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93ls400walt

Timing Belt Replacement, Did You Do Your Own?

27 posts in this topic

Hello everyone,

I've read some of the topics on changing the TB. I am in need of a new water pump, as it is leaking, and my LS is overdue for a TB change. I have a fair amount of mechanical experience, but nothing at this level for many years.

My question, to those of you that have changed your own, is would you do it again or pay to have this done?. And do you have any info. on mechanics in the Palm Springs area of CA?

In my area the local Lexus and Toyota dealers want around $1700.00 to change everything out. eg. timing belt, water pump, idler pulleys, TB tensioner,serpentine belt tensioner and pulley, cam and crank seals.

I am about ready to do this myself but a little reluctant to try it. Especially since it is around 110 degrees out daily. And no a/c in the garage. Also, if you would, give any tips / tricks that you learned. Especially about lining up the belt marks and getting the crankshaft pulley bolt off and removing the pulley.

Thank you,

Walt

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Walt, I have changed the timing belt, water pump, tensioners, etc in my 98 LS400 and my 92 ES300. And yes, I would do it again. Is it a pain? Some might say it is. I am not a professional mechanic (thank goodness...I would starve to death) but I do enjoy tinkering with cars and learning how they work and how to fix them. Perhaps the biggest reason I do my own work is because I am very picky about my vehicles. I have an inherent mistrust for others working on my stuff. I want it done right and I know the best person for that job.

I do not know your mechanical abilities, access to tools or tolerance for pain. The timing belt/water pump job is not for the faint hearted but is very do-able for those with a little patience, are meticulous about how things go back together and have the time for the job.

With your 93, you are not in any danger of damaging the engine should the belt break, however, you should address the leaking pump soon. Fall is almost here, so you might plan on doing it in a couple of months if you can wait that long. It would give you time to gather parts and do some research. The biggest thing you will need is time. Do not plan on this as a one day job or even two. Give yourself a complete day to dismantle and several days to put it back together. That way you are not rushing the process and mess something up. I took lots of pictures and bagged all the bolts/parts as they came off so that I would not lose or forget where something came from.

The crank bolt removal has been debated a lot on this forum. I have done the "allen key in the flywheel" method on the LS and an air impact wrench on the ES. I would really recommend getting the crank pulley holder tool for this job. It costs about $60. Aligning the belt is fairly easy utilizing the timing marks on the new belt. Above all, use good OEM parts.

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Thank you Landar,

Your information is insightful and very helpful.

Walt

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I did mine as well and would do it again. There are some good tutorials on this site and elsewhere. I bought my parts from www.parts.com but Sewell is also a good choice. Parts Dinosaur also sells TB/WP kits for Lexus.

The main advice I would give is to be organized, use lots of sandwich bags and permanent marker to track parts as you take them off so you won't get things mixed up for reinstall. Make cheat sheets for bolts of different length for water pump and some of the brackets so you don't mix them up.

It probably takes two days or one long day for a first timer. Better to do two days so plan on alternative vehicle so you aren't stuck if you have problems. don't forget to get all fluids (Toyota coolant) , FIP gasket material and new O-Rings for water pump tubes (the O-Rings don't come with WP kit for some reason).

I have 30k miles on my TB so I guess I did it right..... :blink:

www.lexls.com/tutorials/engine/timingbelt.html

www.shastaanesthesia.com/Lexus/Page1.html

www.lextreme.com/timing2.html

www.flickr.com/photos/landar/sets/72157622883357340/

http://us.lexusownersclub.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=64500&hl=%20curiousb%20%20timing%20%20july%20%202010&st=0

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As a first timer, I'm hesitant. While I enjoy tinkering on cars, a TB/WP change appears to be more than just a tinker. I'm pretty meticulous with my cars, but in my mind the cost of a mistake is pretty large. In our ES, I paid to have it done. When it comes time for the LS, I may spend a little more time searching the Internet for how-to's and videos before making the final decision as to whether to send it off or do it myself.

