Serpentine Belt / Accessory Belt Replacement Tips - Toyota RAV4 Forums
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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old 10-04-2017, 12:25 AM Thread Starter
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Serpentine Belt / Accessory Belt Replacement Tips

I struggled for quite awhile to install a new Continental Elite Poly-V serpentine belt (4060495) from the top on my '13 Rav4. Here are a few things I learned.

  • There's enough clearance to unload the tensioner and remove the old belt from the top of the motor. However, I couldn't get the new belt on from the top. I suspect that is because the old belt was a bit stretched but the new belt was very tight. Even with the tensioner fully unloaded to its stop, I couldn't stretch the belt enough to get it over the final pulley...regardless of what final pulley I tried.
  • From the top, I could route the belt around all the pulleys (except the tensioner pulley) but didn't have the access/clearance to hold the tensioner at its stop and push the belt over the tensioner pulley at the same time.
  • If I routed the belt around all pulleys (including the tensioner) except for the alternator pulley, I didn't have enough excess length to push the belt over the taller outside lip on the alternator pulley.
  • The crankshaft pulley is accessible from underneath the vehicle, so that may help with removal or installation.
  • I removed the 4" bracket near the alternator (one 10mm bolt) and moved the attached wiring harness to gain a little extra room.

Regardless of what I did, I just couldn't get the belt on from the top. Instead, I installed the belt by accessing the front of the motor through the right wheel well.

  1. Remove front right tire.
  2. Remove 4 plastic fasteners holding the splash guard (approx. 12"x 16") near the bottom front of the wheel well. Remove the splash guard.
  3. Route the belt around all pulleys by working through the wheel well and from the top of the motor. Gather up all the excess slack near the tensioner.
  4. I used a 3/8" ratchet with a 14mm socket to unload the tensioner. There wasn't enough clearance between the tensioner and the vehicle frame to fit anything larger. Plus, a box end wrench wasn't adjustable enough for me to get it to point downward into the wheel well area. I put a thin copper pipe on the end of the ratchet handle so that it would project straight down into the wheel well area far enough that I could get a hold of it. The ratcheting action allowed me to place it where I could rotate the ratchet handle within the available space while unloading the tensioner.
  5. Unload the tensioner to full stop and then slide the belt over the tensioner. It was a really close fit--there's almost no excess belt length to work with--but it popped right on. Because the tensioner pulley doesn't have a lip, the belt slides on easier.

That is, by far, the easiest way to remove and install the belt and is about a 15 minute job if one goes through the wheel well. Maybe that's obvious to some, but I had to learn it the hard way. Hope that helps someone else!
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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old 10-04-2017, 08:27 AM
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Both the Gen2 and Gen3 are done thru the passenger side wheel well. Maybe if you watched a few youtube video you could have save the time what works.

2009 RAV4 Sport V6 4WD
2005 RAV4 Base 4WD -sold
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post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old 10-04-2017, 09:30 AM
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I'm guessing this would be the same for a 2015 XLE?

-Josh Feldhaus

2015 RAV4 XLE AWD-Curt Class 3 Trailer Hitch & Wiring,12V & USB Plugs, LED Interior Lights

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post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old 10-06-2017, 01:22 PM
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Tensioners are always a PITA. I have found that special tools such as this https://www.princessauto.com/en/deta...ol/A-p8051658e really help. Places like Harbor Freight carry more or less the same thing.

There are "professional" versions as well.
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post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old 10-16-2017, 12:51 PM Thread Starter
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I'm guessing this would be the same for a 2015 XLE?
I would imagine. Perhaps someone with a '15 could confirm the same access panel in the wheel well.
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post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old 05-16-2019, 03:56 PM
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so last time i was at a dealership for 55k miles service, they recommended to replace the serpentine belt. is it necessary to replace this at this point?? my 4.4 is 2013 xle awd with 55k miles.
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post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old 05-16-2019, 04:35 PM Thread Starter
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so last time i was at a dealership for 55k miles service, they recommended to replace the serpentine belt. is it necessary to replace this at this point?? my 4.4 is 2013 xle awd with 55k miles.
50K miles is about the recommended service interval. Folks often use them a lot longer than that. If you want to push beyond the regular service interval, you could inspect regularly for cracks and signs of wear.
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post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old Today, 02:54 PM
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thanks for the feedback bob k.
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