Updated date:

DIY Timing Belt Replacement, Toyota MZFE Engine: Camry V6, Avalon, Sienna, Solara, Lexus ES300, RX300 (With Video)

Hardlymoving writes about do-it-yourself automobile maintenance on various makes and models.

1MZFE timing belt, with marks at the crankshaft and camshafts.

1MZFE timing belt, with marks at the crankshaft and camshafts.

The Toyota MZFE engine is a transversely-mounted, timing-belt driven, 24-valve, dual overhead cam (DOHC) aluminum V6 design. It is used in many Toyota and Lexus cars from 1994 to 2003, including the Lexus ES300 and RX300, and the Toyota Camry, Avalon, and Solara. It comes in a 3.0 liter version, the 1MZFE, and a 3.3 liter version, the 3MZFE. Most engine components in the 1MZFE are interchangeable with the 3MZFE, including the timing belt, tensioner pulley, and guide pulley, although the 3MZFE has a different tensioner configuration.

See my other article for replacement of a timing belt on the four-cylinder Camry (the 5SFE engine).

If you noticed oil leakage from the firewall side valve cover gasket, I have another article on how to replace the gasket on this engine in an Lexus ES300 which uses the same engine.

Replacing Broken Belts

In models before the 1999-2003 introduction of VVTI (Variable Valve Timing) technology, the engine's valve train is “non-interference,” meaning that if the timing belt breaks while the vehicle is operating, it will not necessarily damage the valves or pistons. Therefore, you can use the instructions below to replace a broken timing belt on a non-VVTI engine. Positioning the camshaft sprockets and the crankshaft pulley alignment marks to Top Dead Center (TDC) is all you need to do before installing the new belt. After installing the belt, you can do a compression leakage test to make sure the valves are still okay.

When to Replace the Timing Belt and Related Parts

Toyota recommends belt replacement after 90,000 miles.

Other parts are often replaced at the same time. Some shops always replace the water pump with the belt, but in my experience the Aisin water pumps that come with the MZFE Camry are good for at least 200,000 miles. At 150,000 miles, some guide pulleys (idler pulleys) and tensioner pulleys look worn and need replacement. The tensioner (actuator) doesn't generally need replacing. After 200,000 miles, I would definitely replace the seals (camshaft, crankshaft, and oil pump) and the water pump as well, along with the timing belt. Whether or not you need to replace the seals depends on their mileage, age, and their observed condition after you remove the timing belt cover. On the four-cylinder 5SFE Camry these seals do start to leak at about 150K, but on the V6 MZFE they last longer. Using a "high mileage" oil may swell the seals and stop leakage for a while, though eventually (certainly after ten years) seals turn brittle and this trick won't work.

Time Needed

Allow three or more hours to replace the belt alone.

Reminder: marking the old belt with paint where it meets the crankshaft and camshaft pulleys, and transfering these marks to the new belt, will make it much easier to install the belt if any of the pulleys happen to move between the removal of the old belt and the installation of the new one.

1MZFE Timing Belt Components

1MZFE Timing Belt component diagram

1MZFE Timing Belt component diagram

1MZFE side engine mount

1MZFE side engine mount

Tools Needed

  • Impact driver (electric, compressed air, or mechanical)
  • High mass impact socket like this one (if encountering difficultly removing the crankshaft pulley bolt with a powered impact driver).
  • 1/2" breaker bar (if no impact driver available)
  • 1/2" & 3/8" drive socket wrenches
  • Metric box wrenches and sockets
  • 1/2" & 3/8" wrench extensions
  • Screw drivers
  • Pulley removal tool like this one (if encountering difficultly removing the crankshaft pulley).
  • Toyota camshaft seal installation tool like this one (if replacing seals)
  • Camshaft or crankshaft seal removal tool like this one (if replacing seals)
  • Long chain strap wrench tool like this one (if removing the camshaft sprocket to replace the camshaft seal)
  • Jack (hydraulic or scissor)
  • Standard jack stands

Note About Tools

Japanese cars use the following metric sizes: 10mm, 12mm, 14mm, 17mm, 19mm, 21mm, 22mm.

At a minimum, to remove and torque screws and bolts, especially the crankshaft bolt discussed below, you will want a breaker bar. This is a tool of many uses.

The next step up is an impact driver. You can get a manual impact driver, but an electric impact driver is even better, if you can afford it. The one below is the best I have used.

Parts Needed

  • Replacement timing belt
  • Belt tensioner idler pulley (optional)
  • Belt guide idler pulley (optional)
  • Timing belt cover gasket (optional)
  • Side motor mount (engine control rod, "dog bone") (optional)
  • Water pump with gasket (optional)
  • Power steering fluid (optional)
  • Crankshaft and camshaft seals if leaking oil

Common Timing Belt Kit Components (1MZFE)

Clockwise from upper right:  timing belt tensioner or actuator, timing belt, water pump, water pump gasket, timing belt tensioner pulley (lower left), idler pulley or guide pulley (center)

Clockwise from upper right: timing belt tensioner or actuator, timing belt, water pump, water pump gasket, timing belt tensioner pulley (lower left), idler pulley or guide pulley (center)

The cost of the belt and components can vary greatly. If you want to use Japanese OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) parts--the parts that Toyota puts its own label on--you will want a Mitsuboshi timing belt, Koyo pulleys, and an Aisin water pump. Other Japanese OEM brands include Denso, NGK, KYB, Akebono, GMB, and Sumoto. Shop and compare prices, including shipping costs, for the best deals.

But you can find good parts from other manufacturers as well. As Japanese cars shift their manufacturing to the US, OEM manufactureres have come to include American companies like Gates and Dayco.

Basically, any Fortune 1000 parts company should provide adequate parts.

1MZFE Timing Belt Kit

3MZFE Timing Belt Kit w/Cam and Crank Seals

Video: Timing Belt & Water Pump Replacement on the Lexus ES300 (1MZFE)

This video, the first stage of my "redo" or makeover project on a Lexus ES300 (3rd Generation), will show you, step-by-step, how to replace the timing belt, water pump, idler pulley, tensioner pulley, cam and crank seals. On this car, which has over 160K miles, the timing belt has slipped, the water pump and pulleys have seized, and many parts are either worn out or in need of replacement. The steps in this video will work on other cars with the V6 1MZFE engine, such as the Camry V6, Solara V6, Highlander V6, Sienna, Avalon, and Lexus RX300.

