'98 Camry V6 Timing belt surprise!

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Old 17 Sep 2004, 04:05 am   #1 (permalink)
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Default '98 Camry V6 Timing belt surprise!

Hi all.

I had a really bizarre problem and thought I would share.

For a little while now I had been hearing a "bearing grinding noise"
coming from my V6 1MZ-FE. I had the idlers bearings replaced at 93k
because they were bad, and I thought that the upper bearing failed
again. The timing belt was replaced at 60k and then later at 78k when I
had to get the water pump replaced.

I took the car to my excellent Toyota mechanic and he pulled the timing
belt cover and we had a listen. Much to our surprise, the noise wasn't
coming from the idler but from the cam sprocket area (the cam closest to
the front bumper).

After listening to the noise for a little while, we killed the engine
and he thought for a little while...he checked the tensioner and it
seemed OK and the idler bearings were OK too.

He then used a wrench to manually move the cam sprocket and we found the
belt had stretched tremendously, almost by a tooth! The slack in the
belt was beating against the upper cam and vibrating it which was
actually causing the awful noise!

To make a long story short, he replaced the timing belt and tensioner,
and the horrible noise went away and the engine is running very
smoothly! I can tell a tremendous difference in performance and fuel
economy has increased -- I suspect the noise was causing the knock
sensors to falsely retard ignition.

My only residual concern is when we pulled the valve cover, I noticed
some varnishing near the spark plug area closest to the cam sprocket,
though I've been doing 6k oil changes with Mobil-1 5W-30. It's possible
that the stretched timing belt somehow relates to the build up as I
distinctly recall seeing the valve cover off at 90k mi w/o any

Anyway, the bottom line is that if you happen to be in the timing belt
area, replace the damn thing. A stretched belt can cause weird and hard
to diagnose problems.


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Old 17 Sep 2004, 09:31 am   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: '98 Camry V6 Timing belt surprise!

My 97 camry 4 cyl had a loose belt
from the factory. Make sure you use
a genuine toyota belt.
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Old 17 Sep 2004, 02:28 pm   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: '98 Camry V6 Timing belt surprise!


> My 97 camry 4 cyl had a loose belt
> from the factory. Make sure you use
> a genuine toyota belt.

The belt that was put on at 78k mi was factory as is the new one, but
thanks a lot for the suggestion.

Frankly, if you're going to go through the trouble of putting a new belt
on, why not spend the extra few $$ to get a Toyota part??


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