Toyota Nation Forum banner

1 - 20 of 23 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
1 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I'm not a Toyota enthusiast, but I feel enthused any time I work on my old Corolla. It's been faithful to me for two decades--I've never owned another car--and anytime I put hands inside it, I'm surprised by the ingenuity and resiliency of its design. Slowly I'm becoming a car guy, and a Toyota guy, too.

I own a 1997 Corolla with 207k miles and I've never changed the timing belt. It's time to do so, but you guys know more about this than I do, so I seek your advice: What components should also be replaced during this project? What important parts can be changed during this maintenance to extend the life of this quality car?

So far I plan to do the following:
  • Change Timing Belt
  • Change Tensioner
  • Change Water Pump
(Buying a Timing Belt, Water Pump & Component Kit [CONTITECH TB236LK1WH Pro Series] from RockAuto)

Additional Maintenance:
  • Replace Valve Gasket Cover (It leaks oil)
  • Replace Thermostat (Throws out engine codes sometimes on really cold days)
  • Replace Speed Sensor (It sometimes goes out... It is really deep in there so I've had trouble accessing it, but plan to figure it out.)
I'd like to knock this all out together. My car knowledge comes solely from watching Youtube (Peter Finn the Car Doctor especially) and putting hands under my car's hood. So far I've learned to change my own engine oil & spark plugs, replace rotors & break pads, switch out the radiator, replace inner & outer tie rods, and replace the front axle wheel bearings (Paid a shop to press them though). I have saved hundreds if not thousands on mechanic bills and learned many life skills, all thanks to Youtube and guides people like you have posted here.

I want to extend the life of this car as long as possible because it is good workmanship and reliable. I don't need fancy things in life, just things that work, and Toyota seem to work really well.

Are there any special tools needed for a timing belt change? From Peter Finn's Youtube guide (My Toyota Repair Bible), I see that you need a couple things:

-A floor jack to lift the engine (For clearance when removing the belt)
-Metric T-Bar handle & Sliding T-Bar
-10-18mm Sockets
-A specialty puller for removing a pulley (Can probably rent at AutoZone/NAPA/O'Reilly's?)

I want to make sure I have everything I need because I get anxious on new projects, and I will be working on my car on my landlord's extra driveway. He is kind and generous to let me do so, but I don't want to inconvenience him by asking for him to drive me to the parts store because I forgot something.

You are experts at this, moreso than I am. I seem to only learn out of necessity because time wears down parts and then I must replace them. I'd like to get a headstart on things and figure out repairs I can do now, early. Preventative medicine vs treating an illness. I've read about changing spark plug hoses, and I don't know how necessary that is, but there's surely other things out there that can be done cheaply and will greatly benefit my car's life expectancy.

Here's a picture of my Corolla, my workhorse.
292208
 

·
Registered
1997 Corolla
Joined
·
5,168 Posts
Crank and cam seals are another item to look at replacing while you're in there, along with that short wide hose between the water pump and the transfer tube on the back of the engine.
 

·
Premium Member
1994 Corolla DX
Joined
·
4,176 Posts

·
Registered
1997 Corolla
Joined
·
3,708 Posts
If you don't already have one, then buy a used Toyota Repair Manual for a 1997 Corolla on ebay. Get the factory repair manual made by Toyota. You will learn a lot just reading through it. They are usually around $40-50 on ebay. The 1997 repair manual doesn't include the wiring diagrams. You can get a separate wiring diagram manual used for around $20 maybe.

Along with the valve cover gasket replace the spark plug tube seals, the rubber washers under the valve cover nuts and the PVC valve grommet. You also need to apply a sealant to a few places around the valve cover gasket where there are corners or a half-moon. There should be some pictures of the exact locations around if you search. You need to clean the surface well before putting the sealant on.

The speed sensor doesn't usually go bad. If you got a code for speed sensor signal it's more likely to be a problem with the speedometer. The speed sensor in the transmission sends an analog signal to the speedometer. The speedometer turns it into a digital signal and sends it to the ECU. There has been some discussion of the capacitors going bad in the speedometer causing this problem. Do a search to learn more. There was a thread in the last week related to this.

While you have the valve cover off it's a good idea to measure your valve clearances. Around 200k miles is when they may start to get out of spec. Even if they are in spec you will have the values for future reference.
 

·
Registered
1995 Toyota Corolla
Joined
·
1,442 Posts
Do you have the Haynes manual? It is a very useful reference with the Toyota manual.

Do you have a pulley holder and impact wrench? You will need an impact wrench to take the pulley bolt off, and a holder to tighten it back to spec. I have this holder.

You can rent a pulley puller from Autozone for free.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
294 Posts
The Haynes manual says to support the engine because you have to remove the front engine mount to remove the timing belt cover. It also advises not to support the engine on the jackstand. How do those of you who have done this procedure support the engine?
 

·
Registered
1997 Corolla
Joined
·
3,708 Posts
Yeah, you don't need to raise the engine, just support it in place when you remove the mount to change the timing belt.

I used a hydraulic pump jack with a 2x4 piece of wood under the oil pan. I think this is what the Toyota Repair Manual says to do.
 

