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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello all. Getting ready to replace the Timing Belt, Water Pump, and Belt Tensioner on my 2004 Highlander 3.3 V6 with almost 90,000 miles. Is it a good idea to replace the Cam Seals at this time also? If so, How much of a hassle are they to do?:thanks::clap:
 

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I understand the "while I'm that close" strategy, but I wouldn't go through the effort unless you've got a leaky seal. It's not as easy as it sounds. Mine were still leak free at twice your mileage, so I'd be surprised to hear yours were leaking at just 90K.

You didn't ask, but here's the details of why it's not as easy as it sounds:

If you're doing JUST a timing belt and tensioner (no water pump), you don't need to pull the cam pulleys. Either of them. Removing the cam pulleys is a pain in the butt because not only are the cam sprocket bolts tight, but you also have to prevent the camshaft from rotating while you try to loosen the center bolts.

However, if you're doing a water pump along with the timing belt, you'll have to remove at least one of the cam pulleys in order to get the rear (metal) timing belt shroud out of the way to get the water pump off. My recommendation is to pull the front pulley completely, and loosen the shroud mounting bolts from between the rear pulley sprocket arms. You don't have to completely remove the rear pulley. Just reach in between the arms and remove the shroud bolts. Gives you just enough movement in the shroud to get access to the top water pump bolts.

But... If you're doing the cam seals, you'll need to remove BOTH cam pulleys to get the shroud completely off the engine.

And then it comes to pulling the old seals out of the holes they reside in... It's tight. So tight, in fact, that I'm not sure you would be able to get the old one out without loosening the cam bearing cap at that end of the cam and that would require removing the valve covers. The seals are gooped in place on the OD with RTV, and reside in a blind hole. If you come up with some way to pry it out of the recess, you'll have to be careful that you don't scratch the cam in the process. It's not like you'll be able to stick a seal remover down the center of the seal and pop it out.

I did my cam seals when I had the cams out of the head. The manual recommends putting the seals into place before you tighten down the cam bearing caps.
 

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Yeah, I'm usually all over taking care of stuff like that while I'm in there, but this is one of those cases where I'd let sleeping dogs lie. The only reason I replaced mine when I did was because I had the whole top end of the engine torn off and at that point I wasn't going to put used cam seals back in.

As for where to get the parts, I've done two timing belt kits on my Highlander by this point:

First kit I got everything dealer supplied from Toyota. My thinking being at that time was that I was going to drive the wheels off the car and didn't consider it worth the risk to use anything aftermarket.

The second kit I just put in a few months ago and this time I went aftermarket to save cost. My thinking being this time that the car has almost 200K on it, and it's gonna go sometime. I had some serious engine issues recently and I wouldn't be surprised if something else on the engine went belly up before the timing belt needs to be changed again. I used an AISIN TKT-026 timing belt kit from ebay, and if my research is correct, that is the same manufacturer that Toyota gets their parts from, so in theory... Even though it's aftermarket, it should be identical to dealer supplied parts.

Again, everything fit perfect, but since it's only been a few months, I cannot speak to the longevity.
 

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AvConsult
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I also used the same Aisin kit (Rockauto) on my HL @ ~154k miles. Now have 215k. I did a pretty close comparison to the OEM parts. Looked identical to me.

The water pump was the bigger PIA because of the ^&#@^&* metal shroud at the block. In fact, I managed to bend it in a hissy and proceeded to bang it back into shape. The back of the idler touched it when the engine got hot, but that noise stopped 500 miles later after the idler reshaped it a bit. :D

Bought cam seals from RockAuto just in case they were leaking. The seals were dry and supple, and like OE, after looking at the work to get at the seals and then actually remove the buggers, I tossed the new seals in the cupboard and put it back together.

Also didn't replace the belt tensioner (in case someone suggests that). It wasn't leaking and had good return.
 
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I did the same comparison between the Aisin parts and OEM and they looked identical to me as well.

That metal shroud protecting the back side of the timing belt is truly a pain in the butt. It's so "un-Japanese" to me that I've even wondered if it was a design mistake. It's ludicrous that it needs to be moved out of the way to get to the water pump and it's unusual for a design like that to make it out of the plant.

On the good side... I'm glad to hear that it wasn't just me that wrestled with it. I've always been wondering if there was a trick to getting the water pump off without messing with that shroud, and I just didn't know the secret handshake. Glad I'm not the only one. :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks for the helpful input.

Oh, and no I actually have never done a timing belt. I do collision work for a living and have built my share of Dodge 440's for my Challengers. So I know my way around the toolbox fairly well. As far as the newer stuff, I haven't had anything go wrong that I had to fix yet. This job seems like more of an inconvenience than anything else just finding the spare time to work on it.