The 1MZFE engine, of course, is a non-VVTI engine, so a broken timing belt can be replaced with a new belt without any concern that the broken belt has bent the valves.

The video contains the procedures described in the text below, though it has some of the steps in a different order. The video gives more detail than is in the text about replacing the water pump, crankshaft seal, and cam seals.

Video: Timing Belt & Water Pump Replacement on the Toyota Sienna (3MZFE)

This timing belt replacement video is basically the same as the ES300 1MZFE engine but for the Sienna's 3.3L 3MZFE engine. The major difference is the redesign of the belt tensioner pulley bracket.

Video: Timing Belt & Water Pump Replacement on the Toyota Camry (3MZFE)

This timing belt replacement video is for a Camry with the 3MZFE engine. Again, the major difference is the redesign of the belt tensioner pulley bracket.

Step by Step: Replacing the Timing Belt and Other Parts

The instructions and pictures below show how to:

  • Remove the accessory belts and crankshaft pulley
  • Drain the power steering fluid (optional)
  • Remove the timing belt cover and side engine mount
  • Replace water pump and pulleys (optional)
  • Install the new timing belt
  • Put everything back together

Removing the Crankshaft Pulley and Accessory Belts

Letters refer to photos at the end of this section. Click on a photo to enlarge it.

  • Place transmission in "park," apply the parking brake, and chock the rear wheels.
  • Support the vehicle on a jack stand and remove the passenger-side front wheel.
  • Unbolt the front fender apron seal on the passenger side (A).
  • Loosen the crankshaft pulley bolt (B). If you don't have an impact driver, use a breaker bar (C) secured to the ground or frame of the car (D). "Thump" the ignition (run it briefly) for around one second. The torque from the starter motor should relieve the tension on the bolt. If that desn't work, it's possible your car's battery is too weak to provide enough amps to loosen the bolt; you can try jumping the battery with another car’s battery. If that doesn't work, applying heat to the bolt from a propane torch can help ... but be careful ... too much heat will damage the oil seal. As a last resort, find a friendly garage owner who'll torque the bolt off for you with their 180-lb air-powered impact driver.
  • Turn the engine clockwise (E) to align the crankshaft pulley to the Top-Dead-Center (TDC) mark on the timing belt cover (F). (See video at about 3:45.) Use a 1/2" drive socket wrench attached to the (loosened) pulley bolt to ease engine rotation. Use an impact driver, or do a quick twist of the socket wrench counter-clockwise, to spin off the crankshaft pulley without upsetting the alignment.
  • (Optional:) If your power steering fluid has turned black, it's convenient to replace it as part of this job; you can drain it from the power steering pump hose, instead of from the reservoir. Remove the hose clamp and hose from the metal tube located below the crankshaft pulley (G). You can "push" out most of the fluid by turning the steering wheel left and right while the fluid is draining out. When completely drained, reconnect the hose and clamp (H).
  • Relieve tension on the alternator pivot bolt (I).
  • Loosen the tension on the alternator adjustment locking bolt (J).
  • Turn the alternator belt adjustment bolt counter-clockwise until the alternator belt can be removed by pushing down on the alternator.
  • Loosen or remove the power steering pump bracket bolt (K,L).
  • With either a long metal bar or crowbar, apply pressure to the left side of the pump to relieve tension on the power steering belt (M). Alternatively, a few light taps with a hammer on the power steering pump bracket will move the pump forward of the bolt and relieve tension on the belt.
  • Remove both the alternator and power steering pump belts.
  • Remove the crankshaft pulley bolt (N) and remove the pulley (see video at 4:40.) If the pulley does not slide out with a simple tug, a pulley removal tool may be required (O).

Removing the Side Engine Mount and Timing Belt Cover

Letters refer to photos at the end of this section. Click on a photo to enlarge it.

  • Disconnect the coolant reservoir hose from the reservoir container (P).
  • Disconnect the two engine ground wire connectors (Q).
  • Unbolt and remove the side engine mount (R, S).
  • Remove the alternator bracket nut and bracket (T).
  • Optional: to give yourself more room to work, you can detach the power steering hose and move it to the firewall (U, V).
  • Unbolt and remove the lower timing belt cover, the upper timing belt cover, and the side engine mount bracket. Keep the one long bolt in place while removing the bracket (W).
  • Remove the timing belt guide (X, Y, Z, AA, BB).

Removing the Timing Belt

Letters refer to photos at the end of this section. Click on a photo to enlarge it.

  • Check that the camshaft alignment marks match the backing plate alignment marks. If not aligned, screw the crankshaft bolt back in and rotate the engine with a wrench until alignment is made (CC).
  • After the engine is aligned, apply paint marks to the camshafts and crankshaft, to their backing plates, and to the timing belt. These marks will help with re-alignment if the crankshaft or camshafts happen to move during belt installation (DD).
  • Unbolt the timing belt tensioner (EE). *NOTE: For the 3MZFE engine (i.e. the 3.3 liter V6), the belt tensioner has been redesigned and the lower right motor mount has been added by Toyota blocking removal of the tensioner. To remove the 3MZFE belt tensioner, the right lower engine mount must first be removed followed by the engine mount bracket. To do this: 1. Remove the front motor mount bolt. 2. Remove the lower right motor mount upper and lower nuts. 3. Place a hydraulic jack with wood block under the engine oil pan and slowly tilt the engine up until there is enough clearance to removed the right motor mount. 4. After the mount has been removed, unbolt the mount bracket which will allow access to the belt tensioner bolts for removal.
  • Twist the timing belt about 45 degrees, simultaneously, in two places: between the right camshaft and the crankshaft, and between and the right camshaft and left camshaft. This will slightly move both camshafts clockwise, which makes it easier to remove the old belt, as well as easier to install the new belt. A small amount of slack will now exist between both camshafts and between the right camshaft and the crankshaft.
  • Remove the old timing belt (FF).
  • Transfer the paint marks from the old belt to the new belt: set the old belt down, place the new belt over the old belt with their cogs aligned, and wherever you see a mark on the old belt, place a matching mark on the new one.

