Weekend Warrior

mostly about cars, driving them, fixing them, rating them and occasionally fixing computers, phones and things around the house

The unmistakable whistle of a fan belt

For a while now Silva-ki has been whistling in the mornings. You know the tell tail unmistakable whistle of a fan belt. You never know how long you can put it of which I had been doing mostly because the actual job of doing it not so much the parts because fan belts for this car are a price of a meal. So this weekend I took the plunge late in the day, around 3 pm which was awfully optimistic since it's almost winter and the sun is starting to set early.

I hadn't dealt with this specific car's belts before. It wasn't the first belt had dealt with though, Yellow bone has had a new belt a couple of times. If you don't know, Silva-ki is a 2E corolla and Yellow bone is an FE Mazda. Yellow bone being older by about 10 years is easy to work on, it has a lot of space and in relation to belts it only has one.

I started by looking through how I would do this. Being front wheel drive, Silva-ki has transverse mounted engine. That means the engine is sitting sideways on top of the front suspension. The fan belts therefore don't actually drive any fans. The fans are in front and electrically powered. The engine pulleys like the crank, the alternator, the air con compressor, the water pump and the steering wheel pump are connected with 2 fan belts. When this belts are old they whistle. They are situated in very narrow gap between shock tower and the engine.

There was no access to loosen the bolts that hold the power steering pump because of the windscreen washer reservoir. So it had to come out. it's held by one 8 mm bolt so it's easy to remove, although unplugging it's electric pump requires some cat grabbing sized hands, which I fortunately have, though I should point out I never use them to do actual cat grabbing lol unless invited to do so. Once the reservoir is out, I could loosen the bolt attaching the power steering pump to the engine block, then loosen the adjustment bolt below the pulley, the pump then drops down and I could simply slip the belt off. The belt was in terrible shape, it looked like it would break at any point if it had been left in place.

This main belt is thicker and longer than the other. I don't actually know if it's main but I have decided it is just based it being bigger and longer. It connects the crack, the power steering pump and the aircon compressor. Now I could tackle the small belt. it connects the crank, the alternator and the water pump. I marked the alternator bracket just ensure I would put it back where it was, then loosen it on both sides so it can move and be disconnected from the alternator. The lower bolt was harder to remove, after a whole lot of struggle I managed to remove it. Strangely the alternator is already as close as it can be to the water pump. So removing the belt, even with the alternator loosened, it's quite a challenge to remove the belt.

Now putting the new belts on was interesting. I quickly realised that it wasn't gonna work the way the taking out of the old ones had worked. In general it's much easier to take things apart than to put them together. So installing the new belts, required jacking the car up, removing the wheel cover inside the wheel well so I could access the pulleys from below and from the wheel well.

I put the belts on lowered the car ran it fast while watching the belts to make sure they are working correctly. I also put the aircon on but the air con was on auto and this was a very funny episode. The air con ran and stopped over and over and I thought the belt wasn't tight enough. I jacked the car back up and removed the covers and tightened the belts only to remember not to watch the middle of the air con pulley which is controlled by the air con compressor clutch and instead watch the outside of the pulley which is always being pulled by the belt and therefore always spins.

Anyway in the end, the belts have been replaced, the car is silent again. The war is won warriors.

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