- safety goggles (lol).
- 2az-fe serpentine belt (i chose Goodyear Gatorback for my camry which is around $29.99 for most applications).
- ratcheting socket wrench (the longer, the more leverage, the better).
- breaker bar (optional).
- 19mm socket (for your wrench).
- mechanic/working gloves (optional for extra grip).
- beverage of your own choice (keep out of engine bay of course ).
step 1 – pre-removal steps
first off, take a good look at the belt and draw and memorize the belt routing and how all the smooth pulleys are in contact with the smooth side of the belt, and all the ribbed pulleys are in contact with the ribbed side of the belt.
step 2 – taking out the old serpentine belt
there are two ways to take off the belt; you can either loosen the tensioner and simply slip off the belt off the alternator pulley (the most accessible pulley imo), or you can loosen the tensioner and just cut the belt, and take the risk of the belt slapping you in the face pretty hard due cuz you wrongfully thought you gave all the slack it could . use the 19mm socket wrench on the tensioner nut (green in the diagram below) and pull it clockwise towards the front of the car. this requires a bit of effort- it may seem like it’s stuck, but the hydraulic tensioner is really just that hard to budge *this is where the long wrench or breaker bar is desired*. you’ll be able to see the belt give slack when you give it enough leverage- that’s when you simply yank off the belt off the alternator pulley or whatever pulley seems easiest for you. the tensioner assembly (purple) is a swing arm with a pivot (red) and provides tension thanks to the shock/dampener. pretty straightforward.
save yourself the trouble of trying to slide it over the alternator pulley lip (in the event your tensioner doesn’t give that much) and slide the belt off that smooth guild pulley in the picture, then reverse it. much much easier then trying to slide it over the lip of the alternator pulley.
my tensioner happened to give a lot of slack easily, and the alternator pulley was the easiest to reach with my right hand while my left on the ratchet wrench. but the belt definitely slides off the smooth pulleys easier.
step 3 – pre-install check
with the belt off, this is a good time to check that the alternator, water pump, and a/c compressor pulley are able to rotate freely (don’t rotate too much- just check). they also shouldn’t be loose or be able to wobble.
step 4 – installing the new belt
with the old belt off, you pretty much reverse step 2, starting with putting the belt around all the pulleys (according to diagram) but the alternator pulley or tensioner pulley. make sure the belt is centered on all the pulleys (except the pulley yet to be wrapped around of course), especially the sections where it’s rib-to-rib. place the socket wrench back on that 19mm bolt and pull clockwise towards the front of the car once again to release the tension. don’t use anything to pry the belt on any pulley, because you may bend one of the pulleys or whatnot. with enough slack, you can put the belt back on.
It really helps to have two people doing this because of the amount of force required to move the tensioner. You also omitted a lot of steps such as removing the front passenger wheel, wheel well liner, engine mount, and engine cover.
another person can help by compressing the tensioner, while the installer is using two hands to position the belt. on the other hand, i managed to do it by myself in under 10 minutes, and i don’t consider myself an extremely strong person. but another person significantly can help no doubt.
as for removing the front passenger wheel, and wheel well liner, i don’t think that’s necessary due to the ample amount of space between the wheel well and belt/pulley system. removal of the engine mount and engine cover is definitely not necessary because it is not hindering access to the whole belt/pulley system.
step 5 – final check
check that the belt is correctly aligned and positioned. make sure all tools are out of engine compartment. start the engine in order to get the belt moving and check the belt again to make sure it’s aligned. consume beverage of choice. recycle.