Optional: Replacing the Water Pump, Guide Pulley, and Tensioner Pulley

If you want to replace the water pump as part of this job, a 10mm stud removal tool or an "E" socket will make it much easier. This tool or socket will ease removal of the pump's mounting stud, thereby allowing the pump to clear the camshaft-side timing belt cover. Removing the stud is easier than removing the camshaft sprockets and belt cover before removing the pump. Use a wire brush (see video at 13:50) to remove any residual corrosion before installing the new gasket (I use a round brush mounted on a angled drill). Denso water pumps come with a metal gasket with a rubber coated inside lip which does not require any RTV.

If you purchased a timing belt component kit, your kit should include a new guide pulley or idler pulley (the pulley between the two camshaft sprockets) and a new tensioner pulley (between the crankshaft and left camshaft). The guide pulley can be easily replaced by unbolting the old and bolting on the new. The tensioner pulley is slightly more difficult. This pulley is part of an assembly that allows the pulley to dynamically apply continuous pressure on the timing belt (via the tensioner) to take up the slack if the belt stretches. The tensioner mounting bolt runs through a sleeve that allows the pulley to move approximately 30 degrees to take up belt slack.

Installing the New Timing Belt: Reassembly

Letters refer to photos at the end of this section. Click on a photo to enlarge it. See also the video at 24:00 and following.

  • Start by installing the new belt on the right camshaft using the paint line on the new belt (GG). Prevent the belt from slipping off by using a spring loaded plastic alligator clip (HH).
  • Stretch the belt and slip the belt onto the left camshaft. Again, use the paint line on the new belt for alignment and use a plastic alligator clip to prevent the belt from slipping off.
  • Guide the right side of the belt over the water pump and then position the belt on the crankshaft pulley cogs. There should be little to no slack when this is done. Slack may be a sign that the belt is loose by one cog.
  • While holding the belt in place over the crankshaft pulley with the right hand, use the left hand to slip the left side of the belt over the tensioner pulley (II).
  • Bolt on the timing belt tensioner. Applying alternating equal turns on each bolt will gradually compress the tensioner pin against the tensioner pulley assembly. As this occurs, the timing belt will tighten up.
  • (Optional:) At this point you can start the car to check the belt alignment. If the car misfires, or the "Check Engine" light comes on, turn off the car, connect the crankshaft pulley bolt, and rotate the engine with a ratchet wrench to the alignment marks. Being off by one cog will cause an engine misfire. If this happens, the problem is usually between the right camshaft and the crankshaft.
  • Reverse the outlined instructions to reconnect removed components (JJ). The crankshaft pulley bolt can be 'shocked' (torqued) on with a mechanical impact driver, if either an air or electrically powered impact driver is not available (you may be able to rent them at an auto retailer). Alternatively, you can always bring your car to a private garage and ask them to torque the bolt on for you. Usually they'll do it for free out of professional courtesy.
  • If the power steering fluid was drained, pour in new fluid and turn the steering wheel right to left to create suction. The fluid level should drop. Add more fluid and repeat the procedure until the fluid level has stabilized.

Fixing an Oil Leak Not From the Timing Belt Area

If when you replace the firewall-side camshaft oil seal you notice oil leakage from the valve cover gasket—which is not that uncommon in high-mileage cars—you can go to my other article on how to replace the valve cover gaskets on a Lexus ES300, which has the same engine and layout as your six-cylinder Camry.

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.

Questions & Answers

Question: I have Sienna 2006 3.3l, and it has a VVT-i engine. I was driving 70 miles/hour and the timing belt broke. What is the chance that the valves are bent?

Answer: Tough question. I'll guess 50/50 that they may be okay. What I would do is replace the time belt, start the car up and see how it runs. Otherwise, you'll have to do a compression check on each cylinder which in itself is time consuming. After putting on the new belt, you can start the car without having to put everything back on (i.e. crankshaft pulley, covers, motor mounts, belts, etc.)

Question: I have a 2006 sienna 3.3 l, and it just didn’t start one morning. The tensioner/ tensioner pulley failed. I replaced the whole timing kit, but before I put the belt on, I safely lined up the camshaft marks and the crankshaft mark without causing damage. Any advice?

Answer: You can try, but the 3.3 3MZ-FE is an interference engine. While getting the crankshaft to TDC, you have to gradually move the camshafts aligned with the pistons.

Question: Do the arrows on timing belt point toward the engine or the mechanic?

Answer: The engine.

Question: My dad has a 2002 Toyota Avalon XL with the 1MZ-FE engine. I have already replaced the rear valve cover gasket as I notice oil leaking. However, after changing the rear valve cover, I still see some oil sipping down from the corner of the valve cover right below the timing cover on the rear passenger side. Could it be coming from the rear cam seal? Is it possible to remove the #2 timing cover without removing #1 cover and/or the side mounting bracket?

Answer: Yes, more than likely it's the rear cam seal. The lower cover mounts over the top cover so you have to remove the lower before taking off the top. It's a timing belt job.

Question: Do you have similar detailed instructions to remove an axle from a Toyota Camry with a 3.0L 1MZ-FE Engine?

Answer: If you're dealing with the driver's side, you can use the Toyota Camry 2.2L 5SFE instructions, but I don't have one yet for the passenger side.

The driver's side tutorial is here:


Question: I put a new timing belt on my '95 Toyota Camry LE V6 3.0, and now my engine won't turn over. What should I do now?

Answer: You'll have to double check all your work.

Question: I have a 93 Lexus es300 and would like to know which slot on the camshaft sprockets (pulleys) is used. Does the camshaft use the 3V or 4V slot? It appears that each sprocket can be installed in two different ways.

Answer: You are correct. The same sprocket is used for both the left and right banks. They're mounted in opposition sides to prevent the belt from slipping off.

Question: I changed the timing belt on a 2002 es300 and the harmonic balancer is up against the lower timing cover. I also cut grooves in the cover. I've checked all the work and put a new balancer, but still, I'm having the same problem. I'm tempted to buy another washer "timing guide #2." Is there any other way to troubleshoot my issues with an es300 engine?

Answer: I see this occasionally with some cars. Believe the plastic cover bellows out over time from heat. I wouldn't worry too much about it. It's just a dust cover.

Question: When removing the side engine mount, do you need to support the engine with a jack from underneath?

Answer: No, it is not necessary to support the engine.


Juan Marcos Larios on August 19, 2020:

BTW.. I am replacing the timing belt because my daughter just bought the car (2004 Highlander) with 145,000 miles, 2wd, and upon inspection the TB had never been replaced. It's being done as a preventative maintenance, along with several other updates and fixes.


