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How to Replace a Serpentine Belt in a 2001 Toyota Highlander V6

by Tim Anderson

The serpentine belt in a 2001 Toyota Highlander runs a variety of components within the engine as well as the engine itself. The belt routes through the water pump, the alternator, the power steering pump and the air conditioner compressor along with the crankshaft for the engine. The belt also routes around the belt tensioner pulley, which keeps the entire system tight. Removal is necessary when the belt wears out over time or if it breaks. You can follow the belt configuration chart on the underside of the hood to help you replace the belt when necessary.

Raise the hood of the Toyota Highlander. Locate the configuration diagram for the serpentine belt system on the underside of the hood or near the radiator. Refer to this chart for the exact location of the automatic belt tensioner pulley and for the routing of the belt through the various components in the engine.

Slot the 3/4-inch socket onto the end of your breaker bar. Slide the socket onto the end of the bolt that protrudes from the belt tensioner just above the main crankshaft pulley. Apply clockwise force, pulling the breaker bar toward you and toward the front of the vehicle for several seconds until the tensioner compresses fully. Keep pressure on the bar and slide the belt off the pulley with the flathead screwdriver. Slowly release pressure on the bar until the tensioner has returned to its original position. Remove the belt from the other pulleys within the engine.

Route the new serpentine belt over the pulleys. Ensure that the grooves in the belt match the grooves on the pulleys. Start by routing the belt around the alternator pulley and work your way around the power steering pulley, the water pump pulley, then the remaining pulleys in the engine. Refer to the configuration chart diagram for the proper routing method. Leave the tensioner pulley for last.

Compress the tensioner pulley and use the flathead screwdriver to leverage the serpentine belt over the tensioner. Slowly release the pressure on the pulley, and check that the belt is properly configured according to the chart. Ensure the belt is centered on every pulley. Remove the breaker bar. Close the hood. Start the engine. Listen for any sounds such as screeching or flapping that might indicate the belt has not been installed properly. Adjust the belt, if necessary.

Tip

  • If your configuration chart is missing from your Toyota Highlander, you can download an owner's manual from the Toyota website, or you can obtain a manual from a Toyota dealership.

Warning

  • Do not attempt to remove or replace the belt over the tensioner pulley with your fingers, because that could result in injury. Use a flathead screwdriver.

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About the Author

Tim Anderson has been freelance writing since 2007. His has been published online through GTV Magazine, Home Anatomy, TravBuddy, MMO Hub, Killer Guides and the Delegate2 group. He spent more than 15 years as a third-generation tile and stone contractor before transitioning into freelance writing.

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