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Toyota Solara DIY Tips

jivinjunyajivinjunya Member Posts: 1
edited April 2014 in Toyota
hi, i need to know where to go to find pictures of how to take the drive belt off of my 2004 toyota solara 4 cylinder car. water pump may be bad, or could be the bearing. belt squeals, but gets queit temporarily with belt dressing, but with 72,500, may be time to change. also need pics of the special tool needed to do the job. the haynes manual i have is not giving me much at all. also, why doesnt advance auto parts carry this belt, had to go to 4 and that autoparts store doesnt carry it. any help would be great!!!


  • solaraman2003solaraman2003 Member Posts: 92
    I enjoy DIY. Here are the benefits I see in DIY, in priority order:

    1) You know it was DONE RIGHT.
    2) You know that it was DONE, as opposed to just billed/paid.
    3) Personal SATISFACTION. I simply enjoy it!
    4) You know the QUALITY OF THE PARTS that are being used.
    5) You will probably SAVE MONEY.
    6) CONVENIENT. It's up to you to schedule the work when you want it done.

    I'm sure I could think of more, but for now these are the top things. You can argue points both ways on each of these items, but for me this is it. I'm sure you could also make a list of reasons why you would NOT want to DIY. I'm okay with that but I just happen to be a person that looks at the glass as half-full as opposed to half-empty :)
  • solaraman2003solaraman2003 Member Posts: 92
    1) You know it was done RIGHT.

    Of course it doesn't make sense for you to do something that you don't feel confident that you can do. But we all know that if you really WANT to do something, you can. It's just a matter of education and experience. Anyone can change a light bulb if they are taught how to do it: 1) turn off electricity, 2) remove bulb, 3) insert new bulb, 4) turn on electricity and test. Simple, right?

    So while I'm not suggesting that you could/should change their own timing belt (I didn't!), most people are capable of doing some very important maintenance things on their cars that are relatively inexpensive and not time consuming at all. For instance, changing the air filter. Very easy, usually takes less than 5 minutes.

    The bottom line is: You CAN do it if you WANT to do it. If you don't want to do it, then don't. It's that simple.

    Also, if you don't have the CONFIDENCE in your work, then don't do it. You kinda have to have both ingredients: DESIRE, and CONFIDENCE.

    Of course DIY could result in a mistake on your part. But for me I chalk it up to a learning experience. If I WANT to do something, and I have the CONFIDENCE that I can do it (the 2 necessary ingredients), then if I fail (by either not being able to complete the job, or finding that I didn't do it right), then I have nobody to blame but myself ! And personally I would rather blame myself than a mechanic that works at the garage that took my hard-earned money !
  • solaraman2003solaraman2003 Member Posts: 92
    2) You know that it was DONE, as opposed to just billed/paid.

    I can't tell you how many times I've been to a mechanic (dealer or other) and I wanted more than one thing done, and one or more of those items were NOT done. And I was billed for and paid for every item! Some of them were billable, others not.

    When you DIY, you KNOW that it was DONE. Right?

    Here are three experiences I had that clarify this point:

    1) I recently bought 4 new tires at COSTCO. LOOOOOOOVVVVVEEEE COSTCO!
    Before proceeding, I told the mechanic that while he's there, I would appreciate it if he could take a look at the brakes all around and let me know his opinion. He agreed. When the job was all done I proceeded to the register to pay for the work as the mechanic brought the cashier the bill and key to finish his part. There was nothing written on the receipt about the status of the brakes (that's ok, I didn't expect that). So I went to the back to the mechanic, who was now working on another job, and asked him if he checked my brakes. He said "uhm, yeah, your brakes are okay". Something rotten in Denmark ! Why did I have to go chase after him to get the status on that item. If he REALLY checked the brakes, wouldn't he have confronted me, sitting in one of the 5 waiting area seats, to let me know the status? Now, mind you COSTCO's policy is to NOT accept any tips from customers, which I have tried in the past a few times, but still I believe their workers are more efficient and happier overall, so I'm certainly NOT knocking COSTCO here. I'm just saying that mistakes happen all the time and unfortunately in many cases you suffer because of someone else's mistake.

    Net result was 3 weeks later I discovered that I DID need new brakes and rotors. I suspected there was a problem which is why I asked the COSTCO guy to check them in the first place !

    2) Six months after purchasing my new 2003 Solara it was time for the "6 month maintenance work". Although the cost to do this at the dealer is exorbitant, someone suggested to me that since this is the first time I've owned a new car that I shouldn't be "cheap" about it and let the "experts" do the job. Well, several hundred dollars later I discovered that several of those things that were on the list of "6 month maintenance" were simply NOT DONE. (I believe I posted an item on this on Edmunds back in 2003 titled "Dealer DIS-SERVICE", but I'm not certain). While they changed the air filter (good), then left a pile of leaves in the compartment (bad). The didn't fill the battery level, they didn't fill the coolant, and the brake fluid was low as well. These were all things that were listed to be done that weren't done. This was a TOYOTA dealership mind you.