Juan Marcos Larios on August 19, 2020:

thank you for your response. Thing is, I used a quick connect hose and connected it to the spark plug hole of each cylinder, sent shop air thru it and I get air out of the exhaust pipe on cyl 1, enough where i can feel it pushing against my hand. I get some air when doing the same to cyls 4, 5 and 6. Cyls 2 & 3 are perfect, I can open the flood gates with air but none leaks out. Hence my doubt.

The strange thing is why would cyls 4 and 6 seem affected since they are on the LF bank/bank 2. when the pulley snapped there was no belt timing belt installed and thus, only the rear pulley and bank should have been affected.

Thank you so much for your help.

hardlymoving (author) from Memphis, TN on August 19, 2020:


The only thing that may be different may be the timing belt tensioner bracket. You can transfer the new tensioner pulley to your old tensioner bracket. Everything else in the TB kit is the same.

hardlymoving (author) from Memphis, TN on August 19, 2020:

Juan Marcos Larios,

Are you doing the timing belt job because the belt snapped? If not, I'd just put on a new belt, start the car and see how it runs. With respect to the rear cam pulley shifting, use a 17 mm box wrench to reposition the cam back to the TDC mark. The ping noise is normal when the cam jumps and won't hurt anything.

Juan Marcos Larios on August 18, 2020:

Hi, on a 2004 3.3 3MZ-FE, during a timing belt job, the rear (RH) bank, camshaft pulley snapped about 40-60 CCW when the crankshaft was at ~20°BTDC, then, while resetting back to TDC clockwise, it snapped forwards (clockwise) where the mark on the pulley now rested at about 3 O'clock. I did hear a 'ping' which I think came from valves. Questions:

1. I did a compression test on all cylinders while the intake manifold & parts are still removed. Timing belt is in place. Results of compression test are: Cyl 1= 64psi, Cyl 2= 72psi, Cyl 3=84psi, Cyl 4 = 32psi, Cyl 5 = 34psi, Cyl 6 = 28psi. Does this mean I have bent valves? I also threaded a hose down sparkplug hole, then connected shop air to that pigtail and air comes out of ALL cylinders' exhaust valves., as they all seem to leak out of the exhaust valves as air leaks out of the tail pipe. Did the compression test with a Harbor Freight engine compression test kit, battery power kept voltage at around 12.20V.

2. Do I have bent valves? How to test it with more accuracy? Thank you.

Hunter on August 15, 2020:

When i clicked on the kit you show for the 1mfze amazon said the kit wouldn't fit my 98 camry le 3.0l. Is this true?

hardlymoving (author) from Memphis, TN on May 27, 2020:


Most timing belt kits come with instructions with torque specs. You should be able to find them on-line.

Rocky on May 23, 2020:

hi I have a 2006 Toyota highlander and I want to do the timming belt but I need some torque spec.thank you

hardlymoving (author) from Memphis, TN on June 07, 2019:

That's exactly what to do. To prevent the cam from jumping again, go the cam bolt with a box wrench with one hand and install the belt with the other hand. When the belt is on and aligned, turn to cam back to TDC.

Ben on June 07, 2019:

Hi, and thank you such a great timing belt and water directions. While removing the left cam pulley the cam slipped and turned counter clockwise (about 40°) away from the DTC and stopped in this position.

I just moved it clockwise back to the DTC mark with wrench. Is there any problem with that? Thank you.

Jim Shirley from Tuscaloosa on May 27, 2019:

Regarding the leaking valve covers on the v6 Camry. Mine had compression washers, great for the factory, but they only work once. I replaced them with enough flat washers so I could compress the gasket again. Great video & article.

hardlymoving (author) from Memphis, TN on May 23, 2019:

Thanks Jim Shirley! You can subscribe and make comments on my youtube channel if you'd like.

Jim Shirley from Tuscaloosa on May 22, 2019:

Excellent! I don't see any place to "like or subscribe" though.

hardlymoving (author) from Memphis, TN on March 05, 2019:

The marks are an aide; not a necessity. You can still mount the belt without the marks.

Ronsen Panui-Hatori on March 05, 2019:

I got wiped out from cleaning dirty grease of the bottom camshaft mark was gone for timing belt. What can I do.

Nagartacarservices at Gmail.com on January 26, 2019:

I need timing marks on camry v6 2000 camshaft mark inside valve cover

Tutu Eric on November 16, 2018:

I want to lean how to set timing

hardlymoving (author) from Memphis, TN on October 24, 2018:

Never worked on a 96 Camry V6.

Rose on October 24, 2018:

What should the timing be set at for a 96 camry 3.0?

hardlymoving (author) from Memphis, TN on October 16, 2018:

Yes. The only thing that might be different is the timing belt tensioner. I explain the difference in my article.

KR on October 16, 2018:

Does this procedure work for the same engine(2003 1MZFE V6)VVTI?

hardlymoving (author) from Memphis, TN on October 04, 2018:


Did you watch the complete video?

hardlymoving (author) from Memphis, TN on August 29, 2018:


It depends if the engine is 4 or 6 cylinder. The 4 is no problem. You'll just have to re-align the timing marks on the crankshaft and camshaft when installing a new belt. Same thing with a 6 if it is NOT a VVT-i engine. VVT-i is an interference engine and the piston could touch and bend the valves. If it is VVT-i, and if the belt broke at idle, you might have a chance that the pistons did not bend the valves. Only way to tell is to do a compression test or simply installing a new belt and see how the engine runs.

hardlymoving (author) from Memphis, TN on June 07, 2018:


In the future, before you take on what you think will be a complex job, take pictures each step of the way so you don't have to rely on your memory so much.

BxdresrJ on June 07, 2018:

Old, bad oil pump finally off. So much had to be removed before I was able to get off the pump. Oil pans #1&2 off, exhaust pipe, inspection plate with hidden bolts, had to heat bolts holding exhaust bracket to oil pan #2. Very tight space to work on bolts. But they caved and I got pump off. New pump is on and I'm slowly putting the pieces back together. I'm forgetting where things went like brackets to ac conditioning and alt brackets. Hoping to have car back and ready for the big test in a day. If I am successful, I'll be amazed. If something goes wrong, well, don't know. Thanks for the help. Wishful praying.

