Toyota Camry (1990-1994) Timing Belt Replacement DIY

Source: ToyotaNation

I’ve gotten a lot of benefit from this forum, here’s my pay-ahead. 1991 Camry V6 Gen 2

The only DIY I found reference to was a dead link; hopefully mine will last a couple of years for those who need it. The intent of this posting is to fill in some of those details that are left out or are unclear in the factory service manual section on this procedure. I don’t have a Haynes so can’t comment on the info there.

Background: I had a wobbly crank pulley awhile back that concerned me:
A couple of months later I had a catastophic timing belt failure: I’m not sure they’re related, but it was the right time to fix both problems.

Here’s my first peek at the problem. Notice the steel cables that were once the structural part of the timing belt. Peeking behind the timing belt cover was pretty straight forward. The job took less than 5 minutes and everything was accessible from the top of the car with very little muss or fuss. It took sockets from 10mm to 14mm to access this area.

Here’s what was left of the timing belt after I fished it out from around all the pulleys, idlers, and other parts:


To top it off, the crankshaft pulley was toast. My working hypothesis is that the wrong kind of pulley puller was used the last time the TB was changed. AutoZone, true the their business model, gave me a jaw-type puller to do the job…absolutely the WRONG tool. Since mine was toast I didn’t really care. The Harbor Freight website had a photo of the right kind of gear puller. I took it in to Checker and borrowed the proper puller to take with me to the junkyard to harvest a new crankshaft pulley.

I absolutely LOVE my local PickNPull yard. The gals they have running the checkout stations are completely clueless. Their priceboard says that harmonic balancers are $19.99. Misc pulleys are 12.99. Of course, my part was NOT a harmonic balancer and I got out of there for a few $ less than most other yards that employ people that know what the hell they’re looking at. Anyway, it’s always nice to see a pretty female face at the junkyard, flirt a bit, and practice my Spanish.

Oh, yeah, here’s a photo of the f’d up Gerry-rigged setup I had to make to get the pulley off the donor car. Seems the fender skirt was in the way and I couldn’t turn the pulley. See the note about the siezed engine below.

Getting the pulley off my Camry was a treat of a job. I ended up using allen wrenches and a chunk of rebar to keep the pulley from turning.

Thank goodness I found a Lexus at the junkyard that had a siezed engine and didn’t have to worry about that shizzle there in the cold and wet weather today.

I opted for a GatorBack Goodyear timing belt. The Punk at the Checker Auto parts near my work gave me a belt for a 4-cyl engine…so I had to take the oily, greasy belt back to him and ask him to stick it way up…..on the shelf where he got it. Armed with the right length belt I dove into installing the new belt.

Setting the cranshaft gear and the cam gears to the right position was fairly straight forward, after reading the pertinent posts here. Getting the F’in belt onto all the right gears was NOT!

Long story short: remove the tensioner! it gives you ALMOST enough slack to get the belt on the cam gears. Ultimately, I had to put the belt on the foward camshaft gear and under the top idler, and then put a few notches of the belt on the back cam gear and start turning the damned thing with a 17mm wrench, hoping it would all slide onto that back gear in the right orientation.

After numerous failed attempts, 6 skinned knuckles, a slew of swear words that made my non-English speaking Pakistani father-in-law blush, and a lot of persistence…I got the whole damned thing lined up right and the belt in the proper place. I expected to be able to turn the main pulley a couple of times and see the yellow marks on the belt all line up with the important places on the camshafts again…it AIN’T gonna happen unless you have the patience to turn it about 72 times around. The important thing is to watch the dimples in the camshaft pulleys and crank pulley and make sure the all line up every 2 turns or so, regardless of what the yellow marks on the belt are telling you. If you’re REALLY anal, count the notches between the right and left cam marks on the belt and verify the same number of notches after a few turns of the main pulley.

Feelings of bliss and an approach to Nirvana overwhelm one when you have the guts to put the key in the ignition and crank…AND the F’n thing actually starts.

I never did get part of the passenger side engine mount out of the car. The part that actually bolts onto the block wouldn’t come out of the space between the block and inner fender. I tried moving the engine with respect to the car a couple of times with no noticeable benefit. Ultimately I chose to work around it and leave it loose in there.

As with any DIY posted on the internet, your mileage may vary…and probably will. Hopefully you wont’ have to waste an entire weekend figuring all this shizzle out for yourself.

The only consolation is that my next project, assuming I can get this cursed Camry out of my garage, is a 1990 Audi V8 Quattro that won’t start. The LORD only knows what can possibly be wrong with that beast. But if the Gods *are* crazy, I should have quite the toy to play with the rest of this dreary Salt Lake City Winter.

Feel free to email questions or comments, punch holes in my method, or cut me into your lottery winnings if you find this usefull.



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One Response to “Toyota Camry (1990-1994) Timing Belt Replacement DIY”

  1. Wow that sucks that it got in there like that. How long did it take you to get it out? It looks like there was a lot of wire in there.

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