toyota timing belt replacement

Toyota L Series Timing Belt And Waterpump Replacement – Part Two

We finally have our new cam gear that we were waiting for from PART ONE of this tutorial, so now it is time to put it all back together.

This job can be done with just the basic spanner, socket and screwdriver sets, however here are some tools and supplies that although mostly not essential did make the job easier –

  • Single Sided Razor Blade and Fine Grade Wet and Dry Sandpaper for removing the old waterpump gasket.
  • Wire Brush Attachment for bench grinder for cleaning up waterpump bolts.
  • Compressed Air for cleaning out bolt holes etc.
  • Non-Hardening Gasket Sealant such as Loctite Aviation Form-A-Gasket No.3
  • Loctite Thread Lock.
  • 1/2 inch drive Torque Wrench.
  • Tool for ‘locking’ the crankshaft such as my homemade Pajero Balancer Tool

Our first mission is to make sure that all traces of the old waterpump gasket are removed. This is a very important step (obviously!) because you don’t want to be doing the job again because of a water leak. I prefer to use a single sided razor blade followed by a light sanding with 800 wet and dry paper. The housing that the waterpump bolts to is only alloy so I suggest air sanders and the like be kept away as any low spots can be the cause of a leak.


Also if you have access to compressed air I suggest blowing out the bolt holes to remove any water and crap that may have built up there. The waterpump bolts should also be cleaned and if possible the threads wire-brushed, just makes things easier as it goes together.


Once you are happy that the surface is nice and clean it’s time to check the waterpump against the old one (yes parts suppliers can get it wrong sometimes!) and I suggest using a non-hardening sealant on both sides of the gasket, such as Loctite Aviation Form A Gasket No.3. Repco, Supercheap etc should have this on the shelf.


The new waterpump should come with new cooling fan studs and it is best to leave these out until you have the timing cover on. The waterpump should also have two locating dowels that will hold the gasket in place as you fit it up to the block and with everything positioned correctly it is simply a matter of running the bolts in by hand until the surfaces meet. Don’t forget that the bracket for the timing belt tensioner needs to be fitted to the right hand lower waterpump mounting bolt and the spring attached to the tensioner. Now we can do the bolts up evenly with a 12mm socket and ratchet.

Now is a good time to push the belt tensioner to it’s fully released position. Loosen the 14mm bolt holding it in place and either push or lever against the spring tension until it is at it’s full travel towards the drivers side of the engine and re-tighten the 14mm bolt to keep it in this position until we fit the belt.



The next job is to refit the top cam gear if you removed it to replace the seal (or replace the gear as in our case). With the woodruff key correctly located in the key you should be able to slide the gear on nice and easy. I suggest then using some Loctite on the cam gear bolt BUT just hand tighten the bolt at this stage. We will torque the bolt once the timing belt is fitted. To be certain that you don’t skip the step of tightening the cam gear bolt I suggest writing “cam gear bolt” in large writing on a foolscap piece of paper and putting it under one of the wiper blades. Don’t laugh, it is very easy to get side tracked and forget about it, and you don’t want to go down that path!

The next step is to fit the new timing belt. If you can grab another set of hands for this operation I suggest you do as it can be a tad difficult by yourself. I suggest starting with the crankshaft gear and work your way around anti-clockwise with the belt. Most belts will have arrows on them indicating the intended direction of rotation – clockwise in this case.


Remember also that the injector pump pulley has more than likely moved from it’s lined up position so you need to correct this as you go.

The main objective is to have the belt reasonably tight on the right hand side (with the crank, injector pump and camshaft timing marks all lined up) and the ‘slack’ of the belt on the left hand (tensioner) side.


Once you are satisfied that the belt is ‘taught’ on the right hand side and all three marks are lined up, loosen the 14mm bolt holding the timing belt tensioner against it’s spring and re-tighten the bolt once the tensioner has moved across and holds tension on the left hand side of the belt also.

VERY IMPORTANT STEPS – first item on the agenda is to tighten the bolt securing the camshaft gear if you have removed this. The correct tension is 98 Nm and this can be achieved easily enough without ‘locking up’ the engine at all. The next important step is to temporarily fit the crankshaft balancer bolt (19mm) and rotate the engine clockwise for two revolutions of the crankshaft. If all is well the belt will be tensioned evenly and all three marks will line up once again. If you find that one or two of the timing marks are not lined up you will need to release the tensioner again, remove the belt (only partially if possible) and re-align the timing marks and carry out this step again.