BxdresrJ on May 15, 2018:


I have all the oil pan bolts removed and the pump is loose, but the two bolts that hold the oil strainer is keeping the pump from complete removal. I can't lift the pump up so the bolts clear. I looked at a Autozone site with instructions, once again and it looks like I still have more things to take off. I took lots of screenshots and notes. I'm going to give it another try. If I still cant remove this pump, I'll be having a Lexus BBQ. Ha ha. Wish me luck. Fingers crossed.

hardlymoving (author) from Memphis, TN on May 14, 2018:


I'm going to guess that it's stuck to the oil pan because you did not remove the oil pan bolts ... or you need to use a pry bar to brake the adhesion from the RTV seal. Toyota sealant is very tough.

BxdresrJ on May 14, 2018:

Yes. Mechanic said it was going out and later that day, it did. He just wanted $1,600.00 to do the repairs and that's money we dont have. I see why its so much $$$ tho. I have it almost off but cant figure out why its not coming completely off. I'm stuck.

hardlymoving (author) from Memphis, TN on May 11, 2018:

Nope. Are you sure you need to remove/replace it?

BxdresrJ on May 11, 2018:

Dear hardlymoving,

Do you have anything showing how to remove the oil pump on a 1997 Lexus es300? I'm getting a bit frustrated?

hardlymoving (author) from Memphis, TN on May 10, 2018:


No problem .... glad I could help. Keep on plugging and your skills will improve.

Tom on May 10, 2018:

Dear Mr. Hardlymoving.

Thank you for correcting my mistake of using "overnight wait" to avoid the camshaft jump issue. Now I understand that it is the valve springs who cause the "jump issue".

Thank you again for giving us "amateur mechanics" thoughtful lessons again and again.

hardlymoving (author) from Memphis, TN on May 08, 2018:


The camshaft may "jump" due to the valve spring(s) being compressed. The compression occurs when the cam lob high point applies pressure to the valve. So after the jump and when you turn the camshaft back to the TDC position, you are re-apply valve spring pressure and compression to some of the valves.

Tom on May 08, 2018:

One thought about the problem of “back camshaft might jumps” on the moment a timing belt is being removed. Because at any moment or position, one of the six cylinders will be in “compression status”, aligns crankshaft pulley marks to Top Dead Center (TDC) will still have this tension problem.

To solve this problem, a person can aligns crankshaft pulley marks to Top Dead Center (TDC) and let the car “sleep in the garage for a night”. I guess next morning the “compressed cylinders” will have no more pressure tension due to air leaking.

Will this “sleeping” method remove the potential “jumping” problem for sure?

Thank you for answering my “using parking gear and driver side front wheel on the ground” question to remove crankshaft bolt.

BxdresrJ on May 02, 2018:

I will do that. It will be nice to find some good and true videos there. Can't wait to see the other stuff you do.


hardlymoving (author) from Memphis, TN on May 02, 2018:


Thanks for your complements and kind words. I do try to put out quality work that a layman can understand. BTW - I just started a youtube channel under "David Fain" that you can subscribe to for other DIY articles, if interested.

BxdresrJ on May 02, 2018:

I wanted to say "Thanks very much" to the author, hardlymoving, for this awesome dyi guide. I'm far from a mechanic and would like to be even farther away, but I can't pay a repair shop $1,600 to do this job. This article is what I needed to guide me through this horrible repair. But, it's my girlfriends only ride. She does so much volunteer work handing out food at the Clear Lake Gleaner, driving their truck and trailer to other Gleaners around Lake County Ca, getting up at 4am. On top of that she does in-home health care, enrolled in 2 colleges to finish getting her Master, doing side jobs to help with rent and other bills, and still cooks a great dinner at night. She is the hardest worker I've ever known. Keeps going and going to help others. She can't be without a vehicle much longer. Anyway, that's why I decided to get greasy and at least get the majority of the work done. I know my way around a few nuts and bolts, I've done this sort of thing in my younger days, but I'm more of a non greasy, put in nice stereo, tint the windows and make it shine in and out.

Thanks again for easy to understand guide. Great job.

hardlymoving (author) from Memphis, TN on May 02, 2018:


Never tried it but might work in prevent the wheel from turning. No, should harm the transmission.

Tom on May 02, 2018:

To remove a stubborn crankshaft bolt, my friend told me to leave the driver side front wheel on the ground, put the gear on Parking and then use a very long extension rod to connect the bolt. This way I will have plenty of room to use a cheat bar (six-foot long) to unscrew the crankshaft bolt. Will this method damage my transmission?

hardlymoving (author) from Memphis, TN on March 26, 2018:


The MZFE V6 engines are basically all the same with respect to time belt/water pump replacement. The later model engines changed the belt tensioner and you have to move the ps pump bracket around to get a 1/4" 10mm socket to remove the 2 bolts that secures the tensioner. What I did before was to remove the side motor mount but found that to be too much of a pain as well.

If the cam sprocket jumps, I just re-position the sprocket. I don't do anything special in terms of advancing/retarding the crank or cam before belt removal. Just adds to the confusion of a simple job.

hardlymoving (author) from Memphis, TN on March 26, 2018:


SST stands for Special Service Tool. I just tighten the bolt with a long breaker bar.

subbiesalaki on March 26, 2018:

Hello hardlymoving:

Thank you so much for this detailed instruction.

I will be working on my wife's 2005 Lexus ES330 (180k miles): all TB components including cam seals and crank seals.

After lining up Crank and cams at TDC, Toyota Service manual states to turn crankshaft approx 60deg CCW prior releasing belt tensioner. Doesn't turning 60 deg CCW throws off the initial TDC alignment.

OR does Toyota SM means I need to turn crank 60deg CCW AFTER removal of tensioner (remove the belt from crankshaft) then (turn the crankshaft to 60 BTDC w/o turning the cam pulleys - keeping cam pulleys at the line marks)

As I will be replacing both cam seals, what do you do when the rear cam spring forward (CW) during camshaft sprocket removal? Do you simply turn it CCW and align it again? or you have to turn CW full and lign up the mark again?

I have done 1MZFE timing belt before on 1999 Solara but this interference 3MZFE chickens me out lol.

I really need your help to assure me that I will doing it the right way otherwise I will end up w/ perfect car w/ damaged valves if I mess up :)

Thank You again for the article.

