Category Archives: Auto

Internet + Haynes Manual = WIN $

I wish I could afford the 2006 RAV4 Toyota Service Repair Manuals, but they are too cost prohibitive to just replace an alternator. There are a total of four service repair volumes:

Description       Pub No.
Volume 1            RM01M2U1
Volume 2            RM01M2U2
Volume 3            RM01M2U3
Volume 4            RM01M2U4

All four volumes are currently priced at $518.13 and available directly from the dealer according to Toyota Parts and Service. Supposedly they total around 4,000 pages.

Now compare that amount of knowledge for one year of a car (both L4 & V6 engine types) to the Haynes manual (92082)
that covers 15 years (1996-2010) of a car (both engine types) in 336 pages or the Chilton manual (68670) that does it in 400 pages.

I think there might be some information missing but the real question is can I still use the $23 dollar manual to get the job done?

Luckily with some internet research I was able to fill in the gaps of my understanding how to replace a 2006 Rav4 alternator.

My first issue was that the pictures in the Haynes manual of the belt tensioners are taken at angles that I could never see from my perspective.

Also, none of various Haynes pictures of Rav4 tensioners matched what was in my 2006 Toyota Rav4 with a 4-cylinder engine.  All the pictures show a bolt in the center of the tensioner pulley. I don’t have a bolt with a hex head. I have a round bolt that uses a T50 Torx (star) bit. Great!

After examining the torx slot, I realize it is too shallow. You could never use it to turn the tensioner clockwise to release the belt tension.

Google to the rescue! I figured I wasn’t the only 2006 owner encountering this issue and I was correct. I Googled:

2006 rav4 alternator tensioner correct

Using a generic search caveat-ed with “correct” I was able to find a YouTube video (link below) that solved my torx mystery. The torx is NOT for removing tension on the belt. There is actually a casted (fixed, boss’d) 19mm hex bolt head next to the tensioner pulley that should be used.

What the tensioner looks like removed.Notice the casted hex bolt to the top right of the pulley.

What the tensioner looks like from the bottom with the 19mm socket wrench attached:

2006 Toyota Rav4 - 1

What it looks like from the top with the 19mm socket wrench attached:

2006 Toyota Rav4 - 5

The YouTube video can be found here: “The Correct Way to Remove the 2005 Rav4 Serpentine Belt”

This looks like the serpentine tool belt set featured in the YouTube video. I may have to pick one up for next time!



Research Nugget: Use an extra condition or context words to help narrow searches. Such as: “correct,” “wrong” or “problem.”

Which alternator to buy?

About a week ago the alternator in our 2006 Toyota Rav4 died. Our Rav4 is a 4-cyclinder 2.4 L engine and thank goodness because the V6 Rav4 requires removing the radiator and hoses to replace the alternator!

So, I started my search for a remanufactured alternator. Online I searched at AutoZone, Advance Auto Parts, O’Reilly Auto Parts and NAPA Auto Parts, since these are the stores local to me.

For local in-stock remanufactured alternators (100 Amp, 7 groove serpentine belt) AutoZone had Duralast (part no. 11201), Advance Auto offered CARQUEST (part no. 11201A), O’Reilly carried Ultima Import (part no. 11201) and NAPA had Power Premium Plus (part no. RAY 2139724). Sadly, the Denso remanufactured original equipment (OE) alternators were not in stock at Advance Auto or NAPA. Also the NAPA Power Premium Plus (RAY 2139725) with a new clutch pulley was not in stock.

Relying on my own “crowdsourcing” of online comments and recommendations from coworkers I went with NAPA’s Power Premium Plus (RAY 2139724). NAPA conveniently has the Warranty PDF and “Features and Benefit PDF” on the product’s web page. In the warranty pdf you’ll find that the alternator is backed by BBB Industries ( headquartered in Alabama.

Interesting to note this number “11201” happens to be the same number for Duralast, CARQUEST and Ultima. Doing a quick Google search of “11201 Alternator” returns results for Amazon where they offer the Quality-Built Alternator
(origin is Mexico) or the BBB Industries Alternator.

When I got home I checked out the NAPA (BBB) alternator. Lo and behold, on the box it says the alternator is “Remanufactured in Mexico” with the code “11201” on the bottom right.

Remanufactured Alternator

It seems to me that these major auto parts chain stores offer the same remanufactured alternator. Revisiting the I do find at the bottom of the “About” page that operations were moved to Reynosa, Mexico.

Oh well, so much for finding a remanufactured alternator that stands out from the competition!



Research Nugget: cross-reference part numbers, manufacturer ids, model numbers, stock codes, etc.