It is important to do this step as it will identify any potential timing problems BEFORE assembling the rest of the engine.

Once you have established that the timing is aligned correctly and the engine can be rotated with the timing marks lining up again it is time to double check that the 14mm bolt securing the tensioner is tight. There is no need to go ape on the bolt but it does need to be nipped up nicely so the tensioner can’t move while the engine is running. We can then remove the crankshaft balancer bolt to make fitting the timing cover a little easier.

The next job is to fit the ‘disc’ that sits in front of the crankshaft timing belt gear. There is a slot in it which lines up with the keyway to push it all the way on and the marks on it usually indicate which way it goes (belt/gear side and balancer side), although I believe it doesn’t matter too much which way it goes, as long as it is there!

The next really fun job is to refit the timing cover. The job is made easier without the cooling fan studs fitted but it is still a matter of man/woman-handling it into place behind the bracket for the A/C belt idler. Also be careful to ensure that the rubber seal around the outside of the cover and around the waterpump opening is still in position once the cover is in place.


Once you have the cover in position I suggest just ‘starting’ all the bolts before tightening any up as it can take some maneuvering of the cover to get all the bolts started. The two ‘stude and nut’ arrangements go in the top two holes to secure the vacuum pipes.


Once all the bolts are in position and tight, and don’t forget the ‘pain in the butt’ one behind the A/C belt bracket, it is time to fit the crankshaft balancer. The correct torque for the balancer bolt is 235Nm and I suggest using Loctite on the thread for piece of mind. The specified torque setting can be achieved by a couple of methods –

  • You can try chocking all four wheels, selecting a high gear (manual only of course!), firmly applying the handbrake and try your luck at getting it tight enough. I have done this myself previously but it does put a fair bit of stress on the driveline.
  • The other option is to make a tool similar to the one that I made for TIGHTENING PAJERO BALANCERS to the correct torque. Rather than welding two ‘lugs’ into the end of the tool you can simply drill two holes that will accept a 12mm bolt and bolt the tool to the balancer. With the dimensions of the tool used in the PAJERO ARTICLE the end of the tool sits just on top of the power steer pump and this is solid enough to hold the crankshaft in place to tighten the bolt to 235Nm.
  • Completely removing the radiator and using a rattle gun is another option if you are so inclined!


Once the balancer bolt is tight we can fit the A/C and P/Steer ‘rings’ to the balancer using the four 12mm bolts and fit the waterpump pulley and fanbelts. What I suggest you do is fit the waterpump pulley with two nuts holding it on, adjust your alternator to where you can easily fit the belts and then tighten the alternator adjustment up. By not fitting the fan at this stage it is alot easier for fitting the other belts and the vacuum and water pipes that run across the front of the engine. At this stage we can also fit the A/C idler to the ‘pain in the bum’ bracket – 14mm nut at the rear of the idler.


Loosen bottom alternator bolt – 14mm


Top alternator adjustment – loosen 12mm bolt and undo long bolt anti-clockwise – also 12mm


Fit the water pump pulley and secure it with two nuts and fit the belts. Tighten the belts using the top alternator adjuster, tighten the bottom 14mm alternator bolt and move on to the A/C belt.

The A/C belt is tightened by the 14mm bolt that runs through the adjuster setup and secured by the 14mm nut on the ‘face’ of the tensioner. There are pictures explaining this in PART ONE.

The power steering belt is adjusted by levering against the body of the pump and the bracket that it sits in and tightening the 14mm bolt at the back of the pump. There is also a 14mm nut that has to be tightened at the bottom of the pump. Once again there are pictures better explaining this in PART ONE.

Now that we have that under control we can fit the vacuum pipes that are attached to the two very top timing cover studs and one 12mm bolt on top of the thermostat housing. The hoses should just push on and should already be marked from part one of the article.

We can then also fit the water pipes that run across the front of the engine and attach via a 12mm bolt to the thermostat housing and the A/C hose also fits onto this bracket with a 10mm bolt.


