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New timing belt and water pump worth it? 2003 Avalon.

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Hi I know I'm due for the scheduled maintenance but feeling a little hesitant due to what seems like a costly job and also considering the money I've already invested in my car.

I bought an 03 Avalon xls with 150k miles because the previous owner has all the service records and took super good care of it, I've also done the same, actually I've probably invested more money than I would of liked but it runs and drives so good.

It's at around 180k and doesn't need any repairs. Only thing left is scheduled maintenance.

Previous owner replaced timing belt at 75k.
I'm in southern California, the quotes are very expensive.
Wondering if the dealership does specials or coupons?

I can't afford new car payments or to buy another used car, but wondering if it would be worth it or if I should wait until symptoms occur?

Not trying to spark any interreference/non interference engine debates, genuinely just need a little life advice from a financial view.

What's your opinion? This is the longest I've owned a car for, I'm not sure if I should limit how much I invest in it or maintain it as long as I can.
Thanks.
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2001 Avln, 2009 Taco
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The timing belt should be good for 10 years, or 100K miles. Because you've documented 105K miles, then you are due. The symptom of a broken timing belt on this engine (1MZ-FE) is that the engine stops running, and you get to walk home.

When I last did the timing belt, cam seals, crank seal, and water pump (in 2015) my cost was ~$375 for the kit, and an additional $110 for special tools (harmonic dampener puller, seal puller, etc.) - all bought from Amazon. If you DIY your cost will be for the parts, and fluids (only use Toyota RED coolant). The total cost for parts and coolant should be less than $750.

If you can't DIY, then you need to pay someone else to do it for you. My guess is that it might be between $400 and $800 in labor.

I hate to tell you this, but if you can't afford to pay someone else to maintain your vehicle, and you can't DIY, then you can't afford the car.
 

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If it is the 3 liter engine then it should be non interference. Not meant to cause any debate, lets see if someone confirms this.
Assuming that is the case then if the belt breaks the engine just needs a new belt.
 

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If it is the 3 liter engine then it should be non interference. Not meant to cause any debate, lets see if someone confirms this.
Assuming that is the case then if the belt breaks the engine just needs a new belt.
No debate, the 1MZ-FE is non-interference.
Anyone that says otherwise is misleading you.
 

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I just lived this scenario over the past two weeks. Insurance covered the tow, and the non-interference engine weathered the snapping timing belt like a champ.

I don't know what it's like where you are, but getting in for auto repairs is a royal pain where I am, so it ended up sitting at the garage for a week and a half. That's something to bear in mind if you plan to drive the timing belt to failure, and you depend on the car for getting to and from your job.
 

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I don't know what it's like where you are, but getting in for auto repairs is a royal pain where I am, so it ended up sitting at the garage for a week and a half. That's something to bear in mind if you plan to drive the timing belt to failure, and you depend on the car for getting to and from your job.
Yes, if you don't want to have to walk, get towed, wait for your turn to get service (my wife's 2013 Ford waited 4 WEEKS before it was looked at by a tech in New England), and pay what everybody in the chain wants to charge you, then you do it proactively.
 

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You said finances are tight and you don't drive much so yes, you should go ahead and do the maintenance because buying another car wouldn't be wise. You could find a independent mechanic to do the work cheaper than the dealer but sometimes the tradeoff is limited experience with Toyotas and non OEM parts. You pay more with the dealer but you know they're going to use Toyota parts and usually the techs have experience doing routine maintenance jobs like this.

My advice is to never put off critical maintenance due to finances because it could lead to even higher repair bills if something breaks. If you can't afford to pay it all up front use a low interest credit card or go to a credit union and apply for a loan. You should be able to pay it off in 12 months and the car will be good for another 10 years/100,000 miles. Also ask the service advisor if they're are any discounts that can be applied, never hurts to ask.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thanks, I have the cash to do it I just don’t have an income at the moment. Talk me into it, will mgp improve? Does it actually increase resell value or is it just considered maintenance?
Everyone here wants around $850-$1000 for the job. Previous owner said at the time if purchase he paid like $500 at the dealership, which has me very curious. Maybe he was confused with another repair?
I do have towing on insurance.
I’m just a very hesitant person lol!
Wouldn’t I be better off putting that money towards the other future maintenance? A couple years from now the rear brakes may be due. The front struts are ok but original.
Might have a friend who can do te brakes for cheaper.