-----I recently did 2 belt jobs on the 3.3 ltr V6 engines (2005 Sienna & 2004 ES330) and was surprised when the rear camshaft sprocket "jumped" clockwise around 45 degrees if the sprocket was accidently advanced one cog. No big deal. I just re-positioned the sprocket back to the alignment mark.------

Randy on March 25, 2018:

Hardlymoving, hey I just saw at the bottom of the torque spec. sheet that the Asterisk represents (* for use with SST) what ever that is...

Randy on March 25, 2018:

Hello Hardlymoving! Thanks for putting this thread together...I just ordered my Aisin Kit from Rockauto. 2003 Avilon 3.0. My question is, for the back Cam Pully there is the normal 95 Ft. Lbs. (and an asterisk for the Specific Torque...65 Ft.Lbs)

rather than 95 for the front one, do you know what the asterick is for?

hardlymoving (author) from Memphis, TN on March 23, 2018:


Believe its a VVTI interference engine.

handyDVD on March 23, 2018:

hi, hardlymoving,

thanks for your quick reply. I did a google search and found the following information on the car based on VIN#.

Here is the link:


down below is the engine model. Based on the following, can you let me know if it is still "interference engine"?

DisplacementL: 3.0

Engine Model: 1MZ-FE

Series: ACV30L/MCV30L/MCV31L

Engine Configuration: V-Shaped

hardlymoving (author) from Memphis, TN on March 22, 2018:


I believe models (2004 and up) use the 3.3 liter 3MZFE engine which is VVTI interference engine.

handyDVD on March 22, 2018:

You mentioned that in models before the 1999-2003 introduction of VVTI (Variable Valve Timing) technology, the engine's valve train is “non-interference".

How about the models after 2003?

I have a 2005 Camry V6 that does has VVTI (Variable Valve Timing) technology? does the VVTI make the engine's valve train is “interference"?

hardlymoving (author) from Memphis, TN on January 09, 2018:


Replace the rods, pistons, rings, main bearings and re-hone the cylinder walls.

Abiola on January 09, 2018:

How to fix the problem of frequent rod knocking in Toyota Camry v6 engine

hardlymoving (author) from Memphis, TN on December 21, 2017:


Your confusion was caused by rotating the engine several times to check the alignment. That is not necessary and only works on single camshaft gear set ups. Just get the engine to TDC and align the belt with the camshaft alignment marks. Pull out the tension pin from the tensioner after alignment and your done installing the belt.

eugene456 on December 17, 2017:

Thanks for your response. I'm not sure what you mean by "There should be a both a V and dot metal marking on the engine a timing gear". Can you explain a little more on that ?Thanks again and appreciate you help.

hardlymoving (author) from Memphis, TN on December 17, 2017:

To ensure the crankshaft is a TDC, you can temporarily re-install the lower timing belt cover and harmonic balancer (cranshaft pulley) and align the balancer timing marking with the 0 degree mark on the timing belt cover. Then remove the pulley and cover. There should be a both a V and dot metal marking on the engine a timing gear that should now be in alignment at 0 degrees.

eugene456 on December 15, 2017:

Correction: (by making sure piston 4 is at the top, since piston 4 is sync with piston 1 which is at the back).

Back row: 1 3 5

Front row: 2 4 6

eugene456 on December 14, 2017:

I’m changing timing belt for 04 RX330 with 3MZ-FE engine. After putting in the new belt and aligned the 3 timing marks (left and right camshaft and crankshaft pulleys). I turned crankshaft 2 full rotations but without pulling the tensioner pin. Recheck the 3 timing marks, unfortunately they are not aligned. I remove the belt but messed up the timing marks. Now I’m able to set TDC for crankshaft. (by making sure piston 3 is at the top, since piston 3 is sync with piston 1 which is at the back). My question is after made sure crankshaft is at TDC, can I simply align the left and right camshafts timing marks and reinstall the timing belt?

hardlymoving (author) from Memphis, TN on December 14, 2017:


Sorry ... don't understand your question.

Adal.. on December 13, 2017:

Hi Hardli if the timing belt is installed and the marks in the belt its in no position ?the car or the suv ..can get started on or not......

hardlymoving (author) from Memphis, TN on September 15, 2017:


The starter running without any resistance indicates a broken timing belt. The valves being bent or not is a 50/50 proposition. Throw on a new belt, start the car and see how it runs.

The VVTI lettering is noted on the silver plastic engine cover when you open the engine hood.

If you can bring your car to Memphis, TN, yes, I can fix it.

JerryOneMillion on September 15, 2017:

This is a great article! Great job.

I only have 2 questions:

You wrote, "In models before the 1999-2003 introduction of VVTI (Variable Valve Timing) technology, the engine's valve train is “non-interference,”..." I have a 2003 Camry V6, which died on the freeway yesterday. The starter runs way to free but I haven't looked under the hood.

- How can I tell if my 2003 has VVTI or not?

My 2nd question is can I bring my car to you to fix!?

hardlymoving (author) from Memphis, TN on September 02, 2017:


Just turn the camshaft sprocket back to the alignment mark.

Ruben on September 01, 2017:

Hi I'm doing a timing belt on a 05 highland I lost my grip when installing and caused bank 1 which is the crankshaft closer to firewall to snap into resting mode what do I do to fix it an Aline it back to top dead the bottom and upper right side is top dead center I'm lost help please anyone

brian on July 03, 2017:


Thank you for the quick response and the great article. I figured out the problem. After I would let go of the belt where it was wrapped around the crankshaft sprocket, the firewall side of the belt would constrict by a tooth causing me to not have enough slack to install the tensioner. Once I realized this was happening, I put a a large socket between the No. 1 idler pulley and it's bracket which would keep enough pressure on the belt to keep it from jumping a tooth on the crankshaft sprocket. After I put the tensioner against the belt, I'd pull the socket out. I had enough slack in the belt to install the tensioner. My tensioner had 12mm bolts.

hardlymoving (author) from Memphis, TN on July 01, 2017:


After installing the belt, remove all timing belt slack from the other side of the tensioner. You can do that by either turning the crankshaft either clockwise or the firewall side camshaft pulley counter clockwise. You can use any type of clip to prevent the timing belt from jumping a clog from the camshaft pulley. You should then have enough space to insert the tensioner bolt through the tensioner's top bolt hole. I use a 1/4" 10mm socket attached to a short extension to get the threads started. You'll have to push the tensioner against the tensioner pulley bracket to get the hole lined up. Once the top one is in, the bottom bolt is relatively easy to install. If you're doing this with the motor mount in place, you'll have the move the power steering pump bracket either up or down to get a path to either hole. I use a long pry bar or rod to tap down or up on the steering pump bracket.

brian on July 01, 2017:

I have a 2007 Highlander V6 3.3 liter (3MZ-FE) AWD. The tensioner bolts are 90 degrees to the direction of the pin. If I try to install the belt with the tensioner removed, I can't force the belt over far enough to align the tensioner with its bolt holes. If I try with the tensioner installed but the pin pushed down with a hex wrench holding it, the belt won't slide on the #1 idler pulley. Should I just force the belt on the idler or is there something else going on?

