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2VZ-FE Timing Belt DIY

15189 Views 6 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  Grego 92
Long story short, I did a timing belt change a few months back but I was in a hurry and neglected to replace the crank and camshaft seals which ended up leaking. So essentially I had to do the job all over again :facepalm: but my fault. This DIY does not show the actual seal replacement procedure, but it is a fairly difficult job if you don't remove the valve covers which I did not.

Removing the cam bolts turned out to be very difficult, I bent my cam holder tool doing it. Replacing the camshaft seals is tricky, I drilled a tiny hole in the seals and extracted them by using a small machine screw. Be very very careful using this method, if you nick the cam sealing surface you will have an oil leak.


Things you may/will need:
  • Basic tools including 3/8 and 1/2 inch socket set.
  • Breaker bar
  • Torque wrench
  • Several jacks and jack stands
  • Brake cleaner
  • Small piece of wood, preferably 3/8ths plywood, piece of 2x4
  • Bungee cord
  • Timing belt kit
  • Music and beer
  • First aid kit

Diagram for torque settings and reference

Start by jacking up the car securely and removing the right hand wheel. I use both the pinch weld and cross-member as jack points. I put a block of wood under the cross-member to protect it.

Remove the splash shield, two bolts and two clips. The clips like to break so be careful, push them out from the engine side.

Step 1: Removing the harmonic balancer
I used the "starter bump" method, which I find almost always works. Make sure you have a socket that is in good condition, check for cracks or wear. If the socket is in poor shape it could slip off and round the bolt head, making it impossible to remove (ask me how I know).

Put the breaker bar under the control arm, and secure it with a bungee cord so it doesn't flap around. Turn the key to start/off quickly and that should do it.

Step 2: Remove the cruise control unit and set it aside.

Make sure to pull the vacuum line shown

Step 3: Free the power steering reservoir, two bolts.
While you're at it, remove the one bolt for the engine mount. Note that a ground wire is missing in the photo which attaches to the upper PS reservoir bolt.
Free up the wiring harness by unclipping it, this will help give you a bit more access in that area, you'll need it.

Step 4: Remove the plenum to engine mount stay, 3 bolts

Step 5: Remove the drive belts

Remove the alternator to engine mount stay

Loosen the bolts shown, make sure to loosen the long bolt that goes through the alternator body (inset, red). Turn the top bolt (blue) until the belt has enough slack to be withdrawn.

Remove the power steering belt by removing the bolts shown. To get the pump to pivot, squeeze the belt together, or you may have to use a pry bar against the pump. If you still can't get enough slack to remove the belt (happened to me) then just leave it on, it will come off when you pull the harmonic balancer.

Step 6: Remove the engine mount
WARNING: Before you do this, you must support the engine. I did so by using a Toyota scissor jack and a piece of plywood to protect the oil pan.

Remove the two nuts show (one hidden in photo, green inset), the long bolt shown but already removed. There are two nuts accessible from under the car, remove those. Note: black bolt also shown, remove it if you did not in the previous step.

Step 7: Remove the upper timing cover

7 bolts (I think) two hidden in photo. When removing the cover, move the power steering lines out of your way as much as you can and finesse the cover out, it takes a bit of patience. Don't force it or you might damage the rubber seal material.

Step 8: Remove engine support bracket
Two bolts. At this point to withdraw the bracket, you will have to jack up the engine enough so the bracket clears the frame rail. Go slowly and make sure your jack is in a good spot under the oil pan, near the back edge is best. Don't put the jack directly under the pan, use a piece of wood, I like to use 3/8ths plywood because it flexes but won't break easily. I also used a jack under the transmission casing/bell housing for additional support. The bottom bolt will stay in the bracket until removed. Note: Lower timing cover has been removed in this reference photo, you will not have actually got to this point yet.

To get the bracket out, twist and finesse it until it clears everything, be patient it is a bit of a puzzle to remove.

