Toyota Corolla 1970-1987 Repair Guide



See Figure 1

The condition of the drive belts should be visually checked whenever the hood is opened. The benefit of catching a damaged belt before it breaks will more than even the additional time it takes to quickly check the belts. Belt tension should be checked and adjusted every 15,000 miles.

  1. When checking and adjusting the belts, look for signs of glazing or cracking. A glazed belt will be perfectly smooth from slippage, while a good belt will have a slight texture of fabric visible. Cracks will usually start at the inner edge of the belt and run outward. Replace the belt at the first sign of cracking or if the glazing is severe.

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Fig. Fig. 1: Belt tension should be checked mid-way between 2 pulleys on the belt's longest stretch-These examples are of AIR pump belts on vehicles with and without A/C

  1. Belt tension does not refer to play or droop. Check tension midway between 2 pulleys (the two which are furthest apart for that belt) using your thumb, it should be possible to depress the belt 1 / 4 - 1 / 2 inch. If any of the belts can be depressed more than this, or cannot be depressed this much, adjust the tension. Inadequate tension will result in slippage and wear, while excessive tension will damage bearings and cause belts to fray and crack.
  3. All drive belts should be replaced every 60,000 miles regardless of their condition.


See Figures 2 through 6

Belt adjustment is usually obtained by one of two methods. Either a component is pivoted in its mounting bracket (this could be any 1 component when a drive belt is run on 3 or more pulleys) or an adjusting bolt is used to change the position of the component/pulley, thereby tightening or loosening the belt


To adjust the tension of the alternator drive belt on all models, loosen the pivot and mounting bolts on the alternator. Using a wooden hammer handle, a broomstick, or your hand, move the alternator one way or the other until the proper tension is achieved.

Do not use a screwdriver or any other metal device such as a pry bar, as a lever or damage may occur to the alternator housing or other engine components

Tighten the mounting bolts securely. If a new belt has been installed, recheck the tension after about 200 miles of driving.

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Fig. Fig. 2: Loosen the component pivot bolt

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Fig. Fig. 3: Push the component to loosen the drive belt (usually this means pushing the component inwards towards the engine)

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Fig. Fig. 4: Slip the old belt off and the new one on the pulley, making sure the belt is properly seated and routed

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Fig. Fig. 5: Pull the component (usually outwards) to adjust the belt tension and hold while the pivot bolt is tightened

Air Conditioning Compressor

On most vehicles A/C compressor belt tension can be adjusted by turning the tension adjusting bolt which is located on the compressor tensioner bracket. Turn the bolt clockwise to tighten the belt and counterclockwise to loosen it.

If not equipped with an adjusting bolt, usually the AIR pump may be pivoted to adjust belt tension.

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Fig. Fig. 6: Common AIR pump belt adjustment-vehicles with and without A/C

Air Pump

To adjust the tension of the air pump drive belt, loosen the adjusting lever bolt and the pivot bolt. Move the pump in or out until the desired tension is felt.

The tension should be checked between the air pump and the crankshaft pulley on cars without air conditioning. On cars with A/C, the tension should be checked between the A/C compressor and the crankshaft pulley

Power Steering Pump

Tension on the power steering belt is usually adjusted by means of an idler pulley. Loosen the lock bolt and turn the adjusting bolt on the idler pulley until the desired tension is felt, then tighten the lock bolt.