·
Registered
1995 Toyota Corolla
Joined
·
1,442 Posts
My Haynes manual does not say that. My manual says to support the engine with a jack and wooden block, loosen the bolts on the passenger mount and move the rubber just enough to take out the timing belt. No need to remove any mount (according to Haynes).
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
294 Posts
Looking at my Tercel, I see that front engine mount blocks the lower timing belt cover. I think this is why they recommend removing the front engine mount. Has anyone done this?
 

·
Registered
1997 Corolla
Joined
·
3,708 Posts
The timing belt actually loops around where the mount is bolted to the block, so you need a separation point between the block and body to slip the belt through. It's possible to just remove the bolts/nuts by the rubber mount and raise/lower the engine to get the clearance, but you might risk damaging the front and back mounts if you move the engine up or down a lot. I ended up removing the whole bracket from the block, so I had plenty of clearance and didn't need to move the engine up or down. If you are doing the timing belt, just figure worst case you will need to remove the mount and bracket bolted to the block and if you can do it without removing both then that's a bonus.

See the step and pictures in the DIY where he slips the timing belt around the mount.

 

·
Registered
Joined
·
294 Posts
The timing belt actually loops around where the mount is bolted to the block, so you need a separation point between the block and body to slip the belt through. It's possible to just remove the bolts/nuts by the rubber mount and raise/lower the engine to get the clearance, but you might risk damaging the front and back mounts if you move the engine up or down a lot. I ended up removing the whole bracket from the block, so I had plenty of clearance and didn't need to move the engine up or down. If you are doing the timing belt, just figure worst case you will need to remove the mount and bracket bolted to the block and if you can do it without removing both then that's a bonus.

See the step and pictures in the DIY where he slips the timing belt around the mount.

It's my understanding that the oil pan is sheet metal, so it will buckle when jacked up, even with a 2x4.

How did you support the engine when you removed the engine mount?
 

·
Premium Member
1994 Corolla DX
Joined
·
4,176 Posts
The oil pan is DEFINITELY not sheet metal. Sheesh, that would be horrible. It can easily support the engine - just be careful to not put weight on the drain plug.
 

·
Premium Member
1994 Corolla DX
Joined
·
4,176 Posts
Is there anytime where you wouldn't replace the tensioner pulley?
I changed my tensioner for the first time at around 110k miles. I had done several timing belt replacements by then, the car was 20 years old at the time and we've done timing belts every 7 years instead of by mileage given how few miles we put on the car. The old tensioner was noticeably worn and would spin less freely than the new one. That said it probably could have lasted longer.

So based on that I'd probably say change the tensioner every 100k or so based on that anecdotal evidence. Which.... isn't that far off when you'll replace the timing belt (every 75k or so?). In other words I'd probably just change the tensioner every time I'd change the belt, unless you're on a time based schedule like I am.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
294 Posts
For me, this gets to be a bit of a slippery slope what to replace during a timing belt change. If changing the tensioner, why not change all of the front the oil seals, too, even if they don't leak?

What brand(s) of timing belt, tensioners, and oil seals have you found reliable? Not reliable?
 

·
Premium Member
1994 Corolla DX
Joined
·
4,176 Posts
Yeah, seals are cheap and pretty straightforward to replace.... so might as well. I only use OE Toyota parts, but look at the thread posted above for the DIY add-on for the OE manufacturers. I'd personally only stick with those. Doesn't mean others aren't up to snuff, but I wouldn't risk it.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
294 Posts
Thanks. I didn't see the following discussed in that thread: do you lubricate the inside, outside, both, or neither surfaces of oil seals? If so, what are okay lubricants?
 

·
Premium Member
1994 Corolla DX
Joined
·
4,176 Posts
Yes to all. The factory service manual calls for engine oil - works great. Or you could use some sort of non-silicone synthetic grease as long as it won't harm the seals. I'd stick with engine oil to be safe - the seals will bathe in engine oil anyhow so they'll have no issues with that.
 

·
Premium Member
1994 Corolla DX
Joined
·
4,176 Posts
Just curious, why non-silicone? I used silicone to grease my rear main seal under the advice of a mechanic.
If silicone makes its way into the engine oil it can then creep into the combustion chambers, out the exhaust valves and get to the O2 sensor and catalytic converter.

Will some silicone grease on an engine seal make it or break it? Probably not. But I'd like to keep the potential exposure as small as possible.

This talks about silicone in coolant but you get the gist:

Silicone is an ingredient in traditional antifreeze. Silicone is used to provide corrosion protection for aluminum parts. As long as it stays inside the cooling system, it has no effect on the converter. But if the head gasket starts to seep coolant into the combustion chamber, or the head develops a hairline crack that leaks coolant, silicone can get into the exhaust and ruin the converter. As with phosphorus contamination, it is essential to eliminate the source of the coolant leak before the converter is replaced, otherwise the new converter will suffer the same fate.

You should also note that silicone, phosphorus and lead can also contaminate oxygen sensors, too. If the converter has failed because of contamination, the oxygen sensors should also be checked because they may be contaminated, too.
Source: Catalytic Converters & O2 Sensors
 
1 - 20 of 23 Posts
Top