Join Date: Sep 2010
Location: Harrison, NY
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Serpentine Belt Installation Procedure
Thought these step bye step instructions might be helpful to anyone planning on installing a serpentine belt on their Rav4 2004.
1) Remove the right front wheel (this makes the job much easier).
2) Remove enough of the hardware holding the splash guard in place to move it out of your way (I removed the three screws I needed to with a phillips head screwdriver, or you can use a 10mm socket and appropriate drive. I removed the two remaining push in fasteners with a small slotted screwdriver).
3) Using a long breaker bar (I used a 17” half inch drive Craftsman) and a 19mm half inch drive 6 point socket, (I used a Craftsman socket that was 1 1/2" deep) compress the tensioner (use a slow and steady pressure to achieve this compression). There’s only one 19mm bolt on the tensioner assembly, so you can’t make a mistake (I attacked it from the top side of the motor, pulling the breaker bar toward the front of the vehicle).
4) While keeping the tensioner compressed, have an assistant (in my case it was my beloved fiancée Ann) slip the belt off the small, smooth idler pulley. You will then be able to work the belt off the rest of the pulleys.
5) Install the new belt (its non directional, so you don’t have to worry about that) by wrapping around the power steering pulley first. Make sure you leave the small, smooth idler pulley for last. That’s the easiest pulley to finish the installation with.
6) After you’ve checked to see that the new belt is wrapped around all the pulleys correctly (not only the orientation, but that the belt’s grooves are mated to all the pulleys’ grooves properly), start the engine and make sure the belt turns smoothly.
7) Reinstall the splash guard, the wheel, and you’re good to go.
Just as insurance, I had a Chilton manual available to me, so that I could keep referring back to the serpentine belt installation diagram when needed.