulley just broke off from the motor.
It is not the fixed pulley but the one that is spring loaded.
Is there a fix or engineering change to address this problem?

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I am in the process of replacing my tension assembly in my 1996 Camaro (also a 3800 V6). I haven't got it all apart yet, but I did buy a factory replacement part from O'Reilly's today. From what I can see from looking at the new part, you must remove your alternator first. At that point, you'll see that the tension assembly is a fairly large piece that is only held on by a few bolts. Toward the top, it forms one of the mounts that the alternator attaches to, and toward the bottow, it curves back out and has a couple of rubber hoses attached to it. I haven't figured out where the hoses go to exactly, but they look fairly easy to remove. The thing that really threw me off is that I thought you had to have some sort of special tool to remove the tension assembly. I thought that just the tension pulley (black plastic wheel) and the arm that it attaches to was the assembly, but it's actually a big piece that attaches with a few bolts. Well, I hope this points you in the right direction. Just remember, remove the alternator first and you'll see how big the assembly actually is.


Posted on Nov 25, 2008

  • taran_2005
    taran_2005 Nov 25, 2008

    3 bolts on the front of the assembly...thats it, comes right off. ALTHOUGH, i garuntee you its your idler pulley, they are $13 bucks at your local parts store, if not, less. They are very very commmen, in fact i just replaced mine. Just take the center bolt out and it comes off. You can even take the belt off, spin the pulley with your hand freely and you can hear a faint squeel, than its it, they should not make any noise at all and should be snug, not loose. Go try that i bet you will find your answer!

    HI!... Just repack the bearing. Or you can go down to your local bearing supplier and get a replacement high speed bearing for like $5. It's a waste to change the idler pulley. The pulley on the belt tensioner is not sold separately. It only comes with the tensioner

  • taran_2005
    taran_2005 Nov 25, 2008

    ok guys i got it fixed and it makes no more noise!! after several issues of course. haha

    so i took off the tensioner assembly and it was clearly that pulley. it would grind horribly in my hand. and my original plan was that if the pulleys were the same size, i would put the new idler pulley on the tensioner and the old one back where it is since it was fine. that way the older one was in an easier to acces location. but come to find out they were different sizes so i tried popping out the bearing off the old idler to put it in the tensioner but i messed up the bearings in the process. so i went to the auto parts store and asked for just the bearing and they didnt have that so i had to buy the whole pulley. so i come home to put it all together, get it on the truck and start it makes a horrible sound way different than before. so i assumed it was the belt(because i blew up a belt the night before) but everything seemed fine. so i take off the belt and reach down and the tensioner pulley is rubbing on the block. so i assumed they had gived me the wrong one. so everything came off again. but the pulleys were the same size. but i figured out that we had put the pulley on backwards. what looks like the right way is the wrong way because it gets put on the truck backwards. so it was sticking out too far. so we switched that around and everything is great now. so to say the least...i feel i am almost an expert at taking that tensioner pulley assembly off.

    I hope above pts wld help solving ur question :)



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Pull out the set pin of the auto tensioner.

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