How do you change the timing belt on a 2003 Toyota 4Runner?

I just bought a 2003 Toyota 4Runner as a project car. I am looking forward to fixing it up, but the first order of business is that it needs a new timing belt. I know my way around an engine, but I am not an expert. How do you change the timing belt on a 2003 Toyota 4Runner?

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Answer provided by
Lynell Spencer
Answered on Apr 22, 2022
Having a project car can be a lot of work—and a lot of fun! But, it is important to know when its time to call in a pro. It is great that you are thinking through the steps before you just dive in!
To change the timing belt on a 2003 Toyota 4Runner, you will need a socket set, torque wrench, combination wrenches, screwdrivers, a jack and jack stands, and the new timing belt. This process will take around three hours to complete.
If you choose to have a mechanic do the work, it will cost you between $700-$1000. If you do it yourself, plan on $250-$350 for parts.
  • Disconnect the battery ground cable.
  • Make sure the engine is cold and** set the crankshaft to top dead center** with the number one piston on the compression stroke. Remove the crankshaft pulley.
  • Remove any accessories blocking the timing belt covers.
  • Remove timing belt covers. Lock camshafts and note the position of the camshaft timing marks.
  • Remove the timing belt tensioner and idler pulleys.
  • Remove timing belt.
  • Put on the new timing belt, and perform the above steps in reverse, following strict guidelines to make sure the camshaft and crankshaft are in perfect alignment after the tensioner has been set.
  • Upon completion of the installation, turn the engine crankshaft by hand 720 degrees. Confirm the correct position of the timing marks on the crankshaft and the camshafts.
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