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I have a 2007 solara with 3.3 Mzfe v6 with Vvti. I just bought it at 116000 miles. Not sure if the timing belt has been replaced. Am freaking out that it might ruin the engine if it snaps.

I keep reading different info. Some say it is an interference engine and others say not. The gates list says it is but others say the gates list is not accurate.

Anyone know for sure???

Thanks
 

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1995 T100 2WD
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FWIW, Regardless of the manufacturer, if you go to the various forums the majority of owners don't suggest believing the Gates list. Going between several sources IMHO that engine, especially being VVTI equipped becomes an interference motor. Suggested belt and associated parts (including the water pump) appears to be at 90k miles in multiple owner's manuals. Bottom line it come's down to "How lucky do you feel"
 

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Official PITA
Solara 'Vert & ES350
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750 Posts
I've been in the middle of that interference engine controversy here.
What I distinctly remember reading on her somewhere (can't find it again)
is that whether it's an interference engine or not is based on RPMs.
When the engine going fast enough VVTI changes valve timing, and
at some higher RPM, it the belt goes, the valves will bang into the pistons.
At lower RPM, it doesn't act as an interference engine.
~~~ Who here knows if that's true or not ?? ~~~

As for me, my garage queen '05 will get a new belt this Spring when it passes 90k miles.

RoboRamZ -- Is there a little sticker on plastic housing covering timing belt, with sharpie hand written mileage/date on it? Most places who do these timing belts will put one on there. Many stories here of people who put it off to 150,000 miles, and who say old belt looked perfect. FYI on cost: My (reasonable) mechanic quoted me $550 to install timing belt, plus new pulleys, tensioner & water pump.
 

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1995 T100 2WD
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Just for conversations sake, both piston and valve travel distance doesn't change with rpm. The way I read it is that with VVTI the valves can collide with each other if a belt breaks and then all bets are off.
 

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Official PITA
Solara 'Vert & ES350
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Just for conversations sake, both piston and valve travel distance doesn't change with rpm. The way I read it is that with VVTI the valves can collide with each other if a belt breaks and then all bets are off.
Yes, but VVTi does something, the 3.3 litre here is actually the 3MZ-FE - the amount or distance of LIFT when the valve is open changes as a secondary camshaft (?) engages with higher engine speed. There's a description here: LINK - but what RPM applies for the 3MZ-FE, and whether valves then actually open far enough to hit the pistons - I have no idea.

Hey.. As I said earlier, I have no solid knowledge about this, and have decided to err on the side of caution on my car since the cost of the preventive maintenance won't kill me - at least not until I get to the Retired and now eating cat-food stage. :cry:
 

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1995 T100 2WD
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You know what is crazy is to think that a manufactures would design an engine that the clearances are so close to destroy an engine over a $15 dollar belt. :mad:
 

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Official PITA
Solara 'Vert & ES350
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You think that's nutty...
Mfg so intent on CAFE standards, high mpg,
no spare tire
no jack
Just a can of "spare air"
 

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My 2001 C5 Corvette didn't have a spare or jack but they did put a 12 volt air compressor in the trunk! That's almost 20 years ago :(
 

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VVTi does not change the valve lift on 3mz engines. The only thing vvt-i does is change the timing of the intake cam by up to 60 degrees. Each intake cam still has 6 lobes, two for each cylinder, and both the same height, just like a non vvt-i engine such as the early 1mz.

The NCF guide for vehicles with the 3mz does state that the new piston shape in the 3mz could lead to the valves contacting the pistons during the installation of the timing belt.
 

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Official PITA
Solara 'Vert & ES350
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750 Posts
VVTi does not change the valve lift on 3mz engines. The only thing vvt-i does is change the timing of the intake cam by up to 60 degrees. Each intake cam still has 6 lobes, two for each cylinder, and both the same height, just like a non vvt-i engine such as the early 1mz.

The NCF guide for vehicles with the 3mz does state that the new piston shape in the 3mz could lead to the valves contacting the pistons during the installation of the timing belt.
I love it when I make assumptions, and I'm wrong.
Helps teach me to stop making assumptions.

Speaking about stopping
You hear about the new "Hot Peppers Hand Sanitizer" ?
Use it once, and you'll stop touching your eyes, nose, or mouth a second time.

/
 
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