Toyota Camry 5SFE Engine Timing Belt, Water Pump and Seal Replacement

5SFE timing belt diagram
5SFE timing belt diagram

You can't drive your Camry forever without replacing the timing belt, its pulleys, and maybe other related parts. It's a big job, but with some tools and mechanical aptitude you can do it yourself.

Toyota Cars Using the 5SFE Motor

The Toyota 5SFE motor is a four-cylinder, 2.2 liter, timing-belt-driven, double overhead cam (DOHC) engine design. This motor is commonly found in the Camry, Celica, MR2 and RAV4 from 1990 to 2001. (For a six-cylinder Camry, see my article on MZFE timing belt replacement).

(1987 - 1998)
(1990 - 1992)
(1990 - 1993)
(1987 - 1989)
(1991 - 1995)
(1996 - 2000)
(1999 - 2001)

When to Replace the Timing Belt

Toyota recommends replacing the timing belt for the 5SFE engine at either 60,000 or 90,000 miles based on the year of vehicle manufacture. Perhaps the introduction of Highly Saturated Nitrile (HSN) timing belts raised the service interval. They also recommend replacing the belt every 6 to 7 years, even if you haven’t reached the mileage threshold.

Oil leaks from the vicinity of the passenger-side front wheel may indicate a need to replace the timing belt and seals.

The 5SFE is a "non-interference" engine, meaning that if the belt breaks while the car is running, the valves and pistons are unlikely to be damaged. Thus you can use these instructions to replace a broken timing belt, as well as one that is just due to be replaced. Positioning the camshaft sprocket and the crankshaft pulley at Top-Dead-Center (TDC) alignment is all that is needed for broken belt replacement.

What to Replace Along With the Timing Belt

The two idler pulleys (the belt tensioner and belt guide) should be replaced with every belt change. If the bearings in any of the pulleys were to lose their lubricating properties, the pulley could wobble, which puts strain on the timing belt, or it could seize up, which would cause the belt to fail. Worn bearings may be evidenced by a grinding noise during engine warm-up, a noise that gradually disappears as the heat of the engine distributes the remaining grease inside the bearings. This noise is a warning that you should replace your belt and bearings as soon as you can.

Although many dealerships and private service stations recommend replacing the water pump along with the timing belt, the Aisin brand water pumps used in Toyotas are actually very durable. If you have changed the coolant at the manufacturer's recommended intervals--especially if you use Toyota’s own red coolant, and not the generic green coolant some shops use—and you have not been using hard, high-mineral-content water, the pump seals and bearings should last over 150,000 miles, based on my personal experience with many 5SFE belt replacement jobs.

To determine whether the pump is worn or leaking, listen for a chirping noise from the pump while the engine is running. Also, during this job, after the timing belt cover and timing belt have been removed, look for any leakage from the weep hole, or any drag on the pulley when you turn it by hand.

On 5SFE engines with over 100,000 miles, there is a good possibility that the seals on the camshaft, crankshaft and oil pump will be worn. These seals are inexpensive, though time-consuming to replace. If the leakage is very bad, oil will get on your timing belt and cause it to fail prematurely.

Also, when doing a timing belt replacement, check the side engine control rod (the “dog bone mount” or torque rod) along with the front engine mount. These mounts are supposed to dampen the back-and-forth motion of the engine. Too much flexing may stress the exhaust system's flex pipe and cause it to crack.

Inspecting the side control rod during timing belt replacement will let you know if it needs to be replaced; in my experience, it very often does. The rubber vibration dampener inside the front mount has a tendency to dry rot and crack with age. A simple test is to "blip" the engine (turn it on for an instant), with the transmission in gear, while keeping your foot on the brake. If the engine lifts up and settles back down, a new front mount may be in order. Replacement is simple and straightforward.

Time Required

Expect to spend approximately three hours replacing the timing belt, guide pulley, and tensioner pulley alone. Replacing the water pump adds about a half hour, and replacing sprocket seals adds about a half hour per seal.

Tools Needed for Timing Belt Replacement

  • Impact driver
  • 1/2-Inch breaker bar (if no impact driver available)
  • 1/2 & 3/8 socket wrenches, box wrenches and sockets
  • Wrench extensions
  • Screwdriver set
  • Needle-nose pliers
  • Hydraulic or scissor jack
  • Jack stands
  • Plastic alligator clips (recommended)
  • Belt tension gauge (recommended)

Most Japanese cars use the following metric sizes:

  • 10mm
  • 12mm
  • 14mm
  • 17mm
  • 19mm
  • 21mm

Tools That Make These Jobs Easier

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 a manual impact driver.

An electric impact driver is even better, if you can afford it. This electric driver is the best I have used.

Parts You May Need During Timing Belt Replacement

  • Timing Belt
  • Idler Pulley (Belt Tensioner)
  • Idler Pulley (Belt Guide)
  • Gasket Maker or Seal
  • Engine Control Rod/Dog Bone Mount (Optional)
  • Front Motor Mount (Optional)
  • Water Pump (Optional)
  • Water Pump Gasket (Optional)
  • Camshaft Seal (Optional)
  • Crankshaft Seal (Optional)
  • Oil Pump Seal (Optional)
  • Timing Belt Cover Gasket (Optional)

Tips on Buying Parts

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.

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.

Every vendor featured at has been vetted, and generally provides quality parts that last; if not, you can return them for refund.

Basically, any Fortune 1000 parts company should provide adequate parts. Here's an acceptable Delco timing belt kit that includes pump and seals. Shop and compare prices, including shipping costs, for the best deals.

5SFE Timing Belt Component Diagrams for the Camry

5SFE Engine--motor mount removal
5SFE Engine--motor mount removal
5SFE engine--timing belt component breakdown
5SFE engine--timing belt component breakdown

Step By Step: Replacing Timing Belt and Other Parts

The steps and pictures below take you through the following procedures:

  • Power Steering and Accessory Belt Removal
  • Engine Mount and Timing Belt Cover Removal
  • Timing Belt / Oil Seal Replacement
  • Water Pump Removal and Installation
  • Timing Belt Installation
  • Re-Assembly

Power Steering and Accessory Belt Removal

Letters refer to the photos at the end of this section (click on photo there to enlarge it).

  • Apply the parking brake, place transmission in "park," and chock the rear wheels.
  • Remove the passenger-side front wheel and support the vehicle on a jack stand (A).
  • Remove the passenger-side front fender apron seal (B).
  • If replacing the water pump, drain the coolant (C).
  • Remove the crankshaft pulley bolt. If an impact driver is not available, use a breaker bar secured to the ground or frame of the car (D) (see note under photo). "Blip" the ignition for less than a second. The torque from the starter motor should relieve the tension on the bolt. Applying heat to the bolt from a propane torch can help ... but be careful ... the oil seal can be damaged from too much heat. If that doesn't work, your battery is probably not putting out the amperage the starter motor needs. To get the extra amps, jump the battery with another battery from another car. And if that doesn't work, find a friendly garage owner who'll torque the bolt off for you with their 180-pound air-powered impact driver.
  • Turn the engine clockwise to re-align the crankshaft pulley to the Top-Dead-Center mark on the timing belt cover. Using a 1/2 inch drive socket wrench attached to the pulley bolt eases engine rotation. A quick twist of the socket wrench counter-clockwise will spin off the crankshaft pulley without upsetting the alignment.
  • Optional: if your power steering fluid is pitch black, it can replaced in a few additional minutes as part of this timing belt job. Just remove the hose clamp and hose from the metal tube located below the crankshaft pulley. Most of the fluid can be 'pushed' out by rotating the steering wheel to the left and right while the fluid is draining out. Reconnect the hose and clamp when completed.
  • Loosen the power steering pump adjustment bolt (E).
  • With a long or crowbar, apply pressure to the left side of the pump to relieve tension on the power steering belt (F). If that doesn't work, a few light taps with a hammer on the power steering pump bracket, behind the locking bolt, will move the bracket forward of the bolt and relieve tension on the belt.
  • Disconnect the ground strap connectors (G).
  • Relieve tension on the alternator adjustment locking bolt (H).
  • Relieve tension on the alternator pivot bolt (I).
  • Turn the alternator belt adjustment bolt counterclockwise until the alternator belt can be removed. (H)
  • Remove the alternator and power steering pump belts.
  • If replacing the water pump, remove the alternator bracket bolt and remove the bracket (J). Remove the camshaft position sensor wire clamp with needle-nose pliers, and pinch off the connector by squeezing and pulling with your fingertips.