Step 9: Remove harmonic balancer and hydraulic tensioner
I was able to remove the pulley by hand, but often you will need a harmonic balancer puller. Make no attempt to remove using a gear puller or any tool not designed for this job, you will break the pulley and hate life. Note: to withdraw the pulley, you will have to lower the engine somewhat to give clearance on the frame rail.

Remove the tensioner, two bolts. Back out the bolts by alternating between them so the unit comes out straight and without excessive force on one side.

Step 10: Removing lower timing cover, timing belt and components
4 bolts. Note: one is missing in photo.

Remove the idler bearing (not shown, middle of the cam gears) and the tensioner pulley.

Remove the timing belt.

Step 11: Timing belt installation
Install the tensioner pulley. Start at the crank pulley, match the mark on the belt with the dot. (see notes at bottom for more info if your belt has no marks).

Thread the belt around and match up your marks on the left hand cam pulley (this will actually be on your right hand side). Secure the belt to the cam gear using a cable tie (inset), otherwise the belt will slip off. Warning: The camshafts are under tension from the valve spring/cam lobes, so avoid sticking your fingers in the cam spokes. The right hand cam (on your left) is especially prone to suddenly rotating violently.

Match up your marks on the right cam (your left) and secure with a cable tie. I had to use a very thin one here, the larger/longer one would not fit behind the gear so I chained two together.

Once you have your belt properly threaded and lined up, proceed to install the idler pulley. You may have to rotate the cams to get enough slack.
Don't forget to remove the cable ties before you install the tensioner, and especially before you start rotating or starting the engine.


If you are reusing the hydraulic tensioner, you must compress in a vice and insert a pin to hold it. Otherwise you will not be able to bolt in the tensioner, the fasteners are not long enough. I have not had any issues reusing them, but I always check to see if there is any hydraulic oil leaking out of the unit. Often they come with the timing belt kits, but the 2VZ-FE engine has no such complete kit (using quality parts) that I am aware of.

Once the tensioner is installed, rotate the engine several times and check your marks again to make sure it's all good. Installation is of course the opposite of removal, about in this sequence:
  • Install belt guide on crank gear (make sure the flange that touches the belt is bowed out, towards you!)
  • Install lower timing cover
  • Install engine support bracket, 3 bolts
  • Install upper timing cover
  • Install PS belt and harmonic balancer, PS pivot bracket and bolt (note leave the lowest bolt loose on the engine support bracket until you have finished tensioning the belt, then tighten everything)
  • Install A/C aka alternator belt, tension, tighten bolts down. Leave the long "through" bolt for last.
  • Install alternator to engine mount stay bracket
  • Install mount to plenum stay bracket
  • Fasten PS reservoir, don't forget the ground wire
  • Fasten cruise control, secure 3 connectors
  • Install crank pulley, torque bolt.
I'm sure there are steps in the above list I have left out.

* Notes on camshaft timing.
If you buy the timing belt from Toyota (I highly recommend this) it comes with marks on the belt that make installation dead simple and fool proof. Some aftermarket belts have no such marks, if this is the case then mark your old belt and transfer these marks carefully to your new one. To mark, line up crank pulley to exactly zero degrees, then paint marks for the crank and cam positions.

Before you start disassembly, rotate the engine so the crank is sitting at zero. It does not have to be exact, but it will make your job easier later on. It doesn't matter if the cams rotate out of position at any point after the timing belt is removed.

I use brake cleaner to remove the grease and grime build up. Protect the cam and crank seals with rags. Before installing the timing belt make sure all surfaces the belt touches are 100% clean.
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· Registered
3,126 Posts
What is the brand name of the breaker bar you were using on the crank bolt?
I think it is the old (around 1960) 17 inch lonng American-made one with a riveted pin similar to the one I got recently.

· Toyota Collector
12,473 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I have quite a few vintage Craftsman tools, they are excellent I really like them. I read somewhere who actually made the tools for Craftsman back then but I forget, so it's entirely possible your breaker bar was made in the same factory.
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