Honesty, I’ve invested more money into maintenance and repairs compare to what I bought the car for. Radiator, spark plugs, tires, brakes, struts, smog repairs, handfull of other stuff too. New headlights, new stereo, a few professional paint details, it adds up lol!
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I don’t work on this car myself because I have extremely high standards regarding repairs. I worked on my old buick but did mess up once. My strict rule is I only do what I have professionally training in. Will I fix my own car? No. Will I do a fret job on a vintage Stratocaster? Absolutely.
So I take the Avalon to the best shop in town.
 

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Just curious, are you saying your work might not be up to standard?
Back in the early 2000s, Toyota dealers had maintenace specials on timing belt replacements for $200 to $250 depending on vehicles. Of course, there are the add-on repairs when they got into it.
 

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Hi I know I'm due for the scheduled maintenance but feeling a little hesitant due to what seems like a costly job and also considering the money I've already invested in my car.

I bought an 03 Avalon xls with 150k miles because the previous owner has all the service records and took super good care of it, I've also done the same, actually I've probably invested more money than I would of liked but it runs and drives so good.

It's at around 180k and doesn't need any repairs. Only thing left is scheduled maintenance.

Previous owner replaced timing belt at 75k.
I'm in southern California, the quotes are very expensive.
Wondering if the dealership does specials or coupons?

I can't afford new car payments or to buy another used car, but wondering if it would be worth it or if I should wait until symptoms occur?

Not trying to spark any interreference/non interference engine debates, genuinely just need a little life advice from a financial view.

What's your opinion? This is the longest I've owned a car for, I'm not sure if I should limit how much I invest in it or maintain it as long as I can.
Thanks.
Greetings,
I purchased a 2000 Avalon about a year ago with a 175,000 miles on it. After a couple of months I noticed a water pump leak, SURPRISE, SURPRISE. So I did the complete service on it with the Aisian timing belt kit. Add to the kit a thermostat, power steering, and alternator belts, new radiator fluid and 2 cam shaft seals with a crank seal. Cost me about 900.00. Car runs like a top with no leaks it uses zero fluids at the oil change time. These are good cars I love my Avalon it purrs like a kitten going down the freeway at 75. I am happy with my decision this car should easily get 300,000 miles on it.
 

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If you were asking,"Should I take this pill, or die?" I'd tell you the same thing. Take the pill. Fix the car, even if you have to pawn your Gold Top Gibson. OR, busk on the corner until you get enough spare change to buy a new car. This is coming from a guy who rebuilt a Mitsubishi G32 engine in the kitchen and rode motocycles for 20 years. Happy Thanksgiving.
 

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The timing belt should be good for 10 years, or 100K miles. Because you've documented 105K miles, then you are due. The symptom of a broken timing belt on this engine (1MZ-FE) is that the engine stops running, and you get to walk home.

When I last did the timing belt, cam seals, crank seal, and water pump (in 2015) my cost was ~$375 for the kit, and an additional $110 for special tools (harmonic dampener puller, seal puller, etc.) - all bought from Amazon. If you DIY your cost will be for the parts, and fluids (only use Toyota RED coolant). The total cost for parts and coolant should be less than $750.

If you can't DIY, then you need to pay someone else to do it for you. My guess is that it might be between $400 and $800 in labor.

