How to Change Timing Belts on a Toyota Rav4
The 1996 through 2000 Toyota Rav4 comes with a 2.0L engine. The engine is a freewheeling engine, which means that should the timing belt stretch past the scope of the tensioner, the valves will most likely not hit the pistons and no serious engine damage will occur. Toyota has not recommended a specific interval to change the timing belt, but previous use and service history dictates that it should be changed every 60,000 miles. Several special tools are needed to complete this job, all of which are available at any Toyota dealership.
- Set of wrenches
- Set of sockets
- Floor jack
- Jack stands
- Lug wrench
- 6-inch block of 2-by-4-inch wood
- Crankshaft pulley holding tool handle No. 09330-0021
- Crankshaft pulley holding tool No. 09213-54015
- Puller No. 09950-50010
- Torque wrench
Disconnect the battery ground cable and lay it to the side, ensuring that it does not touch metal. Unbolt the power steering pump, but leave the lines connected. Move it out of the way. Loosen the accessory drive belt tensioners using the appropriate sockets or wrenches. If the tensioner is a slider, slide the accessory toward the engine. If the tensioner is a pulley, use a wrench or socket to push the pulley toward the engine to loosen tension on the belts. Lift the belts off the pulleys.
Remove the alternator and its bracket using the appropriate sockets. Jack the front of the RAV4 up with the floor jack, then support it with jack stands. Remove the right wheel using the lug wrench. Remove the right engine undershield using the appropriate sockets.
Place the block of wood on the floor jack. Slide it under the oil pan and jack it up high enough so that the wood touches the bottom of the oil pan to support the engine. Remove the right engine mount insulator using the appropriate sockets. Remove the crankshaft pulley bolt using the crankshaft pulley holding tool and holding tool handle. Remove the crankshaft pulley using the puller. Remove the right engine mount bracket and the upper timing belt cover using the appropriate sockets.
Install the crankshaft pulley and its bolt temporarily. Turn the crankshaft clockwise until the timing marks on the crankshaft pulley line up at the 2 o'clock position. The notch on the pulley must line up with the zero-mark on the gauge. Check the camshaft timing marks by looking through the hole in the camshaft sprocket. It must align with the mark on the camshaft bearing cap at the 12 o'clock position. If not, turn the crankshaft clockwise one more turn, and both marks will line up.
Remove the crankshaft pulley bolt, pulley, the lower timing belt cover and the belt guide washer. Loosen the tensioner bolt. Push the tensioner away from the timing belt. Tighten the tensioner bolt to hold the tensioner out of the way. Lift the timing belt off the sprockets and pulleys. Remove the tensioner pulley and spring.
Check the tensioner pulley by spinning it in your hand. If you hear noise or if it has resistance, replace the pulley. Measure the tensioner spring. If it doesn't measure 1.81 inches for 1996 through 1997 models, and 1.65 inches for 1998 through 2000 models, replace the spring.
Install the tensioner pulley and the spring. Push the tensioner to the left. Tighten the bolt just enough to hold it in place. Install the lower timing belt cover and crankshaft pulley temporarily. Check that both timing marks are still lined up. Remove the pulley and the lower timing belt cover.
Install the timing belt, starting on the crankshaft sprocket. Route the belt over the oil pump sprocket then behind the tensioner pulley. Grab the other side of the belt and route it behind the idler pulley and over the front of the water pump sprocket, keeping the belt taut on this side. Slide the top of the timing belt over the camshaft sprocket.
Install the guide belt washer, lower timing belt cover and crankshaft pulley. Temporarily install the crankshaft pulley bolt. Make sure the timing marks are lined up.
Loosen the tensioner bolt one-half turn, and allow the tensioner to put tension on the belt. Turn the crankshaft clockwise two turns until the timing marks line up again. Turn the crankshaft slowly clockwise 1 7/8 turn until the pulley mark lines up with the 45-degree mark on the timing belt lower cover. Tighten the tensioner bolt to 31 foot-pounds of torque. Remove the crankshaft pulley and bolt. Install the rest of the parts in reverse order of removal. Reinstall the crankshaft pulley and bolt. Tighten the crankshaft bolt to 80 foot-pounds of torque.