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2001 Camry-Solara V6 Timing Belt Question

2001 Camry-Solara V6 Automatic 125K miles. Does anyone know if a shop will remove all of the spark plugs to get the engine at TDC before they begine the replacement? If so, will they charge the full labor price for removal if I ask them to replace them?

No. The engine can be turned easily with a breaker bar/socket on the crank bolt without removing the spark plugs to set it at TDC. So if you want the spark plugs replaced it’ll cost extra.


Thanks Tester, do they at least have to pull the #1 plug to put a gauge on it to make sure it’s in a compression stoke?

No. What is normally done is the timing cover is removed to expose the timing marks for the crankshaft and the camshafts. Then the crank bolt is reinstalled, and the engine is turned by hand to align the timing marks on the crank and cams.


Nope. They’ll be able to see all the pulleys, and they’ll line everything up before they remove the old belt. That will put cylinder 1 at TDC.

thank you gentlemen. I was thinking of doing this job myself after reading the repair manual. My only concern is how to hold the crankshaft while I untighten the crankshaft pully bolt. Haynes says to wedge a large screw driver into the flywheel/driveplate ring gear or against a torque converter bolt. Where is there access to do this? Am I in over my head?

I use an air impact gun to remove crankshaft bolts. But before I even owned a compressor, I would remove a spark plug, bring that piston to the bottom of the cylinder, and then feed some nylon rope into the cylinder thru the spark plug hole until the cylinder was filled with the rope. Now when you try to remove the crankshaft bolt that piston comes up and compresses against the rope preventing the engine from turning.


No concerns about fibers from the rope contaminating the cylinder or valves? How long of a rope did it take to fill it? No concerns about the rope getting stuck in there?

That’s why you use a nylon rope. No fibers to worry about. Boat anchor rope works.

I use to have about ten feet of rope for this purpose. I never had a rope get stuck in the cylinder.


I used to use a hammer. :slight_smile:

No, really…I just put a ratchet/socket on the bolt, and instead of trying to get it off by hand, used a hammer to hit the ratchet. Sometimes I had to rap it a few times, but it has almost the same effect as an impact, and a few knocks will pop it loose.

It will turn in the wrong direction a bit, but it never took me more than a half turn of the crankshaft to get it loose.

Never even thought about a length of rope.


I used the starter motor to loosen the crankshaft pulley bolt on my Honda. Set up a breaker bar and socket on the bolt. Hit the starter for a brief moment. This only works if the crank turns clockwise when looking at it. (and the breaker bar was braced against something solid)

All good suggestions. Thank everyone. With the rope methode, how do you know when the piston is on it’s way up? Can you look in the spark plug opening and see it going up and down with a good light?

Use the crankshaft and camshaft pulleys…when they’re all approaching the proper line up point, you’ll be approaching TDC. On the crankshaft, you will want to be at ~9 O;Clock, with 12 being your TDC position.

The hammer method really worked for me…on several cars. A few different corolla’s, VW golf and scirocco, a few fords. Up to you, of course.

Is that if you’re using #1 piston to put the rope in? If so, the #1 in this car is in the back row which are difficult to get at. What if I want to use a front piston?