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
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.
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
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
Toyota thermostat ~$15?? (don't use aftermarket here)
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
Ron in Ca
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