Power Steering And Accessory Belt Removal: Photos A-J

Click thumbnail to view full-size
 A.  Passenger-side wheel removedB.  Removal of the right front apronC.  Drain plug removalD.  Crankshaft pulley removal.  If using the ground to secure the bar, the bar should be at 5 o'clock, not 7 o'clock as shown here. The engine rotates clockwise.E.  Power steering pump belt adjustment bolt F.  Removal of the power steering pump beltG.  Disconnecting the ground connectorsH.  Loosening the alternator bracket boltI.  Alternator pivot boltJ. Alternator bracket bolt and bracket
 A.  Passenger-side wheel removed
A. Passenger-side wheel removed
B.  Removal of the right front apron
B. Removal of the right front apron
C.  Drain plug removal
C. Drain plug removal
D.  Crankshaft pulley removal.  If using the ground to secure the bar, the bar should be at 5 o'clock, not 7 o'clock as shown here. The engine rotates clockwise.
D. Crankshaft pulley removal. If using the ground to secure the bar, the bar should be at 5 o'clock, not 7 o'clock as shown here. The engine rotates clockwise.
E.  Power steering pump belt adjustment bolt
E. Power steering pump belt adjustment bolt
F.  Removal of the power steering pump belt
F. Removal of the power steering pump belt
G.  Disconnecting the ground connectors
G. Disconnecting the ground connectors
H.  Loosening the alternator bracket bolt
H. Loosening the alternator bracket bolt
I.  Alternator pivot bolt
I. Alternator pivot bolt
J. Alternator bracket bolt and bracket
J. Alternator bracket bolt and bracket

Engine Mount and Timing Belt Cover Removal

Letters refer to photos at end of this section.

  • Support the engine by placing a wooden block between the oil pan and hydraulic jack (K).
  • Remove the three bolts from the engine control rod (L). Examine the condition of the rod for dry rot and cracks. If worn, replace it.
  • Remove the three bolts from the engine mounting bracket (M). If there is difficulty removing the lower bolts due to clearance, a flat bar used for accessory belt removal can be used (N).
  • Remove the upper timing belt cover (O).
  • Remove the crankshaft pulley. If the pulley cannot be pulled off (because of corrosion on the crankshaft) use a puller tool, or place two flat bars opposite each other and attempt prying it loose (P).
  • Detach the camshaft position sensor wire clamp (Q) (if you haven't already done it to remove the alternator bracket for a new water pump). Use needle-nose pliers to pinch off the wire clamp, and and use your fingertips to pinch off the connectors.
  • Remove the lower timing belt cover with the crankshaft position sensor. This will eliminate the need to detach the wire clamp from the cover (R).

Engine Mount and Timing Belt Cover Removal: Photos K-R

Click thumbnail to view full-size
K.  Supporting the engine oil panL.  Removing the side engine torque rodM. Engine mounting bracket bolt removalN.  Engine mounting bracket bolt removalO. Upper timing belt cover removalP.  Crankshaft pulley removalQ. crankshaft pulley removedR. Crankshaft position sensor plug
K.  Supporting the engine oil pan
K. Supporting the engine oil pan
L.  Removing the side engine torque rod
L. Removing the side engine torque rod
M. Engine mounting bracket bolt removal
M. Engine mounting bracket bolt removal
N.  Engine mounting bracket bolt removal
N. Engine mounting bracket bolt removal
O. Upper timing belt cover removal
O. Upper timing belt cover removal
P.  Crankshaft pulley removal
P. Crankshaft pulley removal
Q. crankshaft pulley removed
Q. crankshaft pulley removed
R. Crankshaft position sensor plug
R. Crankshaft position sensor plug

Timing Belt / Oil Seal Replacement

Letters refer to photos at the end of this section.

  • Assuming the crankshaft and camshaft are at Top-Dead-Center (TDC) alignment, apply paint alignment marks on both the crankshaft and camshaft and their back plates (S) and to the old belt. You can transfer these paint marks from the old belt to the new belt.
  • Remove the tension spring from the tensioner pulley, and remove the idler pulley bolt from the tensioner idler pulley (T). Remove the timing belt.
  • If replacing the camshaft seal, loosen the camshaft bolt. You can use a camshaft pulley tool (see just below) to keep the camshaft from moving while you remove the camshaft pulley bolt (U). DO NOT use the timing belt as a replacement for a pulley holder tool.

  • To make more room, while working on the removal and replacement of the cam seal, you can disconnect the steering fluid container's supply side hose, allowing you to shift the container and return hose away from the camshaft sprocket (V).
  • Remove the camshaft seal. Using a razor to make vertical cuts on the seal will make it easier to remove the seal with a screwdriver. The tip of the screwdriver can then 'bite' on the lip of the seal. Or you can save time by using a seal puller instead of digging out the seal. Take care not to scratch a seal's metal contact surfaces; wrap electrical tape on any tool used for seal removal or installation that might make contact with the shaft or the shaft's interior.

  • Once the seal has been removed, apply grease to the new seal (W) and press it in with your thumbs. The shallow edges of the seal can be pushed in with a blunt tool until the seal has been fully seated (X). Unfortunately there is no room to hammer the seal in with a seal press tool, but a seal installation tool makes the installation easier and more uniform.

  • If replacing the crankshaft seal, remove the crankshaft timing pulley to expose the seal (Y). Apply the same method used for removing the camshaft seal, or jam a thin-tipped screw driver into the seal then pry the seal out. Installation of the new seal can be performed with a round socket of the same seal diameter as a seal press tool. The seal can be uniformly pressed back in by gently hammering on the seal press tool, or by using an oversized deep socket.
  • If replacing the oil pump seal (above and to the left of the crankshaft--no picture here), remove the oil pump sprocket by holding the sprocket with a strap wrench while removing the sprocket nut. Once the nut is removed, the sprocket will come off with little resistance. The seal can be pried out with a pointed metal-tipped object or tool. If oil leakage is detected behind the pump, the rubber oil pump O-ring gasket should be replaced. The oil pump cover is secured with several 10mm bolts. If replacing both the O-ring gasket and pump seal, remove the pump cover first; then, remove the sprocket and pump seal with the cover off the engine.

Timing Belt / Oil Seal Replacement: Photos S-Y

Click thumbnail to view full-size
S.  Marking or painting the camshaft pulley along with the timing beltT. Removing the idler pulleyU. Removing the camshaft pulley boltV. Disconnecting the power steering fluid reservoir W. Installing a new camshaft oil sealX. Pressing in a new camshaft oil sealY. Removing the crankshaft oil seal
S.  Marking or painting the camshaft pulley along with the timing belt
S. Marking or painting the camshaft pulley along with the timing belt
T. Removing the idler pulley
T. Removing the idler pulley
U. Removing the camshaft pulley bolt
U. Removing the camshaft pulley bolt
V. Disconnecting the power steering fluid reservoir
V. Disconnecting the power steering fluid reservoir
W. Installing a new camshaft oil seal
W. Installing a new camshaft oil seal
X. Pressing in a new camshaft oil seal
X. Pressing in a new camshaft oil seal
Y. Removing the crankshaft oil seal
Y. Removing the crankshaft oil seal

Water Pump Removal and Installation; Idler Pulley Removal

  • Remove the water pump (Z). If the water pump is leaking, or its bearings seem worn, you should replace it. Detect worn bearings by turning the gear by hand, to see if the gear hangs or stops at specific points during a turn. Remove the old gasket material from the engine block with a scraper tool or razor. When the pump is removed, some coolant will escape from the pump housing. Have some rags or towels nearby to wipe the coolant off of the block and pulleys.
  • Apply water-resistant gasket sealant on both sides of the pump gasket, and place the gasket on the new pump with the holes aligned (AA).
  • Remove the idler pulley belt guide (BB). Do this after, not before, removing the old pump, to prevent coolant from getting into the idler pulley bolt hole and corroding the bolt threads.