Now we can start to fit the cooling fan by removing the two nuts holding the pulley in place – yes, the pulley will more than likely move out under the pressure of the belts but you should be able to keep it in place enough to fit the fan. Progressively do up the four nuts holding fan so that it goes on as evenly as possible and be sure to nip them up nice and tight.

We can now fit the top part of the radiator shroud, two 10mm bolts each side, the bottom ones can be a bit painful but with a socket and small extension bar they shouldn’t be too hard. The bottom section of the shroud is best sat in place from underneath and then the clips fitted on either side from above.

Next step is to refit the starter motor positive cable to the battery terminal, fit the radiator overflow hose to the radiator neck and refit the top radiator hose.

Almost there! Next we need to fill the radiator and check for any obvious leaks and then it’s time to start the engine. Turn the heater control to ‘hot’ to get the coolant flowing, check for any noises, leaks etc before taking it for a drive and after idling for a while re-check the radiator level. If all looks and sounds good take it for a drive until it reaches normal operating temperature.

Come back to your garage or wherever, another check for leaks etc and more than likely the radiator will need to be topped up after the thermostat has opened when it reached normal operating temperature, and then you’re done!

Although this article has been quite lengthy and involved, the job itself is not that difficult but the most important aspect is getting the timing marks right and ensuring that everything BEHIND the timing cover is tight and properly fitted, not the sort of job that you would want to do twice!

25 thoughts on “Toyota L Series Timing Belt And Waterpump Replacement – Part Two

  1. hi craig,
    i am in south africa.i would like
    to thank you for your information.
    with the help i am sure i will be
    able to replace my timing belt.
    maybe iam in for an expensive
    surprise,the belt snapped while
    the engine was running.
    thanks again.

  2. Hi Kevin,
    There is the chance that you have a bent valve or two, on the one hand I have seen an L series motor bend valves as the result of a broken timing belt but I have also seen one break the belt and suffer no damage at all. I think it all depends on how fast the engine was revving at the time the belt broke and whether it was a complete break or just a partial ‘tooth stripping’ break, if that makes any sense to you!

    Best of luck with it and if there is anything you are not sure of or if you strike trouble please don’t hesitate to send us an email to


  3. Also the cam shaft seal number i saw you used the gates brand for the belt.
    We have that brand in Trinidad

  4. Hi Terry,
    I don’t have any records of the timing belt number that we used on the Hilux. With your vehicle being a Surf I think it would be a good idea to get the numbers directly from Gates themselves as there are some differences between it and the Hilux.

    They have a parts locater here –
    , failing that they also have a Contact Us page where you can email them for all the part numbers.

  5. Great instruction, but few detailed pics for timing. The pic quality of the downloaded manual (L & 2L)TE(.pdf) is awful, and I’m having trouble determining correct position of inj. pump pulley. My motor only has one tensioner pulley, the oil pump drive is internal. The delivery click in the inj. pump occurs abt 30deg BTDC cranking by hand. That pulley mark is at the tangental entry to the pulley by the belt @ TDC #1. I think it’s too advanced. what do you reckon? No tools to test pump setup accurately, no good quality pics to be sure from.

  6. Thanks Craig for directing very precisely through picture on removing the radiator and using a rattle gun. I will be looking for another of this kind of blog as I have just bought second hand used car.

  7. Hi Craig
    Thank you for a very informative article I found it very useful. Just wondering if you please help out I have change the timing belt on my hilux and now it will not idle, have you got any idea what I have done wrong and how to fix it.

    Thanks again

  8. Craig I couldn’t have done this without your blog, my 89 hilux waterpump died and the radiator split as well… i was able to replace the timing belt,cam seal and crankshaft seal as well ( my engine overheated pretty bad when the waterpump and radiator died, i had trouble removing the cam seal as it was melted in…. using a screwdriver wasn’t cutting it for me… BUT using a dart from a dartboard i was able to easily remove it.Also noticed my crankshaft keyway was slightly damaged using metal bonding agent i was able to resit the key and install the harmonic pulley and bolt and let it sit to fuse the keyway back into its slot….

