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Criticality Of Timing Chain Replacement

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Subject vehicle: 2006 RX400h AWD with a smidge under 200,000 miles.

Last month, the incorrect service was performed on my RX. Instead of doing the 90,000 miles service, (which includes the replacement of the timing chain), the dealer performed the 120,000 miles service. So, the timing chain was replaces at around the 90,000 mile mark and not since.

I've heard conflicting information. On one hand, it is part of the normal 90,000 mile service. On the other hand, I've been told that it is a preventative measure and the chains really don't ware out. Thinking that, you can replace all types of things on a preventative basis, some of which will never fail.

Not sure if 'driving style' affects wear on the chain. If it does, I'm pretty gentle on the car. Can't remember the last time I 'floored it'. Usually come up to speed after a stop gently and in no hurry. Rarely exceed the posted legal speed limit. Never hard braking. etc.

How critical is it to replace the timing chain? Are you living on 'borrowed time' when you don't replace it? Is it an unnecessary expense and the things don't fail at a very high rate?

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Hi Steven.

Before the timing chain, Lexus used a timing belt. The change was made to make the part run longer and not require an automatic change out at 90,000 miles.

Like the pistons, fan belt, camshaft and so on, the timing chain is running constantly for every inch you drive. There are two different camp's on when or if to change it. For myself, I would change the part. Remember, the fact that you've been able to drive your RX for 200,000 miles is a testament to the quality of Lexus. In my opinion however, any car, Lexus or not, is going to start with one problem after another At this point in time most cars are looking for a sheltered place with easy curves and where it can retire in comfort.

yummy Dino.

Giving the RX to your one & only could become an expensive Christmas present. Do you know how long the
battery/charger last before needing a change out? I don't know but if
you know would you come back and let us know.


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There is absolutely no reason a timing chain should not last the life of the vehicle. Even if there was any perceptible wear, the chain has a tensioner and vibration dampers. At the most, the tensioner might need to be replaced. The dealer is a ripoff artist. There is no way that anyone's driving style can possibly have any effect whatsoever on timing chain wear. Even if you were to hold the gas pedal to the floor in neutral until something failed, it would not be the chain.

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agree with jetfixer01 - no way should a timing chain need replacing at 90k miles. Most will last at least 200k miles. At that point, the engine may be ready for a total overhaul, to include the timing set.

There seems to be many folks who take what their dealer tells them as gospel...HUGE mistake. Like he (jetfixer01) said - "The dealer is a ripoff artist". This, of course doesn't apply to all, but certainly a good portion of them. That's why I perform my own maintenance, especially the routine stuff (oil/filter changes, etc.) My wife's '09 was making a noise that was thought to be the left front wheel bearing going bad (per my father-in-law who owned/operated his own Shell service station for many years). His son also suspected the wheel I ordered new bearings from Rock Auto...and replaced the LF change. So, I pretty much wasted $43 for the bearing and another $40 to have the old pressed out and new pressed into the hub by a local machine shop. HOWEVER, that's STILL better than the $HUNDREDS that a dealer would've charged for the same thing. After replacing that bearing and the front brake pads (her RX has 57k miles on it), I've determined that it's tire noise, as the 2nd (current) set of tires installed are a more open tread pattern than the original (and crappy) Michelin tires.

I realize there are people who, either due to time constraints, lack of tools/facility, or just so financially well-off that they don't think twice about taking their vehicles back to the dealership and paying whatever the service advisor says they need to in order to maintain their vehicle's reliability. I'm not one of those. I believe in saving $$ where I can. If the task is obviously above my perceived capabilities, I won't hesitate to pay someone else to do it...but I've learned a lot and SAVED a lot by taking on some of the purely "mechanical" tasks that didn't involve too many special tools or skills. My repertoire continues to expand. :)

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Please remember that the 2006 has a belt, not chain. The belt is absolutely well made and many have stretched to 200k on them. But like any rubber component, age and fatigue will eventually cause the potential for failure. I personally would not want that to happen. So changing it is just part of the routine maintenance. Hey 150k change, that would be my max. There are alternatives to the dealer for this service, and most of these cars are paid for by that time. so look at it like it was a car payment or two....just my two cents. For us that do most of our own maintenance we save thousands, but I will tell you I changed the belt on my car, but told my wife, next time it goes to dealership, I just don't have the patience like I once had.

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Giving the RX to your one & only could become an expensive Christmas present. Do you know how long the

battery/charger last before needing a change out? I don't know but if you know would you come back and let us know.

Absolutely. I'll be helping my lady friend out as much as I can, at least until I retire next August and move out of state. She's been making noises like, "I don't know what I'm going to do without you". She even cried the other day. Trying to convince her to come along, and she might eventually. She's past retirement age, but is very involved in her work, (middle school English teacher). If she comes, she'll be bringing the RX with her.

Her main car is a '06 Prius and it has never had battery issues either. I think in the beginning, we were all just scared, especially when we got a quote about how much it would cost to replace the battery pack. It has turned out to be a non-issue. And even if it is a problem, there is enough documentation out there that you don't have to replace the whole battery pack, just the one cell that has gone bad.

Jayna knows exactly what she is getting. She knows the care well. I'll be back here, off and on. Jayna isn't very forum savvy, so I'll be her voice here.

Thanks again everyone for your help and support.

p.s. We'll get the timing belt replaced in a few months. Maybe that could be my Christmas present for her. (Yuck! What a stinky 'present'. I'll have to do something else better than that.) I'll be on the lookout for a discount coupon at the Toyota dealer who services my, (I mean, 'her'), RX.

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