Water Pump Removal and Installation: Photos Z-BB

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Z. Removal of the the 5SFE water pump mounting boltsAA. Water pump gasket with sealantBB.  Removing the timing belt idler guide pulley
Z. Removal of the the 5SFE water pump mounting bolts
Z. Removal of the the 5SFE water pump mounting bolts
AA. Water pump gasket with sealant
AA. Water pump gasket with sealant | Source
BB.  Removing the timing belt idler guide pulley
BB. Removing the timing belt idler guide pulley

Timing Belt Installation

  • Bolt on the two new idler pulleys. Position the tensioner idler pulley downward towards the camshaft, to allow the most slack on the timing belt during installation. The tensioner idler pulley bolt need only be hand tight.
  • Install the new timing belt. Using plastic alligator clips and the timing belt guide will ease the process. Position and slip the bent part of the belt over the crankshaft pulley. Slide on the timing belt guide to prevent the belt from slipping off. From the right side of the engine, slip the belt over the idler pulley, over the water pump, and over the camshaft. If there is little slack on the belt, secure the belt in place over the camshaft by attaching an alligator clip. Make sure there is no slack on the belt between the crankshaft and camshaft (CC).

CC. Installed timing belt.
CC. Installed timing belt.
  • Slip the left side of the belt over the water pump pulley, the remainder of the camshaft, and then over the tensioner pulley. If paint marks were transcribed from the old belt to the new belt, there should be no alignment problems.
  • If there is difficulty placing the new belt on the right side of the engine, use a box wrench to move the camshaft sprocket 1/2 cog clockwise. Slip on the belt, secure the belt on the sprocket with an alligator clip, and re-position the camshaft sprocket back to its old position.
  • Attach the tensioner idler pulley tension spring, and loosen the pulley bolt to allow the pulley to pull in the left side of the belt.
  • Remove the belt guide from the crankshaft, and screw on the crankshaft bolt. Attach a 1/2" socket wrench and rotate the crankshaft 360 degrees, twice (DD). You do this to 1) remove any remaining slack on the left side of the timing belt, and 2) verify that the crankshaft and camshaft alignment marks are lined up correctly.
  • Remove the crankshaft bolt and tighten the tensioner idler pulley bolt.

DD:  Rotate the crankshaft with the new timing belt
DD: Rotate the crankshaft with the new timing belt

Re-Assembly: Follow This Order

  • Belt guide.
  • Lower timing belt cover.
  • Crankshaft pulley and bolt. Apply grease to the crankshaft to prevent corrosion. Torque to a minimum of 80 foot-pounds.
  • Upper timing belt cover.
  • Power steering pump, with hose. Replenish any lost fluid. Turning the steering wheel from left to right will help suck the new fluid back into your hoses and pump.
  • Engine mounting bracket.
  • Engine moving control rod, with ground straps.
  • Alternator bracket with alternator. Attach wire clamps and electrical fitting.
  • Power steering belt and alternator belts.
  • Apply tension on the power steering belt and tighten the lock bolt (EE). Instructions continue below!

EE. Apply tension to the power steering belt
EE. Apply tension to the power steering belt
  • Turn the alternator belt adjustment bolt clockwise to generate belt tension. It's advisable to use a belt tension gauge (FF). Over-torqued belts will wear out bearings. Tighten all alternator bolts.

FF. Standard belt tension gauge
FF. Standard belt tension gauge
  • Lock the radiator drain plug and refill radiator.
  • Attach the fender apron seal.
  • Mount the wheel.
  • Remove the hydraulic jack supporting the engine block.
  • Remove the jack stand.
  • Start car for a minute. Add more coolant. Check all fluids.

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Comments 102 comments

Gefforyt profile image

Gefforyt 6 years ago

Very Nice, love the detail. I noticed the time you give for replacement which includes water pump and seals. Our shop charges 5.0 hours to do this job. Looks like we are right on target with everyone else. Our experienced techs can do this in about 4 hours as long as everything goes according to plan. But does it ever?????

hardlymoving 6 years ago

Some of the glitches I've experienced when things don't go according to plan:

1. Rust buildup on the harmonic balancer where I have to use pulley removal tool.

2. Rust buildup on the alternator adjustment bolt threads where I can't relieve tension on the alternator belt without shearing the bolt. I remove the locking bolt that secures the adjustment bolt and leave the adjustment bolt alone.

3. The power steering pump won't rotate on it's hinge point. A little tap with a hammer on the bracket holding the locking bolt works it loose.

Lastly, I now recommend replacing the torque rod attached to the side engine mount. Seen too many go bad.

Spencer Orton 5 years ago

I tried to replace my

Oil PumpsSeal and removed the oil pump pulley using the same method you mentioned for the camshaft sprocket and it worked out fine. Thanks for the helpful information.

If replacing the Oil Pump Seal, remove the Oil Pump Pulley using the same method for removing the Camshaft Sprocket.

hardlymoving profile image

hardlymoving 5 years ago from Memphis, TN Author

Spencer -

Glad everything worked out for you.

Toyota Heat Problem 5 years ago

Well my water pump went on my 1992 toyota camery on my way to work I knew something was wrong when the heat in my car quit working. My mechanic changed the water pump and the timing belt but when I got the car back the heat is still not working right. It blows hot air when you hold your hand in frot of the vent but by the time it gets out in the car it is cold. It will never be hot enough to clear the windows in this cold weather here in PA. He said that he thought there was an air pocket in the line so he blew them out but it didn't get the air any hotter. He is stumped and gave me my car back. Do you have any ideas what could be wrong. My mechanic did a compression test to make sure no damage was done to the head gasket and he said that everything was registering at 150 (what ever that means) so thats why he went ahead and fixed the water pump. If anyone has any suguestions that would be great.

Al Bashford 5 years ago

How do you lock the the crankshaft in order to torque the crankshaft pulley bolt down ?

I've not found an answer to this question in 10 how to's do this timinng belt job.

I cant even locate a damn locking tool that will fit the pulley on my 1998 ST204R.

The pulley has a recessed face with 4 3mm OD equedistant holes.

hardlymoving profile image

hardlymoving 5 years ago from Memphis, TN Author

Toyota Heat Problem:

Could be a failed Water Temperature Sensor that's connected to the bottom of your radiator. This sensor is your secondary thermostat that works with your car's computer or ECU (Electronic Control Unit). Also, the normal operating temperature of the Camry is 180 to 190 degrees ... not 150. Did your mechanic change the mechanical thermostat during the water pump replacement?

hardlymoving profile image

hardlymoving 5 years ago from Memphis, TN Author

Al Bashford,

If you don't have air powered tools, you can buy yourself an electric impact driver that puts out around 120 lbs of torque to tighten your pulley bolt. has it for around $50.

Another method is to find the opening or window to your transmission that exposes your flywheel. You can jam a larger screw driver or small crow bar into the teeth of the flywheel. This will prevent the crankshaft from moving when applying tightening torque to your crankshaft pulley.

or... You can buy a Crankshaft Pulley Holder Tool for around $50: OTC 4754 Crankshaft Pulley Holder Universal OTC Tools

or... Visit a local independent auto repair shop and ask them to torque the bolt down for you ... they'll probably do it for free.

Ash from Aus 5 years ago

Wow great blog!, Need to change the Rear main seal, cam and crank seals on my cousins car...Great write up!, just wish there were some pictures on doing the seals.


- Ash

Ash fromus 5 years ago

Sorry didn't see the pictures in the small links,

Great work mate, keep up the good blogs!

