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ase_master327, Shop Owner
Category: Toyota
Satisfied Customers: 5288
Experience:  +15 years experience with Toyotas. Bumper to bumper diagnosis & repair.
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94 Toyota Corolla: 000 miles..timing belt..My Chilton manual says

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I just bought a 94 Toyota Corolla with 199,000 miles on it. On the engine it indicates the timing belt was changed at 65,000 miles. My Chilton manual says that if the belt is damaged I can probably tell by the performance of the engine. The car just passed the tough smog check we have here in the Sacramento Valley of California, and seems to be running great. The car is not operated under severe conditions as defined by Totyota. What is your advice regarding changing the timing belt? Should I wait until I have some evidence of wear? The Toyota dealer says it doesn't make sense to go to the effort of inspecting it without changing it. They estimate the job at $365. What do you recommend?
Submitted: 9 years ago.
Category: Toyota
Expert:  ase_master327 replied 9 years ago.

I recommend you to change it. If it breaks, then you will need to put some valves in the head.

Any time you buy a used car, change the timing belt, thermostat, air and fuel filters, along with the PCV valve. If the engine is running a little low on power, it is also advised to tuneup the ignition system...

This is the best thingyou can do to ensure the engine will stay with you for as long as possible.

If you want instructions on the timing belt repair, just let me know, and I'll send you some instructions that will save you alot of money. All of this can be done with about $100 in parts, and an afternoon of work.

ase_master327 and 4 other Toyota Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 9 years ago.
Yes, I'd like to see the instructions for getting this done in an afternoon. I did change the thermostat since it was stuck open, so your advice appears to be sound. Thanks, Gary
Expert:  ase_master327 replied 9 years ago.

The filters and ignition system tuneup are pretty starightforward, as well as the PCV valve.

If you want a little more pep without sacrificing very much MPG, you can get a set of performance timing gears, so I have also included instructions on replacing the gears. If you want me to find you a set, just let me know.

Here is an exploded view of the timing cover removal:

  1. Disconnect the negative battery cable.
  2. Raise the vehicle and safely support it on jackstands.
  3. Remove the washer reservoir tank.
  4. Remove the right splash shield from under the car.
  5. Remove the RH front wheel. Lower the vehicle.
  6. Depending on equipment, loosen the air conditioner compressor, the power steering pump and the alternator on their adjusting bolts. Remove the drive belts.
  7. Disconnect the harness from the ground wire on the RH fender apron.
  8. Support the engine either from above (chain hoist) or below (floor jack and wood block) and remove the through bolt at the right engine mount.
  9. Carefully elevate the engine enough to gain access to the water pump pulley.
  10. Remove the water pump pulley. Lower the engine to its normal position.
  11. Remove the valve cover. Make sure to label all hoses and wiring.
  12. Remove the bolts retaining the No. 3 and No. 2 timing belt covers.
  13. Remove the crankshaft pulley.
  14. Remove the three bolts retaining the (No. 1) lower timing belt cover. Separate the cover from the front of the engine. Remove the timing belt guide.
  • Loosen the mounting bolt of the idler pulley and shift it to the left as far as it will go, then temporarily tighten it. Remove the timing belt.
  • Remove the idler pulley and tension spring.
  • To remove the crankshaft pulley, hold the hexagonal head wrench portion of the camshaft with a wrench, then remove the bolt and timing pulley. Be careful not to damage the cylinder head with the wrench.
  • To install:

    1. Check the idler pulley by holding it in your hand and spinning it. It should rotate freely and quietly. Any sign of grinding or abnormal noise indicates the pulley should be replaced.
    2. Check the free length of the tension spring. Correct length is on 4A-FE engine; 1.453 inch. (36.9mm) and 7A-FE engine; 1.252 inch (31.8mm) measured at the inside faces of the hooks. A spring which has stretched during use will not apply the correct tension to the pulley; replace the spring.
    3. When reinstalling, make certain that the gaskets and their mating surfaces are clean and free from dirt and oil. The gasket itself must be free of cuts and deformations and must fit securely in the grooves of the covers.

    Here is the marks for the timing gears.




