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Es 300 Timing Belt Issue

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Ok so a few days ago I went to Midas to change oil on my '94 ES300, 135K miles. And after about half hour the car was ready but the mechanic gave me some alarming news. He says the timing belt is in bad shape and needs to be replaced ASAP!! Also needs to change the water pump and the total was around $1100. Now of course I started wondering how did they find that out without opening the engine?

I talked to Lexus dealership and they were surprised how Midas could tell if the belt needed to be changed without opening the engine. Now I'm wondering what the experts here think about this? Is there anyway possible you can tell if the timing belt needs to be changed without opening the engine? thanks guys.

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i'm no car expert. but when you say opening the engine do you mean taking it apart or looking under the hood? because if yo got your oil changed they have to add more oil by opening the hood. and your timing belt can be seen it's to the side of your engine and your water pump should be right next to it encased in a big plastic like case. so they can look to see if it's worn or torn because it's visible when you open the hood. and yes that can be a problem if it goes. usually when you get your timing belt changed you should do the water pump also. that's part of a major tune up i believe. $1100 is crazy though but that's because it's a commercial place. Local mechanics will probably try to charge you around 300 - 700. I hope someone else responds to this thread so i can make sure i'm right on this. but they shouldn't need to look in the engine. your timing belt is attached to your alternator and when you pop open the hood. you can see those clear as day.

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igbeserk is pretty much right.

the belt has nothing to do with anything actually "inside" the engine metal block at all. anyone including yourself can open the hood and go see for yourself without a mechanic even close to you.

you need to open the hood to get to the oil filter to change it anyways. if you look to the left of the engine you will see a few belts, your alternator, water pump etc..

if it looks like a dog chewed the belt, to put it in simple terms - time for a new one, and decently quickly enough. timing belt = car moving lol.

when you change the timing belt 99% of the time you do your water pump at the same time as it pretty much is in the same area/has to be removed during the belt change.

at a toyota dealership about 500-700, at a lexus dealership about 1000, mom and pop garage about 400-500 etc etc...

advantage of the lexus and the ES is that its pretty much a camry. if a mechanic can do a camry then its the same for your car. price side too wink.gif

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igbeserk is pretty much right.

the belt has nothing to do with anything actually "inside" the engine metal block at all. anyone including yourself can open the hood and go see for yourself without a mechanic even close to you.

you need to open the hood to get to the oil filter to change it anyways. if you look to the left of the engine you will see a few belts, your alternator, water pump etc..

if it looks like a dog chewed the belt, to put it in simple terms - time for a new one, and decently quickly enough. timing belt = car moving lol.

when you change the timing belt 99% of the time you do your water pump at the same time as it pretty much is in the same area/has to be removed during the belt change.

at a toyota dealership about 500-700, at a lexus dealership about 1000, mom and pop garage about 400-500 etc etc...

advantage of the lexus and the ES is that its pretty much a camry. if a mechanic can do a camry then its the same for your car. price side too wink.gif

thanks for responding boar. what i'm trying to figure out though is the part where you said you called a Lexus dealer and they told you you'd have to open the engine to see if the timing belt was bad or not so how could midas know if it needs to be replaced? that sounds like some shadiness right there.

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Hang on a minute guys. Are we talking about the timing belt or the accessory drive belts? You cannot see the timing belt when you open the hood. It may be possible to check the condition of the timing belt by loosening the upper timing belt cover, but you wouldn't be able to see much - definitely not enough to check the condition of the teeth. In order to remove the timing belt covers and actually inspect the belt, you have to remove the accessory drive belt and crankshaft pulley. Midas definitely didn't do that in 30 minutes. They probably just told you that based on your mileage and tried to alarm you so you'd get it done immediately. The timing belt should be replaced based on mileage. If it has never been done on your car it's time to do it with 135k miles. It should be much cheaper than $1100 though. You have a non-interference engine so if it breaks it won't do any damage.

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mkeeney I think you're right since Midas was talking about the actual timing belt and I think they were basing their recommendation based on mileage. Anyway I got it changed by Lexus dealership for cheaper than what Midas wanted to charge. It seems in my area (co.springs, co), the Lexus dealership is pretty reasonable so I'd rather go to the dealership than Midas. I actually saved about $100 bucks going with Lexus over Midas. Again thanks to all of you for your input. Much appreciated! :cheers:

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I'm guessing it was original since there was no sticker on the t-belt cover when I bought the car a few years ago.

135K on OEM belt...year I would change it.....ASAP

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I'm guessing it was original since there was no sticker on the t-belt cover when I bought the car a few years ago.

135K on OEM belt...year I would change it.....ASAP

Local Toyota would likely do that service for half what Lexus would charge - with the same parts and comparably-trained technicians. Note that 95% of the parts for the Lexus ES 300 and Camry models of that year were identical. My last 2 (yes, two) TB - water pump replacements were less than $550 each at Toyota.

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