Drive belt(s) question - Toyota Sienna Forum -
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post #1 of 6 (permalink) Old 05-18-2017, 02:48 PM Thread Starter
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Drive belt(s) question

1. How many drive belts are on my wife's 2006 Sienna LE?
2. Do I need to replace the idler pulley and/or the drive belt tensioner when replacing the drive belts?

This van has 117k miles on her and those optional items have never been replaced as far as I know.
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post #2 of 6 (permalink) Old 05-18-2017, 03:08 PM
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Re: Drive belt(s) question

There is a power steering belt and an alternator belt. The timing belt is where you get into tensioner and idlers.
Most Toyota Service departments would recommend you replace the tensioner and idler. In fact these come with the Timing Belt kit.

Whenever someone mentions timing belts you will immediately get advice to preemptively change the water pump when you do this job. In my opinion this is optional. When you change the timing belt you are right there at the water pump area and it is readily accessible. I did not change mine when I did my timing belt. I have driven Toyota's exclusively in the past 20 years. One Tacoma with over 250,000 miles. I buy the vehicles new and run them for many years. I have never had a water pump failure. So with my experiences I will not preemptively change this part. You can bet others will have different opinions.

Our 2004 Sienna is 14 years old with over 125,000 miles, the water pump has never given the slightest hint of a problem.
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Last edited by Johnxyz; 05-18-2017 at 04:07 PM.
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post #3 of 6 (permalink) Old 05-18-2017, 09:43 PM
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Re: Drive belt(s) question

Agree... I never changed the water pump on previous vehicles with timing belts. Water pumps should (in theory) last the life of the engine.

Current: '15 Sienna Limited Premium (FWD), '14 Subaru Outback, '13 Honda CRV AWD.

Past: '08 Sienna LE (FWD), '02 Subaru Outback, '02 Honda Odyssey EX
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post #4 of 6 (permalink) Old 05-19-2017, 01:27 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Drive belt(s) question

Thank you gentlemen!
Now in regard to changing out those two drive belts.
Is it a job I can tackle myself? I am somewhat handy and have changed he oil in this van before with no problem. I have a set of ramps but I saw a YouTube video that showed you need to jack the car up to change the lower belt.
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post #5 of 6 (permalink) Old 05-19-2017, 04:17 PM
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Re: Drive belt(s) question

This is a basic job but requires some "knack or feel" you can't give without experiencing the job. I will include a .pdf at the end of this reply that is from the service manual on belt change for the Sienna. The power steering belt is a royal pain to get at and do. Some of the bolts can be stubborn to loosen. You tighten this belt while prying on the steering pump assembly to exert tension. This is where the feel part comes in. You want to tension the belt properly but not enough to harm the bearings on the pump. The alternator- a/c belt has a tensioning bolt to get it properly tensioned. These bolts can also be somewhat of a challenge to get to. This is another instance of have to decide how tight is too tight. When I do this belt I tighten until there is no belt squeaking when the vehicle starts and is running. On a new belt I will have to repeat the tensioning 3 or 4 times until all the stretch is out and the squeaking stops. It will take the belt a week to two weeks to be broken in and stretched. Some will tighten the daylights out of the belt initially and not go through this process. Knowing what a too tight belt will do to alternator and a/c clutch bearings I am not comfortable with that approach.

If you have never done something like this maybe you can find a friendly independent garage that would let you watch them do the work and you could get a feel for how to do the job. As always there is the potential to damage other components or strip out bolts for someone unfamiliar with something like this.
Here is the .pdfBelt change.pdf
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post #6 of 6 (permalink) Old 05-22-2017, 09:54 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Drive belt(s) question

Thank you kindly "Johnxyz" for that .pdf from the service manual.
I think I will take your good advice and watch this job for the first time around.
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