Carlo 5 years ago

Awesome post! excellent and very detailed. thanks

guillermo 5 years ago

hi, i'm glad someone posted this very hard to find info, thnx for the your help, i'm stock with removing the cranckshaft bolt, as i did not know about starting the car, i went with manual and it recomends to remove it with braker bar, silly,now i'm stock broke 3 1/2 extensions and the thing still there, my son holds to the flywheel wile i try to loose that bolt, it is normal tread right?? hope is not that kind of left tread means i have to loose it diferent way, to the left right?? renting an impact gun will loose it as i have an impact electric gun but is not too strong i guess, any help or suggestions?? thnx

hardlymoving profile image

hardlymoving 5 years ago from Memphis, TN Author


Some people would feel unconfortable doing this but if you want to have that crank bolt removed, go to a local garage and ask them to loosen it. They'll probably do it for fee.

hardlymoving profile image

hardlymoving 5 years ago from Memphis, TN Author


If I understand you correctly, you want to be able to move the crankshaft after removing the pulley bolt and pulley? If yes, you can re-install the pulley bolt AFTER you removed the pulley and belt cover for the purpose of turning the crankshaft to align the timing marks. Removing the spark plugs will allow easier turning of the crankshaft via the pulley bolt. You can remove the bolt with a quick snap of a socket wrench or better yet with an impact driver which won't move the crankshaft.

JustGeorge 5 years ago

Hey All, been following these instructions and things are going good. I'm replacing the oil pump o-ring. The Haynes manual says to fill the driven rotor cavity with petrolem jelly and bolt back on. Has anyone done this? Does this sound right? I'm assuming this primes the oil pump (or something). Not sure I want this stuff floating around in my engine.

Thanks for any feed back.

Great post.

hardlymoving profile image

hardlymoving 5 years ago from Memphis, TN Author


No problem with the petro-jelly or use just a little grease.

JustGeorge 5 years ago

Thanks Hardlymoving,

I'll try this. Does the jelly present any problems in the oil? Should I do an oil change to get this out of the system?

Thanks again

hardlymoving profile image

hardlymoving 5 years ago from Memphis, TN Author


It's such a small amount, it won't do any harm at all.

JustGeorge 5 years ago

Thanks for the reply. I when ahead and changed the oil just to be sure.

Can I ask one more question?

This is a 2001 Solara, 2.2L with 209,000 miles. I replaced the timing belt and water pump 40,000 miles ago, but put in a new belt this time as I thought this was a cheap enough task while I had everything apart. I replaced the oil pump o-ring, shaft seal, cam shaft seal and crank shaft seal (just to be sure).

This morning I put everything back together and started the engine. The oil leak is gone and that's good news. The engine is running nice and smooth with no noise. But now I'm noticing a slight change in the dash board engine coolant temperature gauge, The gauge seems to rise faster than normal and reaches the mid point on the gauge and stays there. Normally the gauge would have been at about the 1/3 rd and usually took about 5 minutes to reach this level. The engine appears to reach the 1/2 way point in about 2 minutes. But the engine appears to be running fairly normal with no noise. I've driven the car for about 30 miles since.

Any ideas what might be causing this issue?

Thanks again.

hardlymoving profile image

hardlymoving 5 years ago from Memphis, TN Author


We're transitioning from Winter to Spring so if the outside temperature is warmer than normal then the car won't take so long to warm up as compared to freezing conditions.

JustGeorge 5 years ago

I was think that also. I normally don't pay as much attention to the gauge when it's warm out. I'll continue to drive it for a while and see.

Thanks for your help.

JustGeorge 5 years ago

I just wanted to say thanks. After about 80 miles everything seems to be back to normal. I'm hoping for another 60,000 miles on this car.

Your posting is great and saved me lots of time.

Thanks again.


hardlymoving profile image

hardlymoving 5 years ago from Memphis, TN Author


Good to learn that everything turned out okay. FYI - if your concerned about the cooling, consider replacing the thermostat with a new gasket. It's cheap insurance and simple to do. If you going to do it, use the Toyota Red Coolant. It's better for the cooling system. I've replaced to many radiators when the owner had their car serviced by a shop that replaced the Toyota coolant with the universal green stuff made by everyone. I'm guessing it creates a PH imbalance and eats away at the radiator's aluminum core.

LeoWA 5 years ago

Hey, hardlymoving.

Thanks for an excellent tutorial.

I'm just after a minor clarification. Image (d) shows the breaker bar secured against the ground, though it appears to be angled at about 7 o'clock. I assume the crankshaft pulley bolt is loosened by turning it counter-clockwise, and that the crankshaft rotates in a clockwise direction. If this is the case, should the breaker bar be angled at about 5 o'clock? Just visualizing the steps before I get started.

Thanks again for the walkthrough, it's top notch!


Ryan 5 years ago

timing belt broke on me so i could not apply paint marks to cam and crank. got crank aligned, but i cant see front of cam sprocket to align marks. is there reference marks on the camshaft itself???

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hardlymoving 5 years ago from Memphis, TN Author


You are correct. The breakerbar should be at the 5 o'clock position if using the ground to secure the bar... not at the 7 o'clock as show in the picture. And yes, the engine rotates clockwise.

LeoWA 5 years ago

Excellent. Thanks for your help.

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hardlymoving 5 years ago from Memphis, TN Author


The front camshaft sprocket has a small alignment hole as depicted in the schematic. And you are correct, it's hard to see. If you detach the power steering return hose and bend it out of the way, it may make it easier to see after you've removed the side engine mount.

Ryan 5 years ago

thanks for your help finally got it aligned rotated it twice and it lines up perfectly, but there is still a little too much slack, what do i do about this? I made sure the belt is routed correctly also.

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hardlymoving 5 years ago from Memphis, TN Author


Tighten the belt on the right side by rotating the camshaft pulley counter clockwise and then allow the belt tensioner to remove any excess slack.

Tarame269 5 years ago

Preparing to change the timing belt on our 2000 5S FE 95K mi.

Will be changing water pump as well & was told to change the

cam & crank seals. Should I change the oil pump "o" ring also. In addition are there any special tools needed to remove the old seals?


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hardlymoving 5 years ago from Memphis, TN Author


For the camshaft you'll need a pulley holder tool than you can buy at harborfreight for around $10. Hard part is seating the new cam seal since there's little side room. You can make you're own seating tool by cutting a piece of PVC piping that's the diameter of the seal. Should be able to use the same tool for the oil pump sprocket as well. Your decision if you want to replace the oil pump seal. I generally don't bother to replace the seal anymore on my car until I detect a leak from the bottom of the timing belt cover. If any of the seals are shot, I'll just do another timing belt job since I've done so many I can do it fast.

Jeremy  5 years ago

I just did the timing for the second time. First time I was short on cash and used non toyota dealer parts. They were asin but not the same evidently. 1 year later bad noises. Water pump... Redone with all good stuff but had replaced Harmonic Bal. with brand of doorman, Hundreds cheaper. Engine runs with a bit of power loss when driving and engine vibration at 35mph+. Is it the bal. or have I done something wrong with slack in timing or does the red coolant swell the oil seal rubber when exposed. There was coolant all over, nasty stickiness. I tried hard to get this right the second time. Now I'm just at a wonder and mad at the wasted effort. What's your take?

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hardlymoving 5 years ago from Memphis, TN Author


Asin is a OEM Japanese supplier so I'm surprised to learn of the water pump failure. I've never, ever replaced the harmonic balancer on a 4cyl 5SFE. I've used Doorman replacement parts with no problem as well. I suggest you look for other sources of your problem. Perhaps you need new plugs, wires, fuel filter, engine mounts, etc. If you didn't put your timing belt on correctly, your check engine light would go on and stay on.


Jeremy 5 years ago

Yes, all but engine mounts. I forgot to add that the new harmonic bal. was like 3 lbs. heavier and solid cored. It was looking diff. from the get go. On the old pump the bearing went bad, my mech. buddy said the timing belt was too tight (not likely) or was just a fluke bad part. I have dropped about $480 in improvement parts all over and the timing. I am going to tear into the timming cover thurs. and take a look see. No one at the dealer, service and otherwise knew if the red coolant would swell or destroy the oil seals. I have inspected all engine mounts and no tears but minimal cracking, real small ones. Huff, I even removed and retorqued all wheel lugnuts, engine mounts, harmonic bal. and spark plugs. I check fuel pressure and its almost perfect with spec. Oiy what else can shimmy an engine and give power loss where I had no problems before even with the angry water pump chatting it up under the T-cover. I thought I knew this car pretty well. I recommended it to friends back in the day and we all have learned it inside and out. I think this one may be on the dealer to solve soon.

