Question about 1997 Saturn SL

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I need to know how to tighten the belts on a 1997 saturn where is the tension belt located?

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The tensioner sits about mid block on the passenger side. to replace it, you need to take off the right front wheel and remove the plastic service panel. these go bad and they are replaced, not repaired. relieve tension by putting a long open/box wrench on the tensioner and take off the serpentine belt. remove two bolts, take off the tensioner and put a new one in its place. they cost less than 50 bucks. might want to replace the belt while you are at it. put the same long wrench back on the tensioner, move it back, put the belt on, release the tensioner, put the wheel back on and you are in business. i am sure there are videos of this over on youtube.

Posted on Aug 22, 2010


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I need to know where the tensioner is located so i can tighten my alternator belt

there is a tensioner for the serpentine belt, it is spring loaded so it adjusts by itself. if the belt is loose then the spring in the tensioner has gone south. you need a new tensioner, about 50 bucks but replacing it is beyond normal owner servicing. there are many videos of folks replacing tensioners on youtube. note the tools they have, and most videos are shot from under a lift. if you have all those on hand, then you would not have asked the question. buy the part and take it to a repair shop.

Jan 18, 2011 | 1993 Saturn SL2

1 Answer

Loose belt. how do you tighten it or repair it?

  • Open the hood to the Saturn SL and locate the serpentine belt routing diagram on the front engine frame rail. This diagram will show you where the tensioner pulley is in comparison to the others. You will need to refer to it to make sure the belt is aligned properly when it comes time to place the belt back on.
  • 2 Stand on the side of the right fender of the Saturn SL located in front of the belt and pulleys. Locate the tensioner pulley according to the belt routing diagram. Different applications of Saturn SLs (for example, with power steering and air conditioning or without power steering or air conditioning or any variety thereof) may place the automatic belt tensioner in slightly different locations. As you will note from the room between the engine and the interior fender well, you have an extremely limited amount of room to work. This is why the telescopic magnet will come in handy; you're going to drop a wrench and need to retrieve it from the bottom of the splash shield.
  • 3 Place the box end of the long-handled 14-mm wrench onto the center bolt of the automatic tensioner and turn it clockwise. This will relieve the tension on the belt. Take the belt off the upper-right hand pulley only (unless you're replacing the belt as well) toward the front of the car. Allow the tension to go back and remove the wrench.
  • 4 Slip the back of the serpentine belt off the tensioner. Locate the two bolts on the flange of the tensioner and remove them, using the ratchet and a deep socket. If you need more room to get to the bolts, you could remove the pulley wheel off the automatic belt tensioner by placing the 14-mm long-handled wrench back onto the center bolt of the pulley but turn counterclockwise and remove the bolt and pulley.
  • 5 Install the new belt tensionser, replace the bolts, threading them in by hand at first and then tightening with the ratchet and socket. This is going to be challenging due to the lack of room in the cavity you're working. Place the 14-mm wrench back onto the center bolt of the tensioner pulley and turn clockwise to release the tension and reapply the belt to the upper pulley and on top of the tensioner or replace the belt, according to the belt routing diagram.

  • Dec 10, 2010 | 1997 Saturn SL

    2 Answers

    Need to tighten the belt and nothing looks movable. Anyone have a diagram?

    it the belt is loose, the tensioner is bad. Its a pulley that should move and has spring tension on it. its a large pulley about 3" in diameter. replace the belt and tensioner.

    Dec 09, 2010 | 1995 Saturn Sl

    1 Answer

    My belt is loose and it will not tighten up I also see the tensioner pulley has some seal around the back of the pulley is coming off

    i would replace the belt if needed and for the tensioner pully i would take it off and bring it into auto zone or something to see what really is wrong with it.

    Mar 08, 2010 | 1997 Saturn SL

    1 Answer

    1997 Saturn SC2 squeals very loud the first 3-5miles

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    Feb 15, 2010 | 1997 Saturn SL

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    Very loose belt, can i tighten it

    A loose belt is usually the result of a tensioner that is going bad. Check the tensioner, if you can move it with your hand it's time to replace it. The tensioner is designed to keep the belt tight as it get's older and stretches.

    Dec 12, 2009 | 1997 Saturn SL

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    I'm trying to get the alternator off of a 92 saturn and I can't get the belt to loosen to get it off the whole way. I know there is a a tensioner pulley somewhere but I really have no clue what to look...

    look at the belt itself and you will see where the belt has like a metal spring loaded part on it holding the belt on and that is the tensioner and you either pull up or pull down on the tensioner to loosen the belt

    Feb 21, 2009 | 1997 Saturn SL

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    Saturn Belt Tensioner...

    You probably have a bad tensioner, you cannot tighten a bad tensioner because the bearrings inside have gone bad so your belt will just keep coming off. I had the same problem, don't wait to fix this because your car can over heat, you can lose power steering without proper belt tension. Pay the few dollars now(and I do mean few) and avoid problems later.

    Nov 03, 2008 | 1998 Saturn SL

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