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Good point, Micah. I guess I view the TB/WP as "tinkering" with the car but that somewhat trivializes the job. It does go beyond a standard tinker which is probably an oil change or serp belt change. Now, walts car, being a 93, would not be destroyed if he did something wrong with the timing. Yours, however, being a 99, might sustain some damage.

On the flip side, doing your own work is a tremendous "confidence booster". It will boost your self-confidence in that what you set out to accomplish, with due diligence and attention to detail, you can successully complete. My son and I just got done replacing a head gasket, timing belt and water pump on a 92 ES300. I had never removed the heads on an side-mounted overhead cam engine before and he had only changed oil in a car. But I looked upon the job as a tremendous learning experience and confidence booster for him as a young man. I taught him how to research the project, how to bag the bolts, label connectors, vacuum lines and take lots of pictures. He performed the brunt of the work under my supervision. When he got stuck or discouraged, I came alongside and helped. The job is completed now and he has a beautifully running ES300 to drive around. For me, mission accomplished. No, not the head gasket, TB/WP. The mission of instilling greater confidence in a young man. And that it did. He is now "unafraid" to rip into it. The confidence then spills over into other areas of his life. The monetary savings ain't too bad either! ;)

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Look at these kits on flea bay, the main thing is stay with Aisin water pump which is OE manufactorer, and timing belt from Mitishobisi...both very good brands...

http://www.ebay.com/itm/LEXUS-LS400-90-97-OEM-COMPLETE-FACTORY-OEM-TIMING-KIT-PUMP-BELT-/390391453557?pt=Motors_Car_Truck_Parts_Accessories&fits=Make%3ALexus%7CModel%3ALS400&hash=item5ae524d775&vxp=mtr

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Good point, Micah. I guess I view the TB/WP as "tinkering" with the car but that somewhat trivializes the job. It does go beyond a standard tinker which is probably an oil change or serp belt change. Now, walts car, being a 93, would not be destroyed if he did something wrong with the timing. Yours, however, being a 99, might sustain some damage.

On the flip side, doing your own work is a tremendous "confidence booster". It will boost your self-confidence in that what you set out to accomplish, with due diligence and attention to detail, you can successully complete. My son and I just got done replacing a head gasket, timing belt and water pump on a 92 ES300. I had never removed the heads on an side-mounted overhead cam engine before and he had only changed oil in a car. But I looked upon the job as a tremendous learning experience and confidence booster for him as a young man. I taught him how to research the project, how to bag the bolts, label connectors, vacuum lines and take lots of pictures. He performed the brunt of the work under my supervision. When he got stuck or discouraged, I came alongside and helped. The job is completed now and he has a beautifully running ES300 to drive around. For me, mission accomplished. No, not the head gasket, TB/WP. The mission of instilling greater confidence in a young man. And that it did. He is now "unafraid" to rip into it. The confidence then spills over into other areas of his life. The monetary savings ain't too bad either! ;)

Completely agree with you, Landar! Shoot, I'd probably tear into my engine with my Dad there, because I trust him implicitly, whether or not he really knows what he's doing! (Ha!) It's nice to have someone show you the ropes, and getting the confidence to which you refer, is priceless. There are a few folks not related to me that I hold in such high esteem, for Lexus advice - you and Mr. Billy Powell among a select few others.

Micah

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Thank you all for the info. and support.

I had decided to do this myself if the last shop I had left to call did not work out, confidence and price wise, however meeting the owner and being given a price of $475.00 for labor I decided to go with his shop. Part of the decision is based on the water pump leaking so much that I am putting 1/2 of a gallon of coolant a day into the car, and the local temperature around 106 daily with high humidity, I did not think I could spend that much time out in the garage.

The shop is European automotive service in Palm Desert, CA. He also has excellent on-line reviews ( I know ). I'll let you know how it all works out.

Thanks again, Walt

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Hey great price, hope all goes well...Replacing the waterpump does take some time....

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That is a great price. While I'm no where close to California, I'm interested in your assessment once you get your car back.

Micah

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Very fair price for that work. Its a long job even for an experienced pro. Be sure he changes (best) or at least checks (be wary) the cam and crank seals while in there.