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hardlymoving 5 years ago from Memphis, TN Author


Work backwards. Replace the new harmonic balancer (HB) with either the old HB or one from a junkyard then see how the engine runs. If no improvement, start by replacing the rear engine mount ... they tend to go first. Fuel pressure may be okay until you floor it ... perhaps a bad fuel filter ... even if new. Disconnect ignition wire one at a time and listen for a drop in idle. If no drop, something is wrong with the ignition for that cylinder. While the engine is running, tap each fuel injector with a small hammer and listen for any change in engine rpm's. If there's a change, its a bad injector.

Harry 5 years ago

Hi hardly moving,

I am a mechanic, i have done 2 of these timing in belts in the last 2 days and i've had a problem!

I notice on removal of the top cover that the tensioner adjustment range is maxed out with the genuine timing belt. We use gates belts(correct to the specs of a OE belt) at work, fitment of these belts also maxes out the range of the tensioner but doesn't seem to take out all the slack! I have resorted to fitting a 162t belt to overcome this problem and have been successful.

Can you enlighten me on this?

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hardlymoving 5 years ago from Memphis, TN Author

Hello Harry,

Never had the problem you've described with the tensioner adjustment range 'maxing out'. Only thing I can think of is that whoever did the last belt replacement also replaced either tensioner or idler pulley with the wrong one with a smaller diameter; hence the excess stack.

Tom 5 years ago

HELP!!! For days now, I am unable to get the crankshaft pulley bolt off my 93 camry v6 xle. I have tried breaker w socket against frame and bump ignition key a second. Also, tried 2 diff impact wrench, elec impact from harbor Frt and air at 150psi. I have not found a place to "jam" ring gear??

If anyone has ideas please post and email psjtom at yahoo com.

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hardlymoving 5 years ago from Memphis, TN Author

Hello Tom,

Solution 1:

This problem has happened to me once on a Honda V6. Honda Crank bolts are notorious for being over torqued - up to 180 lbs. Rather than spending a half day trying to figure out what tool to get and use, I just went to a local auto repair shop and told them my problem; "Hi .... I'm in the process of replacing my timing belt and I can't get the damn crankshaft bolt removed - could you help me with your impact gun?" Believe me, most independently own shops will help you. If they agree and do it for you, offer to pay for their work. Most of the time, they won't charge - call it professional courtesy.

Solution 2:

Re-try the bump ignition but jump the battery from another car. The extra amps from the other battery will provide more juice to you starter motor to get the extra torque needed to twist off the bolt. Your problem may be your battery is too weak.

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hardlymoving 5 years ago from Memphis, TN Author

Also Tom, you can apply heat via a propane torch on the bolt before using the impact driver. Only problem is you can potentially damage the crankshaft seal - unless you intend to replace it.

Tom 5 years ago

The starter cranks great.. tried it 7-8 times already but the breaker n bolt actually prevents motor from turning. Un believable. I will try more leverage w long pipe but just need something to stop motor from turning.

I'm not sure where and how to do that? Help? Where can I get access to the "ring gear", supposed to be easily according to Haynes repair manual.

Tom 5 years ago

HM, Thanks much for your help. After spending whole weekend unable to take off the bolt, even with a new 900ft lb torque impact wrench, I decided to have the car towed to a professional mechanic. He quoted $140 to replace the pulley. So my DIY attempts on this pulley for last two weeks failed but I will try something else.

Tarame 5 years ago

went the extra mile, replaced timing belt, cam seal & crank seals (mfg by toyota). Water pump,Oil pump seal & o-ring (after market), my wife used her car for (2) weeks & oil

leak started (coming out from the bottom of timing cover) - Frustrated.

Will get started taking timing belt covers off tomorrow after

work. Will assess cause & yes if new timing belt is oil saturated will again replace it. Any suggestions?

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hardlymoving 5 years ago from Memphis, TN Author

Hello Tarame,

Could be that the replacement seal was defective (meaning not your fault), or one of the seals was not seated properly or perhaps the 32 mm nuts that hold your valve cover down is loose. Since the 5SFE is canted towards the firewall, a loose valve cover allows oil to leak and migrate to the area around the power steering pump. This may give the illusion that an oil leak is coming from the timing belt cover but in reality from the valve cover.

john 5 years ago

94 celica gt 2.2 5sfe. i replaced the timing belt, crankshaft/camshaft seal, oil pump 0-ring and seal, new valve cover seal and silicone on half-moon and new distributor o-ring. no leak at idle but after 2 days of driving, it started to leak again at front cover. replaced oil pump seal/gasket again. it leaked again/ bad pcv? please advise.

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hardlymoving 5 years ago from Memphis, TN Author


How's the fluid level of your power steering pump? If okay, then you'll have to take off the TB covers to find the source of the oil leak. Before you replaced the oil pump seal a 2nd time, was it leaking? Any scratches accidently made on the shafts that contact the oil seals? If so, you won't have a perfect seal.

john 5 years ago

Replaced both cam and crank seals including oil pump, resealed valve coverand installed new pcv. No more leak woot woot.

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hardlymoving 5 years ago from Memphis, TN Author

Hello John,

Glad things worked out. Live and learn. Nothing more satisfying than doing it yourself. Read my other DIY articles and your Celica will run like new. BTW, the Celica isn't mechanically that much different than the Camry.

jvnguyen76 5 years ago

Hi, I have a 92 Camry 2.2 that broke a camshaft. I decided to replace the engine but was wondering if the 2.2 from a 95 Celica will work. I also plan on replacing the timing belt and water pump on it. Would you recommend using Gates waterpumps? They are a lot cheaper than most other brands.

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hardlymoving 5 years ago from Memphis, TN Author


The 92 Camry and the 95 Celica both use the same engine; that being the 5SFE. So an engine swap should be no problem. However, some external components from the Camry engine may have to be transferred over to the Celica engine such as the intake and exhaust manifold, ignition system, etc. along with everything else that's attached to it.

Gates is a reputable major auto parts manufacturer/supplier for many auto makers including Honda. So don't worry, a Gates waterpump won't give you any problems.

THE BENNY 5 years ago

ok i have question about the tensioner spring. i bought new tensioner idler and guide and it came with 2 springs. one says its for 1999-2001 camry and the other says its for 1992-1998 camry. i have a 1998 camry and the spring that came off it is same as the one that says its for the 1999-2001 camry. do i put exact one back in or put the one in that says for 1992-1998 camry? much appreciated and thanks for your easy to follow tutorials!!!

THE BENNY 5 years ago

oh and just to clarify this is first time anybody has been inside timing cover since it came from factory. i find it hard to think factory put wrong spring in. thanks again!

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hardlymoving 5 years ago from Memphis, TN Author

Hello Benny,

I have had no problems with belt replacements jobs where the original spring was not replaced. But to answer your question, I believe the 92-98 springs were produced before 1999 and are excess inventory still up for sale. The 5SFE engine, with respect to the timing belt and components, went through no major changes since its introduction. The important thing is that the new timing belt is tight on the opposite side of the tensioner pulley and that the pulley moves freely on the backing plate to allow the spring to apply the correct belt tension before torquing down the tensioner pulley bolt.

THE BENNY 5 years ago

thank you for answering. i just did quick search on amazon for the spring to get pic and its asking for my body code which i dont know. the 2 choices are SXV2 and MCV2 and i have no idea where to find this. its probable not that big of deal but i figured i might as well put right one in. its just weird to me that the one that came out of car doesn't match the spring that says it goes for my year model. not that much of difference in springs cept for one is lil longer than other, like 1/8 inch. and one has kinda of a V hook on ends and the other is rounded and thicker. but thank you for your help. i think im just gonna replace the one that came out with the new one that is just like it even though the package says its for 99-01 and mine is 98.

