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jdavis

Timing Belt Decision...

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My wife's '98 LS400 is just shy of 78K miles and has the original timing belt. I understand that this is a routine replacement at 90K but the car is nearing 12 years of age. I fear that I am flirting with disaster if I allow her to continue driving her daily 20 mile round trip to work. The car is in great condition and runs beautifully but, I am reluctant to spend nearly $2K if I can wait since I just spent $1K on a starter replacement. Any advice or opinions will be appreciated.

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There is a time constraint as well for timing belt. I don't recall the time but 12 years is for sure past it. So you're playing with fire leaving it unserviced.

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The time interval is seven years. There is no percentage in trying to get an extra year or two from the belt. Change it and drive with a peaceful mind. You might also find a shop that will do the belt for less than $2k, which is insane. My GS400 was well under $1k Canadian, with eight spark plugs and a serpentine belt installed as well, at the dealer.

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Its 90k miles or 72 months = 6 years.

I just changed the T belt on my 98 last fall at 94k miles and almost 12 years.

The belt looked somewhat worn but still had more life. It certainly did not look as if it were on the verge of snapping.

The Lexus tech told me to just wait for 90k miles since they have never seen a broken belt on an LS.

Many times, it is not the belt so much as the water pump that goes and takes the belt with it.

My opinion (which does not count for much, mind you) is that if the antifreeze has been changed on schedule (it keeps the pump happy) and the

car has not been abused (hot rodded or severe duty), wait until 90k miles. Then change the belt, pump and pulleys together.

If you fear disaster as you stated, then go ahead and have it replaced. You may sleep better. I never lost a wink worrying about mine. After all, its a Toyota. What could go wro...

wait a minute. :huh: :D

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When I did my timing belt at 172k it was the original belt and water pump, the previous owner never bothered to change it. The pump locked up, forcing me to do the job early (I was waiting until I had the time to do it without being rushed).

I fully understand the service intervals and I'm all for scheduled upkeep, but it's highly doubtful there has ever been a timing belt that magically snaps if the interval is exceeded. There's always a risk of damage but that's possible any time you start and drive the car, there's no guarantee you'll even make the interval, there's just no way to know if you got a bad pump, good belt, hard driven car, etc. You're not walking on egg shells by waiting.

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Look around for an Independent Lexus shop and I am sure it will not cost you anywhere near 2K. Had my TB service with all OEM parts........ belt, water pump, pullys, etc. and it was a little over $900.00.

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My concern is that the '98 has an interference engine which I understand would do severe damage should the TB let go. My wife has driven the car since new and has never driven it hard or abused it in any way. Does anyone know of a case where the TB failed on an LS400? From what I have gathered

there have been few if any documented cases. Regardless, I am going to plan on having the work done in the near future. I can find a local shop that says that they can do the work but, they are not an independent Lexus shop which concerns me a bit so I will check with Toyota also. Should I ask for a new water pump, idlers, and tensioner to be included or is that considered a required part of the job. Thanks to all for the insight. It really is helpful to hear from actual owners rather than the service writers who can enhance situations to make a sale.

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When I did my timing belt at 172k it was the original belt and water pump, the previous owner never bothered to change it. The pump locked up, forcing me to do the job early (I was waiting until I had the time to do it without being rushed).

I fully understand the service intervals and I'm all for scheduled upkeep, but it's highly doubtful there has ever been a timing belt that magically snaps if the interval is exceeded. There's always a risk of damage but that's possible any time you start and drive the car, there's no guarantee you'll even make the interval, there's just no way to know if you got a bad pump, good belt, hard driven car, etc. You're not walking on egg shells by waiting.

Well put, RDM.

Jdavis... take a quick look at this recent post for a list of parts -> http://us.lexusownersclub.com/forums/index...showtopic=62470

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Thanks landar. I will ask for a bill of material to be included with the estimates then compare to your list.

I am learning that maintaining an older car and paying for the labor is looking like an expensive proposition.

If I had your mechanical skill, it would make it far more palatable.

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What you spend always evens out. A new car would never need a bit of service, but it would cost you more in payments, tag fees, insurance, etc.

I love having an 18yr old car that still runs great and looks 10x better than it ever did stock so I don't mind doing the labor and paying for upkeep on it. I paid $1800 for it four years ago and have less than $2k in upgrades since, you can't beat that. A little money once in a while to keep it going really isn't that bad.

