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Timing belt HELL

Discussion in 'Off-Topic Discussion' started by bobwilson1977, Jun 2, 2009.

  1. Jun 2, 2009 at 8:15 AM
    #1
    bobwilson1977

    bobwilson1977 [OP] Well-Known Member

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    So I just spent 2 solid days replacing the timing belt on my Brother's 98 Avalon. The car has 260,000 miles and still had the original timing belt. I figured I'd help him change it. It was kind of a disaster but turned out good in the end. Most of the problem was that we had never done this before and made LOTS of mistakes along the way.

    So we removed the accessories that were in the way ( alternator, engine support, etc etc) and then removed the upper timing belt cover. So far so good. Then we removed the timing belt tensioner. Mistake No.1. Then we got to the large crank pulley. The impact wrench had zero effect loosening it. So I made a ugly but effective tool from scrap steel and tied this to the frame. It took both of us to pull on a 2.5 foot breaker bar to pop the bolt loose.

    In the process we wound up moving the crank pulley. Since the tensioner was not there, the belt popped off the camshaft sprockets. We had not marked the old belt. So now all three sprockets were out of whack. Took us awhile to figure out how to line them all up again. The markings on the back of the timing belt cover were really faint and hard to see. Again- we didn't know what we were doing and it took research to figure out how to get all the timing marks correct.

    With the belt off, I decided to replace the water pump. Well... half of the pump is covered with the back of the timing belt cover. The only way to remove that cover was to remove the cam sprockets. The only way to do that is to remove the valve covers. The rear valve cover is covered with the intake phlenum which has all of the air intake components, hoses, throttle body, etc etc. There's like 5 trillion wires and hoses going to it. So we had to remove all of that stuff just to get to the damned valve covers.I pull the water pump and a gallon of radiator fluid pours all over the place, all over the tools, etc etc. Spend 30 minutes mopping it all up with paper towels. End of day 1.

    Day 2. Bright and early we go to get the gaskets. Turns out the just-opened Toyota dealership right down the freeway went bankrupt. So we had to go to another dealership way the hell down the road. Finally get the gaskets. Return.

    We put on the timing belt, apply the tensioner and notice all three sprockets are out of whack. We try re-positioning them several times. Each time tension is applied, the sprockets again go out of allignment. We finally realize that the two solid lines means they go on the timing marks of the two camshaft sprockets and the dotted line goes on the timing mark of the crank sprocket. But it has to be turned facing the right side to do so. Took us 2 more hours to figure that out. Now the timing belt is installed. Good.

    Next we installed the valve covers with new gaskets. We also spent a lot of time figuring out how the hell you replace the spark plug seals. The ONLY way to do it is to bend little tabs that are on the seal's edges with needle nose pliars. The shop book we have says tighten them down to 32 inch pounds. WTF is that supposed to mean? I know 32 pounds would crack them. So I google "Inch pounds to foot pounds" and get 6 foot pounds. There ya go! We tighten the valve covers. Things are starting to look up.

    Next we installed the intake phelenum. Now we have to hook up all the zillions of hoses and wires. The wires are all color-coded. I broke one of the connectors and spend 30 minutes soldering it back together. We had failed to label 3 of the hoses and they are all the same length. We research the hoses and find that hoses 1 and 2 are connected to the coolant system and go to stainless steel connectors on the throttle body, thus the third goes to last position.

    With everything replaced we start the car. It runs really rough and I fear the worst that we somehow did not connect the timing belt properly. I check the plug wires and find that TWO of them are faulty as they are the ones that came with the car. We run to the store which closes at 8:00. Its now 7:50. We get the wires and replace them. In the process we cross the wires and have to look at a diagram to establish the order. We start the car and now it runs smooth as butter but there is a very loud hissing noise. Somewhere in there is a loose vaccum hose. It is now 9:00 PM and is dark. We look around with a flashlight. We see that the PCV valve hose is loose. I connect it. No more hissing.

    We take the car on the freeway and give er' a workout. Return, open hood, everything's A-ok.

    The bottom line is that Toyota 3.0 V6 engines are a big pain in the ass to work on, especially if you're a weekend mechanic like me. Had I known the difficulty, I'm not sure I would do it again. But we learned a lot and in hindsite it was a bonding experience with my Brother.

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  2. Jun 2, 2009 at 8:20 AM
    #2
    mws4ua

    mws4ua I'll try being nicer if you try being smarter.

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    I think you just graduated from weekend mechanic to something more involved. Kudos to you.
     
  3. Jun 2, 2009 at 8:24 AM
    #3
    Kenobe

    Kenobe Well-Known Member

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    Sometimes it's worth it to pay some 20yo at the dealer to do the job and break his back and knuckles for you :)
     
  4. Jun 2, 2009 at 8:25 AM
    #4
    bobwilson1977

    bobwilson1977 [OP] Well-Known Member

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    I am definitely sore today. That's for sure.
     
  5. Jun 2, 2009 at 8:27 AM
    #5
    itsmyturn

    itsmyturn Well-Known Member

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    toyota v6 timing belts are a pita. i have heard of some dealers charging up to 12 hours in labor to do that repair
     
  6. Jun 2, 2009 at 8:35 AM
    #6
    bobwilson1977

    bobwilson1977 [OP] Well-Known Member

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    Well, it took us seriously 24 hours solid to do it. Had we known what we were doing, I'd say cut it down to half that amount. I figured a dealership would probably have cost us around $1,200 or more. We spent under $300. So if you have the time, Its definitely worth it. But again- I think I'd just let someone else do it next time.
     
  7. Jun 2, 2009 at 8:48 AM
    #7
    NAAC3TACO

    NAAC3TACO Just east of crazy

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    260,000 miles on a timing belt. Another sign of Toyota quality. At the Chevy dealer I work at, we've had Aveo timing belts break at 45,000 and they are supposed to be changed at 60,000.:eek: By the way, kudos on taking on a project like that. Good job.
     
  8. Jun 2, 2009 at 9:08 AM
    #8
    bobwilson1977

    bobwilson1977 [OP] Well-Known Member

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    No kidding. Honestly, the old belt looked perfect. No cracks, no shine, no nothing. The old water pump also looked new as did the rest of the stuff we removed. Pretty amazing. I'm almost sure it could have gone longer on all the original stuff.
     
  9. Jun 2, 2009 at 9:18 AM
    #9
    chris4x4

    chris4x4 With sufficient thrust, pigs fly just fine. Moderator

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    Great work, Bob! :)
     
  10. Jun 2, 2009 at 9:22 AM
    #10
    bobwilson1977

    bobwilson1977 [OP] Well-Known Member

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  11. Jun 2, 2009 at 9:25 AM
    #11
    dually

    dually Low and slow

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    Not as many as the 98..
    Im guessing you had no manual? haha

    But definitely, timing belts on FWD cars suck big ones.
     
  12. Jun 2, 2009 at 12:26 PM
    #12
    mntbiker2008

    mntbiker2008 First I derp.. then I herp

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    damn man... kudos to you for taking a project on like that. I am a weekend mechanic myself but wouldnt think about doing that. maybe next time you can get r done faster because you know what your doing and know not to make the same mistakes. id much rather pay $300 than than the 1200 at the stealer. but i dont trust my wrenching enough to do that.


    congrats!

    Aaron
     
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