Toyota 5S-FE (2.2) Timing Belt – Part One

Today we are going to take a look at what is involved in replacing the timing belt on a Toyota 5S-FE engine. This is the 2.2 litre engine commonly found in the wide-body Camry models.

This article is going to be a long one, not because the job is a particularly difficult one but because it can be a tad time consuming – nine times out of ten the oil seals and oil pump gasket will be leaking by the time the belt is due for replacement. For some reason these engines seem to be prone to the rubber seals going brittle, probably due to excessive heat.

For this reason I highly recommend that you not just replace the belt by itself but instead buy a complete timing belt kit like the one pictured below. These kits include a belt, tensioner, idler pulley and the three seals and an oil pump gasket. We got ours from Repco and they retail for around $150.00. Also consider the condition of the waterpump, for an extra $80-100 replacing the waterpump now could save you a lot of work should it start to leak after changing the belt.

As usual I encourage you to read the article right through before starting so that you have a good understanding of all the steps involved and have the necessary tools at your disposal. Ok, let’s get started.

The first step is to loosen the drivers side front wheel nuts and raise the front of the car up and support it with axle stands. Remove the wheel and place it under the car.

Then remove the negative terminal from the battery. If you have a security coded stereo be sure you have the code before doing this!! If you haven’t got the code for your stereo you can get away with not disconnecting the battery, just be sure to tape up the main alternator wire when you come to remove it and take the keys out of the ignition so the engine can’t be turned over mistakenly.

Now we need to get ourselves some room to work in. The first things to go should be the radiator overflow bottle and the windscreen washer bottle (2 x 10mm bolts, an electrical plug and hose). Once these are out of the way we can then remove the alternator to give us even more room. The alternator is removed by first loosening (but not removing) the 14mm bolt and 12mm bolt that goes through the adjuster.

toyota timing belt replacement

camry timing belt

Once these two are loosened you can then turn the 12mm adjuster bolt anti-clockwise until the belt is loose enough to be taken off. Once the belt is off you can then remove the main battery feed wire (10mm nut) and regulator plug and completely remove the 14 and 12mm bolts and lift the alternator out of the way.

5sfe timing belt

The next step is to unclip the two black earth wires and move them out of the way as much as possible and remove the engine stabilizer. This is done by undoing three 14mm bolts.

timing belt replacement

Now for the first bit of ‘fun’! The bracket that the engine stabilizer was bolted to needs to come out (blue arrows in above pic). This has three 14mm bolts attaching it and the two bottom ones can be a royal pain in the you-know-what if they are particularly tight. If you do strike trouble here you can lift the engine slightly by jacking it up from the sump (a block of wood between the jack and the sump is a good idea) and this can allow a socket and ratchet to be used. The two bottom bolts won’t come right out, that’s ok, as long as they are out of the thread in the block you will be able to remove the bracket.

Next up is the top timing cover. This has five 10mm bolts in it, three at the front and two at the rear with the middle bolt in the front being shorter than the others. The two rear ones can be a tad difficult to get to, with the top one being a spanner only job as the brake master cylinder gets in the way.

Once you have the top timing cover off you can now see and get to the top power steering pump bolt easily. This 14mm bolt only has to be loosened, not removed.

toyota camry timing belt replacement

Now we can start working from underneath the car. Obviously the first thing to do is remove the two 10mm bolts that hold the plastic cover in place.

how to replace toyota timing belt

The next step is to loosen the adjuster bolt for the power steering pump and pull down on the belt so that the pump moves in towards the engine and you can then remove the belt.

how to replace timing belt

The next step is to remove the harmonic balancer from the crankshaft. The balancer has a 19mm bolt that will be tight and will more than likely need some persuasion to come loose. If you have access to an impact gun and compressor you should have no problems, but if not there is another way of loosening the bolt. This method works well but I don’t necessarily endorse it, if you get what I mean.

What you need is a ½ inch drive breaker bar (long non-ratcheting bar) and 19mm socket. Start by fitting the socket to the balancer bolt and then wedging the end of the bar against the suspension pick-up point of the crossmember. You will then need to reconnect the negative terminal of the battery – the main alternator wire will be live once the battery is connected so I suggest wrapping it in some electrical tape.

toyota timing belt

After you have made sure that all people have vacated the area give the key a quick turn to activate the starter motor. There will probably be an almighty bang and with any luck the bolt will be loose. Rough I know, but it works!

At this stage (with the balancer bolt loose and only if you are going to replace the oil seals) I suggest that you loosen the camshaft sprocket bolt. The reason for this is that the valve timing is likely to move quite a bit when you loosen the camshaft bolt and it is a lot easier to set it up with the balancer still fitted, the marks on the balancer and bottom timing cover are a lot easier to see than the tiny marks you have to use once the cover is removed.

The easiest way to loosen the (14mm) camshaft bolt is with a breaker bar and a firm hit on it with the palm of your hand. Once you have it loose we can then set the valve timing by rotating the engine (with a socket on the balancer bolt and clockwise only) until the indented timing mark on the balancer lines up with the zero mark on the lower timing cover and the hole in the camshaft sprocket is facing up.

toyota timing belt replacement
toyota timing belt

Once you have the timing sorted you can completely remove the balancer bolt and see if the balancer is going to come off easily or not. Typically they only require a gentle pull or a lever from side to side to get them moving. If like ours it won’t budge you will need a puller to get things moving. The ‘claw’ type pullers are pretty useless in this situation and the balancer has two threaded holes close to the centre so if you can get a ‘bolt-through’ type puller (see pic below) things will work a lot better.

camry timing belt replacement

Although it looks like a tight fit, the balancer should come out without too much trouble. Now the lower timing cover can be removed by undoing the four 10mm bolts securing it. The ‘disc’ between the balancer and crankshaft sprocket can now be removed also.

If you are replacing the oil seals, before you release the timing belt tensioner and remove the belt I suggest you loosen the 12mm oil pump nut. To keep the timing marks aligned an adjustable spanner can be used to hold the crankshaft while you undo the nut (finally, a use for the good old shifter!).

toyota cam belt

The next step is to loosen the 14mm tensioner bolt, lever the tensioner down and re-tighten the bolt (so the belt stays loose) and remove the old timing belt.

Now we can completely remove the camshaft sprocket, undo the tensioner bolt and remove the tensioner and spring, undo the 14mm bolt and remove the idler pulley (as long as there is a new one in your kit), completely remove the 12mm oil pump nut and remove the oil pump sprocket and finally remove the crankshaft sprocket which should just slide off the crankshaft when pulled forward.

That concludes Part One, Part Two can be found HERE.

2 thoughts on “Toyota 5S-FE (2.2) Timing Belt – Part One

  1. What size bolt did you thread into the small holes on the harmonic balancer pulley in order to use the puller?

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