Cavalier 1998 2.2L engine squeal

I have a squeal that varies with engine RPM. Sounds like it is the alternator but it could very well be the idler. I soaked the idler with water and squeal disappeared for a few seconds. Tried to drop some oil on it
but was not successful. How difficult is the idler to replace? I looked it up in the service manual at the library but it was not too detailed and appears to be a little complex for a do-it-yourselfer. TIA
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The idler is a simple repair. Remove the belt and the idler will unbolt from the tensioner with one bolt. A very quick fix, and not at all too complex for a DIYer. That makes a good time to replace the belt if it hasn't been replaced before, or if it's showing signs of wear.
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remove the belt? Do I loosen the generator <grin> (as in the old days) to slacken the belt so it can be removed or is there another step? The manual referred to backing off a belt tension adjustment (on some models) but I do not see one. AM
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Your first step should be to head over to the local auto parts store and pick up a Haynes manual for your car, or some equivalent. Very informative for the DIYer.
To answer your question though, the belt tensioner has a square hole in it for a 3/8 ratchet handle to fit into. Put it in and reef on it. The tensioner is spring loaded and will rotate back allowing you to slip the belt off a pulley. Release the pressure and the tensioner will return to its at rest position. Replace the pulley and if desired, install a new belt. If your belt is cracked and checked in the rib area, then replace it.
I'm not sure if you have to remove the motor mount on that car to replace the serpentine belt. The Haynes manual will tell you, or you can look and see for yourself. If you do have to remove the motor mount, then place a jack with a board on it to distribute pressure, under the oil pan and jack it up just enough to support the engine and take a little pressure off of the motor mount. Remove the mount, change the belt and reinstall the mount. Remove the jack.
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spent a couple of hours at our local library looking through the Chilton (sp?) manuals, the only ones on file. Surprisingly the manuals they had did not give any detail on the procedure. Just a kind of a generic view and I could not find answers to the questions, which you provided.
Oops! If I have to haul out the jack stands and jack I'm afraid it will be beyond my capability. I (use) to know my way around cars and did most of my own repairs until age caught up with me. My body is no longer flexible enough to even change oil, as I don't bend that way anymore. It is too difficult for me to roll around on the floor but I can still do a few minor things from above (with a little help). I try to keep up with the constant maintenance but my wife keeps complaining that I'm trying to kill myself. Nag, nag, and nag!
Initially I thought that this would be a simple task, loosen the alternator slip off the belt, R&R one pulley and within a couple of hours it would be done. Now, with your help I know what to look for and I will see if I'm competent enough to complete the job. It is a little congested in that part of the engine! AM
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There is a Haynes repair manual that covers 1995 to 2004 Cavaliers. This literature is Haynes part # 38016 and it should cost about $14.
Here is a photo of the belt tensioner with the 3/8 hole visible that Mike refers to:
http://www.rockauto.com/ref/Dayco/Detail.html?89264.jpg
Mike Marlow wrote:

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OK Tom I see it, without that photo I would never have found it. I also see now why Mike indicated that the motor mount might need to be removed. I will not know until I start the task but it appears like I might also need to remove the right front tire. Thanks to both you and Mike for the assistance. AM

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Regarding the 2.2L engine, my niece has a 1995 Buick Century 4cyl 2.2 that has the same engine as the cavlalier . Her belt is squealing like a pig, and probably needs a new belt and/or tensioner. I tried to find the tensioner on her engine, but couldn't find it.
Is the tensioner underneath the engine? Can't see it from the top.
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It is nearly up against the fire wall and the bottom of the engine.

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