1997 Corolla Timing Belt Replacement - Toyota Nation Forum : Toyota Car and Truck Forums


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Old 08-24-2005, 08:08 PM   #1 (permalink)
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XXX 1997 Corolla Timing Belt Replacement

I have a 1997 Toyota Corolla with 130,000 miles and the original timing belt(!). The car was given to me when I started college and is my most valuable possesion. I am mechanically inclined and am willing to do the job myself. I have a wide assortment of hand tools, a couple of floor jacks and a shady parking lot in front of my apartment. I don't have much cash after ordering a timing belt component kit (belt, tensioner) water pump, cam & crank end seals. If anyone has done this type of work reciently, I would really appreciate their advice.
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Old 08-24-2005, 09:13 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Clean everything. Use blue threadlock.
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Old 08-24-2005, 10:18 PM   #3 (permalink)
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My advice is to first get genuine Toyota service manual (or perhaps Prizm service manual) for the 1997 Corolla. I looked at the timing belt change in the 1996 Prizm manual. But I've only done a belt change on a 1990. Based on that, my words of wisdom about what you need beyond the normal hand tools is as follows. One of the steps is to remove one of the engine mounts and jack the engine up a little. This is going to be a pain in the neck if you have only scissors jacks. So I suggest using a hydraulic floor jack (and jackstands, of course.) Although I favor using hand tools instead of air tools, I didn't find anywhere (including the Toyota dealer) where one could get the special hand tools for removing the crankshaft pulley (or "harmonic balancer") I don't know if tools for GM cars could be adapted to do this job. What you need is something that bolts to the two holes in the pulley and holds it still but leaves the center of the pulley accessible so you can get a socket on the center bolt that holds the pulley on the crankshaft. I tried various improvised things but gave up and used an impact wrench. It took a 1/2" drive wrench, my 3/8" drive was not powerful enough. If you inspect the belt and re-use it and make careful marks then you don't have to do the timing of the engine. But if you replace it then you need a timing light. The fancier models have built-in tachometers, which are also needed.

I think the main point is to get the service manual. Don't try to improvise by guessing what you think needs to be taken off in order to get to the timing belt.

A minor detail: When you take off the plastic wheel well liners or engine undercovers, pay attention to which screws go where. On the '90 all the screws have the same style head and its tempting to think you can mix them all up. But some have tapered shafts to go into metal and some are pointed to go into plastic inserts.
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Old 08-25-2005, 09:56 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Follow-up Question

Thanks Tashirosgt and Damemorder for answering so quickly. I really appreciate it.
I used to know someone with a service manual for a 1996 corolla, I'm currently trying to track them down so I can make copies of relevent information to this repair. The jacks I have are hydraulic, I never liked scissor jacks and have always replace them soon after getting a new beater. I don't know how to set the timing with a timing light, is that something a repair shop can do after I replace the belt?
A quick follow-up:
A few people I talked to have said that a socket and breaker bar can be used to loosen the crankshaft bolt. The advice goes that if I wedge the tool against a portion of the frame and tap start the engine with the ignition key that the starter torque will break loose the crank pulley bolt. Is this true?
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Old 08-25-2005, 10:47 AM   #5 (permalink)
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put your seatbelts on.
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Old 08-25-2005, 11:11 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Timing is a far easier job than the timing belt replacement you plan to undertake. You can rent a timing light. Yes, a shop can time it for you after you change the belt. When you get the service manual, look at the directions for timing.

Also read the directions for inspecting the timing belt. Your belt might still be good and you can defer the replacement until you are able to buy another car and house with 2 car garage! Every now and then you can find a bargin on manuals at abebooks.com. Search for the author "Toyota".

I didn't try to use the starter to losen the crankshaft pulley bolt. I don't find it to be an offensive idea if all the spark plug wires are disconnected. Don't have the battery connected during any other part of the procedure. If possible, use an impact socket with the wrench, even though it is a hand tool. They fit tighter.
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Old 08-26-2005, 05:27 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Thanks again Tashirosgt. I appreciate your time and effort in helping me. I think I'm going to do it, just as soon as the parts come in.
As for inspecting the timing belt: Everything I have read so far has cautioned me against it. Most write that even if the belt looks fine, the nylon or fiberglass cords inside could be fractured or weakend in some other way. I thought that 130,000 miles on the original would be about the most anyone would want to let it go. I know the 7AFE is a noninterference engine, but it's better to change it now, when I have the time and extra cash, then later when I don't. Right?

To Ren69: ...?
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Old 08-26-2005, 05:39 PM   #8 (permalink)
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yeah.. posted on the wrong thread.. that was meant to go on the.. "How to get rid of annoying seatbelt buzzer noise" thread
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Old 08-26-2005, 06:06 PM   #9 (permalink)
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I would replace it simply because I don't like doing things twice. And the bumping the starter to loosen the crank bolt, It works, I'm not sure it will work on the corolla but if you can find some strong enough close, Go for it.
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