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Anyone replaced tensioner pulley on 3rd gen 3.5 liter?

Discussion in '3rd Gen. Tacomas (2016+)' started by Mark996, Feb 22, 2021.

  1. Feb 22, 2021 at 8:28 AM
    #1
    Mark996

    Mark996 [OP] Member

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    My wife has already put over 150K miles on her 2016 Taco, and I want to replace the serpentine belt and pulleys. I have done this a few times on our 2nd gen Tacos (my wife has four Tacos for her business, and my son has one as well), but not yet on the third gen. As the 3rd gens are fairly new, I don't see a lot of information on line about the belt changes.

    My main question here is if anyone knows what pulley can be used in place of the tensioner pulley. I prefer not replacing the entire tensioner. On the 2nd gens, the Febest 0187-GRJ200 works as a replacement for the tensioner pulley. Does anyone know if that works on 3rd gens?

    At Rock Auto, the same idler pulleys show up for both 2nd and 3rd gens. I have been using Gates 36173 and 36174. The tensioners shown at Rock Auto are different, though the pulleys might be interchangeable? It looks like the belt routing is the same.
     
  2. Mar 7, 2021 at 4:03 PM
    #2
    Mark996

    Mark996 [OP] Member

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    I replaced the serpentine belt in the 2016 Taco today. Here is how it went. Before I go into the story, I will start by mentioning that I have done this at least four times in the various 2nd Gen Tacos that we own. From the time I open the hood, I can replace the belt, the three idler pulleys, and the tensioner in well under an hour, not rushing. That was not the experience here! I purchased the three idler pulleys and belt from Rock Auto. I purchased a Febest pulley from Amazon.

    After removing the belt, I first replaced the pair of idler #2 pulleys. I replaced them with Gates 36173, torqued to 29 ft-lbs, and this was easy enough.

    I planned to replace the idler #1 pulley with Gates 36174, but that is still in the box. I could not figure out a reasonable way to remove the pulley (in the middle of the pic below), thanks to some oil cooler or whatever the heck that thing is that is in the way. I imagine there is a way to get it out of the way, but I didn't have that much time to screw around with it. I loosened the bolt that holds the pulley in place and had thoughts of seeing if I could get it out, but I started thinking that even if I could get it out I might have a bitch of time getting the new one in; I just tightened it back up and left it.

    pulleys3.jpg

    So, it appears the idler pulleys on the 3rd Gen truck are the same as those on the 2nd Gen trucks. That is apparently not the case for the tensioner. I purchased a Febest 0187-GRJ200, which worked fine as a replacement in the 2nd gen trucks. It is not a match for the tensioner in this truck. In the pics below, the Febest pulley is on the left, the original tensioner pulley is in the middle, and one of the Gates 36173 pulleys (idler #2) is on the right. The Febest tensioner is pretty close to the Gates. The hole in the middle of the Febest is bigger than the one in the original tensioner pulley. My memory of this from the 2nd Gen trucks is fuzzy, but I think the bigger hole in the tensioner slides onto an extension from the front of the tensioner. The Gates idler pulley, on the other hand, comes with a sleeve that fits in the hole, around the bolt, and that would be about the right size for the tensioner. In fact, the Gates 36173 appears to be a pretty darn close match for the Febest pulley.

    However, there is another difference between the Febest/Gates pulleys and the original idler pulley. For lack of a better term, I will refer to this as the offset--kind of like a wheel offset. Looking at the original pulley (see the last picture below), the mounting surface is about flush with the outer edge of the pulley. With the Febest/Gates pulleys, the mounting surface is recessed from the outer edge of the pulley. Looks to me like it won't work.

    FYI, in case you were not already aware of this, the bolt that holds in the tensioner pulley is reverse-threaded. Turn clockwise to loosen!

