Ooops! I Screwed up!!

By: Bob Goodson
June 14, 2020

Author: Michael Yount

Had just gotten back from taking the car out for a test drive with the newly painted valve cover and catch can plumbing.  Delightful!  A couple hours after I got back, I walked back to the garage and noticed something shiny on the floor – coolant under the front of the Corolla.  Quickly grabbed the big pan, put it underneath and opened drain valve to empty radiator into the pan.  Upon closer inspection it appeared the leading edge of the alternator fan had gotten into the lower radiator hose.

I remembered there had been a tie-wrap around the hose pulling it towards the front of the car — I cut it when I relocated the battery because it was attached to the battery tray support bracket.  I checked clearance to the alternator and thought I had enough – but didn’t count on the engine moving around on the mounts as much as it apparently does.  What’s needed is a shorter alternator belt that will let the alternator swing up away from the hose.  As fate would have it, I had no less than SIX  new belts in the box of goodies that came with the car.  And one of them was the right one!!!  The other five fit nothing on the car and went in the trash.

And while I’m in here – clean up alternator, bracket and water pump pulley.

Alt/water pump belt is on the inside – so a/c belt has to come off first.  And that means the fan and shroud have to come off.  And that means the radiator has to come out.  All things I discovered.

Now – note the broken fan blade….and the black rubber powder on the shroud.  Knew the blade was busted, but looking at it out of the car means I have to do something.  12″ SPAL electric fan and Delta Current Control FK45 PWM variable speed controller ordered – I’ll document that installation in a separate post.  The black powder is rubber from the a/c belt – turns out the pulley is slightly mis-aligned from both the idler/tension pulley and the crank drive pulley.  As long as I’m in here….

There are 3 holes in the bracket that bolt to the side of the block, and one that bolts to the front of the block.  If I elongate the 3 holes for the side, I can shim the front block bolt and move the compressor slightly towards the front of the car.  The idler/tension pulley required me to flip it 180 degrees and use a slightly thinner washer as a shim to the bracket.

Doing all that – perfect belt alignment!  Cleaned up/painted pulleys, detailed the timing marks on the front cover/crank pulley, and more clean up in the area.  Everything went back together just fine.  Did a check – plenty of clearance on the alt from the lower hose.  I’ll wait on the radiator install until the fan gets here.  Easier to mount electric fan with the radiator out of the car.

You can see below that the hose now clears the alternator fan with room to spare.

Oh – and confirmed that the car does, indeed, have a 1.8L “3TC” in it, not the oem 1.6L 2TC it started life with.  This spot a bit hidden by the alternator.


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