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Corolla Vvti Fan Belt - Beware


Rumesh88
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I had a nasty experience when I took my Corolla 121 to service my AC. I thought of sharing it with everyone to save others going through the same trouble. The AC job was neatly done by the mechanics when I went to collect the vehicle after a few hours but the owner told me that when they removed the fan belt they found the VVTi connector broken but they fixed and to drive and check if it is OK. When driving back home after a while I got CHECK ENGINE indication. When I checked the VVTi solenoid connector the following day I found that it was broken and fixed back with some kind of adhesive. I was absolutely positive that the connector was intact when I took it to the AC service point. However, since I did not have a proof and also because the owner of the AC service was a freind of mine I did not took up the matter any further with them. However, when I removed the VVTi solenoid which is mounted just above and very close to the alternator I found that the connector was forcibly broken by applying an external force. This can only happen if an inexperienced mechanic tries to use a some kind of lever on the alternator to tension the fan belt. If the lever (They usually use a large screwdriver or a pipe) slips and touch VVTi solenoid connector, that would be the end of it. Usually at most places fan belt replacement or re-tightening is done by an apprentice who is unaware of these details. It costed me over Rs. 10,000.00 replace the VVTi solenoid. Hence please beware when you allow someone in a garage to allow meddling with your fan belt on a Corolla121 or similar engines.

Please comment if this has already happened to you.

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The VVTi solonoid isnt the only part in an engine bay that can break off if you try to put excessive force on. While your efforts to warn others is appreciated I would think that the wiser thing (in your best interest) would be to

(1) stay with the vehicle if its just a few hours of work so that you know what's happening and mechanics would also be more mindful when doing thing.

(2) I dont know how good a friend he is, but the shop owner is liable for this; so I guess you swallowed up a 10,000 repair, to save a friendship. Normally I would rather not goto a friend's shop for a few hundred rupees discount just to avoid unpleasant situations like this with friends.

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+1 Watchman.

I don't think you learnt the proper lesson here. It's not to beware when someone meddles with the belt, it's to stay with the vehicle if it meant for "a few hours". You've spent much more than a few hours of waiting now haven't you?

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Thank you for the comments. It is not practical for me to stay at a service point for a few hours and that is why I opt for a place known to me. My point is that almost all the mechanics use a lever to tighten the belt. This the most common method. In the particular engine this particular connector is located very close to alternator body, even with a slight mistake o the mechanic you may end up with a broken connector. You will understand my point if you take a good look at the process of removing and tightening a fan belt of a 121 engine when the mechanics are doing it. By the way, is there any other method other than using a lever to tighten the fan belt? Appreciate a comment from an experienced mechanic.

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If this guy is a friend of yours, I think you should speak to him and tell him about his workman's mistake so he will educate him and ensure this does not happen to any of his other customers. They will be bound to want compensation for mistakes like this.

And personally a friend would take responsibility for an issue like this an compensate you, particularly if you were a paying customer. Now if he did your work for free, well perhaps its not right to demand compensation but still he should know what his workmen are up to.

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Forcing the belt onto the pulleys (using a lever) would damage it, which is why there is an idler or tensioner pulley.

Tensioner pulleys are not fitted in all engines. Of course if you have one it is handy.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Thank you guys for your thoughts on my predicament. However, I found my point well endorsed by none other than the OEM. Please refer to the following excerpt from Toyota maintenance manual which explains the belt tightening procedure and the correct method to prevent damage to the OCV.

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