David on June 27, 2017:

This is the best instruction for replace Toyota Timing Belt. thank you very much!

hardlymoving (author) from Memphis, TN on June 19, 2017:

John H,

That's a tough seal to remove and install without special tools. I use the "Lisle 58500 Hook for 58430"for seal removal and a Cam Seal Installation tool which presses it in evenly. Around a 5 minute job.

John H on June 17, 2017:

Well, knocked it out. Unfortunately the rear cam seal is still leaking after replacing it (*%&$&!, *&%@ ,etc). Of course, it would be that one, the biggest PIA to get to. Soooo, I may need to do it again. But, the good news was, after replacing everything, belts, tensioner, pulleys, waterpump, cam and crank seals, etcs....wouldn't you know, it started back up again. Woo hoo. Hadn't been that far into a car repair before, so I feel pretty good. I may allow it to leak for a bit, before getting at it again. Thanks for all the advice.

hardlymoving (author) from Memphis, TN on June 12, 2017:

John H.,

I recently did 2 belt jobs on the 3.3 ltr V6 engines (2005 Sienna & 2004 ES330) and was surprised when the rear camshaft sprocket "jumped" clockwise around 45 degrees if the sprocket was accidently advanced one cog. No big deal. I just re-positioned the sprocket back to the alignment mark.

John H on June 12, 2017:

Thanks for the feedback. I was able to find the manufacturers manual on this. Seems with the 2005 Sienna, they do recommend turning the crankshaft counterclockwise by 60 degrees prior to removing the belt to release the spring tension. Yet for my model (1998)the guide mentions none of that, and like you said, just remove it. The entire "counterclockwise" of the crankshaft was what was bothering me because everywhere you read there is always the disclaimer, "do not turn the crankshaft counterclockwise". Thanks again.

hardlymoving (author) from Memphis, TN on June 08, 2017:


You line up the camshafts with the backing plate alignment marks and the crankshaft to TDC (Top Dead Center) with the crankshaft sprocket at the 12:00 o'clock mark on the engine.

Jason on June 08, 2017:

If the belt is new but was installed wrong then hiw would i line it up

hardlymoving (author) from Memphis, TN on June 05, 2017:

John H.,

There's no need to moving the camshaft positions if the Crankshaft timing mark is at Top-Dead-Center (TDC) and the left and right camshafts are at there alignment marks prior to belt removal. Afterwards, you can advance the camshafts to the right by one cog to mount the belt and then position it back.

John H on June 05, 2017:

Excellent writeup. I have a 98 Sienna. Looking to DIY this. Have watched a number of YouTube videos. I need to change the CAM oil seals too. The one step that concerns me most is the talk about the rear CAM shaft's springs being "loaded" when at TDC, and that after I align everything at TDC, and prior to removing the old belt, I should move that CAM off of TDC to relieve the spring pressure. Any guidance or tips on how best to do that? Can I remove the timing belt and then carefully release the tenions on just that one CAM...or should I keep belt on, turn CRANK (which turns everything), and then remove the old belt.

James on March 19, 2017:

Thanks for the post

hardlymoving (author) from Memphis, TN on October 27, 2016:


With only 30K miles, I would just replace the belt.

edge on October 27, 2016:

I have a 99 Avalon 1MZFE with 30 K miles that I will be doing the first t-belt job. I do not see any major leaks from the wp or cams. Would you recommend replacing all bearings, seals, tensioner, water pump in addition to the t-belt?

hardlymoving (author) from Memphis, TN on September 04, 2016:


A cylinder head removal and re-installation is a lot of work compared to a timing belt/water pump replacement. On the V6, there are two heads - and you can't do one without doing the other. There would be a slight imbalance of compression if the head you're removing needs to be "planed" by a auto machine shop.

You can reference my repair article on a Honda Accord head gasket replacement.

I'd do a compression check before doing a head gasket replacement. Also, check if there is white smoke coming out of your exhaust pipe - an indicator that coolant is leaking into your combustion chamber.

Head gaskets usually get blown from overheating the engine due to lack of coolant.

James on September 04, 2016:

Great write-up. I have a 2002 ES300 that is due for a timing belt and just happened to blow a head gasket. You wouldn't happen to have a write-up on replacing he head gasket on this engine would you? Also, in my case, just the front is blown I think since all codes reference bank 2. I would like to shortcut this and not do bank 1. Bad idea?

hardlymoving (author) from Memphis, TN on August 11, 2016:


The last 2 words in your quote was "without VVT-i".

I'm guessing that Toyota removed the valve depressions WITH VVT-i engines to increase the compression ratio and to control engine knock via VVT-i. Therefore, if the timing belt brakes, there is a chance of valve damage ... most likely if the brake occurred at high rpm's.

The easiest way of finding out is to simply replace the belt and starting the engine before slapping everything back on (valve cover, accessory belt, side motor mount, etc.) Yes ... you can run the engine off the battery without having the alternator rotating.

From my experience, I can have the belt on in around 1.5 hours.

Dale on August 10, 2016:

hardlymoving, This page is referenced in support of this statement:

They (MZ engine series) feature cast aluminium pistons with an anti-friction resin coating (moly) and valve depressions that decrease the chance of valve-to-piston interference in case of timing belt failure on motors without VVT-i.

Do you agree? Could you guess at the chance of valve damage after a timing belt failure, given the valve depressions of the VVT-i engine?

hardlymoving (author) from Memphis, TN on July 30, 2016:


It's cheaper to take your chances and have the timing belt replaced with 3 hours labor time. That's how long it takes me. Then start the engine and you'll know if the valves are bent. Otherwise, the work involved to determine if the valves are bent, in my opinion, isn't worth it when I could be taking the time replacing the belt.

If the valves are bent, then you talking a big job taking off the cylinder heads to replace the damaged valves. Believed most shops will tell you to replace the engine or charge you upwards of $2000 or more.

