Toyota Tercel 1984-1994 Repair Guide




See Figures 1, 2, 3 and 4

Check the condition of the drive belts and check/adjust the belt tension every 10,000-15,000 miles (16,000-24,000 km) or 1 year.

  1. Inspect the belts 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.
  3. By placing your thumb midway between the two pulleys, it should be possible to depress the belt about 1 / 4 - 1 / 2 inch (6-13mm). It is best to use a drive belt tension gauge to check belt tension. 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 or crack.
  5. All drive belts should be replaced every 60,000 miles (96,500 km) or as necessary. Drive belts should be replaced for preventive maintenance. It is always best to replace all drive belts at one time during this service operation.

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Fig. Fig. 1: Inspect the belts for cracking, glazing and separation of the core

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Fig. Fig. 2: A belt tension gauge should be used when checking the belt

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Fig. Fig. 3: On multi-ribbed belts, make sure they properly seated in the grooves

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Fig. Fig. 4: On conventional belts, check that the bottom of the belt does not touch the pulley groove



To adjust the tension of the alternator drive belt on older 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. Newer models use a tension adjusting bolt. Loosen the pivot bolt and the locking bolt, then turn the tension adjusting bolt until proper tension is achieved. Tighten the bolts securely, run the engine about minute, stop the engine then recheck the belt tension.

Air Conditioning Compressor

A/C compressor (always use caution when working near the A/C compressor to avoid damaging the refrigerant lines) 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.

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 reached.

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 compressor and the crankshaft pulley.

Power Steering Pump

Tension on the power steering belt is adjusted by means of an idler pulley (some models may use just a lower adjusting bracket setup, similar to the alternator adjustment service procedure). Loosen the lock bolt and turn the adjusting bolt on the idler pulley until the desired tension is felt, then tighten the lock bolt.


If a belt must be replaced, the driven unit must be loosened and moved to its extreme loosest position (usually by moving it toward the center of the motor). After removing the old belt, check the pulleys for dirt or built-up material which could affect belt contact. Carefully install the new belt, it may appear to be just a little too small to fit over the pulley flanges. Fit the belt over the largest pulley (usually the crankshaft pulley at the bottom center of the motor) first, then work on the smaller one(s). Gentle pressure in the direction of rotation is helpful. Some belts run around a third or idler pulley, which acts as an additional pivot in the belt's path. It may be possible to loosen the idler pulley as well as the main component, making your job much easier. Depending on which belt(s) you are changing, it may be necessary to loosen or remove other interfering belts to get at the one(s) you want.

When buying replacement belts, remember that the fit is critical according to the length of the belt, the width of the belt, the depth of the belt and the angle or profile of the V shape (always match up old belt with new belt if possible). The belt shape should exactly match the shape of the pulley; belts that are not an exact match can cause noise, slippage and premature failure.

After the new belt is installed, draw tension on it by moving the driven unit away from the motor and tighten its mounting bolts. This is sometimes a three or four-handed job; you may find an assistant helpful. Make sure that all the bolts you loosened are retightened and that any other loosened belts also have the correct tension. A new belt can be expected to stretch a bit after installation so be prepared to re-adjust your new belt.

After installing a new belt, run the engine for about 5 minutes and then recheck the belt tension.