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Serpentine belt tensioner. Without it A. belt slips or B. cannot install belt - all other named items do not move relative to each other.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I see now - that makes sense... at first I thought the idler would do that, but I'm betting that idler is actually just there to give the belt enough of a footprint on the crank pulley to prevent slippage.
 
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