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#1 barbaro1

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Posted 06 October 2008 - 09:58 AM

I hear a lot of different opinions about when to change the timing belt. Some owners say they have gone more than 150,000 miles without changing the belt. and after changing it they claim it looks like new.

Is there any owner that has experienced a broken timing belt?

I have a 2003 Rx-300 with 107,000 miles and iIam not planning to change the timing belt until at least 130,000 miles.

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#2 blueridge

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Posted 06 October 2008 - 10:57 AM

2001 with 103K on mine with orig belt. Planning to go until 125K, big question for me is do you change out the water pump while you're there?

#3 barbaro1

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Posted 06 October 2008 - 11:08 AM

2001 with 103K on mine with orig belt. Planning to go until 125K, big question for me is do you change out the water pump while you're there?



I wil at 130,000 miles, since it will be easier and cheaper to replace together with the timing belt.

#4 blk_on_blk

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Posted 06 October 2008 - 11:18 AM

With the newer polymers and better fabrication processes, the belts are much more durable. One trick I learned is that you can loosen the side cover over the timing belt and spread it to 'peek' in with a flash light and see the condition of the belt. If you can see lettering on the back of the belt and the color is good (both belt and lettering), then it's a pretty good guess it's in decent condition. If you can't see the lettering, or it's really faded, and the belt looks faded, too, then that's a sign there is a lot of wear/fatigue on the belt and one will probably want to see to getting it changed in the not too distant future.

#5 Oiler62

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Posted 06 October 2008 - 03:55 PM

Ihave 94k on my 2003 Rx300 and haven't changed my timing belt. My 96 RAV4 went 150k before it broke. I replaced the waterpump at the same time. Now 3 years and 40k later, the water pump took a dump and my mechanic said that coolant got on the timing belt and it won't turn and to replace it too. Arghhh!!!

#6 code58

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Posted 07 October 2008 - 12:41 AM

Ihave 94k on my 2003 Rx300 and haven't changed my timing belt. My 96 RAV4 went 150k before it broke. I replaced the waterpump at the same time. Now 3 years and 40k later, the water pump took a dump and my mechanic said that coolant got on the timing belt and it won't turn and to replace it too. Arghhh!!!


Oiler- I'm curious, did the same mechanic change the timing belt and water pump at 150k? Did he install a Toyota belt and pump or aftermarket? I am very impressed with the Toyota parts and would personally not use anything else myself. Especially the belts and water pump.

#7 Oiler62

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Posted 07 October 2008 - 03:37 PM

Ihave 94k on my 2003 Rx300 and haven't changed my timing belt. My 96 RAV4 went 150k before it broke. I replaced the waterpump at the same time. Now 3 years and 40k later, the water pump took a dump and my mechanic said that coolant got on the timing belt and it won't turn and to replace it too. Arghhh!!!


Oiler- I'm curious, did the same mechanic change the timing belt and water pump at 150k? Did he install a Toyota belt and pump or aftermarket? I am very impressed with the Toyota parts and would personally not use anything else myself. Especially the belts and water pump.


I've used the same mechanic for all work done on the RAV4. He uses the Toyota parts, but I was bummed that the waterpump only lasted 40k. The warranty was only a year and it lasted 3 years, and the original pump was replaced after 9 years but was still okay. Wish i would of kept it in there.

#8 blk_on_blk

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Posted 07 October 2008 - 04:12 PM

Nothing I dislike more than trying to be a 'responsible vehicle owner' and do the suggested maintenance just to have more problems arise than if I had just left it alone. <_< I've had this happen to me a time or two.

#9 Oiler62

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Posted 07 October 2008 - 04:44 PM

Nothing I dislike more than trying to be a 'responsible vehicle owner' and do the suggested maintenance just to have more problems arise than if I had just left it alone. <_< I've had this happen to me a time or two.

I'm by no means a mechanic, but I've done stuff over the years to save a few bucks. I looked online on how to replace a waterpump/timing belt and it looked too hairy for me, so I passed. I did replace a starter on my RAV4 and it wasn't too bad, and I saved big money. I also just replaced a little motor on my door lock actuator on my RX300. Took some time, it wasn't perfect, but it works and I saved big money.
Years ago when I knew nothing about cars, I had a 1975 Monte Carlo I was trying to replace the fuel filter. I didn't use a back-up wrench, didn't realize I did some damage to the fuel line and almost burned my car up due to leaking fuel! IDIOT!!!
I've learned, gotten better, gotten more tools and the online sites like here have saved my ass.

#10 lenore

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Posted 07 October 2008 - 09:37 PM

Good for you, nothing ventured nothing learned...I will give you a old navy attaboy for trying, I respect people that give it that go, they may make mistakes, but you learn from them...Have a great evening.

