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Need To Vent About AC Idler Pulley Issue 1998 SR5

Discussion in '3rd Gen 4Runners (1996-2002)' started by PIG20, Apr 12, 2021.

  1. Apr 12, 2021 at 7:32 AM
    #1
    PIG20

    PIG20 [OP] New Member

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    So, yesterday I decided to replace my drive belts as well as the AC idler pulley as it was noisy and probably the original pulley. I also needed to get the belts off as I saw some play on my harmonic balancer. Wanted to get a better look at it and see if there was any physical crank shaft movement (which there wasn't). The balancer bushing is probably just worn out.

    However, that's not my problem. My problem is that when I was loosening tension on the AC idler pulley, sure enough, the bolt head for the tensioner snapped. Ok, so, no big deal. I'm replacing the idler pulley anyway. I'll just have to get a new bolt.

    Well, that's where things went completely south. And an hour long job turned into an all day adventure, and still no full solution yet.

    I was able to get the pulley off just fine. However, there is a metal collar that goes onto the bolt before inserting the pulley. That metal collar should theoretically slide off the pulley bolt and then you remove the bolt from the back of the bracket. Well, of course that metal collar is now seized and fused with the pulley bolt.

    Since there is hardly any room in there, using a grinder was not an option. So I tried a Dremel. The angle of the bolt is not ideal for the orientation of a Dremel. I sliced at the collar for hours just hoping it would free itself. Nope. I then thought about cutting a chunk of the top part of the bracket and sliding the bolt out through the cutout hole. Then JB Weld the piece back in. However, I felt there needed to be a better way than that. I would have loved to pull the whole bracket out but that would consist of removing the entire AC Compressor. Which I absolutely do not want to do. I'll run it to a shop before I do that.

    So after I walked away in defeat last night, I started Googling. I found that there is an attachment for my Dremel that turns the Dremel to a 90 degree angle and allows it to act as a standard grinder. So now I can actually try to cut the bolt from behind the collar as there is a little bit of room between the collar and the bracket. So first thing this morning was a trip to Lowes to pick up the part and some heavy duty cutting wheels.

    Not sure if I'm going to try again tonight or wait until tomorrow? However, wish me luck! I will report back with pictures and evidence of the massacre.
     
    Moon Landing and PhantomTweak like this.
  2. Apr 12, 2021 at 12:55 PM
    #2
    Moon Landing

    Moon Landing AFFTC 1967/68 Eddies Air Patch

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    Projects! Steady as you go. Good luck my friend. :thumbsup:
     
  3. Apr 14, 2021 at 5:35 AM
    #3
    PIG20

    PIG20 [OP] New Member

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    Welp, she's off! The angled Dremel tool did the trick! 30 minutes of work whereas I spent over 4 hours on Sunday just nicking at the damn thing with no results. Very happy camper here!:taco:

    Here is a pic of the aftermath....

    https://imgur.com/bqdJwzM
     
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  4. Apr 14, 2021 at 5:40 AM
    #4
    Moon Landing

    Moon Landing AFFTC 1967/68 Eddies Air Patch

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    :cheers: :thumbsup: :woot:
     
    PIG20 [OP] likes this.
  5. Apr 17, 2021 at 5:42 AM
    #5
    Ahdofu

    Ahdofu New Member

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    Thanks for sharing the post mortem picture. Several days ago I struggled in removing the idler bolt on AC as well. I had a lucky break though. I ended up spraying the bolt with some seafoam penetrating oil, waited for a day and that did it.
     
  6. Apr 17, 2021 at 9:33 AM
    #6
    PIG20

    PIG20 [OP] New Member

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    Yeah, I did spray se PB Blaster on the bolts the day prior. Unfortunately, that tensioner bolt was too far seized. Even after I cut it out, I tried holding it in a vice and using vice grips to turn the screw with no movement. She was done for.

    The collar was a "no go" as well. I could see the seizing/frozen points on the metal. Maybe a torch could have helped but there was just too much in the way for me to attempt that. The oil pan, compressor, and some plastic pieces were around there. Just didn't even want to risk making the problem worse than it was.

    Either way, just got my new parts and it only ran $75 for everything at Toyota. I'm good with that. And it was the original, 23 year old pulley. So it definitley needed to be replaced.

    I plan on putting everything back together tomorrow and also putting on some new drums that I ordered. I did the shoes over the summer and kept the old drums. After putting some miles on the new shoes, the old drums are definitely too far gone. Time for new ones.
     
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  7. Apr 18, 2021 at 3:51 PM
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    PIG20

    PIG20 [OP] New Member

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    So, just an update. I got the parts from Toyota and she's all back together. However, that being said, there was still a little fabrication needed on my end in order to fit the new tensioner bolt.

    They give you a really long tensioner bolt, however, the crossmember below the tensioner bracket keeps you from being able to install the bolt.