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Well jdavis it's not that the belt will never fail - eventually it will. Just when is a crap shoot. There is no visual check that can determine the amount of life left. Certainly a visual can tell you to replace it. I've repaired lots of engines that have had belts fail, and seen more than a few that were economically un-rebuildable. So it will be with the Lexus V-8. You'll find it cheaper to install a used engine than to repair the failed one. So be sure to check back here and gather the sympathy from those who have told you to drive a bit further. I'll be watching.

Just why it's important to squeeze a few more miles and months from a belt that Lexus themselves says to change is beyond me. Why change the oil in fact?

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Good advice, SRK. I won't be coming back looking for sympathy because I have asked for a quote fromToyota dealer to have the job done next week.

I requested all the material that landar suggested not just a look and see. Taking any risk of leaving my wife stranded on the side of the road isn't a viable option regardless of the cost. I really have no reason to complain about maintenance because I have spent little in upkeep over the years. This car has been almost bullet proof. That's one of the reasons we love it so. :wub:

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My wife's '98 LS400 is just shy of 78K miles and has the original timing belt. I understand that this is a routine replacement at 90K but the car is nearing 12 years of age. I fear that I am flirting with disaster if I allow her to continue driving her daily 20 mile round trip to work. The car is in great condition and runs beautifully but, I am reluctant to spend nearly $2K if I can wait since I just spent $1K on a starter replacement. Any advice or opinions will be appreciated.

JDavis...Hi there. I have a '98 LS400 in outstanding shape...with ~157K Miles. I live in S. TX...the timing belt has not been changed...but I bought da parts & will do it myself after it warms up a little more...post-chilly winter. Personally...my primary concerns are: the age on the belt, interference engine, and of course higher mileage. Got an independent estimate for ~$950 w/out water pump & $1200 with W/P. Will do myself for ~$175.00. Did my 3.5RL last year...have an AAS in Auto Tech...but not an active mechanic.

My advise: If ya can't do it yourself...take your car to a good NAPA, ASE, etc certified shop & save $1,000, or so. Good Luck.

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Reading these posts, I see no mention of cam or crank seals being changed, and they are not listed on the list of parts. Has anyone here with a 1998-2000 LS changed the seals?

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On my 1990 LS400 I replaced the timing belt and water pump for the first time last year at 108,000 miles. The belt still looked to be in good condition after 19 years of use, although the car has always been driven gently. Belt probably wouldn't have lasted that long if car was driven hurriedly and aggressively.

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In my experience (over 1,000,000 miles and 30+ years) with various Toyotas , the crank seal is good for 20-30 years or about 300,000 miles. Cam seals good for even more years and miles.

I do my own oil changes, however, and carefully avoid overfilling. Most service shops overfill by at least a half quart so maybe that is one reason crank and cam seals leak before 20 years on some cars. Another reason could be extending oil changed beyond every 6 months causing acid buildup in the oil.

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Reading these posts, I see no mention of cam or crank seals being changed, and they are not listed on the list of parts. Has anyone here with a 1998-2000 LS changed the seals?

I bought the crank seal and had it ready to go but when I got in there it did not look like a trivial task to change. In fact, it appeared to me

that a special tool was going to be needed. So, with no sign of leakage and wanting to leave well enough alone, I decided to postpone the crank seal change until

the 180k mile timing belt change. Ditto for the cam seals.

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Reading these posts, I see no mention of cam or crank seals being changed, and they are not listed on the list of parts. Has anyone here with a 1998-2000 LS changed the seals?

I did mine when I did the timing belt. Every car I ever teardown I do anything related while I'm in, cam and crank seals are no exception. They're easy to do (the cam seals have a cap that comes off, the crank just pries out with a puller) and are cheap enough to buy, why not do it? Rubber breaks down over time and especially with the heat from the 1UZ. I haven't had 30 years experience with Toyotas but over my 16 years of import auto repair I've seen a lot of leaking crank seals, a few being Toyotas and with way less mileage than 300k. My brother's '98 Camry began pouring from both the front and rear seals at about 89k miles, I just did another Camry a month ago with about 120k that was leaking heavily too. It's added insurance.

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They're easy to do

We're talking a VVti engine here. Not so easy.

If they aren't leaking, I don't change seals. To do otherwise to a customer is fraudulent.

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The Toyota dealer that I spoke to said that they always changed the cam and crank seals while doing a TB change. I was quoted $1,250 for the TB, tensioner, both idler pulleys, water pump, cam and cranks seals. I was told it was a 12 hour job. This sounds like a fair price considering what I have read on this and other threads.

