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1997 4Runner TIming Belt Question #1049517 07/28/12 05:29 PM
Joined: Jun 2006
Posts: 61
brink Offline OP
Getting the Wheeling Fever
Hello to all,
I am hoping someone can advise me about replacing the timing belt on my 97 SR5 4Runner. It has 135K miles. I bought it with 76K in 2006 from the original owner who took very good care of it. At that time I did not know about the timing belt 60K mile replacement and did not ask him if it had been done.Since I cannot contact the previous owner to determine if the belt had been replaced at 60K miles, I recently took off the inspection cover and found the belt to be in good shape. Nothing frayed or cracked. I jogged the motor to rotate it and it seems fine in all positions. I suppose it can stretch over time. My question is for those who may have experienced a 60K belt change: Did the belt show signs of any wear? I am thinking that the previous owner probably had the belt replaced at 60K since he was very meticulous. So if that is the case, since i have 135K miles, should I replace it again? I have read that these 4Runner can go to 300K miles which I hope mine does. Should the belt be replaced at each 60K mile interval?
Thanks for any advice!

From the Off-Road World
Re: 1997 4Runner TIming Belt Question [Re: brink] #1049518 07/29/12 03:26 PM
Joined: Apr 2000
Posts: 3,748
Dandeman Offline
Toyota Moderator
A 60K change interval is probably a little too conservative based on knowledge known today.. I'm comfortable letting it go to 80K and have let them go close to 100K on my wife's Camry. When the timing belts come off, mine have still looked in good condition.., but I wouldn't push my luck with this.. Toyota engines with timing belts are "non interference" engines, meaning if the belt breaks, the pistons will not hit the valves as on some engines, which is big ticket damage.. But if it does break somewhere out on the road, it's tow truck time..

Other maintenance items typically done by good dealer/mechanics while replacing the belt is to evaluate the condition of the cam and crank shaft seals and replace.... especially the crankshaft seal and the water pump, The water pump on this engine tends to start weeping coolant after 80-100k miles...

Unless you are a good mechanic, suggest letting a dealer or known good mechanic do this job... It can be done as shown in the attached link, but it's a lot of work. I've done a number of timing belts myself, but on my 2000 4Runner decided to let the dealer do it..

One very strong piece of advice.. as you will see in the attached procedure, the bolt that holds the crank pulley on MUST be torqued to 217 foot/lbs..a bit of a bear unless you have the right tools.. This is not just a pulley but is a crankshaft harmonic damper that has tremendous "twisting" forces on it as it does its job, which is to damp crankshaft torsional vibration..

Not torquing this bolt to the proper value will let the pulley/damper rock on the crankshaft key way and will destroy the end of the crankshaft.. if that happens, only real fix is a new short block... don't let some shade tree mechanic do this to you....


Re: 1997 4Runner TIming Belt Question [Re: Dandeman] #1049519 07/30/12 07:14 PM
Joined: Aug 2003
Posts: 2,854
Greg_Canada Offline
Roll Me Over
The interval for the 5vz timing belt is 100,000 miles... it used to be 60,000, then toyota changed it in 97/98 (didn't change any parts however).

I agree with changing the water pump, idler pulleys / bearing and seals (front main, camshaft if necessary) and possibly the tensioner as well.


89 4Runner
3" BL, M/T locks, 33"bfg mt, bilstein, Kayline, tubebumper, toyotafiberglass panels
TBI: Elocker,3.4 w/ORS,b+b,S2Sstg2cams,arias pistons,P+P intake,TRDs/c,URDpullies+7th,downey headers,MAPECU2,WEGO WB, SupraMAF,walboro255,stg4clutch, EPaOo2 sim
Re: 1997 4Runner TIming Belt Question [Re: brink] #1049520 07/31/12 12:06 AM
Joined: Jun 2006
Posts: 61
brink Offline OP
Getting the Wheeling Fever
That's the advice I was hoping for. I will plan to either do the work or have it done by a mechanic. Planning a 400 mile trip to Lake Champlain towing a boat.Thank you very much!

Re: 1997 4Runner TIming Belt Question [Re: brink] #1049521 09/29/12 03:54 AM
Joined: Jan 2001
Posts: 11,595
Adam F Offline
Forum Moderator
I've got 160k since my last belt change. I thought it would have broken by now but it hasn't. Water pump is starting to leak so ill have to do it soon.

88 4R, 350 V8, R150 5 speed Sold <...uot; />
97 4R, stock, daily driver
98 Sienna, kid and dog hauler, wife's ride

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