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How to Check and Replace a Timing Belt in a Toyota Camry

by Contributor

If your Toyota Camry idles rough, is sluggish, clattering or backfiring, your timing belt probably needs replacing. The timing belt keeps your car's crankshaft and camshaft valves opening and shutting in synch with the pistons. Checking and replacing the timing belt regularly ensures its optimum performance. Here's how to do that on a Camry with a 1MZ-FE engine.

Check Your Timing Belt

Check your owner's manual for the recommended mileage for replacing your timing belt. Replacement for a Toyota Camry is 60,000 miles for 1984 to 1997 models and 90,000 for 1998 to 2004 models.

Locate the timing belt and examine it for breaks, damage, fraying, worn spots or looseness.

Inspect the belt for cracked or missing teeth. It's possible that foreign material collected between them.

Determine if there's damage on both sides of the timing belt. Single-side damage may be caused by the timing belt's guide.

Remove Your Timing Belt

Unscrew the bolts to release the lower timing belt cover.

Disconnect the engine wire protector from the rear belt cover.

Remove the clamp holding the rear cover's engine wire protector clamp.

Take the bolts off the front cover and lift it from the engine.

Line up the crankshaft timing pulley groove with the oil pump by rotating the engine to the right.

Be sure the camshaft timing pulleys and rear belt covers line up. You may need to rotate the engine one full turn.

Undo the crankshaft pulley bolt and release the tensioner and dust boot.

Unscrew the bolts to release the lower timing belt cover.

Install Your Timing Belt

Wipe off any oil or water on the pulleys.

Align the timing belt's front mark with that of the crankshaft timing pulley's mark and the timing belt's installation marks with those on the camshaft pulley.

Install the pulleys in this order: crankshaft, water pump, left camshaft, No. 2 idler, right camshaft and No. 1 idler.

Compress the tensioner until the pushrod's holes and housing align. Connect the dust boot to the tensioner then tauten the tensioner's bolts to 20 foot pounds (27 Nm).

Rotate the crankshaft to the right and line up its timing pulley groove with the oil pump. The camshaft timing marks and those on the rear timing belt cover should match up.

Put in the timing belt guide and secure the bolts to 21 foot pounds (28 Nm).

Secure the upper timing belt cover to 74 inch pounds (8 Nm).

Reinstall the engine wire protector and clamp to the timing belt cover. Replace the lower timing belt cover and secure the bolts to 74 inch pounds (8 Nm).

Reconnect any remaining items. Start the engine and check that the timing belt is functioning properly.


  • Make sure the new timing belt matches the belt you are removing.
  • Old or worn timing belts may stick in the pulley grooves. Use a screwdriver for leverage.
  • Procedures for replacing timing belts in a Toyota Camry vary slightly depending on engine size.

Items you will need

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