'93 Cutlass Ciera, s-belt question

I have the 3.3l engine and I’m trying to find the non-A/C serpentine belt for this car. I called NAPA and they said they don’t have it, but when I looked on their website, there is one listed, but it only has 5 ribs whereas the normal one (with A/C) has 6. Will this work ok?


No. You have to put the proper belt on.

The reason why NAPA doesn’t list the belt is because your vehicle never came without AC.

If the AC compressor is being taken out of the system, go back to NAPA and ask about an AC compressor pulley adapter.


www.rockauto.com - they have several choices for your serpentine belt, all $10 - $15. No problem. Rock Auto is the best autoparts retailer, online or otherwise, in my opinion (just a happy customer - not an employee).

Tester, then why does the diagram in the engine compartment show the routing for both A/C and non-A/C? I did see that NAPA has the pulley adapter…

If you have the part number for the non-AC belt with 5 ribs it is easy to get the number for the same belt with 6 ribs.

Belts are basically just measured by their length and width (number of ribs).

For instance, a generic Gates part number might be K050500. This denotes a 5 rib belt 50 inches long. The same belt in a 6 rib configuration would be a K060500. I would bet that most belt manufacturers use a similar nomenclature when assigning part numbers to belts.

@Tester…I usually agree with you 100% of the time but in this case I have one comment. The '93 Cutlass Ciera was available without AC. In Northern Maine and Alaska vehicles generally are delivered without AC. My wife’s '93 Cutlass Ciera did not have AC when we bought it. The original owner was from Fairbanks. A vehicle like that is probably very rare though.

I do agree that the proper belt should be used however. If it’s an original non-AC vehicle then it will require a 5 rib belt. If the OP just removed the AC then a 6 rib belt is needed with an AC compressor bypass pulley.

if you are trying to bypass a bad ac unit Dorman makes a bypass pully for your car part #34202 costs about $40.00 and lets you use the same belt all you have to do is remove the ac comp. and it bolts right up where the comp goes

How hard is it to disconnect the AC compressor? And yes, that’s what I’m trying to do. I haven’t really worked on cars much beyond changing oil and filters, but I’ve been trying to troubleshoot a noise and in the process I’ve replaced the tensioner pulley, water pump and power steering pump. I figured before doing the alternator, I could just use a shorter belt. But maybe I should just use the AC bypass pulley instead.

What I meant to say is, because it’s a six rib serpentine belt means the car came with AC. So you can’t put a five rib serpentine belt on from a car that didn’t have AC and expect it to work. You have to install the compressor idler pulley in order for the orginal serpentine belt to work.


If I understand correctly, you’re only trying to do diagnosis? For that purpose you should be able to measure the path of the belt with a seamstress’ measuring tape and get a 6-rib belt sufficient to work.

If you decide to leave the system without the AC compressor atteched, you’ll need to cross reference the tensioner part numbers for the engines with and without the AC to be sure that the tensioner is right, and may have to do comparison of the routing for the non-AC and the AC versions to ensure that the wrap will be sufficient. I’d want to check the dimensions of the “Vs” as well to be sure the widths and angles are comparable.

Or you coud simply leave the shorter serp belt and monitor it for irregular wear. We may be being entirely too fussy here.

It is mainly for diagnostic, but now I’m pretty sure it’s the A/C compressor.

As I asked before, how hard is it to remove the A/C compressor and make sure none of the refridgerent leaks?

And thank you all for the helpful comments, I don’t take them for granted.

@umiwangu you’ll have to go to a shop and have the refrigerant recovered.

Don’t be surprised if the shop initially doesn’t want to do this. After all, they’d be much happier to replace the AC compressor, not just remove the refrigerant.

Here’s an idea: call a junkyard and ask them if they’ll recover your refrigerant for a modest fee. They, after all, have no interest in actually repairing cars. And they have to be set up to recover refrigerant and dispose/recycle/reclaim it.

You’ll need specialized equipment and knowledge to test it for leaks.
Removing the compressor completely just requires removing the hardware. But don;t tell any tree huggers. It upsets them terribly to hear that someone has released something into the air.

I’ll call the place where the previous owners used to take the car (I only got it a year ago) and see what they would charge to put in a bypass pulley, plus recovering the refrigerant. I’ve gone over there a couple times to ask their advice and I should probably give them some actual money for their work for a change.

Actually the tree huggers probably already hate me for my fumbling attempts at car maintenance. I promise to do better next time.

It turned out to be the crankshaft pulley, which I wouldn’t have been able to fix anyway (it took them a while to get the pulley off). So thankfully I still have my (mostly working) A/C. I’m just glad I got the experience of replacing my water pump and power steering pump.

Thanks guys!

@umiwangu what do you mean with “it turned out to be the crankshaft pulley” ?

Are you saying the crankshaft pulley (harmonic balancer, actually) was somehow defective?

Can you disconnect the compressor so it will not turn on? I have seen many bad compressors left alone as long as no one turned it on. With the A/C clutch dissengaged it might work out as a good belt tensioner.

This is interesting. I am considering buying a '93 Cutlass Ciera tomorrow, 6 cylinder engine. Have you owned the '93 Cutlass very long, and if so, have you been pretty happy with it? Any major problems with this year of a Cutlass that you have discovered through experience?