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.
- Remove front right tire.
- Remove 4 plastic fasteners holding the splash guard (approx. 12"x 16") near the bottom front of the wheel well. Remove the splash guard.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.