    Febest---Original tensioner pulley---Gates 36173
    pulleys1.jpg

    Febest---Original tensioner pulley---Gates 36173
    pulleys2.jpg

    At this time I have two new idler #2 pulleys and a new belt in the 2016 Tacoma; I have a Gates 36174 and Febest 0187-GRJ200 in their boxes. If anybody ever finds a good replacement for the tensioner pulley, please post here.

    I will finish with a bit of a rant. Granted, I haven't had to do any serious work on any of my Gen 2 or Gen 3 Tacomas. They have been super reliable. I have done oil/filter changes, front brake pads/rotors, rear brake shoes, transmission fluid/filter, spark plugs, other fluids, maybe a few other procedures. That being said, I'm rather annoyed with maintenance on the 3rd Gen truck. Oil changes are more of a hassle with having to remove the skid plate. I have nothing against the canister oil filters, but the oil filter on the 2nd Gen truck is just so easy to deal with. Now I run into this hassle with the belts and pulleys. Not only is there the issue with obstruction of idler #1, but there just isn't good access from under the vehicle (even with skid plate removed). I had to do everything from the top--which was workable, but it is a good thing I have long, skinny arms. Spark plugs are more of a hassle on the 3rd Gen as well.

    I imagine that somewhere during the life-cycle of the 2nd Gen trucks, some accountant at Toyota figured out they weren't making enough money in the service departments, so they told the engineers to make it more of a PITA for people to DIY the 3rd Gen trucks. Well, I will keep trying, because I have had to occasionally deal with Toyota service departments (frame recalls, a transmission problem, etc.), and pretty much every one of those experiences was a bad experience. I love Toyota trucks, but I really despise Toyota dealerships.
     
  3. Mar 13, 2021 at 4:22 PM
    #3
    eddyizm

    eddyizm Well-Known Member

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    It seems like swapping the belt is relatively straight forward? Seems like a bummer that the rest isn't. I was looking at that tensioner too and it does not look easy to pull out!
     
  4. Mar 13, 2021 at 5:12 PM
    #4
    The hammer

    The hammer Who’s the Wrench?

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    The price we pay for that extra mpg!

    I'm starting to regret not getting the 4 banger. Maybe it's not too late, if only I was not a power hungry guy. And now regrets, I have a few

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  5. Mar 14, 2021 at 10:22 AM
    #5
    Mark996

    Mark996 [OP] Member

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    Swapping out the belt is pretty easy.
    Swapping out the pair of idler #2 pulleys is pretty easy.
    Removing and replacing just the tensioner pulley is pretty easy.

    I am sure that R&R of the entire tensioner assembly is more of a PITA on 2nd or 3rd gen trucks. That is why I am hoping someone will find a good replacement for the tensioner pulley. Anyone???
     
  6. Jun 17, 2021 at 3:21 PM
    #6
    bshammer0

    bshammer0 Well-Known Member

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    In case this helps anyone else who stumbles on this thread, here is the repair info to replace / remove the oil cooler. Looks like you'd ideally need/want a new gasket if removing the oil cooler. I'm sure you could be "really careful" and be "ok" but I'd probably want to take the precaution.

    http://www.ttguide.net/engine_oil_cooler-875.html

    @Mark996 tagging you as I believe you did this successfully based on another thread. Beyond removing the 2 bolts/nuts and cleaning up what I'd assume was no more than 1/4 qt of oil, what else did you need to do? Could the lines be flexed without draining coolant? Did you use a new gasket when reinstalling the cooler?
     
  7. Jun 18, 2021 at 8:07 AM
    #7
    Mark996

    Mark996 [OP] Member

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    My original #1 pulley is still in place. I haven't looked into it since doing the work back in March, and so I never figured out how to get that oil cooler out of the way. If I ever get back to it and figure out a solution, I will post here.
     
  8. Jul 14, 2021 at 6:17 AM
    #8
    ingalls71

    ingalls71 New Member

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    So will the bolt from the #1 pulley clear the oil cooler upon backing it out? That is IF you can get a good bite on it and not strip it!
     

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