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Old 07-30-2021, 03:15 AM   #1 (permalink)
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How do I loosen the serpentine belt on a 2006 Camry without ruining the boss?

Does anyone remember this?
Four years ago Mom's car wouldn't start when we went to leave for the airport. I got a jump and we barely made it to Big O, who replaced the alternator. Some time later I replaced the serpentine belt and the boss on the tensioner was partially stripped. I used a 6-point socket and a breaker bar, but the boss sheared before I was able to remove the belt. I replaced the tensioner and tried to be more careful, but I still sheared the new boss!

Mom had her car towed to the mechanic, but the boss is still sheared, and now she needs a new alternator.

What brand does Big O use? I need to avoid it!

The alternator is right up top. I just need to unbolt it and remove cables. However, I need to loosen the belt, which brings me back to my old nemesis, that aluminum boss!

Shouty Kilmer made a video about it. He claimed that Toyota originally used cheap pot metal, but now they do it right:

Except Mom's old tensioner and her new one look identical--including the sheared boss!

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Old 08-02-2021, 01:16 AM   #2 (permalink)
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I spent all day yesterday and hours today trying to figure out how to replace the alternator without replacing the tensioner again.

Almost everything that I find says to cut off the belt and replace the tensioner, but since my new tensioner failed the same way, this seems stupid.

Some people talk about slipping the belt off of an idle pulley instead of the alternator pulley, which doesn't require as much slack, but still, how do you get that much slack?

Virtually everyone calls the boss a fake bolt or nut welded to the assembly. Some people call it a dummy nut, but it is pressed into the aluminum.

Ever break an aluminum component?

One troll claimed that a guy making a video should have watched a couple of videos first in order to actually know what he was doing.

I watched 15 videos and while different people used different tools to apply pressure to the boss, everyone applied pressure to the boss.

Only Shouty mentioned the possibility of it breaking.

Everyone else was a better mechanic than Shouty?

The thing is, very many people complained they stripped or broke their boss, so this is definitely a problem.

I commented on the most recent videos of 20 car channels. It turns out that you aren't able to comment after that. It doesn't tell you anything, it just gives you an error when you try to find help elsewhere. All that I have received was a useless emojo and people telling me that I was asking in the wrong place.

I have received computer help from Meet Kevin's Discord channel. You just need to find knowledgeable people who are willing to help.

When I replaced the head gasket in my Forester it said to slowly compress the serpentine belt tensioner with a C clamp. I will see if I can maneuver one in there and tighten it, but I just ran across this:
Quote:
It took some serious improvising to get the belt on but used a short flat bar between the water pump pulley and tensioner pushing the bar back towards the firewall to get the tensioner to where I could slip the belt over the alternator pulley.

I had to force the flat bar by pushing on it with a short piece of pipe (conduit) and wedging it between the flat bar and the radiator support.
I will give it a try!
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Old 08-02-2021, 05:14 AM   #3 (permalink)
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I'd say it's time to design a custom tool for the job.
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Old 08-03-2021, 09:11 PM   #4 (permalink)
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How to replace the serpentine belt on a 2002-2006 Camry without using the boss (fake bolt)


You buy a serpentine belt tool. Mine cost a little more than $30. You don't put it on the 19mm aluminum boss, you put it on the 15mm serpentine tensioner pulley bolt. You can try double-wrenching. Wear gloves and be careful. My wrenches kept coming loose. It started rounding the bolt and each time the belt came off of the power steering pulley.

You can use extra-long wrenches, but I couldn't find any in my area. The only way that worked for me was with the serpentine belt tool and a 15mm socket. I moved it all of the way up against the support on the top of the engine bay, carefully pulled it down, and I slid the belt over it easily. Then it was two 10mm fasteners and 3 cables, the negative battery terminal, and the struggle to remove the serpentine belt tool.

For some reason it went on far easier than it came off.

Apparently you are supposed the replace the tensioner each time that you replace the belt, alternator, air conditioning compressor\pulley, or the power steering pump\pulley.

The tensioner costs as much as the alternator!