    1. Temporarily install the timing pulley bolt. Hold the hexagonal wrench head portion of the camshaft with a wrench, then tighten the timing pulley bolt to 43 ft. lbs. (59 Nm).
    2. Install the crankshaft pulley. Align the pulley set key with the groove of the pulley. Slide on the timing pulley, facing the flange side inwards.
    3. Temporarilly install the idler pulley and tension spring. Install the idler pulley with the bolt. Do not tighten the bolt yet. Install the tension spring. Push the pulley toward the left as far as it will go and tighten the bolt.
    4. Set the No. 1 cylinder to TDC of the compression stroke. Turn the hexagonal wrench head portion of the camshaft, and align the hole of the camshaft timing pulley with the timing mark of the bearing cap. Using the crankshaft pulley bolt, turn the crankshaft and position the key groove of the crankshaft timing pulley upward.
    5. Install the timing belt on the crankshaft timing pulley. Attach the belt guide, facing the cup side outward.
    6. Install the No. 1 timing cover and tighten the mounting bolts to 65 inch lbs. (7 Nm).
    7. Temporoily install the crankshaft pulley, and align its groove with the timing mark "0" of the No. 1 timing belt cover.

    If reusing the old belt, support the belt so that the meshing of the crankshaft pulley and the timing belt does not shift. Check that the matchmark on the belt matches the end of the No. 1 cover. Align the matchmarks of the belt and the camshaft timing pulley.

    1. Check the valve timing and timing belt tension. Remove the grommet and loosen the timing belt idler pulley mounting bolt.
      1. Turn the crankshaft pulley 2 revolutions clockwise from TDC to TDC.
      2. Check that each pulley aligns with the marks as shown in the illustration. If the timing marks do not align, remove the timing belt and reinstall it. Tighten the timing belt idler mounting bolt to 27 ft. lbs. (37 Nm). Install the grommet and the No. 1 timing belt cover.Measure the timing belt deflection at the SIDE point, looking for 0.20-0.24 inch (5-6mm) of deflection at 4.4 lbs. pressure (2 kg). If the deflection is not correct, readjust the idler pulley.
    1. Install the No. 2 and No. 3 timing belt covers, tighten the bolts to 65 inch lbs. (7 Nm).
    2. Install the crankshaft pulley by aligning the set key with the key groove of the pulley, the slide the component on. Tighten the pulley bolt to 87 ft. lbs. (118 Nm).
    3. Install the valve cover.
    4. Install the spark plugs.
    5. Temporarily install the water pump pulley.
    6. Install the RH engine mounting insulator.
    7. Attach the engine ground connection on the RH fender apron.
    8. Install and adjust the drive belts.
    9. Install the RH engine splash shield, front wheel, cruise control actuator and washer tank.
    10. Check the fluid levels, connect the negative battery cable and start the engine. Check for leaks and test drive.
    Customer: replied 9 years ago.
    Just one more thing. All these years I've worked on cars, I've never bought a torque wrench. Could you recommend the type of wrench which will work best for doing this timing belt replacement job? Will it have to be "special" in any way to fit in the cramped working area under the hood? Thanks, XXXXX XXXXX promise to pay you after this reply. Gary
    Expert:  ase_master327 replied 9 years ago.


    Good news, too!! I got confused a little bit about this engine. and... It will NOT bend valves if the timing belt breaks. There are not very many engines that are like this, either. The instructions are for the engine, there is no confusion, there. Still a good idea to change it, though, so it doesn't just quit on the road.

    The torque wrench would be a 3/8 drive one. They aren't very expensive at the auto parts store. If you're going to change cam sprockets, you will need the 1/2 ' drive, though.

    When you have the engnie torn down, you can also loosen the front mount, and jack it up a little bit to get some extra space in there. They usually drop down a little bit anyway, and you will have enough rooom to work with.

    Customer: replied 9 years ago.
    Thanks a bunch! I'm glad there is less pressure to get the job done, due to it being a non-interference engine. But the diagrams you sent look very helpful. Gary
    Expert:  ase_master327 replied 9 years ago.
    Thanks again!
    Yeah, this is one of those rare cases where a mistake actually turned out to be a good thing...
    Just like Tootsie rolls, which I'm eating one, right now!!!lol

    Seriously, though. Have a good one, and if you still need help just let me know, I'll be here.

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