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I changed my timing belt / water pump /sparkplugs on my '01 Tundra V6 last weekend with my buddy who was a Toyota dealer mechanic for 2 years. He is now an engineer and is a very sharp guy. He shared a lot of interesting information that I wanted to pass on.
  • The 5VZ is pretty bullet proof. He's never seen one fail. The transmissions do fail occasionally.
  • Toyota put the 5VZ into everything (cars/trucks/suvs) so the dealer has a ton of experience on these engines.
  • For a timing belt change you DO NOT need to remove the radiator. In the tundra and even the Tacos/4runners there is plenty of space. A lot of youtube videos have you remove the radiator.
  • Be careful to protect the radiator. He has popped some leaks in it while working on them.
  • He has never seen a crankshaft/camshaft seal leaking. People do replace them with the timing belt job as you are already in there but hes never replaced one that was actually leaking.
  • For the timing belt job we did not replace the tensioner. He's never seen one fail and if you have the special tool to retract it on the engine it is way faster.
  • We used a chain-wrench to hold the crankshaft pulley. He said most of the dealer mechanics do this and do not use the special 'harmonic balancer holder' tool. It is still the biggest PITA part of the job.
  • Note that the dealer does not typically follow the FSM. As they have developed faster ways of doing things than some engineer in Japan dreamed up.
  • The 5VZ valve cover gaskets do leak over time. It's a PITA time-intensive job as you have to remove a bunch of stuff but fairly straightforward to replace.
  • Always use anti-seize on the spark plugs. At the dealer they had a few seized/stripped spark plug ports.
  • At the dealer they only use the torque wrench on spark plugs, head bolts and other specialty items. Most bolts are per 'mechanic feel' (I still made him use the wrench on my job) FWIW. Still probably good if you don't have the 'feel'.
  • The spark plug plastic cover things (I was quite sure what he was talking about) do break sometimes when removing the plug. You can still run the engine as its held in by friction but if this happens you should replace it.
  • He laughed if I asked him if they used a belt tensioner gauge (again mechanic feel).
  • The rear tire axle/bearing seals fail quite often on these trundras. It is important to replace them as it will destroy the whole assy if they run dry. It is a pain to do as you have to have special tooling to pressfit things into place. You can remove the assy, do most of the work, and have the dealer do it on the part itself more affordably. He said this was quite common and they accommodate it.
  • He was very cautious when refilling the radiator. We spent a good amount of time 'burping' the system by squeezing hoses and such and we ran the engine until the the thermostat activated. Apparently its not much of an issue on the trucks because the radiator sits higher than the engines but trapped air issues are common on 4 cylinder cars.
Hope this helps ya'll. I found it very enlightening.

We finished the waterpump/timing belt/spark plug job in about 4 hours while taking our time and shooting the shit.
 

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Those harmonic balancer holder tools for the V8 (assume same for V6) aren't very expensive for anyone considering doing this job themselves and who also doesn't have a chain wrench. That tool makes busting the crank nut pretty easy. Compared to paying someone else to do the job for you it's cheap. And you can probably sell it on ebay if you don't think you'll use it again.
 

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I have done my timing belt twice on my 2000 3.4 5speed manual 4x4 tundra. First time I used a strap wrench to remove the crank shaft pulley but the second time I just put my 5speed manual in 5th and in 4x4 and that was enough to break the bold with my massive 1" torque wrench. You don't need a special tool to remove the tensioner? Just slowly back off the bolt and I didn't recompress the tensioner but replaced it with a new one. Changing the valve cover gaskets isn't super difficult but it does take a while to get everything removed and cleaned. I didn't remove the 1/2 moons because it wasn't leaking from there.
 
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