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08 Rav4 6cyl 58,000 miles


Water pump was replaced 3.5 years ago at 43,000


Recently car started making an clearly audible noise from right-passenger side of engine. noise more with acceleration. thought it was another water pump fail due to history of failing on these cars. took it to dealer and they said it was the idler puller and quote of $395. I cannot pay that at this time so I ordered the Toyota idler pulley and plate off Ebay for just over $50


oddly the noise started about 2 weeks after I switched the vehicle over to synthetic oil, Mobil 1 EP and filter. Probably has no correlation, just thought it was odd timing.

1- is it dangerous to drive the car with the pulley going bad, if it goes all the way will the car die while driving?
2-is there any info on the site for pictures, instructions, DIY sticky, you tube link etc, or any helpful hints with removal and installation. Any help very much appreciated! Thank you!
 

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THE idler pulley is cake to replace, but I don't think it comes with a plate...I think you bought the tensioner pulley...the 3.5 was used in many vehicles so Google replacing it as a Toyota 3.5 and not just a rav4 and you should find results...also when was the last time the belt was changed? I bought a new idler pulley thinking mine was bad and it turned out to just be a bad serpentine belt...
 

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I think its the right piece(I hope) as all the dealers had it listed as the idler pulley. the plate I think is a small piece that goes on the back of the pulley like a small dust cover. I looked up Toyota 3.5 idler pulley and all I could find was stuff on the serpentine belt.


Also, somewhere I think I read awhile back about all involved in timing belt change in that area of the car and I thought it mentioned that some bolt has to be turned in the opposite direction than normal. I think it was the tensioner pulley bolt or idler bolt. With messing with the drive belt, do any off the pulley bolts turn the opposite way? Thanks
 

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my 2 cents:

I am at 130k and thought my tensioner was making noise as well. I ordered a belt and a new tensioner and found that the belt was the issue. I did the water spray test but it wasn't terribly conclusive but I have not heard the squeak at all since I replaced the belt.
 

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If it is just the idler pulley then it is total cake...I removed mine a while back and did everything from the bottom...search the forums and you will find a post by me that says exactly how to do it...
 

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I think its the right piece(I hope) as all the dealers had it listed as the idler pulley. the plate I think is a small piece that goes on the back of the pulley like a small dust cover. I looked up Toyota 3.5 idler pulley and all I could find was stuff on the serpentine belt.


Also, somewhere I think I read awhile back about all involved in timing belt change in that area of the car and I thought it mentioned that some bolt has to be turned in the opposite direction than normal. I think it was the tensioner pulley bolt or idler bolt. With messing with the drive belt, do any off the pulley bolts turn the opposite way? Thanks
this is from when i did my belt and checked the idler pulley...

I did my serpentine belt a few weeks ago and pulled the pulleys just to look at them...very easy...I put the front wheels on ramps...then removed the plastic splash shield on the bottom...it goes from side to side...remove the right side (passenger) plastic inner fender/splash shield...then remove what they call a suspension member I think...it has 4 17 mm (I think) bolts...once those bolts come out that bar comes down and you have plenty of room to work...to remove the belt I put a 14mm (I think) box wrench on the bolt that holds the tensioner pulley on...that bolt is reverse threaded so you turn it counter clockwise and it will release the tension on the belt...you can then remove the idler puller...it was not reverse threaded...in some instructions I read they mentioned moving the coolant tank out of the way...I did not need to or do anything from the top...I would also replace the belt while you're in there....
 

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Thank you all. Thank you for taking the time to find that instruction and posting it. It is clear instruction and I can visualize it.


By the way....whats the water test...is it just spraying water on the belt to see if it quiets down?


Considering going ahead and replacing the belt while I am in there. It looked great when I looked at it a few months ago and to me 58,000 on a Toyota belt is not much, but maybe if I am already in there.


Also, I have 4 cars, 3 Toyotas and I get mixed up sometimes. Does the rav4 6cyl just have the one belt or is there another exposed belt. My 2 Camry's and my Odyssey have 2 each. I can only remember one now for some reason.


Thanks!
 

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My belt started making noise at 40k and even when I took it off it had no major cracking...spraying water on the belt lubes it up a little bit and if the belt is the source of the noise it will go away for a short period of time...the rav uses 1 belt...
 

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Yes, that is the test I meant. For me, my issue was intermittent so I wasn't sure whether the belt was the source or the tensioner. If it was the tensioner, i guess it wouldn't have been so intermittent.
 

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Thanks to all! I needed to get the noise gone and make sure the car was good to go as I had to go out of town about 270 miles each way. The day before I left I did the job with help from the above posts and it was not bad at all. A little tedious with the tight space getting the bolt on and off the idler pulley, but really not bad at all. I did not even curse once. The night before I did a belt replacement on my Odyssey and it was a pain trying to rig tools together to push the tensioner without busting my knuckles. For the Rav4 I went to Harbor Freight Tools and spent under 20 bucks for a belt-pulley long flat wrench with sockets and fittings. That's a great tool and made things much easier. So, I replaced the idler pulley and the plate. The plate really was just a washer looking dust cap. It actually was the idler pulley that was making the noise like the dealer said. I figured once I replaced it that bad luck would make it be something else then the F-Bombs would start in. Replaced pulley and all quiet now. I ordered a new belt, but it was delayed in shipping and I will put that on another day. With being in there already and seeing things, I think I could replace the belt in a half hour or less. Also, with the splash and underside plastic off I drilled out a hole in the plastic for the future for draining the transmission fluid. The mention of removing that suspension bracket piece was a real help. It was 4 bolts and easy. Made great access. Thanks again!
 
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