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hardlymoving 5 years ago from Memphis, TN Author


I'm a little confused. The MC prefix for MCV2 pertains to the Toyota 1MZFE V6 3.0 liter engine if I'm not mistaken.

THE BENNY 5 years ago

I have a 4 cyl 2.2 Liter 5S-FE 1998 camry. i bought on ebay a dayco "timing belt component kit" which contains

1) "85301 camshaft belt tensioner"

2) "85302 camshaft belt idler"

3) "85806 tensioner spring"

4) "85810 tensioner spring"

that is what is listed on the box as the contents. the springs are in individual packages inside the box. one package says its for "camry 2.2L 1992-1998" (which is my car) but it DOES NOT look like the old spring i took off. the other spring package says its for "camry & camry solara 2.2L 1999-2001" (which is NOT my car) but it DOES look like the old spring i took off. now the spring that is listed above in your tutorial looks like the spring i took off my car and its in the package that says its for 99-01. I copy and paste it below.

OES Genuine T-Belt Tensioner Spring for select Toyota models OES Genuine T-Belt Tensioner Spring for select Toyota models

Amazon Price: $3.27

also on each package it says "IMPORTANT! USE ONLY ON:" then it list vehicles. i wouldn't think it would matter a whole lot cuz there's not much difference between the 2 springs but then again im not sure. LOL sorry if this sounds confusing, I'm starting to confuse myself. i wish i could just show you pictures of these packages and springs. I hope i clarified myself a little better. and like i said before this is first time anybody has been inside the timing cover so its not like somebody put wrong spring in after it rolled out of factory. also the spring in package that says it fits my car is little bit longer and thicker than the old spring i took off my car. OK im done rambling on LOL. any input on this matter would be greatly appreciated. thank you so much!

THE BENNY 5 years ago

ok i found some links with pictures. it is a dayco 84058 kit.

the gold spring with the kind of V hook on each end is the same one that came off my car. but its the other silver one with the more of a round hook on each end that says it fits my car. so as you can see im stumped on what to do.

THE BENNY 5 years ago

its a dayco 84058 kit. forgot to mention that.

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hardlymoving 5 years ago from Memphis, TN Author


I see no problem with either spring ... they both look the same length and serve the same purpose. Once the tensioner bolt has been tightened, the spring has done its job. The V6 doesn't use a spring at all.

THE BENNY 5 years ago

LOL oh wow i didn't think about after the pulley is tightened down. your right it wouldn't matter. im just thinking way too much about this whole procedure as i dont wanna mess anything up. but i do thank you for your input and your tutorials have helped me greatly in this adventure. THANK YOU!!!

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Jennie Demario 5 years ago from Floating in the clouds

wish i could do this... I just had the timing chain replaced on my TSX. I thought the timing chain's were supposed to last forever but apparently mine was stretched out. The tension-er's were maxed out and there was still some slack in the chain. $1400 bucks later and my baby is purring like a kitten. Wish I could have done the job myself and saved some cheddar..

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hardlymoving 5 years ago from Memphis, TN Author

Hello Jennie Demario,

The Acura TSX's chain should last the life of the car ... unless you don't change the oil or let the car warm up. Start using synthetic motor oil now that you've spent some money on a new chain.

kuso66 4 years ago

hello hardlymoving, ive been working on a timing belt on a 93 toyota camry xle, ive spent three or so half days lining up the cam and crank marks and getting the number one on top dead center conpression, and it would not start, ive took the belt of the cam three or four times, so tonight getting dark out side i took the belt off the cam again found the cam mark with a mirror and flash light made shure it was right like before and went to slip the belt back on again but the teeth were half off like earlyer today, this time instead of moving the cam a bit to line the teeth up i moved the crank back,and turned it 360, the crank was in between 5 and 10 deg, and it finaly started, does this sound normal? thanks Louis,,

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hardlymoving 4 years ago from Memphis, TN Author


If your check engine light has not come on with an error code of crankshaft position out of alignment, then your timing alignment is should be okay.

hamthrac 4 years ago

I just installed the Dayco timing belt/waterpump kit on my camery. It ran like a charm for about a week. It then developed a rattling sound near the area of the water-pump that occurs between 1500 to 2100 rpm when the engine is cold. It disappears when it warms up. It still runs great. I have heard of this problem before with others. The thoughts that come to mind are the tension loosened on the timing belt, the water pump and could it be cavatation from the wp impellers?? I don't know what to think. Do you have any ideas? It sounds great when it warms up.

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hardlymoving 4 years ago from Memphis, TN Author

Hello Hamthrac,

If the problem only occurs during warm up, then its either your tensioner or idler pulley gone bad. If they're new, then one of them unfortunately is defective. When the engine warms up and heat transfers to these bearings, the lubricant/grease inside the pulley begins to lubricate the bearings and the noise will either dissipate or go away. Lack of lubrication to the bearings may be caused by a defective pulley or oil seal leakage. I have not yet encountered a defective water pump bearing. The way to check is to spin the pump pulley with your hand and feel for any points where the there's drag. Unfortunately, you'll have to remove the timing belt again to check these parts.

Robert13 4 years ago

Dear Hardlymoving,

I've seen the question asked here a few times already with no definitive answer from you: Is the crankshaft bolt standard thread (lefty loosey/righty tighty) or opposite? I bought a Craftsman electric impact wrench (350 ft lbs torque) for this job and the darned thing wont budge! I tried holding the pulley with a strap wrench and using a breaker bar on the crank bolt and the strap wrench broke. Where is the access to the ring gear on the flywheel so I can try to keep the engine from turning with a new pry bar from Harbor Freight Tools? I found a small threaded hole in the front of the transmission bell housing. Does Toyota make a special tool that fits into there to lock the flywheel? This is a '96 Camry and all of the other steps went as planned so far. Thanks for any help you can provide.

kuso66 4 years ago

i wedged a screwdriver in the teath of the trans axel and it worked.

Robert13 4 years ago


I went to my local Toyota dealer this morning and spoke with one of the tech's. He confirmed RH thread on the bolt and suggested removal of the starter to access the ring gear. Locked it with a pry bar then used a 4' "cheater" bar on the bolt and...voila!

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hardlymoving 4 years ago from Memphis, TN Author


I just got tired of using breaker bars and trick methods on removing crank pulleys and bought myself a Milwaukee M18 Battery powered 1/2" impact driver. The thing retails for over $700 but has made my life so much easier with timing belt and suspension jobs where large nuts and bolts under high torque must be removed. It puts out 450 lbs of torque and hasn't let me down. Honda V6 pulley bolts are real tough ... around 180 lbs.

jeff 4 years ago

i dont have 1 of these cars but have been turning wrench for 28 years and enjoyed reading this your a sharp guy

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hardlymoving 4 years ago from Memphis, TN Author

Thanks Jeff - been wondering if I've been wasting my time doing these articles and friends have been telling to do UTUBE videos.

inthesevens 4 years ago

Great posting-very informative. This was my first belt change but I am a mechanically minded guy so after I found your article I jumped in. I am finished now with good results and a couple suggestions for begginers. My crank pulley bolt came right out using the starter method and the pulley about dropped off the crank by itself. That was the easy part. My dampner had lost its bond so the pulley was turning on the hub-made a screeching noise with the AC on. The new pulley/dampner was a much tighter fit to install. I cleaned and greased the crank snout and after lining up the keyway, GENTLY tapped the hub on with a side to side motion until I could get 3-4 threads on the bolt to go in. I know-I know- not the way you are suppose to do it but it worked.

Another idea for a newbe is forget the timing marks-just paint a tooth on the cam gear and the belt slot were that tooth goes in, then go to the bottom and mark a tooth on the belt and the crank gear slot were that belt tooth goes in. Then just carefully mark the new belt and install-since the belt is marked on a slot on the top and a tooth on the bottom there is no way to mess up. Even if the gears get turned during seal changes, as long as the marks line up- your good. Unfortunately this won't work if the belt broke. Just make sure all belt slack is out by turning the crank gear back and forth several teeth after installing the spring. You can use a cresent wrench against the crank keyway if the bolt wants to unscrew. Make sure your last movement is clockwise to get all slack to the tensioner pulley.

