Timing belt / Cam belt replacement

Hello from NZ.

Have just imported a 2003 Mitsubishi Delica 4x4 van from Japan. It’s done 88km / 54 miles, and I can’t find any evidence of cam belt being done, nor can I decipher the Japanese service manual. Petrol engine. Can I spread the financial pain and wait 'til 100 km / 60 miles or is that too risky?

Advice appreciated,


Since that model is not sold in the US, where most of us live, the responses that you get will likely have a great amount of guess-work involved.

Anyway–this type of service procedure always has an elapsed time value, as well as an odometer mileage value, with the proviso, “whichever comes first”. If the mfr calls for a 60,000 mile maintenance interval (I really hope that the belt doesn’t have to be changed every 60 miles!), then the elapsed time factor is most likely 5 years. So–in essence that belt is already very much overdue for changing.

The only saving grace is that IF this engine is of a non-interference design, a snapped timing belt will only result in a stopped engine, rather than a wrecked one. Mfrs tend to put non-interference engines into commercial-type vehicles, but I cannot say with assurance that this van has a non-interference engine.

My best suggestion is to try to research the engine design of this mystery vehicle. If you can confirm that it has a non-interference engine, then you can safely wait a bit to change the belt–assuming that the chance of a stalled engine while traveling at high speed on an expressway or out in the boondocks does not bother you.
If it has an interference engine, you will be gambling BIG bucks every time that you start the engine.

You can safely assume that the belt needs changing at 60,000 miles (100,000 KM) or 6 years. In that case you are already overdue.

I would change it at the earliest opportunity. Are you sure it has a belt? We can’t tell from here.