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The Toyota dealer that I spoke to said that they always changed the cam and crank seals while doing a TB change. I was quoted $1,250 for the TB, tensioner, both idler pulleys, water pump, cam and cranks seals. I was told it was a 12 hour job. This sounds like a fair price considering what I have read on this and other threads.

That's a new one. I agree with SRK -- changing the seals is very unusual and not needed. Sounds like your Toyota dealer is doing needless extra work to keep his mechanics busy. Changing a timing belt, tensioner, idlers, water pump and the other few small related parts is far from a 12 hour job. I've had three timing belts changed on two LS cars during the 275K+ miles I've driven them and the 90K service has never taken more than one day with only one mechanic working on the car.

As I reported in another recent thread, the timing belt change portion of the 90K service on my 2000 LS400 was about $780 -- performed by a former Lexus dealer mechanic at an indie shop that specializes in Lexus and owned by a former Lexus dealer service writer. The same indie shop has been taking care of our Toyota and Lexus cars since it opened in 1996 and I've been way more satisfied with them than the local Lexus dealer I've been dealing with since they opened in 1989.

I agree that seals can occasionally leak. The crank seal on my first LS was changed in the early 90's at low mileage under warranty due to leakage -- but that was unusual.

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1990LS400, it sounds as if you are a lucky guy to have a good independent Lexus mechanic in your area. The independent that I consulted gave me a price of a bit over $1K. However,I am reluctant to let him do it because he admitted that he hand not done it on an LS400 previously. The Lexus dealer is at $1750 for the job which isn't surprising to me. I am going to let the Toyota guy have the job due to positive experience with him in the past plus he has experience in doing this work. What harm would it do to change the crank and cam seals? If anything, wouldn't it be a little extra insurance considering the minor cost for doing it?

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1990LS400, it sounds as if you are a lucky guy to have a good independent Lexus mechanic in your area. The independent that I consulted gave me a price of a bit over $1K. However,I am reluctant to let him do it because he admitted that he hand not done it on an LS400 previously. The Lexus dealer is at $1750 for the job which isn't surprising to me. I am going to let the Toyota guy have the job due to positive experience with him in the past plus he has experience in doing this work. What harm would it do to change the crank and cam seals? If anything, wouldn't it be a little extra insurance considering the minor cost for doing it?

Yeah, 1990 definitely has an advantage. The price for a TB service will depend on where you go. You're smart not to go with someone who has no experience with the vvt 1UZ-FE. Other than 1990's tech, Toyota is a good alternative to Lexus for price. Easy to spot a leaking seal. Basically, if it's leaking, replace, if not, you can wait until it does. Even if it starts after this TB, likely it will only sweat until your next TB. Make sure they use only oem parts for everything that's replaced. There are stories of dealerships using aftermarket to bump up their margins.

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1990LS400, it sounds as if you are a lucky guy to have a good independent Lexus mechanic in your area.

Have you looked? The indie shop I've been using since 1996 isn't the first one I've used that specialized in Lexus. I used another indie shop before that, also owned by a former Lexus dealer service writer, until he cashed out and moved to another (warmer!) part of the U.S.

Ask around. If you see another Lexus owner at a gas station/car wash/shopping center parking lot, ask the owner where he has his car serviced. I think you might be surprised how many good indie shops are around that have former Lexus dealership mechanics.

What harm could it do to replace the cam and crank seals? Pandora's Box. Why replace things that normally never have to be replaced? Why spend money that doesn't have to be spent? I'd rather you send that excess money to me! ;)

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I disagree. Seals wear out all the time, it's just a piece of rubber wrapped around a steel retainer. I've replaced dozens on all sorts of cars over the years, Toyotas included. My rear main has been leaking for over a year but I'm not ready to drop the transmission yet, but as that's said anytime I do a clutch job I replace the rear main, leaking or not. For the effort to get to the crank seal on a 1UZ it seems stupid to ignore it just to go back in later and do the entire job over again. The timing belt has to come off to get the crank gear off to gain access to the seal, you're already there anyway.

Maybe you guys have magic seals in other parts of the World, but I don't know of any car I've ever serviced that wasn't at least wet with oil by 80k miles. On the 1UZ you can't visibly see a small leak since there's a plastic cover over it, but that doesn't mean it's not leaking. Unless you're seriously incompetent the replacement procedure is very easy, although I'm sure some people have had the experience of scoring the crank or pushing the seal in wrong and having a worse leak than before. Not being skilled at it is good incentive to not do it, but it's not an excuse.

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