The cam seal is difficult to install so after pushing it in as far as my thumbs could I used the old seal as a spacer and bolted on the cam gear to push the new one in. I thought it would be faster, but turned out lining everything up was a pain. I stuck the old seal to the new one with grease but then the gear still moves around and watch that cam pin. Took me several tries but it did work for me. A PVC spacer would work better but I didn't have any. Thanks for your help Hardlymoving!!

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hardlymoving 4 years ago from Memphis, TN Author

Hello Intheseven,

I almost screwed myself by not aligning the crankshaft pulley to TDC before removing the timing belt. I had thought that using paint on the belt, sprockets and backing plate would be good enough. So what went wrong? Well, on the V6 1MZFE engine, the camshaft sprockets wouldn't stay put. I needed another pair of hands to keep to sprocket from moving while installing the new belt. The 5SFE's cam sprocket isn't as sensitive so not a problem; but the V6 will give you headaches on new belt installation. Yes, moving the cam sprocket a hair to the right before new belt installation makes installation much easier. Removing seals was getting a little too time consuming so I bought a OEM brand seal removal tool. Works like a charm. With new seal installation, I press fit in the seal by re-installing the camshaft sprocket. That gets it in at least half way. I then use a blunt instrument to press the rest in. Greasing the seals before installation helps tremendously.

gehidore 3 years ago

I just did this same replacement, my original belt had broke @ about 40Mph and I found out while replacing it that someone had previously replaced the crank oil seal and failed to properly tension the belt @45 BTDC and the belt had worn thru the upper timing cover. My water pump was also leaking at the time bad enough that while the vehicle sat for 6 months there was only 1/2 gallon coolant left in the system.

After finishing this I fired the motor and hear this:

Any thoughts?

To me it sounds vaguely like a major exhaust leak, at the same time it sounds *too* mechanical.

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hardlymoving 3 years ago from Memphis, TN Author


It sounds like you've got a bent crankshaft rod which is causing piston slap. These problems usually occur when driving the car: 1. on little to no oil in the engine 2. when the car has overheated due to coolant leakage and continuing to drive it. I suggest you perform an engine compression and leak down test. Perhaps the belt is off a tooth or so? Is you MIL throwing a code?

gehidore 3 years ago


Never ran low on Oil, or overheated while we owned it. We purchased @ 297k we've since put another 15k on her... within a week of owning the car I discovered that the lot we found it at had, as usual, added green antifreeze to the factory Toyota red and properly gummed it all up and caused electrolysis of the radiator.

Since day one it had a 'rattle' which I attributed to the ductaped upper timing cover which someone obviously forgot the 'hidden' bolt and attempted to yank off.

This noise is *entirely* new to the car.

I picked up some feeler gauges and was going to check the valve clearance, even though I was under the impression that this being a non interference type motor was next to impossible slam a piston into a valve on belt breakage...

I'll have to see if my compression gauge walked off with the rest of the tools... I know I've seen the different tips for it in the box.

No codes that I can see but I didn't want to leave the thing running much longer than to shoot that video for fear of irreparable damage.

( sorry if it does this twice it didn't seem to take the previous post )

When you say 'crankshaft rod' do you mean crankshaft or connecting rod?

Only thing I could think that would have caused a bent crankshaft would have been the pulley remove bolt was stuck and when removing it it actually lifted the motor about a 1/4" by the balancer, though, I would expect if it was bent from that there would be visible wobble in the balancer.

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hardlymoving 3 years ago from Memphis, TN Author


Yes, the connecting rod. Based on the noise from your youtube, it sounds like piston slap. And factoring the mileage, the assumption is very plausible.

You can perform various tests based on James E. Harris, proprietor of Engine Restorations in Portland:

"First you have to make sure that the ignition timing is correct. To do this unscrew the pin that sticks out of the timing gear cover and insert the pin end into the hole. Turn the engine over by hand and feel for the hole in the timing gear. You should just be able to feel the tip of the pin sticking part way into an indent in the gear. At that point check to see if the ignition points are just starting to open. If they are you are ok, if not loosen the screw under the distributor rotor and move the distributor cam just enough to start to open the points.

When the timing is correct, put the engine at a somewhat fast idle and pull the timing control lever all the way down. The noise of loose bearings, piston slap, loose piston pins will increase as the spark is advanced and will decrease as the spark is retarded.

If the noise doesn't change you can have loose timing gears, loose flywheel, or out of adjustment valves.

One way to check for piston slap: Remove three spark plugs, leaving number one in place. Crank the engine over until you feel the resistance of number one piston coming up on compression. Crank against compression until the piston is about half way up the cylinder. Now using the fan, rock the crankshaft back and forth and listen for a metallic knocking sound. If you hear a knock, you have piston slap and the only way out is to rebuild the engine. "

gehidore 3 years ago


For this specific application since the fan is electric, there is no pin in the timing gear cover ( 2.2 5SFE ), and there is no distributor ( 1999 ). I assume the process would be similar to this:

Remove upper engine mounts remove upper timing cover, rotate motor via crank pulley bolt and verify TDC on cam and crank *again* as we may be off a tooth.

Then, since we've already got the timing cover off and we know we're TDC compression stroke on #1 pop out plugs and rock the crank back and forth listening for metalic knocking.

If I hear it my wife will kill me because the 235$ it's cost so far to replace belt, idlers, {crank,cam,oilpump} seals, water pump, and for a new set of torque wrenches is just "too much money"...

Though the shop quoted near 2500$ for the same job.

Sound accurate?

gehidore 3 years ago


RE: Compression test.

Test shows, to my eyes, 150-160 each cyl... I shot video of each cause the tester I had that fit the plug tubes doesn't hold the value.

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hardlymoving 3 years ago from Memphis, TN Author


The compression gauge your using doesn't appear to hold the high point pressure. There's another compression test called the leak down test where you place the cylinder on TDC on the compression stroke and then pump compressed air into the cylinder to see how much pressure is being held. That's the easiest way to determine if the problem is valve or piston ring related.

The best you can hope for is the timing being off a tooth or so. Otherwise, something in the engine is either broke or has worn to the point of making noticeable noise.

I've helped Asian Indian IT technicians with high mileage Toyota's and Honda's fix their "broken" engines by swapping out their motor with one from a salvage yard. If you pull the motor out yourself from the yard, the bare motor down here in Memphis (Pull A Part, You Pull It, Mid Town Salvage) will run around $100. If they pull it, it'll be around $600 with a 3 month warranty. Keep in mind, these IT techs were quoted anywhere from $3,500 - $5,000 for a used engine swap. I did the swap for under $1,500 with a lot of new parts. Before taking the motor out of the yard, I do a leak down down test with a portable air compressor. Other things could be wrong with the engine, but for $100, there's a 30 day warranty I can return it back to the yard. It all labor taking the yard route.

The reason why I haven't written a DIY article on doing engine swaps is due the equipment that is needed (Engine hoist), the need for an extra pair of hands, and the amount of detail the instructions would entail.

If you were able to do a timing belt job following my instructions, consider doing a engine swap. You can perhaps rent an engine hoist, or make or buy a engine support brace that fits directly over the suspension strut tower. Engine removal is not as difficult as it seems. You need to be patient, keep your parts, nut and bolts in order and take plenty of photos during the removal. The engine has 2 main mounting points: One in front; the other in the rear. The side mount is really not a major support point. The rest of the time is spent removing tubes, wires, exhaust, axle connections, etc. It's all just time consuming.

gehidore 3 years ago


Final video, my phone is now telling me it can't save any videos,

Pulled the valve cover and plugs and rotated the engine by hand, I do feel on spot where it seems to 'snag' but it seems to be on Cyl # 3 you can hear a slightly gritty sound when it gets close in this clip:

I'll do a leakdown test tomorrow. Any PSI you suggest seeing if they'll hold?