Seyoung on July 29, 2016:

My 2006 sienna le stopped running in idle. It turns out the timing belt broke. I read online to see if the engine is ruined by this, but there are many contradicting informations. Some say the timing belt interfere the engine and some say it doesn't. I don't want to tow the van to the garage just to here that the engine is dead. Any advice would be appreciated!

hardlymoving (author) from Memphis, TN on May 08, 2016:


Suggest you view via your phone otherwise don't know what else to suggest.

ColdBigRed on May 08, 2016:

My shop does not have internet access to allow me to view this DIY with the pics. How can I print out the procedures PLUS get the detailed pics to walk me through this? Great instructions, by the way. Thanks so much for your help.

hardlymoving on April 20, 2016:

ASE Master,

Torques specs. are noted on the component breakdown diagram.

Re-assembly is the reverse of assemble. If one can't figure that out, they shouldn't be working on cars.

The only people who "pull threads" are inexperienced mechanics who have no feel and therefore requirement a "good quality torque wrench". BTW - manufacturers tend to over-torque everything at the factory.

ASE Master Tech on April 15, 2016:

First I want to say that your guide has great photos which are a must for a DIY guide. BUT you don't discuss the reassembly at all, most importantly torque specifications. This is an all aluminum engine and very easy to pull threads. This entire job MUST be done with a good quality torque wrench or disaster will follow!

elvis on December 31, 2014:

Hi could I use the same water pump for a Avalon 97 1mzfe as the 2000 cc Camry can it work the same ?


hardlymoving (author) from Memphis, TN on August 28, 2014:


Your at TDC (top dead center) with the no. 1 piston on the compression stroke when the camshaft pully is at the 0 degree mark and the camshaft's timing marks are aligned with the markings on the rear camshaft dust cover. (see my last photo)

watertreatment1 on August 28, 2014:

I need a little help. 2006 3.3 toy. How do i know that no. 1 piston is on compession stroke? Even if my mark is lined up it dosent mean no1 is on compression. Im a little confuzdd. Thank you so much

Amin on July 30, 2014:

Thank you so much that great that was my first time and I am very happy for what I have done.

once again

Thank you

Amin from SA- Australia

hardlymoving (author) from Memphis, TN on July 30, 2014:

Alignment is only necessary when performing a belt replacement. After replacement, where ever the cams rest after engine shut down does not matter.

Amin on July 30, 2014:


I was wander if you could help me, I replaced a Toyota 1MZ-FE timing belt, the car turn on with the first start no problem no unusual sound, but 1 thing is made me bit confused me, dose the belt and cam 1 & cam 2 line have to be in place when you turned off the engine? or dose not mean every time be the same?

I would be so greatfull if can help



hardlymoving (author) from Memphis, TN on April 11, 2014:


If the rear camshaft is slightly off and the engine is running good with no MIL codes, then keep that setting. Apply paint marks on the rear cam and backing plate before taking off the timing belt.

Toyohead on April 10, 2014:

When I align the crank to TDC on my 3MZ, I was unable to get the rear bank camshaft pulley mark to align with notch on the backing plate. The front camshaft pulley lines up just fine but the rear camshaft is slight off. So my questions is, When I remove the timing belt, can I align the rear camshaft pulley to the notch with a wrench ?

hardlymoving (author) from Memphis, TN on March 31, 2014:

Ray Tobin,

Rotate the engine and get the #1 cylinder to 0 degree TDC (Top Dead Center). This can be done by locating a dimple mark on the crankshaft pulley and rotating to the 12:00 o'clock position. Then align the dipple with the inverted U shaped mark on the engine casing. To double check, temporaily re-install the lower timing belt cover and crankshaft. The time mark on the pulley should align with the 0 degree mark on the belt cover.

Set the left and right camshaft just a hair pass the timing belt back cover belt alignment notch (V shaped). Starting from the crankshaft, mount the belt on the crank pulley then weave up to the right crankshaft pulley. Secure the belt on the pulley with any clip (cloths or large paper ). Remove the slack on the belt by counter clockwise rotating the right camshaft. Now the right camshaft should be perfectly aligned. Weave the belt over the left camshaft and over the remaining pulleys on the engine. Re-installing the belt tensioner will remove the slack on the left crankshaft. If you're worried about the camshaft moving, have someone hold the camshaft in place by using a breaker bar secured to the Camshaft pulley bolt.

Ray Tobin on March 30, 2014:

i bought a used 1995 lexus es300 great car and runs fine. only problem the prior owner changed the crankshaft sprocket. In doing so after the timing belt was put back on it rattled like it had broken valves or rods knocking. i know timing is lost have not bought a new belt as of yet but tried to time it myself as im pretty good with engines. (a regular shade tree mechanic :) )

how can i put this thing back together properly, ive lined up all marks but looking from the pass side the top left cam sprocket skips right past the mark every time i try to set it on it. no matter how much i try. after setting it the proper way it wont start at all and smells flooding.

PLEASE HELP as this car needs to be reliable for my wife and kids! I do know the past owner and he always took great care of it for his college daughter.

by the way love the great ways you describe diy works. anyone who can do legos can work by your notes

hardlymoving (author) from Memphis, TN on February 26, 2014:


Refer to my DIY article on doing a timing belt replacement on the I4 5SFE. The 3SFE is not too different from the 5SFE. Basically, set the crankshaft at TDC (Top Dead Center) while noting the position of the Camshaft Sprocket TDC alignment marks. If out of alignment, your Camshaft Sprocket TDC mark will off (probably by one cog). I'll guess you'll have to advance the Camshaft Sprocket just one cog (clockwise). I've seen too many belt replacement jobs off by just 1 cog because belt tension was not relieved before the old belt was removed. The Camshaft was not slightly advanced in order to slip on the new belt; hence causing the timing to be retarded.

mike on February 25, 2014:

I have a 89 camry 2.0L 4cyl 3sfe and changed oil seal and crankseal....my cousin gave me bad advice and we didn't mark tdc on timing belt and lost timing how d o I get it back?

hardlymoving (author) from Memphis, TN on February 24, 2014:

Thanks Larry,

I write my DIY articles so that anyone with a reasonable amount of mechanical ability can do the job themselves with basic tools.

larry on February 24, 2014:

Very nice written unlike other post where they get off the subject and start talking about other car and you know the story

Related Articles