    3) Long ago when I was a youngin', I bought a cream-puff used 1989 Buick Regal. Great car! Among the first things I wanted to do was change the 6 spark plugs. At the time I had a mechanic in Brooklyn that I really trusted and he let me look over his shoulder and chat and learn, so it was well worth the out-of-pocket to let someone else do the work. When it came time to remove one of the plugs, he had a tough time of it. It must've taken him 15 minutes to finally figure out how to get in there to get it out. When he removed it, he examined it and was convinced that it was an ORIGINAL plug. This might've been at 60k miles, 4-5 years. All the other plugs had been replaced except for this one. So, whoever did the work in the past (perhaps a dealer, perhaps a local mechanic), they just didn't want to go to the trouble to figure out (a trick) how to access that plug and remove/replace it. I sincerely doubt it was the owner of the vehicle that DIY. When you're a DIY-er, you are DETERMINED. You WANT it done right. Don't you ?
  • solaraman2003solaraman2003 Member Posts: 92
    3) Personal SATISFACTION.

    I really enjoy doing it! It's as simple as that.

    It's therapeutic, it's relaxing, it's fun, it's interesting. I get to find out more about how things work.

    Some people like carpentry, some like tinkering with electrical stuff, some people like developing their own pictures, some like crocheting, some like painting, some like ironing. For me, it's working on my car.
  • solaraman2003solaraman2003 Member Posts: 92
    4) You know the QUALITY OF THE PARTS that are being used.

    YOU go out and purchase the parts yourself. YOU get to choose specifically which brand/model/quality part you want to install. You don't have to worry that you paid someone to install an OEM brake rotor, but he went out and saved money and bought an aftermarket!

    For the most part, I buy TOYOTA parts. I buy TOYOTA oil filters, brakes, rotors, air filters, PCV valves, etc. Some things that I'll buy that are NOT OEM include: brake fluid, oil, windshield washer fluid, leather interior cleaner, tires.
  • solaraman2003solaraman2003 Member Posts: 92
    5) You will probably SAVE MONEY.

    When you let a service shop do the work for you, dealer or other, they are going to almost always get a discounted price to purchase the parts he's going to use (whether OEM or not). But have you ever seen the service shop pass that savings on to you? Of course not. So the price you'll pay for the parts is pretty much going to be the same if you have a shop do the work for you, or if you walk into the dealer to purchase them. EXCEPT...don't underestimate the power of the www ! I have purchased many of my parts from places via mailorder, by locating the best prices for what I wanted using the internet. I have purchased from RockAuto and TexasToyota with great satisfaction. Even if you factor in the shipping costs, I still got the parts cheaper than if I purchased them at my local Toyota dealer. I've purchased oil filters, PCV valves, air filters, gas filters, brake parts, and spark plugs.
  • solaraman2003solaraman2003 Member Posts: 92

    This one you can easily argue both ways. Unfortunately I don't have my own closed garage, so doing most of this work I have to rely on Mother Nature cooperating. But if not for that, it would usually be more convenient for me to do the work when I want to do it.

    If you want to change your own oil/filter, it might take 30 minutes to DIY. If you have to drive to the dealer/shop, wait on line, fill out forms, wait, etc, that might take quite a bit more than 30 minutes. Of course, if your dealer is right next door to your grocer, and you can do other shopping while the oil is being changed, then maybe it's a wash.
  • ClairesClaires Chicago areaMember Posts: 1,222

    Have you ever considered blogging here? Or posting a how-to guide?


    Need help getting around? [email protected] - or send a private message by clicking on my name.

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  • tristonroytristonroy Member Posts: 1
    I'm new here but not to HP forums. We own several GM cars and a Z71. One thing that both Car Makers share is the use of DexCool Anti Freeze. Over 22 states have filed Class Action Lawsuits against the use of the Red Anti Freeze. See Here for info on the major problems this gunk rings down upon its users. (http://www.dexcoolsettlement.com/). I would recommend going to a BP authorized shop and spending the (+/-) $85 (for v8) to flush and replace with Prestone OAT (organic acid technology) antifreeze. The issues with DexCool are major with respect to damage to head gaskets, water pumps, thermostats and anything else it comes into contact with. The high phosphates and borates levels do sever damage to parts because of the lack of silicate lubricants as well as some inherent type of electrolysis. Allmost all experts agree you don't have to use the manufacturers coolant. The new extended life coolants from Zerex, Prestone, will be just as good. The new antifreezes or Extended Life Antifreeze Coolant (XLC or ELC) use Organic Acid Technology (OAT) containing neutralized organic acids (organic acid salts) that protect engine parts from corrosion instead of the inorganic inhibitors such as silicates, phosphates and / or borates in the old (red) antifreezes. Most experts agree you don't have to use the manufacturers coolant. The new extended life coolants from Zerex, Prestone, will be just as good. OAT is recommended in engines with aluminum components (heads or radiators) such as Subarus, Honda ,Toyotas and BMWs because Borates can be bad for them. OAT coolants also have extended lives, up to 150,000 mi. Hybrid OAT (HOAT) coolants, such as "Zerex G-05¨." Use organic acids, but not 2-EHA (2-ethylhexanoic acid) (different organic acids are used). Hybrid OAT coolants add some silicate to provide quick-acting protection for aluminum surfaces.
    Check out the link provided, C 4 yourself.
    BTW; I just bought an 07 Silver Sport for the wife; 15k,looks new. Going to drop it to the weeds and save gas $$$ (she favors the Z71). Sweet Car and hard to find here on the West Coast. Great Fourm; Just what I need to find out what works and who does good work..
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