I've got a cherry-picker for engine pulling and a stand and all the tools necessary... I'm just trying to avoid retiring this engine after all the time and money spent on it at this point.

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hardlymoving 3 years ago from Memphis, TN Author


I can't hear the noise but are those valves sticking? I didn't see the valve shim move at all. I've used MMO (Marvel Mystery Oil) to free up sticking valves and to remove sludge and carbon buildup. Takes a few thousand miles to notice a difference.

The 'snag' could be a ridge on the top of the cylinder wall where there's uneven wear.

Can't tell you the PSI off the top of my head. What you're looking for is consistency with all the cylinders.

gehidore 3 years ago


I reviewed the clip and I don't see the lobe actually make a full rotation so it doesn't look like it would have shown the valve shim move anyways. I'll clear my storage on the camera and re-shoot tomorrow and see if it helps show anything better.

gehidore 3 years ago

hardlymoving profile image

hardlymoving 3 years ago from Memphis, TN Author


So much for the stuck valve theory. I'd put my money on the belt being off 1 cog...assuming the car had no problems before you did the TB replacement.

gehidore 3 years ago


I pulled the motor mount and upper timing cover again today and found that when the cam was at my 'view' of TDC the crank was at 4° BTDC. I adjusted what I thought was 1 tooth and came up after 1 7/8 revolutions, tightened idler, and 2 more revs @ 15° ATDC, adjusted again back 1 tooth and now it sits, based on perspective +/- 1° 0°BTDC. Here are some pictures of what it was and what it is.

I'll reattach the upper motor mount tomorrow and fire it.

gehidore 3 years ago


How this only effected a single Cylinder I will never quite understand but that did the trick, Put her all together today and it's 100% fixed.

At least now there is a sample of what off a tooth timing could sound like if anyone has the same issue in the future.

Thanks for the guide, thanks for the help.

For anyone who can't get the cam oil seal out here is what I did:

*Must* have the proper toque wrench!

Loosen the bearing cap next to the bearing, cut the seal near the 2 o'clock position and insert a 1/4" blade screw driver and carefully pry the seal out, if the cap pops up re-seat it, re-torque the bolts. I used the blade screwdriver that is fixed in the original Leatherman Wave.

Also for holding the cam in place if one removes the valve cover there are hex areas on the center of the cam specifically that can be used to restrain the cam from movement.

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hardlymoving 3 years ago from Memphis, TN Author


Congratulations. Don't understand why the ECM didn't throw a MIL code with the cam and crank being out of alignment. Fixed a belt out of alignment on a V6 ES300 awhile ago that kept throwing a MIL code. Left Cam was out of alignment with the right. The trick to belt installation is to advance the cam a hair clockwise in order to mount the new belt. If the belt was tight on the right side when removed, its next to impossible to install a new belt without first advancing the cam. The advancement allows a slight amount of slack to mount the belt. Easiest way to create slack is to twist the belt with your finger tips which will move the cam a hair.

Now you can look forward to doing a belt replacement on a twin cam V6 if the opportunity presents itself.

Jason 3 years ago

What to do? It's been my first time doing

Jason 3 years ago

What to do? It's been my first time doing a replacement timing belt after the old one snapped. After trying to remove the crankshaft pulley (The wrong way I discovered and I wont go into detail) the outter edge of the pulley got damaged. It still seems useable, but I have now lost the timming notch on the pulley and I am unsure of how to now set the timming correctly. I don't realy want to buy another pulley. What do you suggest?

hardlymoving profile image

hardlymoving 3 years ago from Memphis, TN Author


Buy a new pulley and when done with the TB repair, return the pulley for a refund.

Jason 3 years ago

Great idea! Many thanks.

jack 2 years ago

very good

Daijoubu 23 months ago

For completeness sake's, regarding the spring question, old spring is 50mm long with 10 coils, new one is 46mm with 13 coils:

NOTE:For 1992-96 Camry, the timing belt tension spring procedure has been revised. See REVISED TIMING BELT TENSION SPRING PROCEDURE (1992-96 CAMRY) .

Revised Timing Belt Tension Spring Procedure (1992-96 Camry)

From Toyota technical service bulletin EG001-99; January 29, 1999: For 1992-96 Camry, the timing belt tension spring procedure was revised. When replacing the timing belt on 1992-96 Camry with 2.2L, tension spring MUST be replaced. The revised tension spring 0 (Part No. 905-7-17003) is a 13-coil design which replaces the original 10-coil design.

spring Free Length

Except 1999-00 Camry......1.811" (46.00 mm)



Reference Number(s): EG001-99, Date of Issue: January 29, 1999

Related Ref Number(s): EG001-99



Model(s): 1992-1996 Toyota Camry 5S-FE

Section: Engine

Bulletin No.: EG001-99

Date: January 29, 1999


The service replacement Timing Belt for the 5S-FE Engine has been revised. To insure that this belt fits properly, the Timing Belt and Timing Belt Tensioner Spring must be replaced as a set.


1992-1996 Camry with 5S-FE Engines


Refer to Fig. 1 .


Previous Part Number, Current Part Number, Part Name

90507-18030, 90507-17003, Tension Spring

13568-09040, 13568-09041, Timing Belt


Replace Tension Spring with revised part when replacing Timing Belt.

Doug 9 months ago

I know it'sold but want to thank you for such a detailed write up. I found it made the entire process much less problematic. Thank again.

Dtnel78 5 months ago

New member here. Replacing water pump and belt/bearing kit.

How do I get the tensioner loose from the pin on the plate behind timing gear sprocket? Seems as if the head of pin on front is tapped in for securement. Do I need to remove timing gear and the cover behind to get it off?

Next question is my son brought it to meet with the water pump shelled out and engine running rough is there a way I can absolutely make sure that the timing is proper on the crankshaft and the timing gear as the belts already been removed and I think I might have moved the crank after doing that witches spawn freely as this is a non interference engine I was told.

Lastly are the Dual ground platinum spark plugs the only ones recommended to run on this engine?

I have it all torn apart right now ready to put back together as soon as I figure out the pulley dilemma. Thanks everyone and this is a great writeup.

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hardlymoving 5 months ago from Memphis, TN Author


If I understand you correctly, the "pin" is there to hold the tensioner pulley spring which applies pressure to the timing belt to remove slack. The spring can be removed with a needle nose pliers. Afterwards, the tensioner's center bolt can be removed.

As stated in my article, you can temporarily remount the lower timing belt cover and crankshaft pulley to set the engine to the 0 degree TDC (top dead center) mark. On the camshaft side, position the camshaft sprocket till you can see the alignment mark through the hole in the camshaft sprocket (must use a mirror to see through the hole). When mounting the belt, move the camshaft slightly to the right to mount the belt with no tension. Afterwards, turn the camshaft counter clockwise.

I do not use the double ground platinum plugs. I use only the single ground iridium plugs ... preferably Denso or NGK.

Dtnel78 5 months ago

It's the pin that is the opposite end of the spring pin which is the other side of the tighten down bolt. It would be on the left side of the tensioner if looking from the passenger side of the vehicle. It allows the tensioner to hang when the bolt is removed and the spring is not installed.

Daijoubu 5 months ago

The reason why Toyota recommends double grounds plats is because the distributor less Gen4 5SFE uses a waste spark system, so sparks are fired twice per cycle, from tip to ground and back. On a center only plated electrode plugs, the groud will wear out faster, maybe you can try the Denso Iridium Twin-Tip (or Iridium Long-life) with a platinum disc on the ground. Performance wise I'm not sure if there would be any gain but the OEM specified double grounds plat should in theory last longer. Denso and NGK to a lesser degree are both OEM spec'ed as per the manual, I'll get whichever cheapest and commonly available since it's fairly easy to replace compared to the V6.

Dtnel78 5 months ago

Got the tensioner loose. Had a fair amount of rust accumulation on the swivel portion where the tensioner goes on so I had to wobble it back and forth while pulling backwards.

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