Imagine if you were replacing the $20 belt and you find out that you need to replace the $135 tensioner!

Imagine a mechanic telling you all of this, with inflated prices!

Some notes:

It is easiest to slide the belt over the idler than the alternator belt pulley, so do the alternator, then the idler last.

Toyota slightly changed their setup during the 2004 model year, with the newer versions requiring a slightly longer belt. Some brands offer both versions, but this information is difficult to find, and parts store employees don't know the difference.

Toyota of Rockwall will ship this to me for $16.38, so I don't understand choosing aftermarket and possibly getting a belt that doesn't fit.

You are also risking stripping something while you try to make it fit.
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Old 08-03-2021, 11:09 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Is this the tool you bought? If so, how would we make one?

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See my car's mod & maintenance thread and my electric bicycle's thread for ongoing projects. I will rebuild Black and Green over decades as parts die, until it becomes a different car of roughly the same shape and color. My minimum fuel economy goal is 55 mpg while averaging posted speed limits. I generally top 60 mpg. See also my Honda manual transmission specs thread.



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Old 08-04-2021, 01:24 AM   #6 (permalink)
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This is the package:

That isn't the best picture to show the tool itself, but had I seen this picture I should have found it quickly

It is a 23" bar with an attachment on the end for a 3/8" socket. It comes with a shorter bar with a 1/2" attachment and some sockets and crows feet.

There wasn't anything as big as the boss and the crow's foot didn't work.

It needed to be offset.

Performance Tool Serpentine Belt Tool Part # W84010
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Last edited by Xist; 08-04-2021 at 01:30 AM..
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Old 08-04-2021, 10:04 AM   #7 (permalink)
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That looks amazingly kinda like my breaker bar I got from harbor fright for like $5 (long ago) will it handle 200 lbft force without bending? My son calls it dad's BFW
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Old 08-04-2021, 12:17 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Yes, it is like a breaker bar actually made with a bar. How come breaker bars are made out of rods?
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Old 08-05-2021, 09:43 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Because you can buy round or square stock and it's a simple process to add buldges for attaching things. Heat to red, drop into a fixture, whack shorter couple of times.......
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Old 08-08-2021, 09:42 AM   #10 (permalink)
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I replaced the alternator, but the battery isn't holding a charge very well.

AutoZone says her battery is good, so I worry that her prorated warranty is worthless like with tires. I think that she bought it from her mechanic, but I called twice, and nobody answered. Interstate shows a few other places in town selling their batteries, but none of them were open on Saturday. Then I came home and Mom told someone that she keeps telling me to ignore her warranty and just buy a new one.

I love it when I first hear that she has told me to do something repeatedly when she is talking to someone else.

I think she has the Better MT-24F, 600 cold-cranking amps, 24-month warranty, and 5-year performance warranty for $150.

The Good M-24FHC is the same price for 700 CCA, but only has an 18-month warranty. It just says "Free Replacement Warranty."

Their Best MTP-24F is $170 for 750 CCA and a 2.5/6-year warranty.

Then Premium MTX-24F $210 710 CCA and 3-year warranty and
Super Premium MTZ-34R $300 for 800 CCA and 4-year warranty.

I didn't think that 600 CCA was much, but it is 750 cranking amps.

Walmart sells a battery with a 3-year warranty and 750 CCA for $100 and one with a 2-year warranty and 600 CCA for $80.

The warranty says they will give her 10% off, so $135, when the Walmart one is similar (but with a worse warranty) for $80, and they have a better one (without the prorated warranty) for $100.

If you pay $150 for an Interstate and it fails in the third year they would credit you $67.50 for a replacement, so even the best-case scenario for Interstate favors Walmart.

By the way, once I figured out the belt and finished installing the alternator, it still wouldn't start. I eventually realized that the 120 amp alternator fuse was bad:

Which required removing all of this:

The fuse was $4 and replacing it wasn't too hard. It just seems weird that it has bolts inside the fuse box.

So, now I say the first rule of auto repair to disconnect the negative battery terminal, which I didn't remember until I touched the alternator with my wrench.

Time to buy a carbon fiber socket wrench!

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