2001 Toyota Highlander Timing belt

  • 6 CYL
  • 4WD
  • 119,000 MILES
2001 Toyota Highlander, V6 3Liter, I am changing the timing belt & water pump as part of a major service. Following the manuals instructions step by step I removed everything in the way and had access to the belt.

The crank shaft mark was on “O", both cam shaft marks were lined up with the marks on the their heads.

The instructions then said to rotate the crankshaft counter clockwise 60 degrees, then release the tensioner pulley, and remove the belt in a set sequence.

When I removed the belt from the cam shaft on the front of the motor, it spun about 30 degrees.

First instinct was to put all parts in box, have car taken to garage – let them
fix it !

I have done 5 or 6 timing belts before, but never had anything move when I removed the timing belt before.

Still willing to try and do this myself if I can do so without ruining motor.

If I go ahead and install the new water pump, without disturbing any of the shafts, then move each shaft back to its timing mark, install the new belt, then rotate the motor numerous times – as long as each time the crankshaft mark is on “O", both cam shafts line up with their marks, then:

1. Best case, all is well, car will run as designed.

2. “Worst" case, car will not run – BUT neither of the heads will be smashing valves on pistons because the marks mean that at TDC the valve will always be in an ok position relevant to their pistons.

I appreciate any advice to get me successfully out of this situation !
Do you
have the same problem?
Wednesday, April 28th, 2010 AT 8:11 AM

1 Reply

Hi there,

Yes this is scary when it happens, what has happened is that one of the cams have be up against valve spring tension and when the belt tension has been released the cam has kicked back, you can safely re position this cam back to its timing mark, you may need an extra pair of hands to hold the cam still while you set up the belt and tensioner, what I do is I use a small section of the old belt and use this as a cushion to protect the new belt, set the cams up and softly clamp the belt with either heavy bulldog clips or very light pressure with small vice grips, just to hold the cams in place, try this. Mark
Was this
Wednesday, April 28th, 2010 AT 8:54 AM

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