And now my power steering is starting to whine. WHEN WILL IT END! LOL.
 

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Off the top of my head, two other things that make this job a PITA:

1) Getting the motor mount bracket off the belt end of the engine. It's like a bar puzzle where you have to twist, turn, and move it just right to get it out of the engine compartment. I've found that loosening the hardline running along top of the frame rail will give just enough additional movement to get the bracket out of the way. None of this will make any sense to you until you get to that point.

2) Making sure the timing marks are lined up when putting the new belt on. You can get a good look at the one on the crank, and you can get a good look at the one on the front cam, but the mark on the back cam is hard to get a good straight on view. I don't know if all the aftermarket belts have marks on them, but the OEM belt, and the Aisin belt I just installed have alignment marks painted onto them. Read the manual for how to use those painted marks, and remember... If they just won't line up no matter what you try, it might be because you have the belt on backwards. Between the alignment marks on the engine parts combined with the marks on the new belt, you can be confident that you've got it aligned properly. Again, none of that will make sense to you until you've seen it.

Good luck. We're all counting on you. :)
 

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AvConsult
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a star socket set, E4 ~ E8 sizes will come in very handy. There's a stud-- I forget size-- you need to remove in order to replace water pump. Replace more easily, that is.
 

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Does anyone have the torque specs for the water pump, Belt tentioners.
, pulleys,and anything else important?

Thanks.
Per my Haynes manual:

Water pump bolts.......................71 in-lbs...............8 Nm
Belt tensioner bolts.....................20 FT-lbs.............27 Nm

Hey, you need a repair manual.;)
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
We are done!!!!!!!!!!!!! Started working on it 10:00 last night and worked through the night till I was done, which ended up being around 6:00 this morning. I must say I was very lucky that I had no frozen bolts. Even the two inverted torx studs loosened up without issue to get the motor mount bracket outa the way. I had to take the 3 bolts out of the anti lock brake block (system) and give it a little extra push outa the way so I could squeeze the impact gun in to loosen up and re tighten the cam sprocket bolt. That bolt was A lot tighter than I anticipated. As you guys stated, the cam seals and crank seal areas were totally dry, so that was one less worry. I should have listened to one of the posters whom mentioned a petcock or a drain plug on the block to drain the antifreeze. I did make a big mess pulling off the water pump as a lotta antifreeze came pouring out even though I drained the radiator. I went with the Aisin kit. Everything looked identical and even the factory timing belt had the same Mitsu part # on it..

Thanks to everyone for all the helpful hints.
Made the job a lot easier.
Have a great holiday weekend everybody and thanks again.

Wayne Lahr.
 

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Hello--

I'm so glad to have found this thread! I bought a 2006 Highlander Hybrid a few weeks ago with about 127K miles. Found the previous owner and was
alarmed to find out that he'd never replaced the timing belt. I immediately bought the TKT--026 timing belt/water pump/gears/tensioner from Amazon (free shipping)
and took it down to the mechanic Monday night. He quoted me $345 labor which I thought was very good, and I was expecting to get the car that afternoon. But at the end of the day he informed me it would be sometime this morning. He got testy when I called to check on it and said not to hurry him. Then a few hours later he called and said that the belt was not the correct one (doesn't line up correctly, he said), and wanted me to go and buy the right belt AND the special Toyota Highlander Hybrid coolant and bring that with me too!
I spoke with him just as he was leaving and told him that I was fairly certain that the Mitsuboshi belt was the correct one, since Rock Auto showed the identical one.
(The ID on the belt is CD257) He would only say that he'd talk to me in the morning. Now then, I have the distinct impression that he'd been having extreme difficulty with the job and just didn't want to admit that he was in over his head. btw, he's the owner and mechanic on the job. Here's what I would greatly appreciate knowing from you guys: IF, when I go down there tomorrow, I'm able to verify that it is one and the same belt that both Rock Auto and Amazon are showing to be the right one,
can anyone verify from first-hand experience that this Mitsuboshi belt really is the right one? If so then it's obvious that he just isn't up to getting this done, and I'd guess that he'd have to consider bringing another mechanic in to finish. I will print out some of your excellent tips just in case.

Much obliged for any and all help with this. --John in Houston
 

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AvConsult
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I don't remember the actual part number on the belt. Maybe stop by a dealer and see if the parts car will let you look at one and compare. It might match the AISIN kit belt.

If you stretch old and new belts out between two dowel rods, or two big screwdriver handles, they ought to be the same length and have identical tooth spacing. Tooth spacing/count are the critical parameters.

These belts don't stretch appreciably as they wear, as the tooth spacing must be maintained within close tolerances.
 
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