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well I am 78 now, but me and my nephew have replaced 5 of them so far... (he does most of the "work"). and I am a retired mechanic... and he is one. BUT this is not a difficult job... hard, yep!, but as Landar said, just pay attention to what you are doing, and be careful. we like to line it all up, mark it and then take it down and just put it back together. watch how much the cam gears "move" and just move them back as necessary. (thanks Micah for the pat on the back). you got a good quote, Jon charges 500$ when he can, less if necessary. most of ours have been family (2 were friends with LX models)

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Billy,

While I'm not near the next 90k service yet, I would gladly pay Jon $500 to be an apprentice, learning, twisting the wrenches, etc. the right way. Dallas is only 6 hours away, and Sewell is right there in your neck of the woods! Kaci (my wife) really wants to get back to Covenant - what a perfect "excuse"! :)

Micah

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Billy,

While I'm not near the next 90k service yet, I would gladly pay Jon $500 to be an apprentice, learning, twisting the wrenches, etc. the right way. Dallas is only 6 hours away, and Sewell is right there in your neck of the woods! Kaci (my wife) really wants to get back to Covenant - what a perfect "excuse"! :)

Micah

Just keep in touch and let me know..... 972 695 6336 ( land line with answ. mach.)

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Just keep in touch and let me know..... 972 695 6336 ( land line with answ. mach.)

Will certainly do so. Thanks again.

Micah

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Well it's done. Total price came to $1108.00 with tax and coolant. So far it is great. The car runs excellent, much more responsive and smoother. Also, still on the first fill up, I seem to be getting much better gas mileage.

So I am happy with them and their service.

Thanks again for all of you input.

Walt

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You know Walt, I noticed a pretty good increase in my 98's MPG after I changed my timing belt. Maybe a 1 MPG average increase which I consider very significant. I always attributed it to the new thermostat and a slightly hotter running engine. But I don't know for sure. It was hardly "scientific".

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Just did mine yesterday. Broke the Water Pump Bypass trying to get it out (took me nearly 1.5 hours and it finally had enough of me prying and hammering and wiggling and twisting...). Cost me $97 from a friend at a dealer to get the new part. But it is back up and running.

Did water pump, pulleys, belt and tensioner. Wasn't a bad job, but when I broke the bypass I was starting to wonder if I should go farther. The old belt (135k) looked in fantastic shape, so I was really thinking about leaving it in. But once I got back going it went pretty well. Not really for a novice mechanic, but if you are VERY careful to make sure the cams and crank are all lined up to the marks, it is hard to mess it up, you would have intentionally move the cams or crank to hurt it.

Line up it up, and don't move it, R&R belt, put the marks on the belt in the right place (mine was marked correctly) and you are golden.

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Congrats on your work and also welcome to the club.... these are really great cars.. I just passed 80 and have become a spectator as far as doing ANY work... hard getting old... I even get sore carrying the trash out now.. if it wasnt for Jon I'd be sunk

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Congrats on your work and also welcome to the club.... these are really great cars.. I just passed 80 and have become a spectator as far as doing ANY work... hard getting old... I even get sore carrying the trash out now.. if it wasnt for Jon I'd be sunk

post-5365-0-40511000-1411223240_thumb.jp

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Only problem now I have is after a day of driving I have a left cam solenoid fault. I never touched it, so I am going to line it back up and see if maybe I got the left cam one notch off. I never moved a thing once lined up, but maybe I did get the belt off a little...

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can anyone help me out with some info? I have a 95 ls400 and recent replaced the timing belt, water pump, tensioner, tensioner pulley, and idler pulley. Now my timing belt is rubbing into the distributor housing on the right cam.

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Obviously something is not lined up correctly. Don't drive the car until you figure this out. 

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On 8/19/2012 at 11:42 AM, 93ls400walt said:

Thank you Landar,

Your information is insightful and very helpful.

Walt

I am/was a professional (now 83) but it is not hard, just pay attention to what you take off and the order of pieces replace all that moves while your there. 

 

ALSO TO DERRICK... TAKE IT BACK DOWN and locate the problem... dont mess things up..

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