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barbaro1

Rx-300 Timing Belt

21 posts in this topic

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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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?

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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.

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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.

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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!!!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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 !Removed!.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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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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.

Does it really have a non-interference engine? This discussion has taken place several times on this forum with knowledgeable posters coming down on both sides. I was convinced it was non-interference until I did a little research. There are many who say the 3.0L V6 with VVTi is interference because of the variable timing. I really don't know for sure but really wish I did!

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For what it's worth, the dealership I've been to said yes and no. No at low speeds, but at higher speeds you will have some damage. Sounds like a interference engine to me.

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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.

Does it really have a non-interference engine? This discussion has taken place several times on this forum with knowledgeable posters coming down on both sides. I was convinced it was non-interference until I did a little research. There are many who say the 3.0L V6 with VVTi is interference because of the variable timing. I really don't know for sure but really wish I did!

Yes and No are in a sense both correct. I for one had one break at about 3500 RPM and had NO engine damage. I know it was that RPM because I happened to glance at my tac exactly when it happened. With the spacing between the valves and the timing component of this engine being a factor as well, it is fairly difficult to cause valve/lifter/rocker arm, type of damage seen in other interference engines. The VVTi engine is clearance I thought.

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FWIW, The belt change interval on my RX330 is 90,000. That is one component I will never extend mileage on. Just not worth it IMO. I had my belt done by an INDY shop with a new water pump for about $400. I'm now at 150k and will go back and replace the tensioner, wp, seal and belt at 180k.

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I changed mine at 90K as the dealer suggested. I didn't want to be left stranded!

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Preventative maintenance is always the best approach!! The question is where should the preventative 'mark' be? At the dealer prescribed 90K? Why not earlier? That will give you more peace of mind that it's solid and secure. Are you risking it running past the 90K mark? Why? Because the dealer said so, or because there are indications the chances of losing your timing belt beyond the 90K are much higher? That's nicely kept secret.

Knowing industry, and knowing products, my guess is the dealership/manufacturer is giving a nice big "factor of safety" on their 90K recommendation. It could be that most belts never break until ~150K, but the 90K mark ensures nearly no belt will EVER break... plus it throws more maintenance work the dealership's way.

If a person feels concerned and are compelled to go by the 90K recommendation, then that is an excellent choice and will nearly ensure one won't have any concerns. Although, if you run it longer than 90K, I have strong feeling you won't have any problems for quite a few more miles.

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