Sunday, May 27, 2018

How to Replace the Timing Belt 1997-2001 Toyota Camry 2.2L

    This post will take the reader through a front engine tear down of a 2.2L Toyota Camry with the 5S-FE engine featured from 1997 to 2001. The timing belt will then be removed and a new belt installed, with careful attention given to the timing positions of the the camshaft and crankshaft. Other jobs possible now with the engine apart are the front oil seals and the water pump replacement.

                                                      The job at a glance

  • Tools:  Floor or other jack, jack stands, 1/4", 3/8" and 1/2" drive metric sockets 10, 12, 14 and 19mm, wratches and wrenches, large breaker bar, harmonic balancer remover or other puller, two 6mm x 70mm thread pitch 1.00 bolts.
  • Parts: Timing belt 
  • Materials: 
  • Time: 1.5 hours      

Front Engine Disassembly

1) Disconnect the battery negative.

2) Loosen the right front wheel lug nuts, jack up the front and remove the wheel. Set down on stands or blocks. I like wood blocks.

3) Remove the splash cover in front of the crank shaft pulley. (two 10mm)

4) Remove the larger drive belt. Loosen the 14mm alternator pivot bolt and the 12mm alternator adjustment lock bolt. Then turn the 14mm adjustment bolt clockwise until the belt loosens enough to remove. 

Loosen the bolts indicated by the white arrows. Turn orange to remove belt.

5) Remove or set aside the alternator. This is optional, but recommended since it is quite easy and affords more room to work. Remove the two aforementioned bolts, unplug the wiring and unbolt the 10 mm battery plus connection. If desired it can be set aside, out of the way with wiring attached. 
6) Remove the front engine mount, sometimes called the "dogbone." Unbolt three 14mm mounting bolts and jiggle it out. 
7) Unplug a chassis ground.

Remove these three bolts and unplug the ground wire.

8) Remove the triangular shaped front engine mounting bracket. The top bolt is easy, but let's get into some detail on the much harder lower two bolts. This is a narrow spot, a mere 7 mm wide and using a socket that is too shallow will not allow the ratchet bar to clear and turn. Find some tools with a combined width of 5.5 to 6.5 cm (2.75"). Finding these ahead of time will save frustration in fitting an effective tool in there. I used a 14mm 1/2" drive socket along with a breaker bar to get the radiator side bolt broke. the back one took a 1/2" thin headed ratchet and the same  socket. Smaller tools will be needed to fully remove the bolts

These lower bolts are tough due to tight access

9) Remove the power steering belt. The difficulty is in loosening a 10 mm pivot bolt above the pump. I got in there with small tools, a 1/4" socket and ratchet with a small cheater pipe. Now the easier lower 10mm bolt, accessible with 3/8" ratchet, socket and 6 inch extension bar. Now move the pump forward to loosen and remove the belt.

Loosening the power steering pump pivot bolt  
10) Remove the upper timing cover. There are four 10 mm bolts of three different lengths used here. the lower one is a challenge. The upper firewall side bolt is very long and owing to it's great length and  a small arc of tool rotation, quickly becomes tedious to remove.  The other long bolt is also on top and the length is needed as it serves double duty as a wiring harness holder. With all four removed, jiggle the cover, with a very tight clearance up and out.

11) Place the engine in the top dead center timing position. This is best done by turning the crankshaft with a socket and breaker bar. See the timing section below for detail on this position.
12) Remove the crank pulley bolt. This 19mm bolt will likely be a challenge if you don't have air tools. I normally use a home-made fixture for this job, made out of 1/4"  angle iron.  It didn't work on this application. Instead, I was forced to use the "starter bump" method, and I was pleased with the results. Take precautions to disable the ignition (starting the car is a very bad thing in this situation). I found pulling the spark plug wires the easiest way.  Wire up a large breaker bar at a right angle to a substantial part. I used the lower control arm. Then give the starter a few taps. No One can be anywhere near that side of the car during this procedure! 

The breaker bar needs to be secured before bumping the starter

13) Remove the harmonic balancer. Likely you will need to use a puller as I did. If so you will need two bolts, 6mm x 70mm with a thread pitch of 1.00.

