How To: Replace the Timing Belt

Some of these pics are out of order, so you may see a belt in a pic that should have been removed, or a timing cover. I took these pics over a time period of 2 months. This work was done on Pat’s first MKIIT which had been sitting for exactly one year before the timing belt got fixed.

#1 tip: Get your incredibly helpful friends to come over for the hard stuff 🙂

1. Remove passenger side metal engine cover

2. Remove upper strut bar

3. Remove both intake pipes

4. Remove cruise control if you have it

5. Disconnect accelerator cable from throttle body

6. Remove engine compartment electric fan

7. If you have AC, remove AC compressor belt from idler bracket. You do not need to remove the AC compressor as the BGB suggests

8. Remove intercooler… We created a seperate webpage for the removal and install. If that doesn’t work, try here, or here.

9. Chalk up the front wheels, and remove the passenger rear wheel.

10. Remove engine lower plastic covers

11. Remove alternator belt. There is an adjustment bolt that can be reached from above if you’ve removed the Cruise Control system, and a 14mm pivot bolt on the alternator that can be easily reached from below. Once those are loosened, the alternator can be rotated towards the block, and the belt can be slipped off.

You can see the alternator pivot bolt here.

12. Jack up the engine a little bit with a piece of wood in between the jack and oil pan.

13. Disconnect the ground strap

14. Disconnect the brake booster line

15. Remove the passenger side engine mount stay with the 3 bolts on top.

Here it is minus one bolt.

This is where it’s located.


16. Remove passenger side engine mount. There are two 14mm nuts that can be reached from below, and 1 17mm through bolt on the side.
Here you can see the mount with the through bolt on the ground behind it.

Here are the two bolts on the bottom (looking up from below the car) with the 2 14mm nuts already removed

17. Remove engine mount bracket. There are 3 14mm bolts, 2 on top, and one below. A mirror is helpful to locate these bolts, but not necessary. To get the upper 2, raise the engine (but not the car) as high as it will go. There one final bolt at the top of the arm that connects to the head.

Here’s the mount bracket and 3 of the 4 bolts.

This illustrates the two top bolt positions (note the engine should be jacked up to get the two top bolts as it is in this picture, and should be down in order to get at the lower one)

18. Remove the throttle body. There are lots of hoses and bolts to remove before you can get it out of there. It’s kind of self explanatory once you start.

19. Remove the upper timing belt cover
Here you can see the bolt holes.

20. Remove old timing belt

21. Check that all the idlers and gears turn freely, and do not grind or hang up.

22. Remove timing belt tensioner. There are 2 bolts at the bottom. These are eaiest to reach from below the car. It’s a tough spot to say the least.

Here’s a new one. A used one will not hat the grenade pin attatched.

23. Removing the crank pulley bolt is hard to do. We tried several different methods, including bracing the wheel studs with a breaker bar, and jumping way up, then down onto another breaker bar on the pulley bolt. The only one that worked was to put a strong 19mm socket on this bolt, attatched to a long breaker bar, laid it on the ground with the end facing the front of the car, put the car in neutral, and bliped the starter. The bolt broke loose in an instant.

24. Once the pulley bolt is loose, you can put on the pulley puller remove the pulley.
25. Once this is done, you can then get at the lower cover and it’s 6 10mm bolts.

Behind this cover is the metal timing belt guide with the cup facing outwards. Remove it.

26. Install new tensioner, but leave the bolts loose, and leave the grenade pin attatched. If you are reusing the old tensioner, then you have to reset it and use a substitue grenade pin. We reccomend a new tensioner anyways.

27. Some extra pics, we are about to install new timing belt. Check that the cams and timing belt are both at zero first. Finish at the top cam pulleys. You may have to pull on the belts a little to get it to pop on. You can also move the tensioner back and forth. If the belt is very far off, something is wrong, check further. Spin the crank a few revolutions and recheck.

This is below looking up.

Here the belt is “lightly” being held up by a bungee cord while we continue to work.

28. Install the lower timing belt guide onto the crank with cup facing outwards. 29. Install the lower timing belt cover with the 6 bolts.

30. Install the crank pulley by centering it, and using a block of wood and a hammer. Once it’s all the way on, tighten up the crank pulley bolt to 80ft lbs. 30. Get the crank at #1 top dead center. With the crank bolt, turn the crank clockwise until the pulley mark lines up at 0 (not at the 25 or so as pictured). We used some white out on the marks to make them easier to see.

31.Now, with both cams and crank set, pop the belt on, you need to put a socket wrench on the tensioner pulley, and put tension on it in order to get rid of the belt slack. You can see here we used a bungee cord. Make sure whatever you use is tight.
32. Now line up the camshafts with their upper marks. To do this, you may have to move one of the gears, so the belt will have to come off of that gear, the gear moved, and then the belt popped back on. We found this the easiest method. Notice we used vice grips since we didn’t have the giant open end wrenches handy.

There are two places to line up on each cam.

a. The first is on top, you have to get the mark on the cams to line up with the with the mark on the end cam caps.

b. The second is on the side of the engine, on the cam gears there is a little hole punched in them, this lines up with the groove on the metal inner timing belt cover. Groove is a little hard to see here, it’s the vertical mark above the belt. From this angle, it’s not pefectly lined up, but from the correct position, it’s dead on.

34. Time to lock it down, pull the pin, and check for correct gap. This part definitely was easier with 2 people. Tighten the two bolts on the tensioner. Pull the grenade pin out with some pliers. Once that’s done, spin the crank 1 revolution, and align is groove with the ATDC 60 degree mark on the lower timing belt cover (my cover did not appear to have this mark so we just guestimated). Measure the gap with your feeler gauges. If it’s between 1.80 and 2.20mm, you’re done. Make sure everything is tight. The gap may be out of spec if you reused an old tensioner, or if there is something wrong with the tensioner or belt.

Now reinstall everything!

1. Engine mount bracket. This part can be tough. Raise and lower the engine (not the car) with a jack if you need to. I got the two top bolts first, then lowered the engine, and got the bottom bolt from underneath.

2. Upper timing belt cover.

3. Passenger side motor mount. Sidebolt first, then the 2 lower bolts from underneath.

4. Passenger side mount stay.

5. Get the alternator belt tight by tightening the adjusting bolt at the rear passenger side. This is a pain to get to. I went from directly above with my left arm. Once the belt is tight enough (about 3/4 inch of movement up and down), lock it down with the adjuster lock bolt on the side, then go below, and tighten the alternator pivot bolt with a socket on the passenger side, and if it won’t tighten, a wrench on the driver side of the pivot bolt.

6. Re-install engine lower plastic covers.

7. Put the rear passenger wheel on. Torque it correctly (76ft lbs)

8. Install intercooler, this should help… IC Install. If that doesn’t work, try here, or here.

9. Re-install any AC stuff you took off. I didn’t have to take any off, so…

10. Re-install the intercooler fan.

11. Put back the accelerator cables, and throttle body stuff.

12. Re-install the cruise control parts if you took any off.

13. Re-install back intake pipes.

14. Re-install strut x bar.

15. Re-install passenger side metal engine cover.

16. Check for any missing hoses or bolts. You’re done.

This documentation in no way replaces the Toyota MR2 Repair Manuals. The purpose of this content is only to provide supplementary information to fellow MR2 enthusiasts. Midship Runabout and its contributing authors will not be held responsible for any injury or damages that may occur as the result of practicing any of the methods or procedures described within this website. Article and photo submissions are property of the contributing author.

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1 Response

  1. Mark Farman says:

    Did you guys not remove the valve cover at all to do this?

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