1998 Toyota Avalon timing belt change?

All: I just bought a slightly used 1998 Toyota Avalon from an Uncle. So far, it's a great car! It easily passed CA smog and also passed Toyota's 160 point inspection.
    One question though -- when do I change it's timing belt? It's got almost 73K on it; but since my Uncle barely used it, it's like a new car. Do I have the timing belt changed every 90K? My last car, a Camry, need it's one changed every 60K.     Thank you for any help.
Keith of San Diego, CA
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I'd look in the manual. Should say somewhere I would think. Could call a dealer I guess. They oughta know. Being it has 73k, it's not a new car. How he drove it probably has fairly little to do with the life of the belt. If it's the usual run of the mill belt, I probably wouldn't want to go over 90k and I wouldn't be surprised if Toyotas number for 98 is fairly close to that. If you do decide to change the belt, I would also change the water pump at the same time, if the pump is in the timing belt location, and requires the crankshaft bolt to come off. To not do both while you are in there is kind of silly.. Many of those pumps go real fast when they flake out. You can be normal, but locking up and squealing 10 minutes later.. usually also spewing some water. I had one go bad on me while I was working on the car one time.. :/ You will save a lot of labor/costs if both are done at the same time while you are in there rather than waiting for the pump to flake and doing it later. And cooling problems are the kiss of death to a good running JA engine. I'd never want to take the chance, just to save a few bucks when changing a belt. There are also oil seals that can be changed too, but at least those are not critical, so I consider them optional. I'd do them myself, but it wouldn't be the end of the world if you skipped them if not leaking. Oil leaks will come on gradually. But like I say, all three of those jobs will usually require the crankshaft pulley off to get in there, so might as well do em all in one shot and be done with it. MK
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If it's never been changed then you are technically overdue. It's 6- years/90K miles for 97+ (?). You've past the 6-year mark. That also tells you how little the Toyota 160 point inspection is worth, if the dealer didn't even mention the timing belt.
If you drive 90K miles in 6 years then you can change at that schedule -- by then the tensioner tends to be a lot noisier and the pump may or may not be seeping (but change it as it most likely will by 180K miles). The idler pulley tends to be quieter (but again, change it).
I would do a "complete" timing service myself at 5-year/60K using the excellent Gates Timing Component kit. But if you have to pay a dealer $800-900, then 6yr/90K may be a better choice.
If you do your own work you'll need to get a crank pulley holding tool. A cam pulley holder helps too plus an assortment of standard tools. http://www.sjdiscounttools.com/sch64300.html
I'd also replace parts like the following (older prices from www.rockauto.com) GATES TCK257 timing component kit $89.79 FEL-PRO TCS45890 crank seal $6.27 FEL-PRO TCS45889 cam seal set $8.55 GATES K060410 Alt/AC belt $13.09 GATES K040345 PS belt $8.61 ASCO/AISIN Part # 1610029085 water pump $61.79 (I use Airtex pumps from the local NAPA store) Total ~$188 + shipping
If needed: FEL-PRO VS50471R valve cover set (with spark plug tube seals) $30.79 Toyota thermostat ~$15?? (don't use aftermarket here)

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I'd go a bit further than John did Keith. I'd recommend you drain replace all the fluids (no need, IMO, to flush) and do the hoses too. 10 years is a goodly time for only 70k miles probably about time to have front pads checked too. Ron in Ca

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