Serpentine belt not a problem. Timing chain was my first suspect but time and financial reasons have kept me taking it to the shop. Small town and the local mechanics charge too much for their incompetence, next nearest shop is 60 mi. away. I might dig into the problem myself a little more if I had the time and wasn't so intimidated by all the stuff they pack under the hood of a newer vehicle.
to all: the comments are much appreciated, thanks.