#11 blueridge

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Posted 08 October 2008 - 06:02 AM

With the newer polymers and better fabrication processes, the belts are much more durable. One trick I learned is that you can loosen the side cover over the timing belt and spread it to 'peek' in with a flash light and see the condition of the belt. If you can see lettering on the back of the belt and the color is good (both belt and lettering), then it's a pretty good guess it's in decent condition. If you can't see the lettering, or it's really faded, and the belt looks faded, too, then that's a sign there is a lot of wear/fatigue on the belt and one will probably want to see to getting it changed in the not too distant future.



Good idea, I did just that and the belt looks new. bright letters and belt is shiny. I'll still shoot for 130K but at least it looks like it isn't so much of a roll of the dice.

#12 Ericok

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Posted 08 October 2008 - 09:21 PM

With the newer polymers and better fabrication processes, the belts are much more durable. One trick I learned is that you can loosen the side cover over the timing belt and spread it to 'peek' in with a flash light and see the condition of the belt. If you can see lettering on the back of the belt and the color is good (both belt and lettering), then it's a pretty good guess it's in decent condition. If you can't see the lettering, or it's really faded, and the belt looks faded, too, then that's a sign there is a lot of wear/fatigue on the belt and one will probably want to see to getting it changed in the not too distant future.



Good idea, I did just that and the belt looks new. bright letters and belt is shiny. I'll still shoot for 130K but at least it looks like it isn't so much of a roll of the dice.

That's actually not a good way to check your timing belt. The problem is that the belt itself doesn't break. It's the teeth that fall off. The back of the belt may look excellent but when the teeth fall off the belt "jumps" on the sprocket you have a problem. Take it from someone who's had to replace two pistons plus valves due to broken teeth off a timing belt (the back of the belt looked brand new). It was NOT a Lexus by the way. To properly check the belt, you have to look at the toothed side.

#13 blk_on_blk

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Posted 08 October 2008 - 10:03 PM

Man, either that's one crappy belt if teeth fell off or it was seeing loads beyond normal wear. Was it a performance engine?. A quality belt will wear to the point there start to be micro cracks at the bases of the teeth, but teeth shouldn't ever snap off (especially on a non-turbo/non-supercharged naturally aspirated engine). A quality belt of modern fabrication with the proper install should easily go up past the 130K mark (presuming there are no issues with the engine, i.e. leaks, misalignment, performance cam lift, etc.) . It's a bummer to hear you lost a belt on an interference engine... no good ever comes of that.

Peeking in at the belt is not a full inspection, but it is a very good way to get insight to the condition of the belt. There is always the possibility there is fluid seepage that has gotten on the belt or other contributing factors to early failure, but presuming all else is good, a belt should wear normally. Since the belt is flexed around tight radiuses (as it goes around the cam gears) and straightened repeatedly, the back of the belt is constantly flexing, stretching, and relaxing... over time the lettering will flake off and the color of the belt will fade. If you peek under the cover and the belt looks good and you've been driving for a long time on it, it's probably a safe bet you've still got some good life left in it.

#14 code58

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Posted 09 October 2008 - 12:50 AM

With the newer polymers and better fabrication processes, the belts are much more durable. One trick I learned is that you can loosen the side cover over the timing belt and spread it to 'peek' in with a flash light and see the condition of the belt. If you can see lettering on the back of the belt and the color is good (both belt and lettering), then it's a pretty good guess it's in decent condition. If you can't see the lettering, or it's really faded, and the belt looks faded, too, then that's a sign there is a lot of wear/fatigue on the belt and one will probably want to see to getting it changed in the not too distant future.



Good idea, I did just that and the belt looks new. bright letters and belt is shiny. I'll still shoot for 130K but at least it looks like it isn't so much of a roll of the dice.

That's actually not a good way to check your timing belt. The problem is that the belt itself doesn't break. It's the teeth that fall off. The back of the belt may look excellent but when the teeth fall off the belt "jumps" on the sprocket you have a problem. Take it from someone who's had to replace two pistons plus valves due to broken teeth off a timing belt (the back of the belt looked brand new). It was NOT a Lexus by the way. To properly check the belt, you have to look at the toothed side.

I can tell you for a fact that my DIL's RX had the original belt when I replaced it at 97k mi. I could not believe the condition of the belt- the teeth were in perfect condition, no fine cracking or wear evident on the belt at all, only a small amount of wear on the lettering on the face of the belt. I have changed timing belts before and have never seen a belt with that # of miles look in that good of condition. They are made of some VERY good stuff! I gave it to my son and he put it in the cabinet drawer. I look at it occasionally and still can't believe the condition of it. I did not change the water pump either because there was no sign of leak, the original red anti freeze was in it and was pristine condition (I did change that) and now with 130k mi. still no trace of leak.

#15 tjmc11

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Posted 09 October 2008 - 06:31 PM

REPLACE BOTH WATER PUMP AND TENSIONER when you do the belt. Just smart to do so why youhave it open. If you go up to 150K, you are on the high range and are risking it wearing out, but it has a clearance engine if it does happen to break so you will not cause engine damage if it does break.

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