    If i had the money at the time of my breakdowns , i would have let a mechanic do it all….. but im glad i did it myself , i’ve learnt so much about my car due to this breakdown…. also on a quick note…. you can make a extremely cheap Harmonic Balancer tightening/losening device us some wood with a hole in the middle…. use the ac/ps pulley sketch out the bolt holes on some wood then just drill them out with 8.5mm drill bit grab some 8mm bolts long enough to go through the wood into the balancer pulley … i used a 32mm hole saw for the balancer bolt hole as well for easy access to the bolt with my 19mm socket…

    i hope this might help someone who is considering doing this , I have basic car skills and got the job done….
    incase anyone is broke like me ,,,, EBAY saved me alot on parts ….

  9. i finished removing timing cover on my mitsubishi montero sport.3.0 v-6 eng. i did this cause my timing belt broke.anyway i bought the tentioner and idler as well as newbelt, water pmp.well i went to line up the timing marks on the right came sproket and it is spring loaded to some extent , well it jumps past the timing wont line up only only on the right side.oh i also have the crankshaft bolt problem .and it sheered off the pines that keep the balancer in sink with the crank left parts in the crank pully gear.anyway i cant read the timing marks on the crankshaft gear any more.can you help?

  10. Thanks Craig. This is a very informative write up with excellent pictures. I will be using hopefully only to check for possible oil contamination of the timing belt due to a leaking cam cover gasket.


  11. Awsome mate great that people like you take the time to help others this nets a good thing when used in an appropriate way cheers mate.

  12. Craig, I recently bought a Max Ellery service manual so that I could change the timing belt on my 94 LN86R flat tray 2wd 3L diesel 2.8lt vehicle. I was more confused after reading the sections covering the job at hand (timing belt/water pump and seals), than I ever was to begin with! The photographs in the manual were low resolution and had been cropped in photoshop. The procedures switched from one engine type to another and the information was given with an assumption of prior mechanical knowledge. I think that the manual was not good for much – as the tips were simply not there.
    On the other hand, your article assumes only basic mechanical knowledge and gives tips on careful procedure and methodical sequences. The photographs are A1 and the little arrows actually show the exact part. This is a very educational webpage and I am now confident to procede. Furthermore, the tool list is very helpful to me; as I now have a list of tools that I need to borrow from my Diesel Fitter brother!

  13. Hi mate I broke a bolt off on the tensioner pulley the right hand side one I couldn’t extract the bolt I am thinking of changing the timing cover but don’t no if the bolt screws in to the bloke or timing cover do you no where it screws into ? Thanks mate

  14. Dear Jay, I am very sorry to hear you busted that bolt. I am not a mechanic but i had an idea about fixing this problem. Firstly I personally would only remove the the aluminium alloy timing case as a last resort. Remove all the radiator hoses and timing cover as described above. Remove the grille too – just poke a standard screwdriver into the back of the clips whilst pulling the grill away from the front of your ute to remove them. Now you can get at the bloody mungrel in question. The bolt is probably coated in loctite or some other thread locking glue. Drill a hole in the centre of the remaining stud. Get an easy-out stud extractor, but wait, theres more…Get a little blow-torch cigarette lighter and apply as much heat as you can to the remaining part of the stud – this will melt the loctite – if you dont have a little blowtorch, use the tip of a powerful soldering iron (60-120W) the idea is to get that stud as hot as you can and then use an easy-out bolt extractor. I hope this helps mate because your motor is a real gem. Cheers, Phil

  15. Hi there, A dodgy mechanic removed all the vacuum lines and just put them back randomly 🙁 .
    I am trying to sort their correct placement. Do you have any info or pics of which go where?
    5L 3 litre.
    Cheers, Mick.

  16. Very useful! Specially for the trick to loosen balancer bolt,naturally before to do this is OBVIOUS to disconnect electric stop valve on injection pump!

  17. Dear Sir!
    The disc that sits between crankshat gear and balancer has a little taper on outer diameter on one side.This means that taper must face outward timing belt,if installed incorrect the tapered surface shall grind the timing belt.
    My vehicle is a 1991 Hilux Diesel,not turbo, left hand drive model for Europe.
    At this time odomoter reads 326752 Km.
    Best wishes!

  18. hi creg, done replacing the t-belt of my 5l toyota engine but the light for t-belt is still showing on my dashboard.what can i do to reset the light.
    hanks in advance

  19. hi creg, done replacing the t-belt of my 5l toyota engine but the light for t-belt is still showing on my dashboard.what can i do to reset the light?
    thanks in advance

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