    So to remedy this situation, I had to cut a full inch off the end of the tensioner bolt in order for it to have enough clearance to fit past the crossmember and into the bracket.

    Fortunately, after cutting there is still enough threads to grab into the pulley bolt when putting everything back together. The only thing I can think as to why this is, is because when the pulley was initially installed at the factory, it's probably installed onto the compressor bracket before the bracket was installed into the truck.

    Never thought something so small would be such a hassle to replace. Oh well, maybe others can learn from my experience. Just glad the ordeal is over with.
     
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  8. Apr 18, 2021 at 5:08 PM
    #8
    Ahdofu

    Ahdofu New Member

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    Not sure what you mean by cross member here. One of the tensioner bolts is covered by the AC bracket. You're supposed to dismantle the AC, remove the bracket before you can reach the bolt. There is also a way to do this by not removing the bracket but you've have to be under the car, and be patient in placing a socket on the bolt using a long extension that runs through a small gap on the AC bracket. I have always removed the bracket in doing mine.
     
  9. Apr 19, 2021 at 4:55 AM
    #9
    PIG20

    PIG20 [OP] New Member

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    How did you remove the bracket without removing the AC compressor? Or are you telling me that is what you do?

    Or is it possible that we're talking about two totally different things? In my setup, there is only one tensioner bolt for the idler pulley and it's not covered up by anything. You can access it just fine with a ratcheting wrench from underneath. The problem comes when it snaps in half while loosening like it did in my situation.

    There is definitely a crossmember that runs underneath idler pulley. And due to the length of the tensioner bolt, when trying to insert it into the pulley bracket, the crossmember gets in the way and forces it to go in at an angle.

    So my options where to remove the bracket completely (which looks to entail removing the AC compressor) or cutting an inch off the end of the bolt so that the crossmember no longer impedes the tensioner bolt from going into the pulley bracket. Which worked like a charm.
     
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2021
  10. Apr 19, 2021 at 8:34 AM
    #10
    negusm

    negusm New Member

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    I have removed that bracket several times without disconnecting the AC. You have to remove the AC compressor from the bracket but you do NOT have to completely remove the AC compressor from the car. It's a pain and I have to use some crazy combination of my 3/8 and 1/2 sockets and deep wells to do it and a few wrenches.

    I, for the life of me, can't see how you get to the tensioner from underneath the car.

    I for one, would not ever shorten the bolt. I wouldn't want to argue with a Toyota engineer as to why they engineered the length of the bolt to the length it is.
     
  11. Apr 19, 2021 at 10:36 AM
    #11
    PIG20

    PIG20 [OP] New Member

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    The tensioner was quite easy to access from underneath actually. Here is a video of the exact procedure of doing it the way I did it. Of course, this isn't showing the bolt head snapping off. If I had to say which one gave me the most trouble accessing, it was that power steering pump tensioner. I had to contort my hand and pretty much find it blind. I can't tell you how many times I dropped my ratchet wrench on that one. It would have probably been easier had I removed the fan but I decided to take the hard road.

    https://youtu.be/Zi1XfFUOjKc?t=903

    About the bolt itself, there is still a good inch or so of bolt thread coming through the top of the tensioner. So with the pulley torqued down, I cant see how cutting about an inch off the bolt is going to have any negative effect whatsoever.

    The only way for it to fail would be is if the pulley loosened with almost 30 lbs of torque behind it and then almost 2 inches of tensioner bolt backing itself out on its own. Hell, the bolt they sold me wasn't even a pure match of the one that was on the truck even though the part number is exactly what it's supposed to be. It was a little longer than the original. So it's probably not an exact science here.

    Regardless, all of the diagrams and the very few threads on the internet I found on the subject stated that the compressor needed to be removed in order to remove the bracket. Obviously, you're telling me otherwise. I guess I'll know better next time...

    The pulley was the original 23 year old, OEM part. So at this point, I'm banking on this one lasting for the life of the truck. Or if the pulley goes bad, I can replace the pulley without having every other part of it seized.
     
  12. Apr 19, 2021 at 11:40 AM
    #12
    Ahdofu

    Ahdofu New Member

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    OK you're talking about the alternator pulley belt tensioner whereas I was talking about the timing belt tensioner.
     
  13. Apr 19, 2021 at 11:47 AM
    #13
    PIG20

    PIG20 [OP] New Member

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    This is actually the AC idler pulley tensioner. The alternator tensioner is behind the alternator which gave me no problems.

    Yeah, I wouldn't be fabricating or doing anything out of the ordinary if it were related to the timing parts. No way I'd go outside the box with that stuff.
     
  14. Apr 19, 2021 at 12:04 PM
    #14
    negusm

    negusm New Member

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    oh, I was confused also.
     
  15. Apr 19, 2021 at 1:23 PM
    #15
    Ahdofu

    Ahdofu New Member

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    Too many tensioners
     

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