This is a steering wheel puller that worked great here

14) Remove the lower timing cover. This is easy with 4 accessible 10mm bolts to remove. Some wiring will need to be unclasped before the cover is removed.
15) Remove a small thin cup washer.
16) Loosen the tension pulley, move it downward, hold it there with a pry bar and tighten in that lowered position.
17) Slip off the timing belt.

Setting up the Timing Positions of the Cam and Crank Shafts

1) Set camshaft timing. The hole in the cam sprocket will align with a tick mark on the bearing cap behind it. It may help to check this by putting a small tool through the hole and feeling for the recessed tick mark.

The alignment marks for the camshaft

2) Set up the crankshaft timing.  These marks are very small, so here are some pictures to help find them.

The little bump must align with a mark on the sprocket....

...this is the tiny v-shaped timing mark

Installing the Timing Belt

1) Install the idler pulley if removed or replaced. Torque to 31 ft lbs.

The idler is torqued to 31 ft lbs

2) Install the tension pulley if removed or replaced. Do not torque at this time. Temporarily tighten it in the downward position as necessary to install the belt.

3) Install the belt. Start at the radiator side, keeping that side of the belt taut (slack free). Thread it through the other side and when fully positioned, release tension on the tension pulley only enough to take up the slack in the belt. Do not torque the belt at this time. This comes later.

Loosen the tension pulley to apply tension to the belt

4) Install the belt guide washer. The bowed side faces out.

5) Install the lower timing cover. Make note of the timing mark on the cover- 45 degrees before top dead center. I highlighted it with white paint for easier ID.

The mark highlighted in white is 45 degrees before TDC

6) Install the harmonic balancer.

7) Install crankshaft pulley bolt. It does not need to be torqued at this time.

8) Rotate the engine by hand 1 7/8 turns. At this point the mark on the harmonic balancer will align with the mark 45 degrees before top dead center on the lower timing cover. Now you can torque the tension pulley to 31 ft lbs.

9) Rotate the engine manually through two revolutions, making sure it turns freely and recheck all timing marks afterward.

 Reassemble the Front of the Engine

1) Lock the crank pulley down by some means and torque the pulley bolt to 80 ft lbs.

I locked it with a 1/4 angle bracket with 6mm x 70mm bolts

2) Install the upper timing cover.  There are four 10mm bolts of three different lengths. The two upper bolts are longest and a wiring harness holder slips over the end of the threads. The lowest bolt is shorter and the most difficult and will have to be started by feel. 

3) Secure the wiring harness to the end of the upper timing cover bolts. 

4) Install the front engine bracket with the three 14mm bolts. I could find no torque specified for these bolts. To assure alignment, it is advisable to start the dogbone mount bolts  before torquing the bracket.

5) Torque the three 14mm dog bone bolts to 47 ft lbs. 

6) Install the power steering belt. Use a pry tool to tighten the belt to proper deflection while tightening the lower 10mm mount bolt with a 3/8" ratchet with a six inch extension. 

7) Tighten the upper 10mm power steering lock bolt. This one is a struggle to reach. I used a 1/4" ratchet and socket. 

8) Install the alternator and drive belt. Tap in the long 14mm pivot and hand tighten. Install the 12mm
adjustment lock bolt and again hand tighten. Place the belt  and turn the adjustment bolt counter-clockwise until the belt deflection is correct. Tighten both pivot and lock bolt

9) Wire up the  alternator if it had been un-wired. 

10) Install the wheel well splash cover.

11) Install the wheel, set the car down, torque the lug nuts.

12) Wire up the battery and run the engine, checking for leaks. 


  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  2. For the "belt guide washer" or "timing belt guide", yes, the bowed side faces out (or "facing the cup side outward").

    But it looks reversed in the video. Teeth marks should face timing belt.

  3. that's great artical for the machnics

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  5. Wonder the torque specs for camshaft gear and oil gear sprockets?
    Water & oil pump covers?

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  7. Your "starter bump" method saved my life while my 1000 lb wrench still can't remove crank pulley. The puller bolt thread info is very helpful too. Thanks a ton!

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