I hate to tell you this, but if you can't afford to pay someone else to maintain your vehicle, and you can't DIY, then you can't afford the car.
you don’t need Toyota coolant it just needs to meet or exceed atsm D3306 specifications.

if you look on offerup/ Facebook marketplace you can find people selling timing kits they purchased and never got around to installing before they sold or had to junk their cars. You can use a 1mz or 3mz kit I think Aisin tkt-006, 007, 026 or 027 will work. You will just need to reuse the tensioner, and transfer the tensioning pulley bracket from the one on the 1mz to the tensioning pulley removing the one that’s straight and replacing with the one that has the little right angle lip on it.
but I’m finishing up an engine swap on my Lexus RX 330 and I already had most of the tools needed. I just needed an axle nut Socket, bolt extractor socket set, A universal socket joint adapter, a tiny extension and an engine hoist all in all I spent $1400 on parts and tools including an aisin timing kit for $37 and an itm gasket set for $80. The engine was $750 including a $100 de core deposit I gladly paid so I could keep the engine. I got the 2 ton engine hoist on OfferUp for $80 and they delivered it. It was easy for me to do the timing belt water pump and seals because the engine was out of the bay but compared to the entirety of an engine swap doing a timing belt in the bay is rather simple.
You’ll just need a good impact, 1/2”& 1/4” ratchet a 3/8” would be useful as well. A good set of extensions and a wobble adapter would be helpful. Then you’ll need a chain strap wrench to hold the cam sprockets firm while you take the bolt off and puller to take off the harmonic balancer. You could do it yourself, find an aisin timing kit for $100 or less on OfferUp or marketplace (try to get good pics to make sure it isn’t a counterfeit from alibaba) a crank and cam seal set for $20, a new ryobi p262 impact kit for around $200 or an adequate used one for around $100 then harbor freight for the sockets. Amazon has a chain strap wrench for like $25 and then all the sockets and ratchets you’ll need at harbor freight for $150 so you can probably diy for less than $500

and before anyone beats me up about not using Toyota red coolant just look it up. Toyota specs it’s own coolant but admits in service manuals/ spec sheets that any coolant that meets or exceeds atsm d3306 is compatible. Just like any atf that meets or exceeds dexron 4 will work.
 

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I don’t work on this car myself because I have extremely high standards regarding repairs. I worked on my old buick but did mess up once. My strict rule is I only do what I have professionally training in. Will I fix my own car? No. Will I do a fret job on a vintage Stratocaster? Absolutely.
So I take the Avalon to the best shop in town.
I’m a self taught musician. I can play guitar behind my head skillfully. I used to feel they way you did then I started doing brakes and fluid changes and have done a water pump and other belts. But you can learn to do auto repair just like anyone else these days learns how to do anything…. YouTube.
Look up hardlymovingproductions on YouTube. He has about 7-8 how to timing belt videos for the 1mz and 3mz which are similar. The worst thing that can happen if you don’t get the timing marks right is the car runs rough but the 1mz is non interference so the pistons won’t smack into the valves ruining them.
Just watch this video right now and then you will see that you can do it. Idk what your skill is musically but if you can re fret a guitar and do simple luthier work then you can do this as well!
I never ever dreamed I would pull an engine and replace one but here I am. It took a lot of help from forums watching videos finding service manual PDFs online borrowing a chilton manual from the library and asking a bunch of questions but now I feel extremely confident that there is no job besides a full transmission rebuild that would intimidate me and I think I would rebuild a transmission myself just to learn more about automobiles.
Do not sell that gold top les Paul. I used to busk in a busy college / boating town by the docks and main strip of tourists and j could easily earn $50 an hour on the weekends playing and singing the same 20 songs over and over. Walked away with $600 and super sore feet one day but missed the last bus home and had to sleep in a park in the city.

automobile work isn’t that hard just need a torque wrench some other tools and a positive can do attitude.


You will also score mad points with the woman / women in your life if you gain experience fixing cars. It’s a far more attractive quality than being a good musician because as the adage goes “what’s the difference between a musician and a pepperoni pizza?”
anyone… anyone… bueller…. Bueller?
“A pepperoni pizza feeds a family of 3” 🤣

sorry I had to.

good luck whichever way you choose to go.

a long time ago I needed money and sold my epiphone orange and black Zack Wylde buzz saw les Paul for $400 and I’m still kicking my ass about it 10 years later
 

