Catera serpentine belt- help needed

My daughter has 1 2000 Cadillac Catera 3.0L FI.
The serpentine belt broke. Took it into Advanced Auto Parts and matched it for size. When I went to put it on, it was to small- even with the tensioner
fully compressed. So I checked online and all the parts stores I checked had the same size belt listed but it was different from the one that came off. So I picked one up and compared it to the one I had. Turns out the one they listed is even smaller than the one I matched to the belt that came off of the car.
Any suggestions on what the problem is? Should I just ask for a belt that is an inch longer than the one they gave me? Are there different size belts used on this engine?
I have double checked the routing of the belt around the pulleys. It is correct. I have also made sure that the belt isn't going around anything it shouldn't!
Thanks in advance for any help on this frustrating problem!
Tim Urbin Bluff City, TN
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Tim Urbin wrote:

You haven't been to a Cadillac dealer yet?
Ian
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Hello, Ian!
No I haven't- should I? It seems to be a straight forward process if the belt is the right size. Am I missing something that would require a dealer to address?
Tim
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Tim Urbin
Bluff City, TN
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Tim Urbin wrote:

My experience has been that you often don't get the right belt from aftermarket places for specialized applications like the Catera. I'd be getting an original GM belt and trying that before you worry about whether the pulleys are the original size or not.
Ian
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Oh- thanks, Ian. I misunderstood. I thought you meant for them to do the work on it- I wasn't thinking for getting the part. How does the cost compare to aftermarket prices? Competitive? The aftermarket prices ranged from a low of $14 for a Kelly-Springfield to a high of $40 for a Dayco.
As always, your responses are very helpful!
Tim
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Tim Urbin
Bluff City, TN
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Tim Urbin wrote:

That I don't know. No doubt it's much more expensive...but then again, if it fits...can't beat that.
Ian
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"Tim Urbin" wrote:
2000 Cadillac Catera 3.0L FI Serpentine belt broke.
New recommended belt from auto parts store is too small. Any suggestions on what the problem is? Should I just ask for a belt that is an inch longer ? Are there different size belts used on this engine? Tim Urbin Bluff City, TN ________________________________________________
We replaced the alternator on our 92 Buick and suddenly the belt was too tight. We double-checked with the auto parts dealer who showed us it was the correct alternator specified for our car, but we found the new pulley was larger than the old one. The dealer installed the old pulley on the new alternator and everything was fine.
If the Catera belt length problem comes from a prior pulley change, a longer belt will do the job. Record the part number of the longer belt for future reference.
Wendy & John. _______________________________________________
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Thanks! That is helpful to know as I was suspecting something was different since the belt that broke was larger than the standard belt. The history of this vehicle is not clear so a changed pulley is a strong possibility.
Tim

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