Rav 4 Blown Engine


1997 rav4 blew engine while climbing mountain in western n.c. I had personally changed the oil 4 weeks before, there was no warning light, no smoke; smooth perforance on a five hour road trip; then just alot of noise out of no where. I’ve owned it for about 5 months; bought from private party; no reason to suspect them of selling a lemon. Any ideas of what happened? I just don’t want it to happen again to the rebuilt engine I am about to have put in. Thanks to anyone who can help solve this mystery!


Well, since you didn’t give any detail on exactly what happened when the engine “blew”, and since you didn’t tell us how many miles are on the odometer, we are engaging in some guesswork here. So, I will guess that perhaps the timing belt snapped. If that occurred, and if that engine is of the interference type, then major damage to pistons and valves could have resulted–and that would occur without warning.

As one of the other members of this board has said, an engine will run very nicely right up until the milisecond when the timing belt snaps–and that is why it is important to replace that part on schedule. If someone buys a used vehicle without maintenance records, it is prudent to replace the timing belt if the odometer reading indicates that it is ready for replacement.

Exactly what type of damage occurred when the engine “blew”?


We have a RAve4 97 as well. I have been told by mechanic that Rave4 does not have an intrusive timing belt so if it breaks it will not destroy then engine however some repair may be necessary. Our Rave4 has 185,000 miles. We have replaced the timing belt 3 times. Two months ago the car made a horrible noise and could not be restarted or if so sounded think major mess was going on. Initially mechanic told us that he thought the engine was blown although he did not know why and felt we needed to put a rebuilt engine in. WE told him that we could not believe that the engine has crashed so he continued to look. He did discover a techical service bulletin about a bracket issue holding the timing belt and sure enough the changed that bracket, put on a new timing belt (3rd one) and we have just returned from a 12 hour round trip visit to Charleston. Who determined the engine “blew”


Many of the old hands who post on this board, myself included, avoid owning vehicles that depend on rubber timing belts. The two posts above illustrate why…

Good luck with your “blown engine”…Or should I say blown wallet…


Is there an easy way to tell if an engine has a timing belt or chain, or a way to look it up for a particular vehicle?


Gates Belts has an online site that lists all the cars that use rubber belts, and whether or not they are “interference” engines… By avoiding vehicles on this list, you can avoid rubber timing belts…


I’m clicking on their “find out if your engine is an interference type” link, and then enter all my vehicle info but I don’t see anything indicating whether it is or not…am I missing something?


The absolute easiest way to determine if you have a timing belt is to open your glove compartment.

Take out the Owner’s Manual (or possibly a separate booklet) where the Toyota Maintenance Schedule is listed. If the 60k (or 90k, or 105k) service intervals list the replacement of the timing belt, then…you have a timing belt.

On the other hand, if the Manufacturer’s Maintenance Schedule is silent on the issue of timing belt replacement, then you have a timing chain. Incidentally, you should note that timing belts need to be replaced on an elapsed time basis, in addition to a mileage basis, so the person who has…let’s say…a 6 year old vehicle with only 30,000 miles on the odometer will need to replace the timing belt, despite the relatively low number of miles.

Whether you have the “blown” engine on this vehicle replaced or not, I would strongly suggest that you read the Manufacturer’s Maintenance Schedule as soon as you buy a car (particularly a used car!), and determine what vital services need to be done, and when they need to be done. Assuming that your timing belt snapped, simply studying the maintenance schedule might have allowed you to avoid this very expensive repair bill.


http://www.gates.com/part_locator/index.cfm?location_id=3598 This is the page for your 1997 RAV 4 with 2.0L engine. Under the Comments block, it does NOT have (in red) Interference Fit Application. This is good. So, that means that your engine shouldn’t suffer major damage if the timing belt went out. Unfortunately, something else could have failed, badly, in the engine.


Thanks to you all. My wife made the first post in this thread, so I’m the dope who 1)didn’t have the car checked out -I’ve owned 12 Toyotas, and had only minor, or at least just normal problems with them; 2)didn’t check my oil before leaving on a 500-mile trip -though I changed the oil and filter not too long ago.

I’ve used a lot of forums, but this is the quickest and most knowledgable response I’ve ever seen. I’ll post back when I’ve found out just what happened.



Toyota mechanic says this is a non interference timing belt


Many of the old hands who post on this board, myself included, avoid owning vehicles that depend on rubber timing belts.

First off…timing belts have NEVER been made of rubber. Rubber stretches…Timing belts don’t.

Second…This is NOT a interference engine. So IF the timing belt broke all you’d have to do is replace it and drive away.

Third…Personally I LIKE a timing belt for a interference engine. It’s a LOT easier to replace then a timing chain. Something a decent back yard mechanic can do in a couple hours. Timing chains don’t break…but they DO STRETCH…And when they do they can slip…when this happens…ENGINE IS TOAST…Keep a vehicle a long time like I do…and the chain will HAVE TO BE REPLACED (usually around 200k miles)…At a cost far exceeding the cost of the 2 timing belts that needed to be replaced during this period…A LOT MORE IF YOU REPLACED THE BELT YOURSELF.