92 SE tensioner change - GM Forum - Buick, Cadillac, Chev, Olds, GMC & Pontiac chat


1992-1999 Series I L27 (1992-1994 SE,SLE, SSE) & Series II L36 (1995-1999 SE, SSE, SLE) and common problems for the Series I and II L67 (all supercharged models 92-99) Including Olds 88's, Olds LSS's and Buick Lesabres Please use General Chat for non-mechanical issues, and Performance and Brainstorming for improvements.

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Old 12-03-2005, 01:43 PM   #1
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Default 92 SE tensioner change

I need to put in a new tensioner because the belt'* been squeaking lately, and an overpriced mechanic told me about 7 months ago that it had about 6 months left in it. I've been checking other posts, and I haven't seen anything specific for a 92 SE.

Are there any differences? I have my belt routing diagram still on the engine, but I wasn't sure about the rest. I assume that I'll have to take off 2 coolant fittings, the power steering, and the alt. Should I be cautious about getting a plastic pulley vs a metal pulley on the new one?
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Old 12-03-2005, 03:10 PM   #2
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Is the entire tensioner assembly bad? Has the spring in the sprin loaded arm become weak or borken?

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Old 12-03-2005, 03:49 PM   #3
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The mechanic told me that the spring isn't pulling smoothly anymore, that sometimes it gets hung up and doesn't tension the belt evenly. I was driving to work this week, and I started to get a chirp from the belt after sitting in traffic at a dead stop for a while, with headlights and defroster on. (The battery and alternator are brand new) My lights started going dim, then really bright for a few seconds, and the meter jumped up to 16 a few times, then nosedived. (I have a thread about that on the electrical part of the forum)

What I decided to do after talking to the guys here is replace the tensioner, and see if that solves my problems. They may have given me a bad alt too, but I think that maybe the belt is slipping, especially when there'* heavy draw on it. Belt is less than a year old, too.

I have to do the work at a friend'* place, since i have no garage currently, and I was hoping to get everthing I need before I headed over there.
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Old 12-03-2005, 04:51 PM   #4
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Sometimes the spring on the inside of the tensioner actually can break causing the tensioner to be weak...

Let us know how it all goes..

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Old 12-03-2005, 10:26 PM   #5
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Help! I've got everything apart except the elbow connecting to the heater core into the water pump won't come out. I've tried penetrating oil, pulling it hard, and I can't seem to find a screw anywhere. Short of breaking it off, I can't seem to figure out how to get the elbow out, or get the tensioner off around it. Any advice?
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Old 12-03-2005, 11:28 PM   #6
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Meech, I'm not sure which part you're talking about that may be in the way, although our engines are not identical. Can you take a pic?

Or better yet, can you PM me your number? I'm free tomorrow, and can swing by and help you finish up if you like.
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Old 12-04-2005, 05:40 AM   #7
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Got it! On my car, there'* two long metal *-shaped lines that bring the coolant from the engine to the heater core. One goes into the block behind the alternator, and one slides into the back of the water pump, in the block. They're wedge pressure fittings with an o-ring (I'm sure they have a fancy name, but I don't know it) and the one on the water pump wouldn't even budge for about a half hour, but a lot of penetrating oil and wiggling finally got it loose.

Ironically, the o-rings I got to replace the old ones weren't the right size (but they looked identical by eye), and began to spray coolant when the system pressurized. I had to have the car running tonight, so the old ones went back in, and it seems to have worked. The car runs surprisingly better than it did, it had a pretty nasty vibration that I hadn't noticed until it was gone. No more problems with noises, squeaks or chirps, just a suspicious little whistle out of the new alt that I'm not going to worry about.

I am so tired and so relieved that it'* done. If you're still curious about photos, I can do them tomorrow. I didn't find any place where my tensioner bracket touched a hose though, nothing behind it or anything, but the cracked plastic elbow was replaced with metal in August, and I'm not sure where that used to go. The whole thing didn't sound quite like what I had read here, so maybe there are some differences with them.

Thanks for all the support everyone, I just saved $350 on this one. That'll definitely help pay some other bills.
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Old 12-04-2005, 11:48 AM   #8
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Good work. We expect that car to be running this coming July for our 3rd annual west coast meet.
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Old 12-04-2005, 03:33 PM   #9
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Sounds like fun! I'll do my best, she'* a family heirloom.
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