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and before anyone beats me up about not using Toyota red coolant just look it up. Toyota specs it’s own coolant but admits in service manuals/ spec sheets that any coolant that meets or exceeds atsm d3306 is compatible. Just like any atf that meets or exceeds dexron 4 will work.
There is a thread in the Avalon section here on coolant. You do you, but my 2 Toyotas use OEM red in the Avalon, and pink in the Tacoma. No substitutes.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
I’m a self taught musician. I can play guitar behind my head skillfully. I used to feel they way you did then I started doing brakes and fluid changes and have done a water pump and other belts. But you can learn to do auto repair just like anyone else these days learns how to do anything…. YouTube.
Look up hardlymovingproductions on YouTube. He has about 7-8 how to timing belt videos for the 1mz and 3mz which are similar. The worst thing that can happen if you don’t get the timing marks right is the car runs rough but the 1mz is non interference so the pistons won’t smack into the valves ruining them.
Just watch this video right now and then you will see that you can do it. Idk what your skill is musically but if you can re fret a guitar and do simple luthier work then you can do this as well!
I never ever dreamed I would pull an engine and replace one but here I am. It took a lot of help from forums watching videos finding service manual PDFs online borrowing a chilton manual from the library and asking a bunch of questions but now I feel extremely confident that there is no job besides a full transmission rebuild that would intimidate me and I think I would rebuild a transmission myself just to learn more about automobiles.
Do not sell that gold top les Paul. I used to busk in a busy college / boating town by the docks and main strip of tourists and j could easily earn $50 an hour on the weekends playing and singing the same 20 songs over and over. Walked away with $600 and super sore feet one day but missed the last bus home and had to sleep in a park in the city.

automobile work isn’t that hard just need a torque wrench some other tools and a positive can do attitude.


You will also score mad points with the woman / women in your life if you gain experience fixing cars. It’s a far more attractive quality than being a good musician because as the adage goes “what’s the difference between a musician and a pepperoni pizza?”
anyone… anyone… bueller…. Bueller?
“A pepperoni pizza feeds a family of 3” 🤣

sorry I had to.

good luck whichever way you choose to go.

a long time ago I needed money and sold my epiphone orange and black Zack Wylde buzz saw les Paul for $400 and I’m still kicking my ass about it 10 years later
I disagree, first off I don’t have a goldtop the guy was joking.
Ya I am very mechanically inclined, semipro at what I do.
I DO NOT recommend people fix their own guitars. I used to though but not anymore. Why? Let’s say something goes wrong? Is there a YouTube video for your specific situation? NO. Wood is wood and every situation is unique. There could be a hump, rising tongue, unseated fret, a pro needs to do that? period. You need to understand these things inside and out, and how to DIAGNOSE these things.

Let’s say I’m attempting to do the timing belt myself. Something goes wrong. What went wrong? I have no clue. DID something go wrong? I have no clue. Did I do a very good job? I have no clue.
That’s not the way to do it.

Now let’s say you wanna practice learning how to fix your car/guitar. Do you practice on a cheapo on Craigslist or so you practice on your nee Lexus/goldtop?
Do you just watch YouTube videos or do you train under a pro?
 

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There is a thread in the Avalon section here on coolant. You do you, but my 2 Toyotas use OEM red in the Avalon, and pink in the Tacoma. No substitutes.
Do some research. You need a p-hoat (phosphate free hybrid organic acid technology) coolant made for aluminum engines. Dexcool is compatible anything that meets or exceeds atsm d3306 exceeds oem standards.

toyota wants to sell coolant and make more profits.


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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
I once did the upper intake manifold on another car, old beater. Afterwards, it wouldn’t start. Towed it in the shop. They didn’t have to redo the upper intake manifold, but in the process I broke some other stuff they had to fix.
There’s several lessons here.
Like I said my standards are extremely high.

If you so like working on your own car, I respect that, BUT, have a retired mechanic take you under their wing and teach you how to do it.

When I watch a ‘YouTuber’ “fix” a guitar, what do you think my reaction is?
It’s “you didn’t even inspect or diagnose anything, you did that wrong, you’re giving horrible advice, that’s a myth, you didn’t even test it properly to see if you did a ‘good’ job, you scratched another component in the process...”
Seriously.
 
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